Take Me To The River chords



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 songwriters should take note here of how Take Me To The River’s chord progression create and release tension.


Take Me To The River chords and lyrics


Chords for Take Me To The River

The intro chords use all kinds of extensions in order to capture what the strings did on the original recording.

| E E7 | E7 | E E6 E7 | E E7 E6 E |
| E | E7 | E7 | E7 |
| E Aadd9/E E7 | E E7 Aadd9/E | E | E7 |

Verse 1’s chord progression with lyrics looks like this.

| E7 | E7 D5 A5 |
I don’t know why I love you like I do,
| E7 | E7 D5 A5 |
after all these changes that you put me through.
| E7 | E7 D5 A5 |
You stole my money and my cigarettes,
| E7 | E7 D5 A5 G |
and I haven’t seen hide nor hair of you yet.

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. With lyrics, it looks like this:

| C Csus4 C Csus2 | G Gsus4 G | D5 | A A6 A7 A6 | A A6 A7 A6 | 2/4 A7 |
I wanna know, won’t you tell me, am I in love to stay?

This is a movement of 5th’s, as a cycle of 4th movement but backward, 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 | E7 E6 |
Take me to the river, and wash me down.
| E7 E6 E | E7 E6 | E7 E6 E | E7 |
Won’t you cleanse my soul, put my feet on the ground.

Verse 2 adds a G before we return to the E throughout. This G could also be seen as an Em, it’s so quick as it appears on the 4 & beat.

||: E7 | E7 D5 A5 G5 :||
I don’t know why she treated me so bad,
Look at all those things that we could have had.
Love is a notion that I can’t forget,
my sweet sixteen I will never regret.

Bridge 2 has some variations in the chords.

| C | G C/G G6 G5 | D5 Dsus4 D5 | A A6 A A6 | A A6 A7 A6 | 2/4 A7 |
I wanna know, won’t you tell me, am I in love to stay?

The next chorus is the same as before. The m8 section first finds E major’s VI chord as it moves:

| C#m | Aadd9 | C#m | Asus2 |
Hold me, love me, please me, tease me,
| G5 | B7 | B7 | B7 |
till I can’t, till I can’t, take no more.

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

The m8 is followed by a chorus and verse using the same chords as before. Only the bridge is once again updated with more variations to its chords.

| C | G G6 G5 | D5 | A A6 A A6 | A A6 A7 A6 | 2/4 A7 |
I wanna know, won’t you tell me, am I in love to stay?

Finally, the outro chorus and end are largely the same as before, find variation by changing shapes of the E, E6, and E7 chords.

In the advanced acoustic guitar course, we dissect Take Me To River over eight step by step guitar lessons as you get what you really need the most in order to pay it, TAB.


Course preview (Guitar Lesson – Step 1)

In the first video above, starting at 3:50, you find a preview of Take Me To The River’s guitar lesson, it’s the beginning of step 1’s guitar lesson.

In this first step, we look at the progression, what the bass line, the horns, and the string lines are. This is what we use to create the one acoustic guitar arrangement.

Below are the basic chord progressions for each section. To get the transcriptions for the bass line, the horns, and string lines, as well as access to all other guitar lessons on how to play Take Me To River, sign up here.


Take Me To The River – Guitar Lessons

Take Me To The River is complex to grasp since what we attempt here is to replicate an entire soul band on just one acoustic guitar.

To get there we simply break all of it down into smaller chunks and practice to individual loops.

Go to Take Me To The River guitar lessons.


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.


Advanced Acoustic – 10 Songs

You can learn how to play these 10 advanced acoustic songs!

Angels, Blackbird, Cannonball, I Shot The Sheriff, Over The Rainbow, Roxanne, Scarborough Fair, Sunshine Of Your Love, Take Me To The River, and Wish You Were Here.

Go to Advanced Acoustic Songs.