I hope that you have had a good Summer.
I will resume leading the Beginner Bluegrass Jam at the Pioneer Building next Wednesday (Sept. 5).
The song of the week is 'I'll Still Write Your Name In The Sand' in the key of A. This song is from Mac Wiseman, a first-generation bluegrass singer who recorded with Bill Monroe, and sang harmony on a few of Flatt and Scruggs' earliest records.
Mac Wiseman - key of Db
The Osborne Brothers & Mac Wiseman - key of C
Lyrics & Phrasing
Notice that the lyrics are not exactly the same in both versions, and that the phrasing of the lyrics also differs between the two versions. The way I sing the song comes closer to the first version offered here. Please keep this in mind when singing harmony with me on the choruses.
The set of lyrics I use for the chorus is:
Oh! I love you my darling, how I love you.
If I talk, will you try to understand?
It's no matter how you treat me, I love you,
And I'll still write your name in the sand.
The melody for 'I'll Still Write Your Name In The Sand' shares much in common with the melodies for several other bluegrass standards. For instance, the melody for the first and third lines of I'll Still Write Your Name In The Sand is essentially the same as the melody for the first and third lines of 'Your Love Is Like A Flower'. Also, the melody for the 4th line of I'll Still Write Your Name In The Sand is the same, or almost the same, as the melody for the 4th line of 'Little Cabin Home On The Hill.' If you are not familiar with these old bluegrass classics, look on youtube for either the Flatt and Scruggs or the Bluegrass Album Band version of 'Your Love Is Like A Flower', and for the Bill Monroe version of 'Little Cabin Home On The Hill'.
Del McCoury - key of B
Tim O'Brien - key of A
The chord progression for 'I'll Still Write Your Name In The Sand' is:
This is Prog. V7 on the Basic Chord Progressions handout.
(In the key of A: 1 = A, 4 = D, 5 = E. The A chord consists of the notes A, C#, and E, The D chord consists of the notes: D, F#, and A. The E chord consists of the notes: E, G#, and B.
In the key of G: 1 = G, 4 = C, 5 = D. The G chord consists of the notes G, B, and D. The C chord consists of the notes C, E, and G.)
The chord progression for 'I'll Still Write Your Name In The Sand' is the most common chord progression in bluegrass. Three songs that have been played frequently at the beginner jam within the last year that use this same progression are:
Bury Me Beneath The Willow
A Memory Of You
Wreck Of The Old '97
Once the current beginner jam is relabeled as an intermediate jam, and I start a new beginner jam - this will happen at the beginning of the new year - I will be encouraging those who participate in the new intermediate jam to expand their repertoire of jam-friendly bluegrass songs more rapidly. A good place to start for this is by choosing songs to listen to that use a familiar chord progression. The melodies and phrasings of these songs will often have many points in common with songs that one has already learned to play that use the same chord progression, thereby often making these easier and quicker to learn than songs witha less familiar chord progression.
Here is a short list of songs that use the 'Bury Me Beneath The Willow/I'll Still Write Your Name In The Sand' progression that I believe could be good song choices for people looking to introduce new songs into the jam:
Your Love Is Like A Flower (Flatt & Scruggs; Bluegrass Album Band)
I'm On My Way Back To The Old Home (Bill Monroe; Bluegrass Album Band)
Lost And I'll Never Find A Way (Stanley Brothers; Ricky Skaggs)
Y'all Come (Bill Monroe)
Come Back Darling (Flatt & Scruggs; Larry Sparks)
Why Did You Wander (Bill Monroe; Flatt & Scruggs; Ricky Skaggs)
True Life Blues (Bill Monroe; Del McCoury)
If I Should Wander Back Tonight (Flatt & Scruggs)
Ain't Nobody Gonna Miss Me When I'm Gone (Jimmy Martin; Tony Rice; Boone Creek)
I'm Waiting To Hear You Call Me Darling (Flatt & Scruggs; Bluegrass Album Band)
Down Where The River Bends (Ralph Stanley)
Nobody's Love Is Like Mine (Stanley Brothers)
Back To The Cross (Flatt & Scruggs; Bluegrass Album Band)
Hold Whatcha Got (Jimmy Martin; Tony Rice)
I Have No One To Love Me (a.k.a. Drowned In The Deep Blue Sea) (Carter Family; Flatt & Scruggs)
Rose Of Old Kentucky (verse progression) (Bill Monroe; Doc Watson)
Little Annie (a.k.a. When The Springtime Comes Again) (verse progression) (Lilly Brothers; Tim O'Brien)