In the 1920s and 30s, Bessie Smith was the ’empress of the blues.’ Her passionate singing and performing style and her songwriting influenced all the blues and jazz singers that followed. Many of the songs she popularized, both blues and ‘tin pan alley’ tunes, have become standards in blues, jazz, rock and pop music. Songs in this collection have been recorded by artists as diverse as Eric Clapton, Leadbelly, Billie Holiday, Chet Atkins, Bing Crosby, David Lee Roth, Big Bill Broonzy, B. B. King and Sam Cooke. They’re great tunes for guitar pickers, and Fred shows you how to back yourself up singing them and how to fingerpick instrumental versions of six classics. With his explanations of the arrangements, split-screen, slowed-down versions of the songs, and with the tab and music in the PDF booklet on the DVD, you’ll learn how to play St. Louis Blues, Nobody Knows You When You’re Down and Out, Backwater Blues, After You’ve Gone, I Ain’t Got Nobody and the sensational Send Me To the Electric Chair.The songs sound terrific on guitar, and with Fred’s instruction, the arrangements are easy to follow. A 1920s film of Bessie Smith singing St. Louis Blues is featured at the end of the lesson. DVD is region 0, playable worldwide.
About the Actor
Fred Sokolow is an extremely versatile musician. Although he is most often seen playing jazz guitar and singing in Los Angeles night spots, he is just as likely to turn up playing 5 string banjo at bluegrass festivals or rock guitar at studio sessions. You may even spot him playing Resonator Guitar or mandolin on various folk revivals seen on cable and public television. Besides soloing as a jazz guitarist/vocalist, Fred also has fronted his own jazz, bluegrass and rock bands. He has toured with Bobbie Gentry, Jim Stafford and The Limeliters. He has performed in such diverse settings as The Fillmore, The Fairmount Hotel and The Boarding House in San Francisco, The Denver Folklore Center, The Alladin, Sahara and Harrah’s in Las Vegas and the Banjo Cafe, Donte’s and McCabe’s in LA. He has written over 50 instructional books, tapes and videos. If you think that Fred Sokolow still isn’t versatile enough, know that he has MC’d for Carol Doda at San Francisco’s legendary Condor Club, accompanied a Russian balalaika virtuoso, won the Gong show, played lap steel on the Tonight Show, played Resonator Guitar with Chubby Checker and wrote and performed the music score for the movie Rampaging Nurses!