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  #1  
Old 01-08-2020, 09:00 PM
Riverwolf Riverwolf is offline
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Default Mercedes Benz? (the song)

Hey all,
I was digging thru some old notebooks and found/remembered this song.
Problem is I have four different versions and none of them sound correct.
Google search for chords for a simple strumming version only leave me more confused.
Anyone have a version they like?
Thanks!
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  #2  
Old 01-08-2020, 09:38 PM
jseth jseth is offline
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Didn't Janis do this acapella? Don't know that I've ever even thought about the song with any accompaniment...

Shouldn't be more than a couple chords; three at most... pick a key that works for your voice and go from there... remember to keep it simple. Very easy to want to put more chords in it than is needed. A lot of the tune is the melody with a droning (constant) bass line, a bit like an old mountain folk song...
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and your mouth is working overtime..."

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Old 01-09-2020, 12:56 AM
DesertTwang DesertTwang is offline
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I thought we were talking about Hotel California...
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  #4  
Old 01-09-2020, 04:59 AM
JonPR JonPR is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Riverwolf View Post
Hey all,
I was digging thru some old notebooks and found/remembered this song.
Problem is I have four different versions and none of them sound correct.
Well, the original was unaccompanied so, in that sense, no version with chords added is going to be "correct".
Quote:
Originally Posted by Riverwolf View Post
Google search for chords for a simple strumming version only leave me more confused.
Anyone have a version they like?
Thanks!
Seems pretty easy to work out suitable chords, IMO. Just I and V will do - makes it sound more like an old blues tune or holler - although the third line lends itself to something more interesting. In structure, it's an old standard song form. (The melody sounds like it came from an old folk song, but the whole melodic form is very common and familiar anyway.)

Here's the basic outline:

Code:
   I
Oh Lord, won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz?
    I                            V
My friends all drive Porsches, I must make amends
       I
Worked hard all my lifetime, no help from my friends
    I                       V        I
So Lord, won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz?
And here's how it might work with fancier chords:

Code:
   I                        IV        I
Oh Lord, won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz?
    I                            ii         V
My friends all drive Porsches, I must make amends
       I           I7            IV          (IVm)
Worked hard all my lifetime, no help from my friends
    I              (vi)      V        I
So Lord, won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz?
Janis sang it in E flat, so if you want to strum along with her - and if you want to avoid too many barre chords - put a capo on fret 3 and try the following shapes. (Parentheses indicate options you may feel are just too fancy.)
Code:
   C                        F        C
Oh Lord, won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz?
    C                (Am7)       Dm(7)      G7
My friends all drive Porsches, I must make amends
       C           C7            F           (Fm)
Worked hard all my lifetime, no help from my friends
    C             (Am7)      G7       C
So Lord, won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz?
As for the rhythm, I hear it as a slow funky thing. She actually taps it in at around 78 bpm, but speeds up to around 90 by the second or third verse.

I guess you could double that, and turn it into a kind of rockabilly/bluegrass-type feel.
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  #5  
Old 01-09-2020, 09:39 AM
Riverwolf Riverwolf is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JonPR View Post
Well, the original was unaccompanied so, in that sense, no version with chords added is going to be "correct".
Thanks for your detailed response.

I have a handful of piano and "traditional" songs that I play on guitar.
I like that there is no wrong way to play them.
Even my Carter/Boom-chuck version of Sloop John B
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  #6  
Old 01-11-2020, 08:36 PM
mcmars mcmars is offline
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Default mercedes benz

I figured out a nice finger style version of this back in the 80's I like. I play it in G position with a capo on 2nd fret to match my vocals in key of A. I put in all the usual suspect 7ths, some run downs, hammer ons and some finger slide double stops to spice it up and it has always proven to be a wonderful crowd pleaser sing along. I doubt if any of the people in audience listening or singing even remember or know it was sung acappela by Janis, but it is a great classic and makes a wonderful guitar tune. I and is a great sing along as everyone seems to know the words by memory.
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  #7  
Old 01-11-2020, 09:10 PM
Fast Jimmy Fast Jimmy is offline
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Default MCMARS

Hi, You wouldn't have happen written out your efforts and feel like sharing a copy of it, would you?
Thanks, Fast Jimmy
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  #8  
Old 01-12-2020, 09:16 PM
mcmars mcmars is offline
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I felt a bit bad when writing my post wondering if someone would ask for more details on how I play MB. I stopped using tab back when I was a teenager and play and work out my tunes by ear. I learned a Piedmont picking roll from John Cephas in the 80's and now have my own style, thumb plays the beat and finger(s) do a syncopated melody against the thumb. I play a lot of triplets with the fingers and like a boogie woogie kind of sound. My thumb always goes with the beat, generally accenting the 2 and 4, as does most authentic blues music. A thumb pick can be very helpful to get the beat, tone and accent right, but not needed. Most the old timers did not use TP, but I think they help for most people and songs.

