Blues Breakers – “Beano”

“If he never made another album after that, as far as I’m concerned, he’s in the Hall of Fame ”
– Joe Louis Walker

There is no doubt that this album belongs to the most important recordings EC ever did, and one of the most influential recordings for Blues and rock. After leaving the Yardbirds for known reasons, he joined the Blues Breakers when young Eric was just 20 years old. After playing on several studio and live sessions they recorded on only one day in March 1966 the album “John Mayall and the Blues Breakers with Eric Clapton”, which is well-known as the Beano-album, because the cover shows EC reading a “Beano” comic. A lot of interesting things happened those days, the “Clapton is God”-graffities appeared, he got the nickname “Slowhand“, he left the band 1965 for a chaos trip through Greece (!) with a band called The Glands, was substituted by Peter Green, came back – and recorded this masterpiece.

The first time with the Yardbirds EC played a Telecaster, but soon he changed to a Gibson Les Paul Standard cherry sunburst (1958/60) (bought at Lew Davies in the Charing Cross Road), and played through a Marshall 1962 tube 2×12” combo version of the 45-watt JTM45 head with very high volume. He played this guitar also in the early Cream sessions, before it was stolen (and never reappeared) in 1966. Sound engineer was Gus Dugdeon, and compared to nowadays the recording technique was quite simple, making it hard to record it the way Clapton wanted to – with stage, not studio volume.


Musicians:

  • John Mayall (organ, piano, vocals, harp)
  • Eric Clapton (guitar, vocal, his first vocal ever recorded!)
  • John McVie (bass, later Fleetwood Mac)
  • Hughie Flint (drums)
  • plus John Almond, Alan Skidmore, Dennis Healey (Saxophone, Trumpet)

Song list:

Other songs with the Blues Breakers:

Recorded 1965/66, but not released on the “Beano” album. They can be found on various albums and singles like Crossroads I, Best of John Mayall, Primal solos, Raw Blues or other compilations.


London/Studio 1965 with:
Eric Clapton: guitar
John Mayall: vocals, organ, harmonica
John McVie: bass
Hughie Flint: drums

  • I’m Your Witchdoctor
  • Telephone Blues
  • On Top Of The World

London/Studio 1965 with:
Eric Clapton: guitar
John Mayall: vocals, organ, harmonica

  • Lonely Years
  • Bernard Jenkins

London/Studio 1966 with:
Champion Jack Dupree: piano, vocals
Eric Clapton: guitar
John Mayall: vocals, organ, harmonica
Tony McPhee: guitar
Keef Hartley: drums
Malcolm Pool: bass

  • Third Degree
  • Shim-Sham-Shimmy
  • Calcutta Blues

Flamingo Club, London, live, 1966 with:
Eric Clapton: guitar
John Mayall: vocals, organ, harmonica
Jack Bruce: bass
Hughie Flint: drums

  • Maudie
  • It Hurts To Be In Love
  • Have You Ever Loved A Woman
  • Bye Bye Bird
  • I’m Your Hoochie Coochie Man
  • (They Call It) Stormy Monday (get it!!)

During this time EC also recorded some songs with Jimmy Page (who was also the producer of the first EC/Blues Breakers session in 1965) on rhythm guitar:
Snake Drive, Tribute to Elmore, West Coast Idea, Freight Loader, Draggin’ My Tail, Choker, Miles Road.

Some of these songs have been released in mixture with some Yardbirds songs on various samplers like Beginnings, The Magic of Eric Clapton, A Night With Eric Clapton, Eric Clapton with the Yardbirds and Jimmy Page plus and other more or less creative album titles. You only need one of these records.

Back to Beano. I’ll discuss the record song by song, some more in depth, some with essential information and licks. The lime-line is from the DECCA Record Co.Ltd. release, made in Germany. Maybe it differs slightly from other releases. Look here if you need the scale patterns on your fretboard for all these songs.

All Your Love


Otis Rush (*1934)
Born in Mississippi, Rush came 1948 to Chicago and was influenced by players like Muddy Waters, whose producer Willy Dixon introduced him 1954 to Cobra Records. There he had a great period with Blues classics like Double Trouble, All Your Love or Groaning The Blues in the “West Side Blues” style (like Buddy Guy). Major influence for EC. Played with EC in 1986 (CD: The Professor Blues Review). Nominated for a Grammy 1999 with his album “Any Place I’m Going” (category: best traditional blues album).

” When we were recording the Bluesbreakers album, this was one Eric wanted to play, seeing it as it was a guitar-dominated song by Otis Rush. Just to play with Eric and the fact that we were allowed in the studio, finally, to make an album was tremendously exciting. Eric happened to pick The Beano up off a news-stand that morning. Nobody was messing about on location, posing for photographs. We were a bit rebellious so he kept reading it, showing great disinterest in the whole proceeding!. There was that snobbery about pop – with the exception of the Beatles, who opened the door for us, really.”
– John Mayall, liner notes to As It All Began: The Best of John Mayall and the Bluesbreakers

This song was written by Otis Rush, a Chicago-style Blues guitar player and vocalist. All your love is a slow Blues in A minor. We can still use the I-IV-V chord progression, but with the minor chord instead of the dominant 7th (A minor is the “relative minor” to C major, see basics). You can use the A pentatonic Blues scale and the chords Am (I), Dm (IV), Em (V), or the minor 7th chords Am7 (I), Dm7 (IV), Em7 (V).

Chords:

Am Dm Em Am7 Dm7 Em7

(The lyrics for all songs can be found in the ECLA – Eric Clapton Lyric Archive. They are copyrighted so I don’t publish them here.)

