Fattening Frogs For Snakes

We Just Change The Beat

for Johnny Evans & Martin Gross

”You know,”
Willie Dixon says,”
when you go to changin’ beats
in music,
you change the whole style.

The difference in blues
or rock & roll
or jazz
is the beat. The beat
actually changes the whole

entire
style.” The beat actually
changes
the whole en-
tire style. Where you

put that beat, be
careful
or you’ll change the whole
change the whole
change the whole entire

when you go
to changin’ beats you know
you can
change
you can go to changin’

you can change the whole style
Now Frank Frost
of Lula, Mississippi
puts it like this. He says:
”In other words,

we taking the down blues
& bring it up tempo.
I don’t know what
you would call it.

”Just take the cotton-picking blues,
I would say,
& bring it up to modern music
today. I guess that still be blues.

”The onliest difference
between the cotton-picking blues
& what we doing today
is the tempo. . . . Let me see

if I can give you something
to remind you
of back in those days”—
[& he plays a few notes]

”Now that’s just the old,
ordinary
original way, you know.
That’s just the cotton-picking blues

that way. Then we change up
just the tempo
& the beat. That’s the dance tempo
you hear now. Just something

they can dance to
these days. That’s the same blues.
We just change the beat.
It’s no different .”

— Detroit
March 21, 1982/
New Orleans
December 7, 1995
March 5, 1998