Five Cool Things: The Almighty Tone of Pops Staples, NOLA Jazz Funerals

Crank up the reverb and tremolo, start playing some minor blues and let's get deep.  Today's Five Cool Things starts with Pop's Staples tone, heads on down to the graveyard and gets creepier as it goes along.

THING ONE:  Pops Staples, "Nobody's Fault But Mine" - from the greatest TV show ever aired, Nightmusic with David Sandborn.  I'm just in love with Pop's tone.  It's just drenched with dripping wet reverb and throbbing tremolo.  Just listen...

THING TWO:  Get Pops Staples' tone on your cigar box guitar.  This is one of my earliest Youtube videos and shows you how to achieve those mournful tones.  (Pay no attention to the ugly shorts!) 

THING THREE:  John McCusker's Fantastic History Lesson on New Orleans Jazz Funerals.  I took McCusker's Cradle of Jazz Tour ( in January and it was one of the highlights of my visit to New Orleans.  HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!  In this video, he shows how the jazz funeral tradition actually predates jazz itself!

THING FOUR:  Ronn Benway's Homemade Video for My Song, "Widow Someday."  Ronn Benway was the original washboard player in my band, Shane Speal's Snake Oil Band.  He's featured in the washboard section of my book, Making Poor Man's Guitars, too.  In this video, he meticulously animated the entire song using clip art on his cell phone.  You can follow his Youtube channel, Benwaytoons Animation.

THING FIVE:  The Voodoo Bone Guitar Slide.  Oooh!  Voodoo!!!

This little guitar slide has become one of my favorite 'alternative guitar slides' in my arsenal.  It's small, fast and enables me to play intricate notes.  You can buy one for $24.95 at

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