The Rhythm guitar is quite simple – use the standard Blues chord progression and play the chords like:

  Am                             Dm                   Em
I--------------------------------------------------------------------------I
I--------------------------------------------------------------------------I
I-------------------------------------5-5-5-h7-------------7-7-7-h9--------I
I------5-5-5-h7-------5-5-5-h7-----/7-------------------/9-----------------I
I---/7-------------/7------------5-------------etc.---7--------------etc.--I
I-5--------------5---------------------------------------------------------I

The intro:

I-5/----------------------5/--------------------5/--------------------------I
I-5/----------------------5/--------------------5/--------------------------I
I-5/--7b(9)rb7p5---5------5/-7b(9)rb7p5---5-----5/-7b(9)rb7p5---5h7~~-etc---I
I----------------7---7~~~---------------7---7~~---------------7-------------I
I---------------------------------------------------------------------------I
I---------------------------------------------------------------------------I

The rest of the intro is mostly played with these notes. Easy to figure out. During the vocals EC played some fills, all nice in the blues scale, like:

I---5~~~--5-10-8h10p8h10-etc.---I
I-------------------------------I
I-------------------------------I
I-------------------------------I
I-------------------------------I
I-------------------------------I
0:29

First part of the solo (do not mute the strings, let ring, much distortion!). Take a closer look: you just play the Am, Dm and Em chord as arpeggios…

I----------12----------12------------------------12---------5------------I
I----13----------13------------------------13----------13---6------------I
I-14----14----14----14----14~~~--repeat-14----14----14------7-repeat 1st-I
I------------------------------------------------------------------------I
I------------------------------------------------------------------------I
I------------------------------------------------------------------------I

I-----------12--------7-7\5-8--------------I
I-----13----------13--8-8\6-6--------------I
I--14----14----14-----9-9\7-7-7br5---------I
I-----------------------------------7p5h7~-I
I------------------------------------------I
I------------------------------------------I

Then, at 1:48 min, the rhythm changed for the second solo part to an up tempo shuffle:

I---------------8b(9)--------------8----------------10b(12)rb10-p8h10-8b----10b(12)-8----8b---I
I---10-10-10-10-------10b(13)~~-10---10-8---8-10-------------------------10-----------10------I
I---------------------not-easy!-----------9---------------------------------------------------I
I---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------I
I---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------I
I---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------I
1:48

I--------------------------5\-----------8-10-10-8----8b--20b(23)-20b(22)~-20-17-17-17---------I
I--8b(10)~~--8-------------5\---10-8-10-----------10----------------------------------20b(23)-I
I--------------9-7-5b------5\-----------------------------------------------------------------I
I---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------I
I----------------------7----------------------------------------------------------------------I
I---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------I

I------------------------------------------I
I--20-17-------------------17-------5\-----I
I--------19b(21)-19-17-19-----------5\-----I
I-----------------------------17b----------I
I------------------------------------------I
I------------------------------------------I

You play in the first fingering pattern of the A Blues scale, but now on the 17th fret. The rest is played like the beginning.

Hideaway

Freddie King (Freddie Christian) (1934-1976)
Born and grown up in Texas, he moved to Chicago in 1950. His style changed from country Blues to a Texas style urban Blues. He was a wild, technical brilliant performer and he easily could blow others from the stage. Instead of a pick he played with fingerpicks, mainly with picks on thumb and index finger. Played with Muddy Waters, Memphis Slim, Willie Dixon and other Blues greats. All his greatest hits like “Hideaway”, “Have You Ever Loved a Woman” or “I’m Tore Down” and “Someday After a While” were covered by EC. His influence on EC can’t be overrated! He died in 1976 at the age of 42 during a concert.

Hideaway (or Hide Away) is an instrumental song with medley character from Freddie King. Get the original – it’s worth to know how the original was played. Use the E minor pentatonic scale with notes of the major pentatonic. The rhythm changes quite often, so watch out! You can use the E Blues chords (E7/A7/B7) and the standard Blues chord progression (I/IV/V).

Chords:

E7 A7 B7 B7

Let’s go:

I---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------I
I---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------I
I------9----9-11b(13)--------9-11b(13)-11-9----9-11-------9------9------9------9--------------I
I---9--9h11-----------9-9-11----------------11-------9h11---9h11---9h11---9h11---14-----------I
I---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------I
I---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------I
0:00

A more “Freddie King”-like way to play this uses open strings like:

I---0---0-2b(4)-------0-2b(4)-2-0---0-2------0-----0-----0------------------------------------I
I-2---2---------0-0-2-------------2------0h2---0h2---0h2----etc...----------------------------I
I---------(play slide-------------------------------------------------------------------------I
I----------if too hard)-----------------------------------------------------------------------I
I---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------I
I---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------I
0:00

which gives a fuller tone, but less feeling (vibrato and bending is more difficult to play)

I----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------I
I----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------I
I---------9-11b(13)-11-9----9~~-3\2----------9-11-11-11-11-11b(13)-9-11-9---------11-----------I
I--9-9-11----------------11-----2\1---9-9-11------------------------------11-9h11----9h11-etc.-I
I-------------------------------3\2------------------------------------------------------------I
I----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------I
0:10

The bass figure at 0:41

I----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------I
I----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------I
I----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------I
I-------------------------------2-5-2-4-2-/7-repeat-----4-7-4-6-4------------------------------I
I-----2-5-2-4-2-/7~-repeat--0-4---------------------2-6-----------/7---------------------------I
I-0-4----------------------------------------------------------------0-4-repeat-from beginning-I
0:41

Then, with another rhythm, a change to the E Blues scale:

I----------12-------------------------------------------I
I---------------------12-15-----------------------------I
I--14b(16)----14b(16)-------14b(16)rb14-p12----14--12\--I
I-------------------------------------------14----------I
I-------------------------------------------------------I
I-------------------------------------------------------I
01:01

Later…:

I---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------I
I-------------------------12-10------12-10----------------------------------------------------I
I----------------------/9-------11br-------11br----9-11b(13)-hold bend-11b(14)-hold bend------I
I---7b(9)rb7-p5-7-7-5---------------------------11-----------pick 6x-----------pick 6x--------I
I---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------I
I---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------I
01:28

After another kind of “rhythm section” another level:

