The blues songs you’ll need to know depend on the type of jam you are going to. If it’s a “rocky” blues jam you may need certain songs. And if it’s a bit more sophisticated type of jam with better players, you better know some of the less common songs. But there are clearly a few songs you’ll hear sooner or later at every jam.
And if you have a blues band, it’s also good to have a few of the standards in your repertoire so you can keep the crowd happy. Playing the right song, and being able to play a request, can get that tip jar jumping.
Look Out For The Blues Nazis.
You know the blues nazis. There the ones that think only certain types of blues or certain types of songs are suitable for a blues band to play. They don’t have to make a living playing music so they think certain songs are beneath a good blues band. If you play Mustang Sally or Let The Good Times Roll, they’ll be giving you the hairy eyeball and talkin’ you down to the other nazis.
The hell with them!
There is a way to get them on your side and we’ll talk about that on other pages.
If you want to get and keep your audience’s attention then you may have to play some familiar blues songs. Once you got ’em then you can add a few of the less well-known songs to your set. Or maybe some originals. The blue nazis will like that (maybe).
Anyway, there are hundreds of blues songs that are very popular. Here’s a partial list of some of the top songs that are most requested in the blues. If you are learning to be a blues guitarist this is a good place to start. Some are very simple.
Also there’s some good books out there with chords and lyrics to the most common blues songs. Hall Leonard has a small paperback called “The Blues” that has over 250 songs in it. It’s worth having and I recommend it.
|The Blues – 2nd Edition
(Melody/Lyrics/Chords). By Various. For voice and C instrument. Hal Leonard Paperback Songs. Blues. Difficulty: easy-medium to medium. Fakebook. Vocal melody, lyrics, chord names and guitar chord guide. 256 pages. Published by Hal Leonard (HL.702014)
The Most Popular Blues Songs
Now this is the list of what I would consider the most popular blues songs. It’s not a list of the best blues songs or the most influential blues songs. That’s for the Blues Nazis to fight over. These are the songs, that in my opinion, are the most requested and best known songs in the blues. They are in no particular order, except the ones that came to mind first. Click on the link to learn how the song is played.
- Stormy Monday – T-Bone Walker
- Thrill Is Gone – B.B. King
- Pride and Joy – Stevie Ray Vaughan
- Sky Is Crying – Elmore James/Stevie Ray Vaughan
- Sweet Home Chicago – Robert Johnson/Blues Brothers
- Mustang Sally – Wilson Pickett
- Rock Me Baby – B.B. King
- Got My Mojo Working – Muddy Waters
- Let The Good Times Roll – Louis Jordan. B.B. King
- Cross Cut Saw – Albert King
- Dust My Broom – Elmore James
- Smokestack Lightning – Howlin’ Wolf
- Statesboro Blues – Blind Willie McTell/Allman Brothers
- One Way Out – Sonny Boy Williamson II/Allman Brothers
- Boom Boom – John Lee Hooker
- Born in Chicago – Paul Butterfield
- Hoochie Coochie Man – Muddy Waters
- Born Under A Bad Sign – Albert King
- Baby What You Want Me To Do – Jimmy Reed