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Two chord songs

Bert 14 Oct 99 - 10:30 AM
Liam's Brother 14 Oct 99 - 10:40 AM
Neil Lowe 14 Oct 99 - 11:00 AM
Wolfgang 14 Oct 99 - 11:04 AM
Allan C. 14 Oct 99 - 11:07 AM
Peter T. 14 Oct 99 - 11:23 AM
Peter T. 14 Oct 99 - 11:25 AM
Jeremiah McCaw 14 Oct 99 - 12:23 PM
Noel P. 14 Oct 99 - 12:36 PM
emily rain 14 Oct 99 - 03:34 PM
alison 14 Oct 99 - 07:15 PM
Bill D 14 Oct 99 - 08:04 PM
_gargoyle 14 Oct 99 - 08:09 PM
_gargoyle 14 Oct 99 - 08:15 PM
DougR 15 Oct 99 - 12:23 AM
Jon Freeman 15 Oct 99 - 12:29 AM
bseed(charleskratz) 15 Oct 99 - 01:16 AM
Peter T. 15 Oct 99 - 08:49 AM
Bert 15 Oct 99 - 09:34 AM
Jaxon 15 Oct 99 - 11:28 AM
bseed(charleskratz) 15 Oct 99 - 04:20 PM
mountain tyme 15 Oct 99 - 05:42 PM
Roger in Baltimore 15 Oct 99 - 06:49 PM
Frank Hamilton 16 Oct 99 - 03:29 PM
Frank Hamilton 16 Oct 99 - 03:31 PM
bseed(charleskratz) 16 Oct 99 - 07:23 PM
53 15 Mar 02 - 06:20 PM
GUEST,Argenine 16 Mar 02 - 11:35 AM
GUEST,_gargoyle 16 Mar 02 - 12:29 PM
53 16 Mar 02 - 11:12 PM
GUEST,Pixie 17 Mar 02 - 09:24 AM
GUEST,CraigS 17 Mar 02 - 03:34 PM
toadfrog 17 Mar 02 - 03:53 PM
wysiwyg 17 Mar 02 - 09:09 PM
53 17 Mar 02 - 10:29 PM
Bert 17 Mar 02 - 10:45 PM
richlmo 17 Mar 02 - 11:00 PM
GUEST,SlickerBill 18 Mar 02 - 12:37 AM
53 18 Mar 02 - 12:23 PM
Mark Ross 18 Mar 02 - 12:37 PM
Knitpick 19 Mar 02 - 01:03 AM
GUEST,Hilary,not logged in 19 Mar 02 - 08:59 AM
GUEST,leeneia 19 Mar 02 - 12:59 PM
wysiwyg 25 Jul 02 - 02:10 PM
GUEST,someone who really wants to play this song! 10 Dec 10 - 02:36 PM
GUEST,Morgana 10 Dec 10 - 04:42 PM
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Subject: Two chord songs
From: Bert
Date: 14 Oct 99 - 10:30 AM

When I first started playing guitar I started with two chord songs. You know, those that change the chord at the end of the line, like Jambalay.
Starts with A, changes to E7 at the end of the first line and back to A at the end of the next and so on.

Another one is 'When Columbus Landed Here'

Anyone got any more of these?

Bert.


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Subject: RE: BS: Two chord songs
From: Liam's Brother
Date: 14 Oct 99 - 10:40 AM

Great minds think alike, Bert. I was thinking of starting the same thread with "Farewell to Tarwathie."

Now get back to work.

I very much enjoyed meeting you and Max. Please give my regards to Lord Chesterfield.

Dan Milner


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Subject: RE: BS: Two chord songs
From: Neil Lowe
Date: 14 Oct 99 - 11:00 AM

I am losing it... I thought I hit "Submit" when I originally composed this ...evidently not when I went back to check. So if it shows up twice....

The only one that readily comes to mind is a vintage country song by Hank Williams, called (I think) "Dear John." In the key of E it plays 4 bars of E in 4/4 time, then one bar of 6/4 time, the first 4 beats being in E and the last 2 beats changing to B7.