I--12------12~~~--12------12--------------------------------I
I--15b(17)--------15b(17)---15-12-----12--------------------I
I---------------------------------14-----12h14-12-------12b-I
I-------------------------------------------------14-14-----I
I-----------------------------------------------------------I
I-----------------------------------------------------------I
2:06

I---------------------------------------I
I-15b(17)rb15------15b(17)rb15----------I
I-------------12~~-------------12-13-14-I
I---------------------------------------I
I---------------------------------------I
I---------------------------------------I

Now lets come to the end:

I---------------------------------------12-14--------12-------12-14b(16)-----------------I
I---15b(17)-15-12----12-----------12-14--------12-14----12-14----------------------------I
I-----------------14----12---------------------------------------------------------------I
I--------------------------14~~~-----------------------------------------14/15--14~~-----I
I------------------------------------------------------------------------14/15--14~~-(?)-I
I----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------I
3:03

Little Girl

We continue with Little Girl (composed by Mayall), which contains a nice basic riff where we should take a closer look at. The key is G minor (G7/C7/D7). The song intro starts and ends with the root note (G) like:

(br: bend and release, hb: hold bend and pick, tr: triller, fast hammer-on and pull-off)

I--------------------------------------------------------I
I--------------------------------------------------------I
I------------3---3b---------3-5-5br-5br-5br-3------------I
I--5-5-5-5-5---5----5~~\-/5-3-5-5br-5br-5br----5-3-5~~---I
I--(with organ)------------------------------------------I
I--------------------------------------------------------I
0:00

Chords:

G7 C7 D7

Then we get the basic lick (first fingering pattern, 3rd fret, triller 3tr4 between minor and major scale!):

I-------------------------------------------I
I--3-5-6p5-3~~--3-5-------------------------I
I-------------------3tr4--------3h4-5-3tr4--I
I------------------------5-3-5--------------I
I-------------------------------------------I
I-------------------------------------------I
0:07                                  0:10

A solo part starts at 1:20, first G Blues fingering pattern, 15th fret:

I---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------I
I---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------I
I-------12--15b(17)-hb(17) repeat-several times-----12-15b-hb(16)-15-16-17b-hb(17)-17-18------I
I---/15-----------------------------------------/15--------repeat-----------repeat------------I
I----------------------------------------------------------several----------several-----------I
I----------------------------------------------------------times------------times-------------I
1:20                                            1:26

I----------------------------------------------------------------------I
I----------------------------------------------------------------------I
I---19b(21)hb(21)--15-17-15b(17)----------15-17-(17)rb15-17-15-----15b-I
I---repeat-----------------------17-15-17----------------------17~-----I
I---several----------------------very nice often used speed lick!------I
I---times--------------------------------------------------------------I

I---------------------------I
I---------15----------------I
I-15b(17)----15b(17)--etc.--I
I-let ring---let ring-------I
I---------------------------I
I---------------------------I

The rest of the solo is mostly played in the same way, the rest of the song can be played in the same way as the first verse.

Another Man

Now we have a guitarless harmonic based song arranged and played by John Mayall. There’s no guitar on it, so we don’t have any tabs. But you can try to get the key and play some rhythm guitar on it, or add some nice licks.

Double Crossin Time

Double Crossin’ Time is a song written by John Mayall and Eric Clapton about Jack Bruce changing from the Blues Breakers to Manfred Mann. It’s a slow Blues in G (chords G7/C7/D7) and contains absolutely great guitar work. Let’s take a look at some of the sweetest Blues licks ever recorded.

The song begins with a piano intro, then starting the vocal with rhythm guitar and some nice fills like:

I------3~~--------------------------/3~~------I
I----------------6----------------------------I
I-3--------5b(6)----5b(6)rb~~---3-----etc...--I
I---5-----------------------------5-----------I
I---------------------------------------------I
I---------------------------------------------I
0:17

Chords:

G7 C7 D7

The solo starts at 1:08 in the first G Blues scale fingering pattern at the 15th fret, at 1:32 he changed to the G major scale (= E minor scale, 3 frets down) and at 1:40 he played again in the G minor scale. Listen how he generates suspense and released it using both scales and coming back to the root note G. Another way to describe it musically is to use parts the mixolydian scale – see basics.

In the beginning there is a special double stop (two notes played at the same time) called “unison bend“, that means playing the two notes simultaneously and bending the lower note to the pitch of the higher. A great sound, especially when played with some distortion.

The following info on this song is a summary from an email conversation with Doug Dean about the point EC switches between both scales. Think about it…

The notes from the beginning major and back to the minor scale during the solo are

EI-----------------I--------------------I
BI-----------------I--------------------I
GI--12----14----16-I---15----17----19---I
DI--12----14-------I---15----17---------I
AI-----------------I--------------------I
EI--major----------I---minor------------I

The G scale notes are
G G# A A# B   C  C# D D# E  F F#  G
I    ii   iii IV    V    vi   vii

minor pentatonic
G      A#     C     D       F     G
major
G    A    B         D    E        G
mixolydian
G    A    B   C     D    E  F     G

Chords are
G (I)  G - B  - D
C (IV) C - E  - G
D (V)  D - F# - A

chord I = major third  = B
chord IV = major sixth = E
chord V = major second = A

OK, here we go:

I---15------15-----------15~~~-------------------------------------15----15----18b(20)-I
I---18b(20)-18b(20)-18b-------18b(20)-18-15----15--------------18----18----18----------I
I-------------------------------------------17----15h17-15~~~--------------------------I
I--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------I
I-(G-minor)----------------------------------------------------------------------------I
I--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------I
1:08                                           1:14

I-18b(19)-18-15-------I
I--------------18-15--I
I---------------------I
I---------------------I
I---------------------I
I---------------------I

I---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------I
I---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------I
I--17b(19)-17-15----15----15h17-15-----------15~~~~~\-------12------------15b-----------------I
I----------------17----17----------17----17----long------12----15/17-17~~---------------------I
I-------------------------------------17-----------------let----------------------------------I
I-------------------------------------(Gm chord!)--------ring---------------------------------I
                                                         1:27

