Watch the Rag Mama Rag online guitar lesson by Paul Rishell from Dirt Road Blues
Let's take on "Rag Mama Rag" by Blind Boy Fuller (ARC New York 1935). Blind Boy Fuller (born Fulton Allen) (July 10, 1907 - February 13, 1941) was born in Wadesboro, North Carolina. He died at age 33, in Durham, North Carolina, either from a bladder infection, blood poisoning or pneumonia. Fuller recorded over 120 sides for Decca and ARC. He is the primary exponent of the Piedmont style of Virginia and the Carolinas.
Many of the Piedmont blues songs are distinguished by a more lighthearted, engaging quality than the deep Delta or driving Texas blues, using lively dance tempos and jazzier chord changes, such as 2-5 changes or a diminished chord now and then. "Rag Mama Rag" is fun to play, because it's pretty straight ahead in terms of singing and playing, and it has those cool stop times in it. We're in standard tuning, capoed up three frets.
The chords are C7, A7, D7 and G7 and we're playing an alternating bass pattern, with the melody on the top strings. The turnaround at the end is similar to the Robert Johnson cliche turnaround.