Billy At The Footy Improvisation Idea
Gordon Harvey, Australia
I love to use Billy at the Footy as an improvisation accompaniment. I do as Neil suggests, throwing in the V chord at the end when we intend to repeat the 12-bar cycle. I do it a little differently to Neil, so I hope it’s okay:
In measure 11 RH, instead of playing the little tailpiece, I stick with just the usual I chord for the whole measure. LH still plays through the regular zig-zag pattern. The last note of the zig-zag is the G at the beginning of measure 12. I play this G, but not the C which would normally be played at the same time. Meanwhile in the RH I’ll play the V chord through all measure 12. With the LH, I just continue down through F, Eb, D, which has me arrive on C at measure 1 of a new cycle. It’s not as complex as I make it sound!
This trick is only to be applied when you’re repeating the 12-bar cycle. Last time around I just play the song as written.
With a little confidence, it’s also great to play around a little with the RH rhythm throughout the song. If the duet partner is strong with their blues scale, it creates a surprisingly “authentic” blues effect.