I---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------I
I---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------I
I--14b(17)rb16b(17)--15-12-14----12-14-(15)rb14-p12----12-14-(15)rb14-p12~~~---14b(16)--------I
I-----hold--------------------14--------------------14----------------------------------------I
I--------------------------(G-major)----------------------------------------------------------I
I---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------I
1:30                                                                   1:35

I---------------------------------------------------------------------------15----15-18-15----I
I-------------------------------------------------------------------18b(20)----18-------------I
I-14b(16)rb14-p12h14p12~~~~-14b---17b(19)-17-15-17-15-------15\-------------------------------I
I-----------------------------------------------------17-17-----------------------------------I
I---------------------------------(G minor)---------------------------------------------------I
I---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------I
1:37                        1:40                            1:43

I--18b(20)-18b(20)-18b(20)-(20)rb18--15--------------------------------------15---------------I
I---------------------------------------18-15--------------------------------18b(20)-18-15----I
I---------------------------------------------18-17-15----15----(17)rb15~~~-------------------I
I------------------------------------------------------17----17-------------------------------I
I---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------I
I---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------I
1:45                                                                          1:50

I--15---------------------------------------------------3-------------------------------------I
I--18b(20)-18-15--------------------------------------3---------------------------------------I
I----------------(17)rb15----15-17-15-----------5b(7)-----5b(7)rb5-p3---5----5b(6)rb5-p3h5p3~-I
I-------------------------15----------17-17~~-------------------------5---5-------------------I
I-------------------------------------(root!)-------------------------------------------------I
I---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------I
   1:53                                         1:55

The solo ends with a classic Clapton Blues lick in the 1st (still G) fingering pattern, 3rd fret. Then we get the second vocal with again some nice backgrounds licks, easy to figure out.

What’d I Say

What’d I Say (from Ray Charles, also played by Elvis) is an uptempo Blues with a two minutes drum solo by Hughie Flint. EC played mainly rhythm or background guitar, there’s only one short guitar solo starting after one minute. Chords are E7/A7/B7 (I-IV-V) in the standard 12 bar Blues progression (just play the chords during the organ intro). The song also contains the main riff from the Beatles song Day Tripper (released a year before), played a bit faster.

Chords:

E7 A7 B7 B7

The solo at 1:00 is played with two guitars like:

I------------3b(5)-0----3b(5)-0--------------------------I
I------3-0-----------0----------0--repeat--(8)rb7-p5-----I
I----------2-----------------------from--------------6~~-I
I---2-------dirty------------------start-----------------I
I--------------------------------------------------------I
I--------------------------------------------------------I
1:00

I--------------------------------------------I
I---------------------------12---------------I
I--12b(14)-12-9-12--12b(14)----12b(14)-etc.--I
I--------------------------------------------I
I--plus second guitar-not easy to figure out-I
I--------------------------------------------I

Key To Love

Key to Love from John Mayall is another up tempo Blues in the Key of E (chords: E7/A7/B7).

Chords:

E7 A7 B7 B7

The main theme goes something like :

I------------------------------------------------------I
I------------------------------------------------------I
I---------12-12-14-14b(15)rb14-p12---------------------I
I---14-14--------------------------14-12-14------------I
I---root------------------------------------12-13-14---I
I-------------------------------------------------(B7)-I

EC played a very fast solo on it, starting at 1:02 in the first E Blues fingering pattern, 12th fret:

I--12------------------------------12----12----12---------------------------------------------I
I--15b(17)~~-15b(17) repeat 4x -------15----15----15b(17)-15-12-------------------------------I
I---------------------------------------------------------------14b(16)rb14-p12h14p12---------I
I-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------15------I
I---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------I
I---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------I
1:02                                                            1:09

I------------------------------------------------------------------------I
I-------------12---------------------------------------------------------I
I--12-14b(16)----14b(16)rb14----14p12-----12-14b(16)b(16)b(16)b(16)b(15)-I
I----------------------------15-------15---------------------------------I
I------------------------------------------------------------------------I
I------------------------------------------------------------------------I
                                1:14

I-------------------------I
I-------------------------I
I-14-12-14b(16)rb14-12----I
I----------------------14-I
I-------------------------I
I-------------------------I

All along in this this fingering pattern until the end of the solo:

I---15b(17)-16-17-16-17-16-17-(16)rb15---------------15b-15b-----------------------------------I
I--------------------------------------17-15-17~~----14b-14b-----------------------------------I
I------------------------------------------------------------(14)rb12-14p12----14-12-----------I
I---------------------------------------------------------------------------12-------14-12-14--I
I-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------root-I
I----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------I
1:24

Parchman Farm

“Parchman Farm has become very popular over the years. Eric didn’t play on this one. He found that same riff too boring so I took it over as just bass, drums, harmonica and vocals. I was a big Mose Allison fan. Georgie Fame was very close because we played the Flamingo together. He put that in the repertoire but I turned it into a harmonica feature with a faster bass.”
– John Mayall, liner notes to As It All Began: The Best of John Mayall and the Bluesbreakers

Parchman Farm is the second harmonica song, played by John Mayall. There’s no guitar on it. The song is originally a Bukka White (Booker T. Washington White, 1906-1977) song, Parchman farm (Miss. State Penitentiary) is a prison camp (a cotton farm with the prisoners working instead of slaves, to be true) where Bukka was arrested several times (a real Bluesman…), as well as Son House. Mose Allison was also inspired by this song and recorded his own version, he’s credited on the Beano cover as the song author. I don’t have it tabbed, but you can play some rhythm guitar.

Have You Heard

Have You Heard, a slow Blues in the key of C (C7/F7/G7) from John Mayall, is the longest track on the album (5:52) and starts with a saxophone solo of about 1:08 minutes. EC played some fills between the vocals until 3:25, when he starts another breathtaking solo until 4:38. It’s very difficult to play and sometimes really fast. The first Blues fingering pattern in C starts at the 8th fret, the solo starts with the root note C played in second fingering pattern. The root note plays an important part in this solo as EC returns to it often.

