Phone Booth – Robert Cray

Here’s a great example of a blues song using less common chord shapes and some nice variations on the basic 12 bar blues.

If you’re not yet comfortable with the 12 bar blues click here to get up to speed then come back here.

Backing track

You can see that this progression is still a blues because it has the right number of bars and the big changes occur in the usual places, but there’s quite a movement away from the usual basic structure.

You might not choose this song as the first port of call in a blues jam ‘cos it might alienate some of the people who don’t do fancy.  I include it because its such a good example of how you can clearly play a blues without really being restricted.

If you stretch things any further you end up with stuff like Everything Must Go by Steely Dan.  Now, to me this is clearly bluesy, but have a listen and see if you think it’s a blues.  You can leave comments below.

Lyrics

I’m in a phone booth, baby, Number scratched on the wall
I’m in a phone booth, baby, Number scratched on the wall
I’m new in Chicago, Got no one else to call

Been walkin’ all day, For old friends, I can’t find
Heart’s so cold, Had to buy me some wine
Calling you, baby, Took my very last dime

I’m in a phone booth, baby, Number scratched up on the wall
I’m in a phone booth, baby, Number scratched on the wall
I’m new in Chicago, Got no one else to call

Said, call Big Rita, Anytime, day or night
You know I’m broke and I’m cold, baby, And I hope you’ll treat me right
I’m in a phone booth, baby, With the cold wind right outside