Riffs: Jools Holland on Willie Dixon's `Wang Dang Doodle'

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The Independent Culture
Some people think it's easy to play the blues. They think that because it's only got three chords anyone can do it. Well, "Wang Dang Doodle" has only got one chord and one repeated riff which really sorts out the men from the boys, the ladies from the girls - because to play it you've really got to know your stuff. You've got to approach the blues with humility. It doesn't matter whether you're black or white - what counts is how you address the music as a musician. You've got to be a listening player if you want to play the blues. We do a version of "Wang Dang Doodle" on the new album in the style of Charles Mingus, with filthy trumpets, like striptease music, dark and jazzy.

I first heard the tune being played in a club in 1979 in New York City by Dr John. Fantastic. Strangely, although I'd been into the blues for years, I'd never connected with the song 'til then. Some people say that "wang dang doodle" is gay slang for some sort of, uh, sexual activity; all I know is that to wang dang doodle is to have some sort of a good time.