Chords:

C7 F7 G7

I-------11b(13)----11b(13)-------13b(15)-13b(15)rb13-p11-------11b(13)-------13b(15)-I
I-13-13---------13---------13-13-------------------------13-13---------13-13---------I
I------------------------------------------------------------------------------------I
I------------------------------------------------------------------------------------I
I------------------------------------------------------------------------------------I
I------------------------------------------------------------------------------------I
3:25

I--13-11-13-11-13-11-------11\---18b(19)-18-15---------------------------------18----I
I--------------------13-13---------------------18-16-18-16-18-16-18-16-18b(20)-------I
I------------------------------------------------------------------------------------I
I------------------------------------------------------------------------------------I
I------------------------------------------------------------------------------------I
I------------------------------------------------------------------------------------I
                                 3:36

I------------------------------------------------------------------------------------I
I---(20)rb18-16-18----16-h18b(19)rb18-p16-------16\----16h18p16b(17)~~~--------------I
I------------------17---------------------17-17-----17-------------------------------I
I------------------------------------------------------------------------------------I
I------------------------------------------------------------------------------------I
I------------------------------------------------------------------------------------I
3:39                                                            3:41

I--------------------------------------8--------------------11b(13)-8----------------I
I------------------------------------8---11p8-11p8-repeat-------------11-8-----------I
I--10b(11)rb10-p8----10----8-10b(12)---------------several-----------------10br-p8---I
I-----------------10----10-------------------------times-----------------------------I
I--------------------------------------------------fast------------------------------I
I------------------------------------------------------------------------------------I
3:42                                      3:42

I-----------------------------I
I-----------------------------I
I-----8----10br-p8h10p8~~~----I
I--10---10--------------------I
I-----------------------------I
I-----------------------------I
                  3:48

Once again a closer look at it: the 17 on the G-string and the 13 on the B-string are the same notes – C, the root (if you need the scale, look here). The 16-18-16 sequence (B-string) at 3:41 are two minor scale notes with a major note between, and the end of the lick the minor note (16) is bend into the major note (17). After that we play again in the first fingering pattern, back at the 8th fret.

At 4:30 we come to the end of the solo:

I-----------15---------------------------------I
I-..16b(18)----13~~---11----11-----------------I
I--------------root------12----12--8~~~--------I
I--------------note!---------------deep minor--I
I----------------------------------note!-------I
I----------------------------------------------I
4:30

To the following vocals EC adds nice fills in this style: deep minor notes, played around a few major notes, always coming back to the root note C.

Ramblin’ On My Mind

A song which is ideal to start with is Ramblin’ On My Mind, so it’s discussed more in detail. EC has played it many times, but first recorded it on the Blues Breakers album.

Song basics

Robert Johnson (1911-1938)
One of the most important Delta Blues players. Although only 29 songs from two sessions were recorded, he was a major influence to nearly all Blues musicians. In less than half a year he improved his guitar playing in a way which leads to the story of Johnson selling his soul to the devil at the crossroads to get his unbelievable guitar technique.

Ramblin’ On My Mind is a typical Delta Blues, written by Robert Johnson, one the best early Blues musicians, who had a great influence on EC. Just listen to the Unplugged-record – a lot of these songs were written by Robert Johnson. Later EC released a CD and DVD with only RJ songs – the Sessions for Mr. J.

The original Delta Blues was strictly acoustic (“unplugged”), and the guitar was played in a way to emulate a whole band, with bass lines and picking patterns. It was the very first Blues form, starting in the early 1900s in an area in the southern part of Mississippi called “the Mississippi Delta”, which is not the mouth of the Mississippi river near New Orleans.

The electric version played by EC is a kind of electric Delta Blues, compared to the Chicago Blues style it sounds cruder, less jazz-like. Recently (Sessions DVD) EC played Ramblin’ unplugged, closer to the original.

Ramblin’ on my mind is a slow basic Blues shuffle in E, with a quick change 12 bar Blues scheme. You can use the minor pentatonic Blues scale as described before.

You need the following chords: E7 – A7 – B7 (I-IV-V)

Chords:

E7 A7 B7 B7

The main chord progression is (12 bar quick change Blues)

E7 – A7 – E7 – E7
A7 – A7 – E7 – E7
B7 – A7 – E7 – B7

The song structure is:
1st verse, 2nd verse, solo, 3rd verse, ending

Rhythm guitar

This is the basic riff, played with some variations. You can use also other fitting riffs or start with playing chords. Try them out!

E7                     A7                     B7
I-------------------I  I-------------------I  I-------------------I
I-------------------I  I-------------------I  I----0-0--0-0--0----I
I-------------------I  I-------------------I  I-------------------I
I-------------------I  I--2-2-4-4-5-5-0----I  I-------------------I
I--2-2-4-4-5-5-0----I  I--0-0-0-0-0-0---4--I  I--2---2------------I
I--0-0-0-0-0-0---3b-I  I-------------------I  I----------------3b-I

Intro

The intro starts with with a double stop (two notes played together) combined with a bending on one of the notes, followed by some common Blues licks: 0tr1 means a triller: fast hammer-on and pull-off (0h1p0h1p0 etc.)