Getting older sucks.

Regards, Neil


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Subject: RE: BS: Two chord songs
From: Wolfgang
Date: 14 Oct 99 - 11:04 AM

Muirsheen Durkin


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Subject: RE: BS: Two chord songs
From: Allan C.
Date: 14 Oct 99 - 11:07 AM

"Down In the Valley" is a good candidate too.


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Subject: RE: BS: Two chord songs
From: Peter T.
Date: 14 Oct 99 - 11:23 AM

"She Moved Through the Fair" is really just two chords, D and C (you can throw in an Am when you get really bored).
yours, Peter T.


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Subject: RE: BS: Two chord songs
From: Peter T.
Date: 14 Oct 99 - 11:25 AM

And of course "Buffalo Skinners" is a one chord song.
yours, Peter T.


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Subject: RE: BS: Two chord songs
From: Jeremiah McCaw
Date: 14 Oct 99 - 12:23 PM

Forgive me if I take this from the sublime to the ridiculous, but the "Achey Breaky" is a 2-chord, same pattern as "Jambalaya". Mind you, I've only done it with the "Weird Al" lyrics ("You can torture me, with Donny and Marie...").

By way of attempting to redeem that, I do believe that Woody's "Pastures of Plenty" is a 2-chorder. Bm and D, methinks.


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Subject: RE: BS: Two chord songs
From: Noel P.
Date: 14 Oct 99 - 12:36 PM

How about "The doggie in the window","Biddy Mulligan" and "Dicey Riley"


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Subject: RE: BS: Two chord songs
From: emily rain
Date: 14 Oct 99 - 03:34 PM

peter t. - i throw in a G major when i get bored. : )

my favorite two chord song in all the world is called the "jassifer monster" by seventh moon, a band sadly no longer in existence. it switched from Am to Em every two beats, except at the end of a verse where they got one beat each, so as to end on the tonic. gave it a lightly bouncy, tip-toeing feel.


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Subject: RE: BS: Two chord songs
From: alison
Date: 14 Oct 99 - 07:15 PM

Here's more from an earlier thread two chord songs

slainte

alison


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Subject: RE: BS: Two chord songs
From: Bill D
Date: 14 Oct 99 - 08:04 PM

as an autoharp player, I LOVE 2 & 3 chord songs..but to truly play melody, a lot of 1 & 2 chord songs are really 1 1/2 or 2 1/2...they really need a 3rd chord near the end to resolve a tune..usually just for one note. But for just messin' you can avoid that one note in a lot of cases.


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Subject: RE: BS: Two chord songs
From: _gargoyle
Date: 14 Oct 99 - 08:09 PM

How about one chord songs?

Paddy and the Whale
or Ground Hog

Several other classics are almost one chord songs (on a 1 chord) frequently switching to a fifth (5 chord) before the final measure and back to the one chord to conclude:

Turkish Revery - Key of Eb = CM.....................G,Cm.

Lily Munro - = Cm................Gm,Cm

Barb'ry Allen = Eb..............Bb7,Eb

The Swap Song = G.................D7,G

Hullabaloo Belay = Dm................Am,Dm

Jennie Jenkins = F........................C7,F

Cotton Eye Joe = G.......D7....G

or...almost, almost,almost one chord songs Joe Clark = Eb...........Bb7,Eb......Bb7,Eb.......Bb7,Eb

Leatherwing Bat = Em.............Am.Em.......Am,Em


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Subject: RE: BS: Two chord songs
From: _gargoyle
Date: 14 Oct 99 - 08:15 PM

Bert....that you labled your thread BS is one of the best indicators of how conditions at the digital tradition have changed.

Within a folk music database....your posting is MOST appropriate.....but within current perception of folk-chat-room.... a music thread is religated to bs.....


