Friday, March 25, 2011

Homegrown Radio 3/25/11 – John Hayes

Happy Friday!  I’m checking in for my final turn at Homegrown Radio—thanks everybody for your encouragement & support.  I’ve had nice, complimentary feedback on the songs & that really meant a lot to me.

The last song is my take on Charlie Patton’s “Banty Rooster Blues,” a song he recorded at his first studio session in 1929 in Richmond, Indiana.  Interestingly, he also recorded “Peavine Blues” at that session, which is very similar in terms of riffs.  In fact, when the great Rory Block recorded a cover of “Peavine Blues,” she combined the lyrics of the two songs.

Lyrically, I stick close to Patton’s original, but the musical arrangement is fairly different.  For one thing, I play the song in open D (capoed to the key of E), whereas Patton played it in open G.  You might think that a song played on a guitar in one open tuned key would be the same as in another open tuned key, but because the notes on the open strings have different relationships to each other, this is not the case.  For instance, the lowest bass string & highest treble in string in open D are both the tonic note—they are the note D, while in open G, these same strings are the fifth tone of the G chord (again, the note D).  This means that riffs in one open tuning don’t transfer easily to the other.

I posted a video version of “Banty Rooster Blues” some time ago, & as the videos went, it wasn’t a bad version.  This one is better, however: for one thing, I did a lot of work over the winter to ensure that I was playing in better keys for my voice, & found that I was tending to pitch songs a bit low.  So rather than singing songs in D as much as I used to, I’ve moved many of them up to Eb, E & F.  By & large these can all be played on an instrument tuned in open D with the use of a capo. 

I’m expecting to announce a very exciting musician for next month’s Homegrown Radio, but I’ll hold off on the actual announcement until everything is 100% for sure—please stay tuned!

& in the meantime, hope you enjoy “Banty Rooster Blues!”


  1. It has been a most enjoyable series. I enjoyed the latest song so much it has now been downloaded to my iPhone. Looking forward to the next series.

  2. This is great, John. And doesn't the guitar sound good? I love that series of falling notes.

  3. This is great, John. And doesn't the guitar sound good? I love that series of falling notes.

  4. Hi Alan & Dick

    Alan: So glad you've enjoyed it, & also much appreciate that you liked "Banty Rooster Blues" well enough to download it!

    Dick: Thanks! The falling notes aren't from Patton's arrangement--something I came up with myself.

  5. Hi Heather: Thanks! Your enthusiasm for the music on "RFD Blues" has meant a lot to me!


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