I---7--7--I-7--7--7\----0-I-----------------------I-----------I------------------I
I---8b-8b-I-8b-8b-8\------I-----------------------I-----------I------0---0-0-----I
I---------I---------------I-----------------------I---0h1-2-3-I-4\---------------I
I---------I---------------I-0tr2--0h2-------------I-2---------I------------------I
I---------I-----------2---I-----------2-1-0-------I-----------I----2---2-----2h4-I
I---------I---------------I-----------------3b-0--I-----------I--------------0---I
                          |- piano starts here                            I've got

First Verse

E7                  A7                   E7                        E7
I-------------------I--------------------I-------------------------I-------------------------I
I-------------------I--------------------I-------------------------I-------------------------I
I-------------------I--------------------I-----0tr1-2-0tr1---------I-----0tr1-2 0tr1---------I
I-------------------I--2-2-4-4-5-5-0-----I-------------------0-1-2-I-------------------0-1-2-I
I-2-2-4-4-5-5-0-----I--0-0-0-0-0-0---4---I-----------------2-------I-----------------2-------I
I-0-0-0-0-0-0---3b--I--------------------I-0-0---------------------I-0-0---------------------I
ramblin'                 I've got ramblin'                                            I've got
                              all on my mind

A7                  A7                   E7                        E7
I-------------------I--------------------I-------------------------I-------------------------I
I-------------------I--------------------I-------------------------I-------------------------I
I---------------2---I---------------2----I-----0tr1-2 0tr1---------I-----0tr1-2 0tr1---------I
I-2-2-4-4-5-5-4---2-I-2-2-4-4-5-5-4---2--I-------------------0-1-2-I-------------------0-1-2-I
I-0-0-0-0-0-0-0---0-I-0-0-0-0-0-0-0---0--I-----------------2-------I-----------------2-------I
I-------------------I--------------------I-0-0---------------------I-0-0---------------------I
ramblin'                 I've got ramblin                                          Is to leave
                              all on my mind

B7                  A7                          A7                        A7
I-------------------I---------------------------I-------------------------I-------------------I
I---0-0--0-0--0-----I---------------------------I-------------------------I----0---0----------I
I-------------------I---------------------------I-------------------------I----2-2-2----------I
I-------------------I-2---2----2--4b-2-4-2---2--I------0-1-2-0------------I--2----------0-1-2-I
I-2---2---------3b--I-0-0---/4-------------4----I--------------2-1-0------I-----------2-------I
I-------------------I---------------------------I--0-0---------------3b-0-I-------------------I
my baby,            'cause she treats me so unkind                                    I'm goin'

Second verse

(I’m goin’) down to the station,
catch that old fast milk train, you’ll see. I’m going down to the station,
catch that old fast milk train, you’ll see.
I’ve got the (continued as following:)

B7
I-----------2---2-------I---------------------------I-0-----------------------I---------------I
I---0-0---0---0---------I---------------------------I--------------------0----I---0---0-0--0--I
I-------2---------------I---------------------------I------0tr1-1-2-2-3-------I---------------I
I-----------------2-0-1-I-2-2--4-4--5-5--0----------I-------------------------I---------------I
I-----------------------I-0-0--0-0--0-0-------------I-----------2-3-3-4-------I-2---2---2-----I
I-----------------------I------------------0--------I-0--0--------------------I---------------I
Blues about Miss So 'n So, and the sun got the Blues 'bout me.

Solo

He plays around 1 note (!) doing full, half and quarter bends.
To keep the tab in a comfortable length, I’ve used (only for this song!)
bf for a full-tone bend,
bh for a half tone bend,
bq for a quarter tone bend and
hb for hold bend, that means pick the string after bending it.
It’s a good idea to practice these bends before playing the solo. I think it’s impossible to make an absolute exact tab of this solo, you must listen to the record…

Remember the scale:

E-Scale

OK, now let’s try it:

I----------------I----------------------------------I
I----8bh---8bh---I-10bf-10hb-10hb-(repeat  7 times)-I
I-/9-----9-------I----------------------------------I
I----------------I----------------------------------I
I----------------I----------------------------------I
I----------------I----------------------------------I

I-----------------------------------------------I
I-10hb-10hb-10hb-8-8bh-10hb-10bh-10bq-10br-8-10-I
I-----------------------------------------------I
I-----------------------------------------------I
I-----------------------------------------------I
I-----------------------------------------------I

I-----------------------I-7-5--------------------------I---------------I
I-10br-8---8-10-8-----5-I-----7rb-5---7-7bf-bh-7-5-7---I-7bf-7hb-7br-5-I
I--------9---------/6---I-----------6----------------6-I---------------I
I-----------------------I------------------------------I---------------I
I-----------------------I------------------------------I---------------I
I-----------------------I------------------------------I---------------I

I-----7---------7--------------------------------------I------------------------------I
I-7bf---7hb-7bf---7hb-5----5-7--7bf-7bf-5-5-5--7bh-----I----3-3-----------------------I
I------------------------6--------------------------6--I-/4-----\2-2-2tr0-------------I
I------------------------------------------------------I------------------2---0h2-----I
I------------------------------------------------------I--------------------2---------I
I------------------------------------------------------I------------------------------I

I-----0--0-----0-0-----0-0---I----------------I
I---0----0-------0-------0---I-0---0--0---0---I
I----------3p2-----3p2-------I-1--------2-----I
I----------------------------I----------------I
I----------------------------I---2-2------2---I
I-0--------------------------I----------------I

Third verse

(Played same as first) (I got) mean things,
I’ve got mean things all on my mind. Little girl, little girl,
I’ve got mean things all on my mind. Is to leave my baby,
cause she treats me so unkind.

Ending

I------------------------------3/4----I
I------------------------------2/3----I
I---0tr1-------2----3----4\----3/4----I
I-------------------------------------I
I------2-------3-3--4-4--5\-----------I
I-0-------3b-0------------------------I

That was it!

Delta Blues summary

  • use minor pentatonic Blues scale with lots of blue notes
  • don’t use much notes from the major scale
  • play “dirty”
  • keys are mostly E or A in the 12 bar Blues form
  • use a lot of open strings, preferably bass strings
  • use a lot of slow bends, preferably into blue notes
  • use down-strokes or play fingerstyle, no fast alternate picking
  • play riffs instead of simple chord strumming
  • and sooner or later you have to get familiar with slide guitar playing

Steppin’ Out

First recorded with the Blues Breakers, Stepping’ Out became one of EC’s masterpieces during Cream. No vocals, up to 13 minutes (Cream Live II) guitar fire without any break.

Some people prefer the Blues Breakers version, other the short, fast Cream version which can be found on Crossroads I, and other think the Live II version is the best. I’ll compare two of them, the beginning of the short Cream version is mostly similar to the Live II version.