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Subject: RE: BS: Two chord songs
From: DougR
Date: 15 Oct 99 - 12:23 AM

Thank you, Jeremiah McCaw! I didn't know Achey Brakey Heart had any chords. I realize I probably didn't spell the title of the song correctly but I don't think enough of it to worry about it. DougR

DougR


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Subject: RE: BS: Two chord songs
From: Jon Freeman
Date: 15 Oct 99 - 12:29 AM

The Little Beggarman (or the tune, the Redhaired Boy) s one of my favourtites that uses 2 chords. I often play this tune with a fiddle player and accompany it on guitar. I just play A and G (F shape) bar chords and it seems to work well.

Jon


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Subject: RE: BS: Two chord songs
From: bseed(charleskratz)
Date: 15 Oct 99 - 01:16 AM

I think there are quite a few of them in bluegrass music: a couple that come to mind are "They Gotta Stop Kickin' My Dog Around" and--one of my favorites to play and sing--"Jimmy Brown the Newsboy."

--seed

And Gargoyle, you're right: this is a music thread, not BS --but some people have become so sensitive that they think any thread that doesn't offer specific music and lyrics has gotta be labeled BS or some dork will jump on them. There have been several threads lately so mislabled.


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Subject: RE: BS: Two chord songs
From: Peter T.
Date: 15 Oct 99 - 08:49 AM

Perhaps BS in this context means "Bert Seeks?"
yours, Peter T.


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Subject: RE: BS: Two chord songs
From: Bert
Date: 15 Oct 99 - 09:34 AM

Garg, I posted it to BS because of a technical problem with the selection list, I was looking for a more suitable heading and it wouldn't let go. I'll talk with Max and he'll fix the problem.

Don't worry about it.

Bert.


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Subject: RE: BS: Two chord songs
From: Jaxon
Date: 15 Oct 99 - 11:28 AM

"Wasn't it a mighty storm" is just A & D.
Jack Murray


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Subject: RE: BS: Two chord songs
From: bseed(charleskratz)
Date: 15 Oct 99 - 04:20 PM

If that's the same as "Wasn't That a Mighty Day," which I learned from a Bob Gibson record, it's a three-chord minor: on the banjo I play it solo in Cmin with Fmin and G7 (or capo up for Dmin with Gmin and A7 if I'm playing ensemble).

On "Doc Watson on Stage" with Merle Watson, Doc sings a version of "Nine Pound Hammer" which he attributes to John Lee Hooker--Merle plays the accompaniment with only two chords: C and C7. An interesting arrangement.

--seed


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Subject: RE: BS: Two chord songs
From: mountain tyme
Date: 15 Oct 99 - 05:42 PM

Rather than get into specific song discussions I'll just say many of the "two chord" songs listed above, depending on the artist, have three and four chords as written. Maybe we have thus discovered another avenue in what is "Traditional" & what is "Folk Music". For a long list of two chord songs give a listen to Cajun Folk Songs. Seventy or eighty years ago the German "button box" accordian was introduced to the Cajuns. The box is limited to two chords which changed the entire sound of Cajun music. As the box most often is in the key of "C" the Cajun fiddlers began to tune each of their strings down one note to allow ease of playing. The normal "D" string becomes "C". With a "C" box, "G" is the other chord. If an "F" is played by the fiddler the box has to fake it. A few Cajun tunes have three chords but the "feel" of the Cajun sound is lost as well as the "feel" of the French/Cajun classical beat. Zydico takes all this a bit beyond by instead using the Piano Accordian which can play in any key and allows standard three or more chord Rock & Roll tunes to be played with a pseudo Cajun flavor. Many Polka tunes German/Polish are also two chord songs. As mostly they are long dance tunes, to keep them from becoming mundane they are played alternately in two keys or four chords. Hint....Some fiddles take the above de-tuning quite well....some/most don't....so if any of you fiddlers have a fiddle with a sound you are dissatisfied with, tune it to a Cajun tuning and see if it improves. If it does it has much more value on the Cajun market. Sell it to a Cajun...buy the new one you have your heart set on....new life for an old fiddle.....everybody is happy.


