Jamming Along With My Pops…”Blues For The Road”

As I’ve mentioned, my father John “Toad” Andrews played guitar with the late 60’s/70’s group Mother Earth for many years. Mother Earth was formed by lead vocalist Tracy Nelson in the bay area in the mid-60’s, with other San Francisco groups in the scene there like the Grateful Dead, Big Brother and the Holding Company, and the Jefferson Airplane. But Mother Earth was always heavily blues and R & B, never really part of the psychedelic music scene. They put out quite a few records between ’68 and the mid-70’s, when Tracy really went solo under her own name.

For a while, vocalist “Reverend” Ronald Stallings sang with the band as well. I’ve always loved this song he sings off of the 1969 album, “Make A Joyful Noise”. My father plays this really fonky guitar part on the intro and throughout the track, with an especially cool breakdown part halfway through. He always played a 1950’s blackguard Telecaster, and gets that classic tone through a late 50’s Fender Bassman. Also, Boz Scaggs played in the band at this time, and he is playing a nice “chink” style rhythm behind my pops.

The song is in F# and has a basic progression, going from I-IV-I-V and then to the b7. He’s playing a 7th chord triad shape, walking up on the open low E string to the F# at the 2nd fret. He then plays the same part dropped down on the A string for the 4, 5, and then up to the flat 7 (E7) at the 7th fret as well. I plan on doing a short lesson on this one soon…until then, enjoy it and see if you’re able to pick it out yourself!

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