Corey Harris

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Big Road Blues

Lesson 1

Corey Harris Lesson >

Big Road Blues > Lesson 1

I hope you enjoy playing this tune as much as I do. It is a very simple, straightforward song but as always, pay close attention to the rhythm of the tune and the tempo. Check out the original version on youtube. Tommy Johnson was one of my favorite Delta bluesmen. Good luck.

Topics and/or subjects covered in this lesson:
Drop D Tuning
Corey Harris
Tommy Johnson
Drop D Tuning
Delta Blues

Print Print Chords & Tab

Background listening: Big Road Blues by Tommy Johnson

loop @ 1:15 drop D tuning 

loop @ 1:34 run through 

loop @ 4:40 breakdown of song

loop @ 9:30 part to practice this week

$6.0 $1.2 $4.0 $2.3 $6.0.$1.1 1 $4.0 $2.3 | $6.0.$1.2 $2.3 $4.0.$1.1 2 $6.0 $4.0 |
$6.0 $4.0 $6.2 $4.2 $6.3 $4.3 $6.4 $4.4 | $6.0 $3.2.$2.3.$1.2 $6.2 $4.2 $6.3 $4.3 $6.4 $4.4 $6.0 |



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Jay Oct 14, 2018

Getting the rythm of the singing the way you do is way tricky, so I've adapted it a bit. Let me know what you think.

Corey Harris
Corey Harris Nov 08, 2018

I hear you. Yes it is tricky. I just listened to the Tommy Johnson version about ten million times... exaggerating, but a lot. I learned the guitar part and vocal part separately then put them together when I felt like I was getting it. I want to hear a little more rhythm in the's ok to take some small liberties but try and work on the vocal rhythm. The guitar sounds good as usual. To make it a little better, listen more closely to the different rhythms of each part and try to identify the accents used...for example in the first part on the 'one' chord' there is a little pickup note / accent on the 'and' just before the rhythm goes to the downbeat or ''the one'. Sounds good but keep working on it and it will even be better!

Jay Jul 25, 2016
$6.0.$1.2 $3.3 $4.0.$1.1 $1.2 $6.0 $1.2 $4.0 $6.0

I'm referring to your 2 lines of tab. what i've written here - that's the first line, second bar as I hear you play it, so the last note of this bar - the low D is on the off beat.

the second line first bar the first note would be the D (on 4th string), not the low D as written in your tab. Now the one beat falls in the right place.


Corey Harris
Corey Harris Jul 29, 2016

Thank you for posting that.  I will let the administrator know.

Peter Wolf
Peter Wolf Aug 26, 2012


Hey Correy,

I just got back.  I'm going to try to finish "Devil Got My Women" while I begin this.

This is also one of my favorite tunes.  Prehaps later we could do "Canned Heat" which has many of the same moves.

Quick question: I notice you moving your middle finger while playing the main riff.  It looks like you are playing a full D chord, and then quickly changing to a full G7.  Are you actually hitting the B with your thumb, like this

$6.0 $1.2 $4.0 $2.3 $6.2.$1.1 1 $4.2 $2.3 | $6.0.$1.2 $2.3 $4.0.$1.1 2 $6.0 $4.0

If not, why are you moving like that?

I'll post my attempt after I practice for a few days



Alex Barbera
Alex Barbera Aug 25, 2012

@Corey thanks...I like also Rory Block version....another great teacher, by the way!! :)))

@Mike...we're gettin better and better!!! :)

Corey Harris
Corey Harris Aug 23, 2012

@Mike...sounds like you got it.  Listen to other versions of the song on youtube (especially the Tommy Johnson version) to get more familiar with the tune.  Nice job.  I will post next video with foot-tapping ....  Thanks.

Corey Harris
Corey Harris Aug 23, 2012

@Alex...sounds like you are getting it.  Keep playing it and listen to other versions of the song on youtube.  That will help to get you more comfortable with the rhythm.  Good luck....

Mike Caren
Mike Caren Aug 23, 2012

Hi Corey,

Love the tune.  Here's where I am with the first parts.  I like concentrating on a part of the tune for the first lesson.  A very slow run through of all the sections with your foot tapping real loud would be perfect for me to learn / practice the rest of the parts.  Thanks!  

Alex Barbera
Alex Barbera Aug 22, 2012

Hy Corey...I'm startin workin on the tune....I'll try to sing too but I think I'll avoid the falsetto!!!! :DDD

Mike Caren
Mike Caren Aug 17, 2012

Love this tune Corey!  I'm taking those first two lines real slow and they seem to be coming along well.  The second line / walk up syncopation is a little tricky, but I think I'm going to get it this week.

Song reminds me of Taj's Sweet Mama Janisse on his The Real Thing album (one of my favorite albums) ... not sure exactly why ... I think it's the walk up.  Thanks!

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