Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Sittin' on top of the world, part 3


The composition of "Sittin' On Top Of The World" is a common thread in the blues. The structure, or basic melody, of the song has been used by many other musicians in songs of their own. Folks with book-learnin' about such things call it a "song family". The song's tune is borrowed by succeeding musicians in a song of their own. In fact, it is very likely that the Mississippi Sheiks may have borrowed the tune themselves.

I've tried to tap my memory for some other songs that use the same basic tune. I was a little surprised at the number of songs that use the same chord progression and basic melody, regardless of key. The common chord progression I hear in each of these songs (with small variations) is: I-I7-IV-iv(or bVI)-I-V7-I-I(or V7).

Here are a few of the songs that I have found. Give each a listen and compare them with the original by the Mississippi Sheiks. A simple comparison can be done by singing the lyrics to "Sittin' On Top Of The World" to yourself while you listen to each of these songs. I'd be willing to bet that some of the astute riders on the Bus can add to my findings.

Robert Johnson - Come On In My Kitchen.mp3
1936

Big Bill Broonzy - Worrying You Out Of My Mind.mp3
1932

Tampa Red - It Hurts Me Too.mp3
1949

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