After much thought and internal dialogue, Ive finally decided what my ultimate litmus test is in determining if a cover band that Im working with is any good: Do they play Folsom Prison Blues as the 11-bar form or 12-bar form? Im subbing in a new cover band for a few gigs. Nice guys, they can all play at a decent level, theyre not very busy yet but the gigs they are getting are decent. The set list is all over the place (Lady Gaga, the Beatles, AC/DC, the Clash), but theyre all good tunes thatll please a crowd, and the sheer variety is fun. When we rehearsed Folsom last night, my first thought was lets see which version they do, and sure enough, it was the 12-bar form. Now, probably a lot of other bassists may not think its that big of a deal, and Im pretty sure an audience would never notice, but its a bit of a pet peeve of mine when bands cover tunes and leave out the big hook and to me, that 11-bar form is the hook of that tune, and a really cool hook to boot, considering that just about every other blues tune on the planet is 12-bars long. Plus, I never realized just how much I had listened to and internalized the form of that tune over the years until we played it - it just didn't feel right. I mentioned it after we were done, and to their credit, the drummer and rhythm guitarist both mentioned they felt the song sounded a little off. I think the lead guitarist didnt even realize it until we were talking about it. Well see what happens at the gig next week; I think most of the guys in the band will be fine playing the 11-bar form, but the singer looked a little nervous. Ill make sure to give her the most obvious 5-5-6-7-1 bass walk-up in the world to help. Anyone else got any of their own benchmarks like that?