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Dirty-South Blues Harp forum: wail on! > Where Did You Sleep Last Night - I have questions
Where Did You Sleep Last Night - I have questions
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79 posts
Oct 06, 2023
8:22 PM
“Where Did you Sleep Last Night” is a fantastic harp tune. But a controversy has broken out in our group. We have dropped the tune down to the key of “D” for our vocalist, and we have done a mash-up, starting with “In The Pines” (sometimes called “The Longest Train”) in D Major as played by Bill Monroe, and then in the middle of the song go all snarly and dark with the Leadbelly/Nirvana version. It’s a lot of fun to watch as the audience wonders what happened to their happy Appalachia old-timey tune.

Anyway, the controversy is, what the heck is Leadbelly’s version – if you drop it down, it appears to be in D Minor. But some in our group say it is D Dorian. All I know is I can start playing a D harp when we play aka. Bill Monroe, and then swap to the “G” second position for Leadbelly, and then swap again to a “C” harp for the finish.

If you’re into this sort of thing, give a listen to Bill Monroe, Leadbelly, and Kurt Cobain and let’s hear what you think.
10424 posts
Oct 07, 2023
6:22 PM
I don't have all my keys handy, but a C Paddy Richer works nice on it... in 5th, and now my brain is trying to work out what that means... I've only ever considered Paddy in terms of 1st and 4th. 5th would usually be Phrygian, but it's listed online as F major, which would mean 2nd would be Mixolydian... I'd have to whip out the charts and tab it out because I'm playing some bends. I'm sure I'm no longer doing Phrygian, but I'm not sure if I'm in Dorian or Natural minor. I do like it better on a C Paddy than a regular G in 2nd.

Edit- but that's not dropped down... so you'd have to adjust for that. If the Leadbelly is usually in F and you've dropped it down to D, A Paddy might work? (I'm supposed to hang out with some friends for game night right now, but I'll try to think more on this later.)

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First Post- May 8, 2009

Last Edited by nacoran on Oct 07, 2023 6:25 PM
1690 posts
Oct 08, 2023
7:32 AM
I play this tune regularly, in E, and use the standard A/E approach, which I think works just fine (giving it a bluesy touch, rhymes with the G chord) -- but I might also switch to a D harp for 3d pos if I want to wail.
I´m pretty sure Leadbelly´s versions are major, unless there are some I haven´t heard.

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