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Subject: RE: BS: Two chord songs
From: Roger in Baltimore
Date: 15 Oct 99 - 06:49 PM

"Row, row, row your boat" is a two-chorder that you can fudge into a one chord song. If I meet someone who wants to learn to play guitar, I teach 'em one chord and have them strum this song. Everyone knows the song. It is a round, so it can go on for a long time with its minimal words. Finally, because it is really a two chorder, the student begins to get a sense of how a melody "calls" for a chord change.

Roger in Baltimore


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Subject: RE: BS: Two chord songs
From: Frank Hamilton
Date: 16 Oct 99 - 03:29 PM

Two chords. "Skip To My Lou" ..."Go Tell Aunt Rhody" "Rocka-my Soul In the Bosom of Abraham"..."Good News, Chariot's A-comin." "Mary Had A Little Lamb" perhaps Frere Jacques (could be a one-chorder except for "Din dan din"...Leadbelly's version of "The Grey Goose"....."Shalom Chaverim" (In the key of D minor, Dmin and A min.) "Hot Cross Buns" (Old English) "Hey Ho Nobody Home" ......"Mississippi Sawyer" (some throw in a IV chord but you don't need to) "Hoky Dinkum" otherwise known as "M'Seiur Banjo"...."Tom Dooley"......."What Will We Do With The Drunken Sailor" .......Of course all of these songs could contain more chords if someone wanted to add them.

Frank Hamilton


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Subject: RE: BS: Two chord songs
From: Frank Hamilton
Date: 16 Oct 99 - 03:31 PM

I forgot "Old Chisholm Trail" and "The Sow Took The Measles" and "Groundhog"


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Subject: RE: BS: Two chord songs
From: bseed(charleskratz)
Date: 16 Oct 99 - 07:23 PM

"The Streets of Laredo" can be played with just the I and V chords--Frank's mention of "Old Chisholm Trail" reminded me of it. --seed


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Subject: RE: BS: Two chord songs
From: 53
Date: 15 Mar 02 - 06:20 PM

Rainy Day Woman by Waylon Jennings


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Subject: RE: BS: Two chord songs
From: GUEST,Argenine
Date: 16 Mar 02 - 11:35 AM

I agree with Bill D., Mountain Tyme, and Frank H. that many "2-chord song" can be done with more, if you're inclined. I make a distinction, though, (which is not always hard and fast) between songs that can get by with only 2 chords and songs that really only need two chords.
Lots of songs really sound better with added 7ths, minors, minor 7th and 4ths, even though they could be sort of played with 2 chords.

Songs I play with only 2 chords and really don't feel need any more include:
Sinner Man
Drunken Sailor
I Ride An Old Paint
Fiddler On The Roof (Theme song) [Sheet music gives 3, but I see no need for anything but E and F]
Alouette
She Moved Through the Fair
Rocka-my Soul In the Bosom of Abraham
Skip To My Lou
Go Tell Aunt Rhody

"2-chord songs" that I really think benefit from added chords include:
Mary Had A Little Lamb
Shalom Chaverim" [I use Am, Dm, and E(7)]
Hey Ho Nobody Home ( I use Am, Dm, and G)
Tom Dooley (adding a 7th helps)
900 Miles
Doggie In the Window (I use G, Em, D and D7)
Down In The Valley (G, D, D7)
Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star [C, C7, F, G(7)]
Jambalaya (I guess I only use G, D, D7, but I 'cheat' by playing melody licks that deviate a bit from the basic chord pattern)
Pasture of Plenty is similar. I think I use 3 chords (don't have a guitar handy now, so I'm reconstructing from finger memory), but I do various runs that add notes to those chords.

Rounds often use simplified chords so they can be sung that way. If you play the natural or obvious chord progression to some songs, they won't work as rounds, but if you do them a capella, they work fine. Same thing for "partner songs." A case in point:
"Hard Times Come Again No More" can be sung as a partner song to "Cottonfields," if done a capella or with the appropriate 3 chords. On the other hand, if you add some of the supplemental chords to "Hard Times," it screws up "Cottonfields."


