You can learn how to play Take Me To The River by Al Green!

A fantastic blues/soul/gospel song by the legend that is Al Green is what we learn as song number 3 in the advanced acoustic course..

The way Take Me To The River blends chords with a bluesy feel in E, adding even more tension in the bridge to finally release harmonically in the m8, really is exceptional.

Budding song writers should take note here on how Take Me To The River’s chords create and release tension.


The verse chord progression is:

| E7 | E7 D A | on repeat.

Later on, horn stabs are included which could be seen as fitting a G chord in as well, or as an Em7 – E7 movement, further adding to the bluesy feel.

Other songs that use these chords are Back In Black, Parklife, and Get Back by the Beatles. Once you experienced the sound of the I (E) – bVIIx (D) – IV (A) progression, you’ll instantly recognize it.

The bridge section uses b and x chords to wander outside the key. Using roman numerals, they spell bVIx – bIIIx, before we play the now established bVIIx (D) – IV (A) again, like this:

| C | G | D | A |

This is a movement of 5th’s, like a cycle of 4th movement but backwards, another song that employs this is Wonderwall by Oasis.

The chorus is similar to the verse, although we don’t include the D and A.
Instead we vary the E7 with an E6, like this:

| E7 E6 E7 E | E7 E6 E |

The m8 section first finds E major’s VI chord as it moves:

| C#m | A | C#m | A | G | B7 |

This is the harmonic release the tension of previous sections craved, genius!

In the advanced acoustic guitar course, we dissect Take Me To River over eight step by step guitar lessons.

Take Me To The River – Guitar Lessons

You can learn how to play Take Me To The River by Al Green!

Step 1 (Chord progression)Step 2 (Verse)Step 3 (Bridge)Step 4 (Chorus)Step 5 (Intro, M8 & Outro)Step 6 (1st half of the song)Step 7 (2nd half of the song)Step 8 (Complete song).

Take Me To The River – Lyrics

I don’t know why I love you like I do,
after all these changes that you put me through.
You stole my money and my cigarettes,
and I haven’t seen hide nor hair of you yet.

Go to Take Me To The River – Lyrics.

Al Green – Biography

Al Green is an American gospel and soul singer who has enjoyed great popularity since the early 70s.

Among his hits, you’ll find Let’s Stay Together and Take Me To The River as well as covers of A Change Is Gonna Come, Unchained Melody, Light My Fire, and My Girl.

Go to Al Green – Biography.

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