View Full Version : Two Chord Songs

Mark in Nevada City
May-05-2004, 1:36am
Hi y'all,
Grass Valley Festival is coming up next month and this year there's gonna be a mini music camp for kids. #Since I've got young boys (3 and 5) interested in going, I'm going to donate a little time and a few instruments. #The organizers are basically looking to introduce BG/Traditional music and instruments by teaching two chords (G and D) on various instruments for strum along/sing alongs. #

Can you guys and gals give me a hand with some addional material? #Most likely #I-V-I songs in G, but I guess we could try I-IV-I in D. And of course, one-chord songs could work too! #

All I could come up with off the top of my head was: I'm Working on a Building and Jimmy Brown the Newsboy (my first song BTW when I was 7), and Pretty Polly--not sure about murder ballads with this age group though!

TIA, cheers, mmm

Bruce Evans
May-05-2004, 5:09am
These all work with either C and G7 or D and A7
He's Got the Whole World in His Hands
Skip to My Lou
This is a ukulele site, but she has a whole list of two chord songs.

Dru Lee Parsec
May-05-2004, 10:32am
Hot corn cold corn. This is a great tune for kids (even though it's a moonshine song) because they love the "toenails are a' flyin" line.

Sally Goodin
Handsome Molly

May-05-2004, 1:00pm
Crazy Heart (I wish I didn't Love you)
Row, Row, Row, Your Boat
Sourwood Mountain

John Flynn
May-05-2004, 1:21pm
Bonaparte's March (not to be confused with other "Bonaparte" titles)
U.S. March
The Open Sea (Andy Statman)
Lady of the Lake
John Lovers Gone
Flying Indian
Martha Campbell
Wolf Creek

May-05-2004, 2:57pm
London Bridge
Polly Wolly Doodle
Buffalo Gals

Check out: http://guitar-primer.com/Folk/ http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/cool.gif

Willie Poole
May-06-2004, 4:53pm
One of my favorites...."I`ll Just Go Away"....Willie

May-07-2004, 11:23am
I second the Hot Corn, Cold Corn. I also like Polly Wolly Doodle -- good words (Behind the barn, down on my knees/I thought I heard a chicken sneeze...). It's another two-chorder.

For another three-chord song, Turkey in the Straw has some fun lyrics too (Well, I went out to milk but didn't know how/Milked the horse instead of the cow/Monkey sitting on a pile of straw/Winking at his mother-in-law/ Turkey in the hay...). I also like Camptown Races. I don't know about age ranges, cause I'm calibrated for two year olds; they like everything just as well as something else, as long as it's got a beat.

Mark in Nevada City
May-07-2004, 4:01pm
Thanks folks, I appreciate the help!
I've got a good list now, but if you think of any more fell free to throw um out there!

I also came up with "ain't no bugs on me" re-popularized by Grisman/Garcia (if indeed it ever was popular)--I seem to rembember hearing it on one of my dad's old greenbriar boys ablums (mayber the new lost city ramblers).

one things for sure, the "quirkier" the lyrics, the more kids like um.

Thanks again, mmm

May-13-2004, 11:36pm
I'm Going Back to Old Kentucky... the entire thing is just A and E. Good times. http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/biggrin.gif

May-14-2004, 12:07am
sally goodin is just A and E

Scott Tichenor
May-14-2004, 5:55am
"Take Me Back To Tulsa" is a I - V and has funny words kids might like.

Scotti Adams
May-14-2004, 6:19am
..nope..Sally Goodin is actually a three chord song...A D & E....there is a quick D in there....Ive heard oldtimers do it the 3 chord way as well as Rice and the boys...somewhere thru time the D has gotten lost..sounds good both ways but I prefer the 3 chord thing..sorta adds some swing sound to it..

May-14-2004, 6:30am
Someone mentioned Buffalo Gals, Aubrey burns it on one of his records. Each instrument break modulates keys.

jim simpson
May-14-2004, 6:33am
How about "Rubin's Train"?

Jay Bird
Feb-09-2011, 10:05pm
Two Cord Songs: Back from the Dead

Feb-09-2011, 10:44pm
Speaking of The Dead - "Franklin's Tower" (Roll Away The Dew) is a I - IV.

Plenty of I - V Cajun songs, if you want to go there. "Bayou Pompon" is a great tune, easily done bluegrass style. Someone said "Jambalaya," but there is also the song that was based on, "Grand Texas."

Feb-09-2011, 11:21pm
Angelina Baker


Feb-10-2011, 3:48pm
Check out Pete Wernick's website, I think he's got a list of 50-60 or so of them.

Feb-10-2011, 4:23pm
Instrumental whiz Harvey Reid, along with Joyce Andersen, did a project called The Song Train a while ago. It's a four-CD boxed set and 80-page booklet, covering 56 songs that use one or two chords. Here's (http://www.songtrain.net/) the Song Train website; it's also up on iTunes, I understand.

Jim Hilburn
Feb-10-2011, 4:30pm
Peter Rowan's "I'm gonna love you like there's no tomorrow".

Feb-10-2011, 10:53pm
"Ashes Of Love" by Hot Rize or anybody. I know some people like to throw in a passing chord between the I and the V, but I don't know if it was written that way.

Thought of a one chord song if you want to go there - "When The Levee Breaks" by Led Zeppelin, not the original by Memphis Minnie, which is a standard blues.