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Author Topic: VIIb and/or IIIb chord in country blues  (Read 529 times)

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Offline gdegiacomo

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VIIb and/or IIIb chord in country blues
« on: November 16, 2016, 02:36:46 PM »
Dear friends,
I'd like to known about country blues songs including VIIb and/or IIIb in their chord progression. Chord progressions with VIIb and/or IIIb have become popular with Rock in the 60s. But I wonder if they have been used earlier in acoustic blues.
Thanks!
-Giuseppe

Offline Pan

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Re: VIIb and/or IIIb chord in country blues
« Reply #1 on: November 16, 2016, 05:12:39 PM »
Hi Giuseppe.

One that instantly comes to mind is Charlie Patton's "Down the Dirt Road Blues", where the IV chord is followed by the bIII, before returning to the I.  Mind you, that they all are played by taking the C chord shape up from the I chord position, so probably a little different, than what you were expecting. :)

I'm curious to see if other instances show up, I'm sure there are some.

Cheers,

Pan

Offline Johnm

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Re: VIIb and/or IIIb chord in country blues
« Reply #2 on: November 16, 2016, 05:21:50 PM »
Hi Giuseppe,
The Mississippi Sheiks use a bVII chord in "Tellin' You 'Bout It".  The song is in Bb, and they use it (Ab) in the fourth bar, before resolving to the IV chord, Eb, in the fifth bar.  They way that they use the bVII chord, it functions as the IV of the IV chord, a great sound.  Precious Bryant used the bVII chord in essentially the same way in her song, "The Truth".
All best,
Johnm
« Last Edit: November 16, 2016, 05:24:10 PM by Johnm »

Offline Pan

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Re: VIIb and/or IIIb chord in country blues
« Reply #3 on: November 16, 2016, 05:28:37 PM »
Also, as I've come to learn here (thanks, Johnm), country blues musicians often used the melody note as the root note for a chord to build up.  "In the Pines" by Leadbelly has a melody note bIII harmonized with a bIII chord.

Cheers,

Pan

Offline gdegiacomo

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Re: VIIb and/or IIIb chord in country blues
« Reply #4 on: November 17, 2016, 11:27:38 PM »
Dear John and Pan,
Than you for your suggestions! In particular "Tellin' You 'Bout It" (of which I could only find a Bo Carter version, by the way, where can I find the Mississippi Sheiks' version?) and "In the Pines" by Leadbelly looks like a precursor of chord progressions with bVII / bIII that have become so popular from the 60's on.

I also looking in the forum and I could find tracks (mostly suggested by John) where bVII in particular has been used in variations of the chord progression during the track:
-  Charlie Jackson -Gay Cattin'  (1927)
-  Peg Leg Howell - Turtle Dove Blues'(1928)
-  Bill Monroe - Blue Grass Breakdown (1948)

If any other suggestions come to mind please post them here.
Thanks,
-Giuseppe
PS. John I am a great admirer of yours. I studied many of the DVD you published with Stefan Grossman, and I love the care and accuracy that you use in analyzing tracks. I hope to meet you some day, maybe in Europe somewhere, and to thank you in person for your work and passion.

Offline Johnm

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Re: VIIb and/or IIIb chord in country blues
« Reply #5 on: November 18, 2016, 12:09:45 PM »
Hi Giuseppe,
Thanks for the good words.  I'm glad you've enjoyed the teaching videos I've done.  The Bo Carter track of "Tellin' You 'Bout It" is the same one as I that I described as a Mississippi Sheiks track.  Perhaps you can make it to Euro Bluesweek in England some summer.  I teach there most summers and will be on staff there next summer.
All best,
Johnm

Offline Pan

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Re: VIIb and/or IIIb chord in country blues
« Reply #6 on: November 18, 2016, 12:28:50 PM »
Speaking of Bill Monroe, his (and Doc Watson's) "Watson Blues" has a spectacular bVII chord right in the beginning of the form. But it's a newer song,  I believe.

Cheers

Pan

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