In other words, if a song played with 2 chords sounds like it's being played by a beginning guitar student, I don't think it's essentially a 2-chord song. But there are some songs for which even good guitarists use only two chords.

Arge


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Subject: RE: BS: Two chord songs
From: GUEST,_gargoyle
Date: 16 Mar 02 - 12:29 PM

Nice additions to an old thread. I'm going to play around with some of these new ones (forgotten by me)immediately.

The beauty of a "two chorder" is that a beginner has something....but it also has a foundation upon which a performer can experiment and play around, and just generally have fun.

Argenine - your example of Jambalaya - is precisely such a tune. It can begin slow, simple and haunting, and then an accidental is thrown in, the tempo increased, a three note blues-slide slips between, and by the sixth time through...a "quite lullaby" has turned into a "crazed, drunken, tarrantella" sloshing in beer and creole-sauce.

(Cripes- it is hard to imagine it has now been over three years since my "banishment" by mad Max and my needing to resort to dots and dashes to make postings. Too many, thin skinned, drunken royalists in those days - and a clueless moderator.)

Nice to see Roger/Mr.Seed/Wolfie's names again, like petals of dried pressed flowers from a love-in.


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Subject: RE: BS: Two chord songs
From: 53
Date: 16 Mar 02 - 11:12 PM

Down in the valley.


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Subject: RE: BS: Two chord songs
From: GUEST,Pixie
Date: 17 Mar 02 - 09:24 AM

"I Ride an Old Paint" - 2 chords.....

Pixie


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Subject: RE: BS: Two chord songs
From: GUEST,CraigS
Date: 17 Mar 02 - 03:34 PM

The first thing I thought of was Highway 61 Revisited, by the same author as Rainy Day Women numbers 12 & 35, which is not Waylon Jennings, but Mr Zimmermann


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Subject: RE: BS: Two chord songs
From: toadfrog
Date: 17 Mar 02 - 03:53 PM

Almost any mixolydian song goes with two chords, say G and F.

Old Joe Clark
We Poor Laboring Men

"Pearl Bryan" is a one chord song. Almost, a one-note song.


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Subject: RE: BS: Two chord songs
From: wysiwyg
Date: 17 Mar 02 - 09:09 PM

Go visit the RECORD LADY and look up "I Remember Calvary" by Ernest Stoneman, in the SONG INDEX, then find it to listen to the recording in time for Easter. You can play along; the chords are E flat and B flat. (Capo to it.)

~Susan


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Subject: RE: BS: Two chord songs
From: 53
Date: 17 Mar 02 - 10:29 PM

Church in the wildwood. Waylon Jennings did Rainy Day Woman, and Bob Dylan did Rainy day women.


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Subject: RE: BS: Two chord songs
From: Bert
Date: 17 Mar 02 - 10:45 PM

Hey Garg ol' budy. I'd just love to hear you play Jambalaya. I bet you're bloody good.

(Cripes, why the hell don't you just give our Mad Max a call, and resolve your problems?)

Bert.


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Subject: RE: BS: Two chord songs
From: richlmo
Date: 17 Mar 02 - 11:00 PM

Lonesome Reuben


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Subject: RE: BS: Two chord songs
From: GUEST,SlickerBill
Date: 18 Mar 02 - 12:37 AM

"Copperhead Road" by Steve Earle; D and G. If you don't have a mando player if you capo up to X you can play the hook nicely and give the illusion of a mando, and the other folks play in C and F.


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Subject: RE: BS: Two chord songs
From: 53
Date: 18 Mar 02 - 12:23 PM

Copperhead Road is a great song.


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Subject: RE: BS: Two chord songs
From: Mark Ross
Date: 18 Mar 02 - 12:37 PM

Someone mentioned PASTURES OF PLENTY. Woody only played ONE chord the whole way through. He played a D(actually a C capoed up two frets).

