The song of the week is 'I 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.
The chord progression for 'I 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 that 'I Still Write Your Name In The Sand' uses is the most common chord progression in bluegrass. Other songs that have been played at the beginner jam within the last year that use this same progression include:
Bury Me Beneath The Willow
Wreck Of The Old '97
Ain't Nobody Gonna Miss Me When I'm Gone
Hard Ain't It Hard
I'm On My Way Back To The Old Home
Once the current beginner jam is relabeled as an intermediate jam, and I start a new beginner jam - this will likely 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 with an unfamiliar chord progression.
Here are some more songs that use the most common chord progression in bluegrass:
Your Love Is Like A Flower
Lost And I'll Never Find A Way
Come Back Darling
Why Did You Wander?
True Life Blues
If I Should Wander Back Tonight
I'm Waiting To Hear You Call Me Darling
Down Where The River Bends
Back To The Cross
Road To Columbus
Hold Whatcha Got
Let Her Go, God Bless Her
Nobody's Love Is Like Mine
Memory Of You
I Have No One To Love Me (a.k.a. Drowned In The Deep Blue Sea)
Flint Hill Special
Wreck Of The No. 9 - verse progression only
Rose Of Old Kentucky - verse progression only
Little Annie - verse progression only
Blue Moon Of Kentucky - verse progression only
White Dove - verse progression only
Tiny Broken Heart - verse progression only
When You And I Were Young, Maggie - verse progression only
Black Mountain Rag - C Part progression only
The melody for 'I 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 Still Write Your Name In The Sand is 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 Still Write Your Name In The Sand is 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 a Bill Monroe version of 'Little Cabin Home On The Hill'.
Here are a couple of youtube links for I Still Write Your Name In The Sand:
Mac Wiseman (studio recording - key of C#)
Mac Wiseman (live performance, intro missing - key of C)
Notice that Mac does not sing the song exactly the same way or with the same words in these two recordings. (And, he sings it differently again on the older recording that I learned the song from, but that I could not find on youtube.) In the live performance, there are only 2 verses, and the 2nd verse is a mixture of lines from the 2nd and 3rd verses on the studio recording. Judging from Mac's facial expressions during this verse, I gather that he did not intend to sing the 2nd verse this way.
For those of you who wish to sing harmony on the choruses, here are the lyrics I usually use.
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 still write your name in the sand.