Monday, November 30, 2009

"right down here"

To my ears this is just a Bm-E jam:
[Bm]My woman, my woman, [E]you know she cryin'
[Bm]She keep... etc etc

In the intro before the drums, it starts off with Bb bass note pickup before strumming the Bm chord, then Bb bass note again and strumming the Bm chord... then the song kicks off...

...with the intro solo bit:



Both of these end a bit fuzzy to my ears, so they might not be accurate or in full there... but I am outta time again, so I won't be able to delve deeped today, maybe later. Basically the Bm pentatonic, with emphasizing E major chord notes while that's playing in the progression.

"Hold on baby"

This one's a 12 bar blues in A (AAAA DDAA EDAA)
...and hear him playing this kinda boogie shuffle (this one's the A chord one) with palm muting:

i.e. A5 A5 A6 A5 A7 A5 A6 A5

The D shuffle part is the same as A, but one string higher, and E is the same as A, but one string lower.

The intro looks to be repeating at the end of every other bar:

and this is the turn around lick at the end of the progression:

(Yes, that's just first half of the intro... the second half is a variation of this, so I think it's enough to just wing it)

Saturday, November 28, 2009

"Goin' down" (Don Nix)

Oh, just realized, this is not a JJ tune, it's a blues standard. Have to look into the music of this mr. Nix, never heard any, I think.

Oh well, here's it anyways...

JJ plays it the key of A. Like mentioned in a set list post in this blog before.

The chords are:
A for the first "I'm going down" part...
then the walk down of A, G, D, C (close, that, boxcar, down ... or ... down, down, down, down) followed by some A...
D for the 2nd "I'm going down" part...followed by the walk down part again...
E chord for the "Got my big feet" part... followed by the walk down part again...

Here's some takes on the song:
Freddie King
(Looks like Nix, JJ and Freddie all were on Shelter label, btw)
Keith Richards
Jeff Beck 1983

Saturday, November 21, 2009

"My baby and me"

I really like the Rewind album, has that good ol' sound...!

This one's a real country number in the key of D.

Intro: C, B, G, D...

and I think something like this (but on a steel guitar):


Can you play something [D]easy
Can you play something [A7]low

Can you play something [G]lonely
My baby might [D]know

Can you give us one [G]moment
One memo[D]ry
For it might be the [A7]last dance
For my baby and [D]me [G][D]

Thursday, November 19, 2009

"Livin' here too"

Another quickie off album #8. To me this always sounds sort of like a second rate try to make another Cocaine, because of the similar riff. But hey, it's JJ, so I love it. :D

The riff is played like this:

I play them like open E chord but up fifth fret for A and 8th fret for the C and 10th fret for D.

The bridge part is just D and C each strummed only once at a time:
[D]My mother was poor, [C]my father too
[D]I'll take anything I can [C]get from you


Not my fave, but well, it's simple so here's the chords:
It's a 12 bar blues in G. Ending with two bars of G, like usual for JJ.

The intro solo bit seems to open with slide up to D7-shaped G7 at :


I'm not too sure about that, but at least sounds ok to my ears over the intro... :d

Monday, November 16, 2009

"Mississippi river"

This is where it's at! Real JJ groooove! Why nobody has tabbed this yet? Maybe somebody has, too lazy to do a search...

The verse goes Dm-C, Dm-Am, like this:
[Dm]Mississippi River railroad track
Want to go to Memphis [C] my baby [Dm]back
Get me a motorcycle take off tomorrow
If it don't run [Am] get me a car

I use the fifth fret barred Dm (x57765) and play the C xx555x) just by lifting the other fingers, just leaving the one barre finger on board. The Am is at the fifth fret too. So all those three at easy reach, so you can concntrate on the groooooooove, not the changes. Actually I don't play full barre, I have the thumb over the bass strings instead... lazy ol' back porch style fretting... I dig it.

The chorus is:
[G]Walking down the highway
[Dm]Thumbing down the road
[G]Got to get there
[A]How I don't know

For the G there I use the open G5 chord: Gx00033. Where I thumb the two bass strings. You needn't do that, I just find it comfy. Anyway, the way I pick this G for the intro bit is:
-0---------0------ where the last four notes I might strum as well (two up strums, then a down strum and an upstrum)... and then it's to the D minor chord which I play again up fifth fret. Then the G picking thing and then pounding the fifth fret A major chord to end the progression.