Mark Ross


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Subject: RE: BS: Two chord songs
From: Knitpick
Date: 19 Mar 02 - 01:03 AM

One of my favorite 2-chorders is "Red Apple Juice," which is in Em, goes along in that chord for a while, then hits that G just when you're getting really tense from the damned Em, then right back to the Em for more musical tension. A perfect example of how musical tension is built, in fact.

Bob Clayton


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Subject: RE: BS: Two chord songs
From: GUEST,Hilary,not logged in
Date: 19 Mar 02 - 08:59 AM

I've (tried to ) put chords to Blackwater Side. At first it sounded pretty good with just E & G (G for first half of 2nd & fourth lines), but I reckon it needs something else, but I'm damned if I know what. I think it ought to stay simple - to support the melody but not fight for attention in it's own right.

When does elegant simplicity become just boring.

Also, can anyone tell me why E & G work ????

Maybe I should apologise for music theory in a BS thread ???? (Big grin)

Argenine, hi, I'm pleased you nominated 'She Moved Through The Fair' for the 2-chord category. After playing around for weeks with complicated (for me at any rate) progressions I simplified it all down to D and C, (though I do sneak a G into the fourth line .)

Hilary


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Subject: RE: BS: Two chord songs
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 19 Mar 02 - 12:59 PM

Banish Misfortune. D and C.


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Subject: Index of two chord songs in Rise Up Singing I
From: wysiwyg
Date: 25 Jul 02 - 02:10 PM

I made a quick pass through Rise Up Singing for some beginners we are starting here, looking for two-chord songs. The following are the ones I found-- probably not complete, maybe a few errors crept in, but a starting point anyway if you are using RUS.

The index I made does not include songs from the posts above that do appear in RUS, but appear there as needing more than two chords.

I have not played through all these myself, yet-- no guarantees the RUS arrangements are correct.

~S~

===============================================================

INDEX OF TWO CHORD SONGS IN RISE UP SINGING

Ain't Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me Around
Alouette
Aunt Rhody

Beans In My Ears
Bheir Me O
Buffalo Boy
Buffalo Gals

Carry It On
Clementine

Down In The Valley
Drunken Sailor

Factory Girl
Farewell To Tarwathie

Gallo Song
Go To Work On Monday
Good News, Chariot's A-Comin
Green, Green Rocky Road"

He's Got The Whole World
Hey Ho Nobody Home
Hold On
Hot Time In The Old Town Tonight
Hush Little Baby

I Know The Lord's Laid His Hands On Me
I Ride An Old Paint
I've Got The Joy
Itsy Bitsy Spider

Jig Along Home
Joshua

Light Is Returning

Mercedes-Benz
More We Get Together
My Dreydl
My Home's Across The Blue Ridge Mountains

Old Joe Clark

Paddy On The Railway
Pastures Of Plenty
Pick A Bale O'cotton
Prairie In The Sky
Puttin' On The Style

Roll The Union On

Seven Joys Of Mary
Shady Grove
Shortnin' Bread
Sinner Man
Skip To My Lou
Sodeo
Standin' In The Need Of Prayer
Sur Le Pont D'avignon
Sweet Potatoes

There's A Hole In The Bottom Of The Sea
Throw It Out The Window

Wade In The Water
Waltz Across Texas
Wheels On The Bus

Zum Gali Gali

=============================================


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Subject: RE: Two chord songs
From: GUEST,someone who really wants to play this song!
Date: 10 Dec 10 - 02:36 PM

can someone post the two chords that are in "aint gonna let nobody turn me round" in tab formation, please?


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Subject: RE: Two chord songs
From: GUEST,Morgana
Date: 10 Dec 10 - 04:42 PM

Yes, "Farewell to Tarwathie" is a two chord song in the above format. It was the first one I learned to play on the guitar, with A and D chords. I've since transposed it to E and A, as it is in Rise up Singing: A and D is a little high for my voice.

I sometimes also play "Masters of War," this way, with Em and Am, although one should really have a D in there.


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