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Harmonica Lessons: "The Work Song"

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[MUSIC]
Just by special request I've had
a few people ask me about this tune.
And this was something that I used
to love when I was younger and
was listening to Paul Butterfield.
It's called the Work Song and
it's written by Nat Adderley who is,
was Cannonball Adderley's brother.
Cannonball was a very famous alto sax
player who played with Miles Davis
then had his own quintet for
years with his brother Nat.
And they had a whole bunch of
hit songs that were very bluesy
in the world of jazz.
Mercy, Mercy was one of them and
this was the other big hit, the Work Song.
Now when Paul Butterfield played this
tune, he played the melody like this.
Now I'm gonna use a C harp and
play it in G, in cross harp.
It's really in G minor.
He played it in F on a B flat which was
the original tune, the original key.
But some of you here might
not have a B flat harp so
I'll try to be democratic and
have it in G.
So this tune goes.
[MUSIC]
That's the part that
Paul Butterfield didn't
play because he couldn't play it.
Now if he had known about the over blows
and stuff, he might have tried it.
But he didn't back in 1965 or 6 whenever
the East & West album was recorded.
And so the way that you can
play it without over blows,
to play it correctly,
[MUSIC]
just go down.
[MUSIC]
You can play it there,
because that's what the original is,
it's the major seventh.
[MUSIC]
Cuz it goes along with the
[MUSIC],
it's bluesy with a major seven and
then it goes.
[MUSIC]
And
then it goes.
And different people play this
part of it different ways.
[MUSIC]
Some people play it that way.
The original goes like this.
[MUSIC]
That's what it is and
then,
[MUSIC]
so, I think it's okay to
play it either way.
This is one of these tunes that,
it's almost like a piece of folk music
that everyone you hear who records it,
records it a little differently.
And Oscar Brown, Jr.,
the great jazz vocalist from Chicago,
wrote lyrics to it about a guy
working on a chain gang in a prison.
And he's got a long, long,
way to go before he gets out.
It's kinda grim.
And Herb Alpert had a hit with
it with the Tijuana Brass too,
done in the totally
different rhythmic style.
But this is that heavy,
it's kind of a shuffle with the back beat.
But these guys were very
advanced jazz musicians.
And so when you play a tune like this,
you can play bluesy.
But you gotta pick up on the nuances
of the chord changes, and
I played it a bunch of different ways.
So when I solo I'm gonna
play the Dorian mode.
[MUSIC]
I'm gonna play that
melodic minor,
[MUSIC]
and then,
[MUSIC]
and then the diminished scale.
[MUSIC]
That should be altered scale.
[MUSIC]
And then the,
[MUSIC]
the diminished scale.
You'll hear all of these parts
of the jazz idiom creeping in.
You can listen to Cannonball and
now play it too.
You can find that on YouTube.
So, here it is with me, myself,
and I, and I hope you enjoy it.
And I tried to make a backing track so
that you wouldn't get lost.
And so I included some of
the melody in the track as well and
then some back beats.
So, here we go.
[MUSIC]
two, three.
[MUSIC]
It's
just a
16-bar
chord
progression.
[MUSIC]
So I
put
a
tag
on
the
ending
of
three
times.
[MUSIC]
The second time.
[MUSIC]
And then the third time.
[MUSIC]
And then a stay on that chord.
Be bluesy for a while.
[MUSIC]
That's the flat six to the five to
the one.
[MUSIC]
So good luck.
[MUSIC]