The ending going down the neck, something like this:
Dm - C - Bb - Am (which is 10th fret, 8 fret, 6th fret, 5ft fret)
Gm - Fmaj7 - Gm - C - Dm (third fret, first fret, open, open, open)

(where the latter Gm I fret like this 3x0333. I guess Em7 would work too)

For the ending Dm this "Dm add2" sounds kinda nice:

No solos this time. Maybe later.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

"Oh Mary"

So this simple rhythm and blues groove came on the shuffle now, and my ears tell me it goes like this:

Intro: G

12-bar blues in G

chorus :
just play G chord, except for these bits:
- One chance if I [D7] can

- [D7]Let me be your loving [G]man

guitar solo at 2m10s takes off like this:


... so basically G minor pentatonic noodling with a fuzzy tone...

"Cherry Street"

Not one of my favourites, so, here's just the chord progression...

It's a 12 bar blues in Ab:
Ab for four bars
Db for two bars
Ab for two bars
Eb for one bar
Db for one bar
Ab for two bars...

Again there is no fifth chord at the end there... he just doesn't seem to like it.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

"Lean on me"

This one stays on the Dm7 forever until falling into C for a bar and going back to top... so the C bit is at:
Lean on [C]me, baby [Dm7]child
Won't bring you [C]down, just lean on [Dm7]me

Solo at 1m34 takes off:

----------------------------------------- that's using the Dm pentatonic, plus the note of 2nd (or call it ninth if you wish).

"These blues"

This one is a bit tougher for me to hear... but I think it goes like this:

These blues (chords are 8th fret Cm, sixth fret Bb7, fourth fret Ab7, third fret G7)

[Cm]A hundred miles is not too far
Unless you have to [G]walk
Life, it seems, is like a dream
Until you have to [Cm]talk

...that loops forever, until...
...the chorus of "If it don't work for you, girl"... etc:
Cm Cm Bb Bb Cm...
Cm Cm Bb Bb Ab...
Cm Cm Bb Bb Ab Ab G G
Ab Ab Bb Bb Cm

intro solo up to 12s.:


...too busy to do the rest now, but I love the solos and solo tone on this one (sounds like a track almost two decades older!), I wish I will have the time to really look into those sometime later! Looks like Cm blues scale (= minor pentatonic plus b5 note... on fret 11 of G string), plus the 2nd and the sixth.... hmm...

Monday, November 9, 2009

"Precious memories"

The most country song he ever made, maybe. Just love the choir of JJ voices. You'd think all country songs are in C or G, maybe in A. But no, this one's in B...

The lyrics are from but I wonder if that's what he really sings? The lyrics delivery is fuzzy... never thought about it... always had teh lyrics very clear in my mind... but... well... I guess they just weren't that clear in my mind... Is it "well, I travel" or "As I travel"... so I always thought...

[B]Hell, I travel [E]on life's pathways
[B]Know not what the years may [F#]hold
[B]Hell, I've wandered, [E]oh, grows fonder
[B]Precious memories [F#]flood my [B]soul
and the same progression repeats...



so that's playing around the B major pentatonic again, slides up to and down from third again for that country sound. And I hear a pre-bend down from third to the sixth fret of G string (= second interval of B), notated as ^6 in the above tab.

Then there's the country style walk ups to chords, like the end of that intro, walking up the B major scale to the note of B.

some past interviews

Here's some JJ interviews from recent years:
of course there's more on

...and here's the April 2009 gig in Eugene, very lo-fi as it is recorded on my cheapo cell phone:

Friday, November 6, 2009

"Ooh la la"

Well, the lyrics... ooh la la... Pure sexual innuendo nonsense. :)

Chords for intro and the verse are

and the chorus (the "ooh la la" bit):

So by those it's easy to say that this song is in G mixolydian. In the key of G there'd be no chord of F, you see. Mixolydian is like the seventh chord version of major scale (which is maj7 scale, so it has the F#, not F).

Hey what's with the solo, it's clear as a bell! Is it some Albert Lee solo or what? Sounds like it was played with a stratocaster. Maybe the mocha colored one on the "in session" DVD, who knows?

solo at 1min12s:



------------------------------------------------------ the solo is in G mixolydian too. Or, basically it's the G major pentatonic scale box #1, but the C note (i.e. fourth note of the G scale) is added. Typical slides and bends up to the major third (very common in country and blues).

