there seemed to be an awful lot of versions of this out there and none of them quite
i'm not saying mine is the defninitive version, far from it, but what i've done here is
the correct lyrics (transcribed from the version on The Best of Leadbelly) and get the
positions down so you can easily transcribe it to whatever key best fits your voice
done D here). it uses and standard blues I, IV, V chord progression but in slightly
order, so to change key just transcribe it as a I IV V. listen to the song to get the
right, its basically just alternating bass fingerpicking with little mini bass runs
in preceding the chord changes. beautiful, timeless song and a great way to
Asked your mother for you
She told me that you was too young
I wish, dear Lord, that Iíd never seen your face
D A D
Iím sorry you ever was born.
Goodnight, Irene, Goodnight, Irene
D A D
Iíll get you in my dreams.
Sometimes I live in the country,
Sometimes I live in town.
Sometimes I haves a great notion
D A D
To jump into the river and drown.
Stop rambliní and stop gambliní
Quit staying out late at night
Go home to your wife and your family
D A D
Stay down by the fireside bright
I loves Irene, God knows I do
Love her till the sea runs dry
If Irene turns her back on me
D A D
Iím gonna take morphine and die
-i wouldn't put too much effort into getting it to sound exactly like leadbelly for a
reasons: he's playing a 12 string and so has the octave-high drones on every string, he
likely playing a guitar tuned at least a full step down or possessive of poor quality
heads that slipped constantly with the travel he did, and the original recording was
on wax cylinder so the fidelity is considerably less than perfect which gives it that
rough acoustic blues edge but makes it a pain to mimic. plus blues tradition was more
on individual artists giving their own touches to a lot of communal traditional songs,
fool around with it and make a version you can really call your own.
-the first instance of the IV chord (here an A) in the verses is always a 7th, but the
instance is not. the recording was too old and grainy for me to be 100% certain of this,
the second instance is only held for a split second anyway so i doubt anyone will
if you like to play it faster you can probably get away with the old blues trick of
the A chord instead of actually playing it by just hitting [x022xx], [x02xxx] or any
simple voicing of A.
-for a nice, subtle variation you can substitute Gsus  for the G wherever you
didn't experiment with how this sounds in other keys with other suspended chords because
supposed to be writing an essay for literature class and i'm really just tabbing this to
tabbed by the-ian