The time-line is from the “Those were the Days”-sampler. Add 13 seconds to get the Cream live II time-line. Apart from the time-line both versions are identical.

Song basics

Steppin’ Out was written 1959 by James Bracken (1909 – 1972), co-owner and co-founder of Vee-Jay Records. He also worked with John Lee Hooker and together they wrote songs like Dimples or Baby Lee. Originally a moderately fast Blues in G (chords G7/C7/D7), played by EC on the Blues Breakers album, it soon moved towards an up tempo Blues rock with a lot improvisations, sometimes adding pieces of Freddie Kings “Hideaway“. Tabbing the hole live version is too much – it’s mostly improvisation, so I picked out some essential pieces. It’s also a nice song to build up a little more speed without getting too technical – there are still a lot of bends, vibratos and slides to do. If you can’t play it this way, try out your own slow Blues version of it. Remember EC’s Layla – even the slow acoustic version was great!

At first we need the scale. The beginning is simple – just the first Blues fingering pattern of the G Blues scale. We had this already with Reconsider Baby. As often (if not always…), EC adds some notes from the major scale. To remember the scale:

G-Scale

Chords:

G7 C7 F7

Intro

We start with the Blues Breakers version, starting and ending with the root note (G):

G7
I--------------------------------------------------I
I--------------------------------------------------I
I----3---3b-5-3-5b(7)-5-3-5-3----------------------I
I-/5---5----------------------5-3-5-5---3---3-5-5\-I
I-------------------------------------5---5--------I
I--------------------------------------------------I
0:00

D7
I--------------------------------------------------I
I--------------------------------------------------I
I--------------------------------------------------I
I----3---3b-5-3-5b(7)-5-3-5-3----------------------I
I-/5---5----------------------5-3-5-5---3---3-5-5\-I
I-------------------------------------5---5--------I
0:04

G7
I--------------------------------------------------I
I--------------------------------------------------I
I----3---3b-5-3-5b(7)-5-3-5-3----------------------I
I-/5---5----------------------5-3-5-5---3---3-5-5\-I
I-------------------------------------5---5--------I
I--------------------------------------------------I
0:10

Now the Cream intros (both versions):
basically the same, but EC played some additional notes. Not easy to figure out, but it sounds something like:

(Right you are…)

G7
I----------------------------------------------------------I
I----------------------------------------------------------I
I-----3---3b-5-3-5-5b(7)rb5-p3---5-3-----------------------I
I-/5b---5----------------------5------5-3-5-5---3---3-5-5\-I
I---------------------------------------------5---5--------I
I----------------------------------------------------------I

D7
I----------------------------------------------------------I
I----------------------------------------------------------I
I----------------------------------------------------------I
I-----3---3b-5-3-5-5b(7)rb5-p3---5-3-----------------------I
I-/5b---5----------------------5------5-3-5-5---3---3-5-5\-I
I---------------------------------------------5---5--------I

G7
I----------------------------------------------------------I
I----------------------------------------------------------I
I-----3---3b-5-3-5-5b(7)rb5-p3---5-3-----------------------I
I-/5b---5----------------------5------5-3-5-5---3---3-5-5\-I
I---------------------------------------------5---5--------I
I----------------------------------------------------------I

Blues Breakers licks

Now let’s have a look at some essential licks from the Blues Breakers version. Look at the lime-line to locate them. You need some more fingering patterns from the G Blues scale now.

G
I------------------------------------8b(10)-6b--6b(8)rb6--3---3-5b(7)-3-5-----------------I
I--------------------------------/8~~-----------------------5--------------------3---3b---I
I---3-/7~~--7\--5-3-5-3-----3b--------------------------------------------(7)rb5---5----5-I
I-5---------------------5-5---------------------------------------------------------------I
I-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------I
I-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------I
0:15                             0:19                                         0:27

G
I-----------------3--------------------------------------------------------------------I
I-------3-------3--------------------------------6-6-----------------------------------I
I-5b(7)---5b(7)-----5b(7)rb5-p3---5-3---------/7-7-7---(7)rb5-3-5-5---5-3--------------I
I-------------------------------5-----5-3-5-------------------------5-----5-3-5---...--I
I--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------I
I--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------I
                 0:29                         0:33

Another good lick, often repeated, is at 00:40:

I-------------------------------------------------I
I----13b(15)rb13-11-13----11-13b(15)-11b----11\---I
I----------------------12----------------12-------I
I-------------------------------------------------I
I-------------------------------------------------I
I-------------------------------------------------I

Rhythm guitar during organ solo at 01:02 (still Blues form!)

     G7       C7       D7
I------------------------------I
I------------------------------I
I----------------5-3-----7-5---I
I------5-3---------------------I
I--------------3-------5-------I
I----3-------------------------I

After the organ solo some nice bendings:

I-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------I
I------6h8~~---11b(12)--13b(15)-13-11-13-11~~--12b-12-13-12-13-12br----------11-14b-11b~~---I
I-/7~~----------slow------------------------------------------------12~~--12----------------I
I-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------I
I-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------I
I-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------I
01:19                   01:23                                       01:28

I-----13---------------------------------15------15-----------------------------------------I
I-13b----rb13-11-13----11b(13)----11-----18b(20)----18-15-18b(20)-18-15---------------------I
I-------------------12---------12---------------------------------------17b(19)-17-15----17-I
I-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------17----I
I-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------I
I-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------I
                              01:32                                     01:35

I-----------------------------------------------------------------------I
I----------------15-------------sound like------------------------------I
I-----15-17(b)19----17p15----17-a break here---(18)rb17-15-------15b----I
I--17---------------------17-------------------------------17-17--------I
I-----------------------------------------------------------------------I
I-----------------------------------------------------------------------I
                                01:37

So far with this part. Let’s take a closer look: we still play in the first Blues pattern of the G scale, just 12 frets higher than the starting pattern. The fast playing and the lots of bends are much easier to play here.

