Sweet Georgia Brown

This is an online lesson for the fiddle tune "Sweet Georgia Brown."
This lesson is by special request for my friend David.

BluegrassDaddy.com is your best source for Bluegrass, Old Time, Celtic, Gospel, and Country fiddle lessons!

Genre: Bluegrass, Old Time
Skill Level: Intermediate, Advanced
Keys of G and F

You may download and use any of the MP3s and tablature for your personal use. However, please do not make them available online or otherwise distribute them.

NOTE: If multiple fiddle lessons and MP3s are loading at once, this page will get slow! I recommend that you refresh the page each time you open a new video or MP3.

Video #1: Here is a video of me performing the fiddle tune "Sweet Georgia Brown."

Sweet Georgia Brown - Online Fiddle Lessons. Celtic, Bluegrass, Old-Time, Gospel, and Country Fiddle. Sweet Georgia Brown - Online Fiddle Lessons. Celtic, Bluegrass, Old-Time, Gospel, and Country Fiddle. Sweet Georgia Brown - Online Fiddle Lessons. Celtic, Bluegrass, Old-Time, Gospel, and Country Fiddle. Sweet Georgia Brown - Online Fiddle Lessons. Celtic, Bluegrass, Old-Time, Gospel, and Country Fiddle. Sweet Georgia Brown - Online Fiddle Lessons. Celtic, Bluegrass, Old-Time, Gospel, and Country Fiddle. Sweet Georgia Brown - Online Fiddle Lessons. Celtic, Bluegrass, Old-Time, Gospel, and Country Fiddle. Sweet Georgia Brown - Online Fiddle Lessons. Celtic, Bluegrass, Old-Time, Gospel, and Country Fiddle. Sweet Georgia Brown - Online Fiddle Lessons. Celtic, Bluegrass, Old-Time, Gospel, and Country Fiddle. Sweet Georgia Brown - Online Fiddle Lessons. Celtic, Bluegrass, Old-Time, Gospel, and Country Fiddle. Sweet Georgia Brown - Online Fiddle Lessons. Celtic, Bluegrass, Old-Time, Gospel, and Country Fiddle. Sweet Georgia Brown - Online Fiddle Lessons. Celtic, Bluegrass, Old-Time, Gospel, and Country Fiddle. Sweet Georgia Brown - Online Fiddle Lessons. Celtic, Bluegrass, Old-Time, Gospel, and Country Fiddle.

"Sweet Georgia Brown" is a jazz standard and pop tune written in 1925 by Ben Bernie and Maceo Pinkard (music) and Kenneth Casey (lyrics).

Reportedly Ben Bernie came up with the concept for the song's lyrics - although he is not the accredited lyricist - after meeting Dr. George Thaddeus Brown in New York City: Dr. Brown, a longtime member of the State House of Representatives for Georgia, told Bernie about Dr. Brown's daughter Georgia Brown and how subsequent to the baby girl's birth on August 11, 1911 the Georgia General Assembly had issued a declaration that she was to be named Georgia after the state, an anecdote which would be directly referenced by the song's lyric: "Georgia claimed her - Georgia named her."

The tune was first recorded on March 19, 1925 by bandleader Ben Bernie, resulting in a five-week No. 1 for Ben Bernie and his Hotel Roosevelt Orchestra.

 

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Online Fiddle Lessons Forums Sweet Georgia Brown

Viewing 20 posts - 21 through 40 (of 41 total)
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  • #28490
    John (BGD)John (BGD)
    Keymaster

    Angela, you sounded great on the short break! Very jazzy and natural!

    Is the video working for you? I didn’t have any trouble seeing it.

    Short answer, but more later: When I improvise, I play a lot of scales within the chord structure. I’m not really thinking chords though. Often I have no idea what chord is being played. I am mostly filling in the notes around a basic melody.

    #28491
    AvatarDavid B
    Participant

    Angela – Very Sweet!!

    #43363
    fiddlewoodfiddlewood
    Participant

    oh pooh…Guitar player here just said he wants me to learn this in F. Got some transposing to do it looks like.

    Great versions though John. Wish me luck..haha

    #43442
    fiddlewoodfiddlewood
    Participant

    Things are coming along on learning this tune… but I have a “theory” question John.

    https://youtu.be/gT8bXYu132M

    #43452
    John (BGD)John (BGD)
    Keymaster

    Hi Dave! Unfortunately, that’s not going to work well. Here are the seven chords that my fiddle is actually noting during that run (If I were playing in the key of F, four notes per chord):

    F6, E6, Eb6, D6, Db6, C6, F

    The Sweet Georgia Brown chords that my band plays for those same notes are:

    F7, E7, Eb7, D7, G7, C7, F

    Even though the notes I play don’t exactly match the band’s Sweet Georgia Brown chords, they still sound OK.

    The seven chords you are playing during that run are as follows:

    CMaj7, CMaj7, BbMaj7, BbMaj7, Bbm7, C6, F.

    These, particularly the first four chords, do not fit very well and won’t sound great with the jam track. However, your band may play different chords than my band, in which case it may sound fabulous.

    Any chance you can get your guitar player to put his capo on the second fret and play the song in G? That would save you from having to transpose! 🙂

    #43454
    fiddlewoodfiddlewood
    Participant

    Thanks John.

    The question was more just for me than about transposing. What I was doing had a similar sound to me but didn’t seem like it matched up with what I was looking for. I don’t have a problem moving the lick you used around, I was just tying to figure out a different position to play it out of while experimenting around. I was guessing I was incorrect but couldn’t figure out why. When I read the CMAJ7 I knew right away why starting on the B didn’t work. Thanks for the quick and informative response.