Thursday, November 5, 2009

"Nobody but you"

Sounds like this song is just two chords: A and D. Going back and forth every bar (or two bars, who knows).

And there's a riff that is the same for A and D but five frets apart (or one string)... this one might be wrong, but here's how I think it goes (this the A one):


In the beginning there is one guitar going between on fifth fret (or 5p4h5) A note on the high E string, and the 10th fret D on the high E string.

"People lie"

Then there's the political songs of JJ Cale. Like People lie, The Problem, Unemployment, Downtown LA, Trouble In The City, Livin' Here Too, Stone river, Homeless, etc.

I think #8 is the darkest album of his. With a black cover to boot. Maybe that's the other part of why I never liked the album that much (the other being the thin tone). Just look at the list of the 9 JJ penned songs: Money talks, Losers, Hard times, Reality, Takin' care of business, People lie, ... all the songs are about the tough modern world.

I dig this line in the lyrics of People lie:
"Well, I bought me a new car, a limo, no doubt
The wheels fell off, the salesman he was out"

The "wheels fell off" bit reminds me of Neil Young's Piece of crap, where he sings "bought a plastic bag, teh bottom fell out, it was a piece of crap". Yes, quality isn't what it used to be...

The song is in the key of E. For once, a true white man's blues guitar key! Maybe it part of the more urban sound?

Anyway, it's a basic 12 bar blues:

The end of the song has a ending lick similar to many of JJ's song closing phrases. Of course he mostly closes with a fade-out, to hide off mistakes, he says. But I think it's just part of the package, the feel you get to hear a 2 minute clip of a great old 25 min barn jam! :D Leave them hungry for more, I say!

Anyway I will get to the ending and some other licks of this song later.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

about the list of songs with no tab available elsewhere

Looks like there are more JJ song tabs on the web than I thought.

With a quick search on the web, I found chords/tabs (some of the chords in the brackets) for:
Cherry (G, C, G, D)
Cloudy Day (C#m, Fm, ... Fm, A, G#, B)
If I had me a rocket (G#, C#, D#)
Out of style ("Katy kool lady") (Am, E, Am, E, Am, G, F, E, E7, Am)
The Problem (Bb, Ab, Eb, Bb, Ab, Bb... Eb, F, Bb, Ab, Eb)
Take our some insurance (D, A, D, G, D... G, D, C, D)
That kind of thing (Gm Bb F Gm ... Bb C Gm D7#9)
You keep me hangin on (C, G, Am, G... F, G, C)
Low down (12 bar blues in G)
Teardrops in my tequila (C,Em,Am7,G, C, F, C... C,F,G,Am...)
Homeless (C, G, Am, F, G... also an Em in there)
Guess I lose (Gm, C, Gm, D7, Gm ... also A#, Gm, A#, D7)

So I won't be tabbing these out either, you can google them if you need them. :)

I will continue with rest of my list (of ~126 released songs), then. And will continue to be as accurate as I can (in one sitting), but will never post complete tabs or sheet to any given song (just chords and intro or similar). So if one fine day somebody decides to compile a book of complete sheet music or tabs of JJ songs, there is still the use/need/market for one. :D

About JJ's Harmony guitar's "low impedance humbucker" pickups

I knew JJ had some white low impedance humbucker pickups on his Harmony, pickups which he said were from a Les Paul Signature guitar. But I always though he just meant they are from any old Gibson Les Paul. But as it happens, "Les Paul signature" was a 70s model that is a cross between a Les Paul and a ES-335, with these white low impedance humbuckers. Plus out-of-phase switch and another varitone kind of a switch.

By those specs I think it's totally a JJ Cale kinda guitar. Way back in the seventies, he said he loves Gibsons, and also played ES-335 and Les Paul guitars a lot. And the Harmony had all sorts of tonal controls and switches. I think he might've gutted all of the electronics from a "Les Paul Signature" to his Harmony (although he said he originally had wiring from a Danelectro in it). Why? Didn't he like playability of the "Signature" model? Don't know...