The double stop at 1:32 sounds very cool: it’s the root note (g) played on the E string and a bending into this note from from the B string, played at the same time (called “unison bend”). With a little distortion it sounds even better. At the end of this part we hear a release bend from a blue note. After reaching the root note, a small bending on the next note turns it up again for the next part.

Let’s come to the end now. Some hints for the other licks: the bends at 1:38 start at the 19th fret of your E-string, another blue note. The bends at 1:48 start at the 18th fret of the B-string.

The end is easy – we played it already, it’s the same as the intro!

Cream licks

And now some essentials from the live Cream version. As mentioned already I can’t tab all 13 minutes. So I’ll try to find out what’s important… and possible to tab.

We had the intro already. It continues like:

I--------7-----7------------------------------------------------------------------------------I
I--------6-----6----3-----------------------3-------------------------------------------------I
I-3h5-/7----/7---5b---3b----------5-3-5b(7)---5b(7)rb5-3---5br-5-3--5-3-----------------------I
I------------------------5-3h5~~-------------------------5--------------5\---------------5~~--I
I--------------------------------------------------------------------------5\-----------------I
I------------------------------------------------------------------------------6-8-6b-3-------I
0:17                                                            0:24

…break…

I----------3-------6b-------6b--8-8b(10)-8-6-8-----6b-8-6-8-6b--------------------------------I
I--------3---6/8~~----8-6-8--------------------8~~-------------8-6-8-----6-6h8---8-6----------I
I--5b(7)-------------------------------------------------------------5h7-5-----7-----7\-5-----I
I---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------I
I---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------I
I---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------I
0:44                                           0:50

Snip… First breathtaking after one minute:

I--------------------------------------------------------------------------------10~~~--------I
I------8---8b----8-8---8-8---8-8---8-10b(13)--10br-p8---8-8~--8---10-8---10b(12)--------------I
I---/9---9-----9-----9-----9-----9--------------------7---------7------7----------------------I
I---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------I
I---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------I
I---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------I
0:58

An often used fast lick can be played this way:

I-------6---6b--8b(10)rb8-6-8p6----8-6-----------I
I---8-8---8---------------------h8-----8---6-8---I
I------------------------------------------------I
I------------------------------------------------I
I------------------------------------------------I
I------------------------------------------------I
1:11

Another gem (first fingering pattern, 15th fret, closed with a bending into the root note)

I-----15-18-18b(20)-18-15h18p15----15~~-------------I
I--18---------------------------18-------18b(20)~~--I
I---------------------------------------------------I
I---------------------------------------------------I
I---------------------------------------------------I
I---------------------------------------------------I
2:12

Back to the 3rd fret, the bass solo Jack sometimes played here was taken away by EC. Starting with the root note:

I---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------I
I----------------------------------------------------------------------3----------------------I
I------------------------------------------------------3---5-3---5b(7)---5---5-3--------------I
I-5~~-3--------------------------------------3---5-3-5---5-----5-----------5-----5------------I
I-------5\3---------3b--------------------5b---5----------------------------------------------I
I------------6b-3-1----6--3---1-3--1-3--1-----------------------------------------------------I
3:41                                             3:46

After 5 minutes he played a little bit in the major scale, bending into the minor. Locate the root note!:

I--------12--15-12-15-17-17br----15-------15-17br-p15----15~~----(18)br17-p15-18p17-15-I
I--12-15-----15---------------17----15-17-------------17------17-----------------------I
I--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------I
I--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------I
I--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------I
I--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------I
5:00                                                              5:05

I----17-15----15-15----17b-I
I-17-17----17-------17-----I
I--------------------------I
I--------------------------I
I--------------------------I
I--------------------------I

At 8:04 he played all around the root note:

I-----3-3~---3-3---3-3---3-3--------I
I-3h5------5-----5-----5------etc.--I
I-----------------------------------I
I-----------------------------------I
I-----------------------------------I
I-----------------------------------I
8:04

A little bit later the sound changes as if EC turns to the amp:

I--5b(7)-5p3---3-5b(7)-5p3---5b(7)-7-5-5---6b(8)-6-3---6p3---6p3---etc-------I
I------------5-------------5-------------5-----------------6-----6-----------I
I----------------------------------------------------------------------------I
I----------------------------------------------------------------------------I
I----------------------------------------------------------------------------I
I----------------------------------------------------------------------------I
8:20

A nice repeating pattern at 9:20:

I--------6-6~~--------------------6-6~~------------------------I
I--6h8-8-------8br---6h8-8-8-6h8--------8br----6h8-8-8--etc.---I
I------------------7-------------------------7-----------------I
I--------------------------------------------------------------I
I--------------------------------------------------------------I
I--------------------------------------------------------------I
9:20

Later another change in sound. Ginger played cool rhythm:

I------------------------------------------------------------------------------------I
I-------------------------------------------------15--15-----------------------------I
I---------14----14--14br----14---------------------------17-15b----------------------I
I--/14-17----17----------17----14-17-14-17~~--17-----------------17-15-17~~---etc.---I
I------------------------------------------------------------------------------------I
I------------------------------------------------------------------------------------I
10:50                                                            10:56

Finally the end of the end:

I---7\-7\-7\-7\-7\--4\---0---0-----------------------------0----I
I---6\-6\-6\-6\-6\--3\---0---0-----------------------------0----I
I---7\-7\-7\-7\-7\--4\-----------7b(9)~~--7--4------------------I
I----------------------------------------------7-5--------------I
I-----not sure about...----------------------------5~~----------I
I--------------------------0----------------------------0-------I
13:06

It Ain’t Right

It Ain’t Right (by Marion Walter Jacobs, “Little Walter”, 1930-1968, a great Chicago blues harp virtuoso, singer, composer, bandleader) is a fast 12 bar Blues in the key of E (chords E7/A7/B7, I think you know it now…). Much harmonica, less guitar, but nice to play some rhythm riffs or short fills. Try and jam! It’s the last song of the album, so we have just finished.

Chords:

E7 A7 B7 B7