    Robbie (guitar) is a texas swing guy. He was fairly adamant he preferred F for a key if possible. I’m thinking I’ll have him cut a rhythm track and provide a chart for chords. Then I can play to it and put it up here and go from there.

    I will probably write a second version from ear (how i’m quickest) and then tackle transposing things from here for a third break if it works with robbies chords.

    I’ve actually found several good versions in F I can appropriate things from. Pretty much have the basic melody learned and am familiar with the song enough to improvise over much of it with licks I already know. Now just working on coming up with a couple alternate versions that are more in tune with what I hear as a western swing type sound than just my jumble of improv licks.

    I am absolutely having a ball working on this tune! Thanks again for the help.

    #43525
    John (BGD)John (BGD)
    Keymaster

    Glad to help! My suggested run doesn’t completely gel with the chords either, but it such a cool run I don’t mind “shoehornign” it into the song there. In the end, you just have to let your ear decide!

    When you are playing with horns, you usually have to play in Ab. Check out Mark O’Conner shredding in Ab here. This man is a fiddle god.

    Most gypsy jazz bands tend to play it in G. Here is Django/Grappelli.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VIcieASGjac

    Bluegrass pickers tend to play it in F. Here is a great version of Tim Crouch playing an awesome break in F.

    Just to give you something to work on, I’ve transposed the intermediate version to F, and added a few more breaks in F. The new links are available on the lesson page an also on the sheet music page.

    #43529
    fiddlewoodfiddlewood
    Participant

    Thanks John!

    I already have O’Connor’s vid bookmarked. Been listening to everything I can by Mark since he put out his first album.

    Wow, listening to Grappelli I was struck how much his melody choices sound like Benny Goodman’s stuff. (or the other way around maybe?)

    I’ve run across Tim crouch before on other stuff..awesome player! I’ll be hitting that vid hard in the near future for sure.

    Been listening to Jason Anick and Jeremy Cohen also.

    Please know that I really appreciate the extra time you are spending helping out with this.

    It’s a job finding things I can understand enough to figure out, and have the dexterity to pull off, but i’m loving it.

    #43533
    John (BGD)John (BGD)
    Keymaster

    Benny Goodman definitely borrowed from Grapelli. He also has a pretty mean version of this tune in Ab somewhere on the internet.

    You are doing great. It’s exciting to watch!

    #43535
    fiddlewoodfiddlewood
    Participant

    Mr. Goodman was always one of my favorite melody builders.

    #43543
    fiddlewoodfiddlewood
    Participant

    Oh goodness…I’ve just discovered Alex DePue…

    #43569
    John (BGD)John (BGD)
    Keymaster

    Sweet Georgia Brown! (I’m starting a new saying.) After hearing that, now I want to hear the person who is wearing the blue ribbon!

    Alex DePue is amazing! Loved the “Jingle Bells” shout-out. And what about that index finger? I haven’t seen that style before.

    #43573
    fiddlewoodfiddlewood
    Participant

    yes the finger. I liked the whole DS section.

    Great new saying!

    More listening than playing today…More Depue (Grand Masters), Benny T,
    Chubby, Texas Shorty, and another new find: Dick Barrett.

    I’m about “noted up” enough to go play for a while again…haha

    #43614
    rodgerrodger
    Participant

    Have to put this one in…nice mix with two fiddles…can’t figure out how they keep from getting lost…

    Solo fiddling is great, but look what happens when it’s a relational experience, how much fun these two sisters have…

    #43615
    fiddlewoodfiddlewood
    Participant

    Like anything Roger, if you play it enough times the next part/note comes naturally. After awhile a wonderful thing happens: the fingers “remember” individual notes/patterns for you (muscle memory) and the mind can take care of the big picture, how to group licks or plan how to start the next lead.

    Even most improvising is simply using new combinations of memorised/rehearsed passages against a chord progression.

    I’ve gotten lost several hundred times just trying to figure out one little lick before, but it comes along eventually if I keep at it.

    If you listened to this paying close attention (like you are on a mission) 1000 times, I bet you can predict what lick they will play next.

    #44873
    AvatarAngela
    Participant

    John when you play the last verse are you thinking chords or scales or just totally going by ear and feel?

    #44908
    John (BGD)John (BGD)
    Keymaster

    Kind of a combination of scales and feel. The first verses were rehearsed. However, I mostly improvsed on the last verse then transcribed it after-the-fact.

    #44920
    AvatarAngela
    Participant

    OK…I scrolled through this conversation and saw where I asked this same question a year ago.  haha.

    I’ve tried slowing it way down and trying to improvise over this…still can’t do it.  Now that you mention it, I can just barely play any of it.  LOL

    Thanks for the response (again), John.

    Angela

    #44921
    John (BGD)John (BGD)
    Keymaster

    This is a pretty advanced song to practice improv on! Since the chords are given in the tablature, I suggest you approach it from a “scales” angle. Every time the chord changes, begin scaling around in the new chord.

    #44925
    AvatarAngela
    Participant

    Yes. Absolutely. Way over my head!!! I love what you do over the A7. It sounds so cool. I can play that. But I can’t even understand why it sounds good. Ha. Way way way over my head no matter what angle-chords, scales, ear, notes. I’m working on getting the basic melody with a few of the runs in the lessons.  That’s keeping me plenty busy.

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