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Have a nice day - unless you have other plans - Bernie, owner of the Nightshift Tavern, Bremerton

Author Topic: Great One-Chord Songs  (Read 15084 times)

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Offline Johnm

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Great One-Chord Songs
« on: January 28, 2011, 09:15:21 PM »
Hi all,
I had occasion to figure out Barefoot Bill's "Snigglin' Blues" the other day and realized that it had never registered before that it is a one-chord number, and an exceptionally interesting one at that.  That got me to thinking about other great one-chord songs in the Country Blues and I thought of a couple:  Bobby Grant's "Nappy Head Blues" and Henry Townsend's "She's Got  A Mean Disposition".  Does any of you have any favorite one-chord numbers?
All best,
Johnm

Offline Norfolk Slim

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Re: Great One-Chord Songs
« Reply #1 on: January 29, 2011, 02:51:18 AM »
Julius Daniels' 99 year Blues is a favourite of mine, especially for playing.

Offline lindy

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Re: Great One-Chord Songs
« Reply #2 on: January 29, 2011, 09:19:51 AM »
Mance Lipscomb's "Freddie" never fails to lay me flat.

Do 7ths count as second chords? I think of "Spike Driver's" as a one-chorder, but it has a 7th or two. Same with MJH's "Shaking That Thing."

Lindy

ps I've always thought this would be a great theme for a class session at a place like PT or EBA, with "Two-Chord Wonders" a close runner-up. One could pack in a lot of thumping-and-pounding-on-a-bass-string tunes into a 90-minute session.
« Last Edit: January 29, 2011, 11:10:17 AM by lindy »

Online Pan

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Re: Great One-Chord Songs
« Reply #3 on: January 29, 2011, 12:06:26 PM »
I just came across Jim Jackson's "Old Dog Blue", a song apparently dedicated to his dog(!).



Cheers

Pan

Offline David Kaatz

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Re: Great One-Chord Songs
« Reply #4 on: January 29, 2011, 11:51:01 PM »
Buster Brown's version of John Henry is as I recall a 1 chord song.  Really grooves.  Not country blues though, electric blues.   Brown is the originator of the great song Fannie Mae.  I can't find a complete recording online to reference, and my copy is on vinyl still.  Too late tonight to check the song.

D.

Offline mr mando

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Re: Great One-Chord Songs
« Reply #5 on: January 30, 2011, 02:44:09 AM »
Charley Patton's "Mississippi Boll Weavil" would qualify, one of my favorite tunes.

Offline Johnm

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Re: Great One-Chord Songs
« Reply #6 on: February 01, 2011, 12:02:44 PM »
Hi all,
It's great to see the tunes that folks are coming up with in this category.  I just thought of one of my all-time favorites, not only in this category, but in the Country Blues in the larger sense:  Walter Davis's version of "Sloppy Drunk Again" with Henry Townsend and Big Joe Williams backing him.  It's an incredibly exciting cut, and I'm sure it's on the Juke if you've never had a chance to hear it before.
All best,
Johnm

Offline Johnm

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Re: Great One-Chord Songs
« Reply #7 on: February 02, 2011, 12:09:41 PM »
Hi all,
Robert Petway's version of "Catfish" is a one-chorder and is certainly great.
All best,
Johnm

Offline blueshome

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Re: Great One-Chord Songs
« Reply #8 on: February 02, 2011, 01:40:48 PM »
Going post war (still CB in my opinion) - Floyd Jones' "Dark Road" does  Tommy Johnson all on one chord.

Online Pan

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Re: Great One-Chord Songs
« Reply #9 on: February 02, 2011, 02:01:09 PM »
I was mesmerized the first time I heard John Lee Hooker play Wednesday Evening Blues.



Cheers

Pan

Offline Johnm

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Re: Great One-Chord Songs
« Reply #10 on: February 02, 2011, 03:17:11 PM »
Wow, Pan, I'm with you--that "Wednesday Evening Blues" is sensational!  It's so cool the way John Lee gets stuck in that lyric break over the I chord with that little vamp between his vocal phrases, and when he finally breaks out of it, he's in a . . . I chord!  It was until I heard it that I realized how much you're conditioned to expect a IV chord coming out of a lyric break like that.  It must be said, too, that he was prodigally gifted as a vocalist, in a class with Lightnin' Hopkins, just something so strong and charismatic in the way he delivered a song.
All best,
Johnm

Offline Mike Brosnan

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Re: Great One-Chord Songs
« Reply #11 on: February 02, 2011, 03:35:15 PM »
My current favorite is John Lee Ziegler's "Who's Gonna Be Your Man" from the George Mitchell Collection.  This version inspired me to try it out for myself (though my version sounds much more like a generic "John Henry" kind-o-thing...). 
Numerous BWJ slide masterpieces also come to mind.

Offline banjochris

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Re: Great One-Chord Songs
« Reply #12 on: February 02, 2011, 05:50:05 PM »
Hi all,
It's great to see the tunes that folks are coming up with in this category.  I just thought of one of my all-time favorites, not only in this category, but in the Country Blues in the larger sense:  Walter Davis's version of "Sloppy Drunk Again" with Henry Townsend and Big Joe Williams backing him.  It's an incredibly exciting cut, and I'm sure it's on the Juke if you've never had a chance to hear it before.

Couldn't agree more -- that's one of the best numbers ever. And how many one-chord piano numbers are there?
Chris

Offline GhostRider

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Re: Great One-Chord Songs
« Reply #13 on: February 03, 2011, 01:07:23 PM »
My favorite one chorder and one of the eeriest in CB in Robert Willkins "Rolling Stone".

Alex

Offline Johnm

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Re: Great One-Chord Songs
« Reply #14 on: February 03, 2011, 06:05:51 PM »
Hi all,
You're right, Alex, about Robert Wilkins' "Rolling Stone"--that's a big one, a huge statement. And I'm with you on John Lee Ziegler, Mike.  I haven't heard anything by him that I didn't think was sensational--a beautiful singer and player.
All best,
Johnm