Willie Dixon - chord progression (likes to sit on the one chord)

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by mav, Dec 21, 2014.

  1. mav


    Jun 10, 2003
    Been watching some old blues clips on youtube and noticed when Willie Dixon is singing he'll just sit on the one chord. Of course Willie's the man and can play what the hell he likes. I find it really entertaining to see what the other band member do eg, follow along and sit on the one chord or subtlety imply the blues progression.

    I personally love it because it keeps the band on there toes but if i did this i would no doubt get dirty looks from the band.
    Do any blues players get away with sitting on the one chord?
  2. AndrewFord


    Aug 11, 2012
    Los Angeles area
    Endorsing Artist: Line 6, TC Electronics, Yamaha, Elixir Strings
    Although the blues can sit on one chord, if you listen close he goes to the 4 and 5 in this song, just not at traditional points in the progression. Willie was a masterful blues singer, songwriter and bassist. As far as getting away with it today, many bands have covered Willie Dixon songs including Spoonful which is actually a one chord song with a riff covered by Cream among others, and something I have played many times with the great guitarist Robben Ford
    Whousedtoplay likes this.
  3. mambo4


    Jun 9, 2006
    yeah I hear the IV and V in there.
    he may not be following the typical 12 bar formula,
    but when the vocals need it, he's moving to those other roots.
  4. mav


    Jun 10, 2003
    Yep he does throw in the odd IV and V, still holds the I for a long time.
  5. Bob-I


    Sep 12, 2014
    I agree it's not what we've come to know as a standard Blues progression, but he does go through I IVand V?

    One difference is he doesn't lead the chord change with the bass note. For example he sometimes plays the IV starting on the 5th. In the first song he plays G and D while on the I chord, then when he goes to the IV he plays C and G, not the other way around.
  6. Pelao


    Dec 7, 2014
    in C major:

    If the bass plays C and keys play C, it implies C.

    If the bass plays C and the keys play F, it implies a CM13 or an F in second inversion.

    If the bass plays C and keys play G, it implies CM9 or a Gsus/G11.

    If the bass plays F and the keys play C, it implies Csus/CM11 or FM9.

    If the bass plays G and the keys play C, it can imply C in second inversion or Gsus/G11.

    So, if half the group is moving, the chords are still being implied. The cool thing is that you have much more flexibility with harmony when you open up the chords like that. The combination of implied form plus implied harmony can be really powerful for tension/release.
    mav likes this.