I will include below one of my charts. Maybe someone knows easy way to keep the spacing and add chords or melody notes without full on TAB. There is likely some is some songwriter software to help with this that could help me learn some new tricks. Feel free to share, god knows I need to update my stuff.

I pick out the melody with my ring and little finger and it ends up like you might expect if Memphis Minnie merged with Elizabeth Cotton, Miss John Hurt and John Prine, lol. The final line of each chorus and verse is where I do a turnaround in the first measure using thumb and finger pinches for a 2 string doublestop. It is very easy and sounds harder than it is and is what I would call the "signature" of the song.

In 4th line, first measure:

first beat, i slide up to a "G" by fingering pinky at 1st string 3rd fret and ring finger on the 4th string 5th fret and pinch simultaneously.

2nd beat, pinch 1st string open with middle finger on 2nd fret of 4th string.

3rd beat pinch 3rd fret 2nd string with pinky and open 4th string

4th beat is pinch both open 2nd and 4th strings together.

Easy fun turn around! Practice it a bunch till you get it without thinking about it. Then finish the last line by:

2nd measure going right into a G chord Piedmont roll for 4 beats.

3rd measure to D chord for 4 beats.

last measure is back to G chord with strong Piedmont roll.

Then start next verse of chorus/verse keeping the beat.

Few hints; I really like using a thumb wrap to fret the 2nd fret for D chord so you can alternate the beat with the roll. This is very important to get a nice D7 chord in cowboy position, I learned the wrap D7 chord from John Jackson, he called it, "Delta D", lol. If you want to learn Rev Gary Davis songs, be prepared to wrap thumb onto 1st fret for the F chord, same deal, bar F does not work as you have to be able to have some fingers free and ready to hammer out the melody line, besides who like bar F chords but masochists anyway? It might be tough at first but messing with the wrist angle some and hang it there, all you need is a muffled sound, it is blues and damping works just fine.

Damping with palm of right hand: John very lightly damped, not near as much as most old blues players damped. Mostly he let it ring out loud. I am thinking this is because John learned his blues playing for dancing parties in acoustic blues string bands and the whole point was to be heard, loud and clear. You can pick your sound and damp according.

Most the old timers and blues purist use only thumb and index finger. It does matter to get the tone, sound and timing, but do whatever you want. I go both ways depending on what I want to do or sound like. You can hit 2 strings at once with your index finger if you brush upward and you hear this a lot in blues. It does not sound same as using both index and middle to play 2 strings at once, food for thought???

Look up you tube John Cephas videos or his CD's to hear his great tunes, voice and sound. There are some YouTube videos of John teaching his style as he taught thousands of students Piedmont Blues. I know Rev Robert Jones has a free YouTube video (on truefire) on John Cephas's Piedmont roll technique that can get you "rolling", haha. John was a carpenter by trade and later in life finally got recognized for his incredible talent. John played with Phil Wiggins for 30+ years. Phil is still going strong and just won an incredible honor recently receiving the national endowment of arts heritage fellowship award putting him up there with his partner John, John Lee Hooker, BB King, Bill Monroe, Sonny Terry and Brownie McGee and many others. I am proud to say, Phil is a good friend of mine and I learned my harmonica from him back in the 80's. Phil is actively touring, so you can be able to see him if you love traditional blues.

Maybe someone can tell me how everyone records and attaches their music easily here, I can share my music with you. Maybe some links? I am healing from surgery and have some time now.

Hope this helps and thank for interest! BTW, I tweaked a few words to fit my phrasing and such.

Mercedes Benz
Key A, G position 2nd fret capo

Chorus:

Oh Lord, won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz
My friends all drive Porsche's, I must make amends
Worked hard all my life, no help from my friends
Oh Lord, won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz

Oh Lord, won't you buy me a color TV
Dialing For Dollars is trying to find me
I’ll wait for delivery each day until three
Oh, Lord, won't you buy me a color TV

Chorus

Oh, Lord, won't you buy me a night on the town
I'm counting on you Lord, please don't let me down
Prove that you love me and buy the next round
Oh Lord won’t you buy me a night on the town

Instrumental to chorus to outro


Quote:
Originally Posted by Fast Jimmy View Post
Hi, You wouldn't have happen written out your efforts and feel like sharing a copy of it, would you?
Thanks, Fast Jimmy

Last edited by mcmars; 01-13-2020 at 12:49 AM.
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  #9  
Old 01-15-2020, 08:11 PM
Fast Jimmy Fast Jimmy is offline
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Default mcmars

Thanks for your response. I'm not quite far enough along in my learning path to make total sense out of what you were so kind to write out. But, I'm going to work on it and see if I can figure out how to make it work for me.
FastJimmy
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