Here's somebody's vid about an Epiphone remake of the Les Paul signature:

Monday, November 2, 2009

"Can't live here"

For the most part this one just stays in Bb5 (like E chord but at the sixth fret, and playing just the two or three bass strings). Boom boom chicka, boom boom chicka.

Change to Eb (5 frets higher than Bb) in these places:
[Eb]man he ain't gonna like it
[Bb]No you can't live here like this anymore

[Eb]wonder what you do now
[Bb]What's your mama gonna say about you when you get home

There's is a solo there somewhere, and I bet it's Bb minor pentatonic. Too lazy and late, to check...

To me, this just a quick throw-away kind of a little tiddy. But gotta love the Tulsa delivery of all the "whip yo butt for sure now"s and stuff. :) Yes, I'm glad Clapton hasn't made a huge hit out of this. :D

"Let's go to Tahiti"

This one's not written by JJ, but has his stamp on it for sure.

Don't hear any changes, just E5 all the way through. Or Eminor, if you wish. If somebody begs to differ, please let me know! :)

The guitar thingy up to singing goes something like this (I hope!):



... so basically just E minor pentatonic (but I tabbed here in the x79987 chord position, or 3rd pattern box of minor pentatonic).

JJ and drugs

(disclaimer: I never smoked a cigarette, don't drink often, never had any drugs. I don't advise anybody else to do those things either.)

"Cocaine" is the most known JJ song. But at least by my impression and JJ's 1977 interview, he himself did marijuana... cocaine just wasn't the thing. He said he knew all the musicians through knowing all the drug dealers, which I find kinda funny (in a sad way).

"Cocaine" is mostly seen as a pro-drug song. I don't see it like that, really. I think it is a straight-on account: It feels good, that's why people take it, but you know it ain't good for you. It's of course up to you if you take it or not.

Anyway, here's some interesting mentions of JJ in books about drugs:
"If the current fashion for cocaine is related to drug's outlaw status and its use by 'rebel' entertainers such as John Belushi, J.J. Cale, Eric Clapton, Richard Pryor and Keith Richards, then cheap, legitimate cocaine would probably be much less popular".
(Chester Mitchell: Drug solution, 1990, page 242)
"In the 90s, several over 30s musicians, such as JJ Cale, Tom Petty, and Sheryl Crow, released albums that lauded marijuana"
(Preston Reet: Under the influence, the disinformation about drugs", 2004, page 252 ...the same page 252 also mentions the song "Cocaine" as "hardly a negative" view on cocaine use)

By that pro-pot album, I assume they refer to "Days go by" ("When you light that funny cigarette...") on Guitar man album. Although I don't do that stuff, I think the song is OK. It's cast in a positive light, but not 100% positive. To me it's the way he sees it, and I can understand it. I like the "it's illegal, but what isn't these days, no matter what you do, they'll put somebody on the case" (though I don't really think marijuana should be legalized in my country).

To me a song like "Reality" off album #8 is potentially a bit more disturbing:
"One toke of reefer, a little cocaine
One shot of morphine and things begin to change
Things don't seem quite like they used to
As reality leaves, so does the blues"
...but being a grown-up, I do understand what he is saying. People take alcohol or other drugs to forget their troubles. I don't think JJ uses morphine even though he mentions it, it just fits the lyrics. But what do I know. :P

JJ himself has said recently he doesn't do drinking or drugs anymore. Adding that he most probably wouldn't be alive, if he did. I bet he has seen too many good lives ended too soon by all that.

He does still smoke, though. A couple of years ago he replied "soon", when somebody asked when he is quitting. But well, he hasn't, yet. But, hey, it's all going to end for all of us someday, even without the new laws. :P

Sunday, November 1, 2009

"T-bone shuffle"

I wonder where JJ got the T-Bone shuffle he plays on the "In session" DVD and live too. It doesn't really sound the same, to me, as the "T-Bone Shuffle" from T-Bone Walker himself. But you can make your own conclusion by listening to the all sorts of versions here: T-bone Shuffle on Amazon

Anyway, JJ plays it two ways on the DVD, here's the regular one (I don't know if I play the correct neck position, didn't check the DVD now):


Basically it is in B-flat (like I mention in a previous post), and that riff just repeats and repeats. The first three notes sometimes are repeated before playing the second part.

The other one is "T-bone shuffle backwards". I will cover that later, maybe. :)