Worried Man Blues
The song of the week is 'Worried Man Blues' in the key of Bb.
The Carter Family - key of Bb
Flatt and Scruggs - key of G
The Stanley Brothers - key of A
Jason Homey & The Snake River Boys - key of Bb
Worried Man Blues -Jason Homey and the Snake River Boys - YouTube
Here are four youtube jam videos I have made for Worried Man Blues. In the one listed second, I am on guitar, playing the song in Bb.
Jason’s YouTube Links – Alphabetical Listing – Parisology (cyberplasm.com)
On the Carter Family, Flatt and Scruggs, and Snake River Boys recordings, the chord progression is:
On the Stanley Brothers recording, the chord progression is:
If one is paying attention only to the lyrics when comparing the different versions of the song with each other, it would seem that to arrive at the 12 measure version (Carter Family/Flatt & Scruggs/Snake River Boys), you just omit the third line of the 16 measure version (Stanley Brothers). However, if one pays attention to the melody and the chord progression, then it becomes clear that the 12 measure version omits the second half of the second line and the first half of the third line of the 16 measure version rather than the whole third line of the 16 measure version. In this regard, notice the differing number of measures of the '4' chord in the 16 measure and 12 measure versions.
When I lead the song at the jam, I almost always use the 12 measure version, but be prepared for the 16 measure version to show up sometimes when other people lead the song at the jam. On the melody sheets provided at the bottom of this write-up, I have shown the relation between the longer and shorter versions.
The Key of Bb
In the key of Bb: 1=Bb, 4=Eb, 5=F
The notes that make up the Bb chord are Bb, D, and F.
The notes that make up the Eb chord are Eb, G, and Bb
The notes that make up the F chord are F, A, and C.
Together, these notes form the Bb Major Scale: Bb, C, D, Eb, F, G, and A.
The melody of Worried Man Blues uses only 6 of these notes: Bb, C, D, F, G, and A, which so happen to be the 6 notes that the Bb Major Scale shares in common with the F major scale (F, G, A, Bb, C, D, E).
If you are fiddler or a mandolin player, and you already play songs or licks in F, then, provided that these songs or licks do not require using the 4th string, you can take your same fingerings for F and move them all one string lower in pitch, and you will be thereby be playing in Bb.
For playing chop chords on the mandolin that use no open strings, if you move the chords shapes you use for playing in the key of A up by one fret, this will put you in the key of Bb.
For playing in the key of Bb, bluegrass banjo and guitar players almost always capo to the 3rd fret, so that they can use the same fingerings that they would use for playing in the key of G. (In the key of G: 1=G; 4= C; 5=D.)
Banjo players will need to raise the pitch of the fifth string to a Bb note (registers as A# on most tuners). This is done by capoing (with a 5th string capo, or 8th fret spike) the 5th string at the 8th fret. For banjo players who do not have a fifth string capo or an 8th fret spike (that includes myself), spike the 5th string at the 7th fret, and then tune it up a half step to a Bb (A#) note. This is best done by ear by playing the 5th string with the thumb while playing the 3rd string with the index finger, turning the 5th string tuning peg slowly until the 5th string sounds harmonious with the 3rd string.
Like Bury Me Beneath The Willow, Foggy Mountain Top, Gathering Flowers From The Hillside, Lonesome Feeling, Lonesome Road Blues, When The Saints Go Marching In, etc., the first melody note in the first complete measure of Worried Man Blues is the 5th note of the Major Scale, but unlike in those other songs, the starting melody note of Worried Man Blues is the lowest note in the melody rather than the highest or one of the highest melody notes. When this is the case, I usually prefer to use a descending pickup phrase to lead into a break rather than an ascending pickup phrase. For songs like Bury Me Beneath The Willow, Foggy Mountain Top, Gathering Flowers..., etc., my choice of pickup notes usually is: 3, 4, #4 (e.g., B, C, C# in the key of G, or C#, D, D# in the key of A, or D, Eb, E in the key of Bb, etc.) leading up to the 5 (a D note in the key of G, an E note in the key of A, and F note in the key of Bb, etc.), but for songs like Worried Man Blues, Handsome Molly, I Saw The Light, Long Journey Home, Mountain Dew, This Little Light Of Mine, etc., my choice of pickup notes usually is 6, 6, b6 leading down to the 5 (e.g., E, E, Eb, leading down a D note in the key of G, or F#, F#, F, leading down to an E note in the key of A, or G, G, Gb, leading down to an F note in the key of Bb), for in all those songs the starting melody note in the first complete measure is the lowest note in the melody.
6 6 b6
Key of A: F# F# F
Key of Bb: G G Gb
Key of B: G# G# G
Key of C: A A Ab
Key of D: B B Bb
Key of E: C# C# C
Key of F: D D Db
Key of G: E E Eb
14 songs were played at last night's jam: 10 from the main list, 1 from the additional songs list, and 3 that are on neither list:
Cluck Old Hen - A
Down The Road - B
Foggy Mountain Top - G
Gathering Flowers From The Hillside - G
In The Pines - E
Liberty - D
Mountain Dew - A
Nine Pound Hammer - B
Old Joe Clark - A
Worried Man Blues (played twice) - A & Bb
Little Cabin Home On The Hill - C
I've Lived A Lot In My Time - C
Why Don't You Tell Me So - B
Don't This Road Look Rough And Rocky - A
Worried Man Blues - banjo tab
Worried Man Blues - guitar tab
Worried Man Blues - mandolin tab
Worried Man Blues - melody in Bb
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