Robert Johnson – Walkin’ Blues (Howlett Version)

Robert Johnson – Walkin’ Blues (Tab)

A while back I decided to stop paying attention to the news. I must say, I’m a whole lot better for it. Anyhoo, I just found out there’s a second great depression now and absolutely everyone is eating their shoes to stay alive. So, to keep up the doom and gloom, I thought I’d have a week dedicated to one of the great musicians from the last Great Depression. A man so po’ he couldn’t afford a ‘g’ to put at the end of walking. Robert Johnson.

For the first post in the series, I’ve written up tab for luthier Pete Howlett‘s ukulele version of Walkin’ Blues. Most of it is clearly explained in the video, but the F7 sections are a bit tricky – he plays it differently each time he goes through it. So my tab is kind of a mesh of the ideas.

Another section which threw me a little is when the main riff comes in after the F7. It sounds the same as before but it’s shifted forward a beat. What was the fourth beat is now the first beat. The first beat is now the second. And you get the idea with that one. It can be a bit disorientating, so watch out for it.

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  1. ronhale April 14th, 2009 9:20 pm

    Woke up this morning, couldn’t find my shoes. Couldn’t fill spoons full of coffee, couldn’t fill spoons full of tea. Must have been born under a bad sign – if it wasn’t for bad luck, I wouldn’t have no luck at all. The thrill is gone…

  2. todd April 14th, 2009 11:07 pm

    I think this is a great idea Al,

    are you compiling a series of “Bluke Tubes”


  3. Rob NY April 15th, 2009 2:27 pm

    Great idea and a great song Al. I read in a spiritual book once that you shouldn’t watch, or read the news. I go thru periods in my life when I follow that advice ,and find I’m better off for it. Something always calls me back though, the election, a hurricane,the economy, whatever.Today I swear off news media once again.

  4. Woodshed April 15th, 2009 10:02 pm

    ron: I think that’s why I’ll never be a true blues man – I never wake up with a pressing need to find footwear.

    todd: I should do. If only so I can use the word ‘Bluke’.

    Rob: I know what you mean, I’ve been drawn in by the occasional story – and usually end up wishing I hadn’t.

  5. hillfield April 16th, 2009 2:19 pm

    yeah, spotted that a few weeks ago, and it did take me a while to follow what he was up to, even on the well explained first bar – the joy of the blues, playing variations every bar, eh? thanks for the tab – look forward to having a play through it

  6. Mark April 20th, 2009 9:58 pm

    Over here in the states. Los Angeles. Thanks so much for sharing. Helps out. Love the exchange of info. Thanks sir.
    Ukulele Wolf.

  7. Woodshed April 21st, 2009 11:52 am

    hillfield: I have trouble learning stuff from videos – I always have to tab them out before I can really get it.

    Mark: You’re welcome.

  8. Pete Howlett May 8th, 2009 12:59 am

    Well I never – of course in true blues style it is never played the same twice so sterling effort trying to tab out my stuff. I think I’ll do some more youtube stuff…

  9. gilles January 15th, 2012 3:28 pm

    the sixtheen notes are on the 4 beat…best blues from france ;-))

  10. James March 24th, 2012 1:08 pm

    Greetings from Georgia, USA

    Al, I hope you (and Mr. Howlett) do keep the “bluke tubes” coming! I only wish I’d found your tabs before I worked this one out rather than after. For your next effort, I recently discovered that “Dust My Broom” and “Statesboro Blues’ are almost identical in structure… so how about killing two birds with one stone?

  11. Ray V May 2nd, 2013 11:33 pm

    I must say your site and books are awesome. My question for you is, Would the tab change any for low g tuning? If so, what would change?

  12. Woodshed May 3rd, 2013 2:40 pm

    Ray V: Should work pretty well on low-G as it is.

  13. Pelite August 24th, 2014 10:50 pm

    Thanks for the job. And for me Baron’s version is just perfect:

  14. Woodshed August 25th, 2014 7:36 am

    Pelite: Thanks for the link. Baron is great.

  15. Phil Warrington March 14th, 2016 3:00 pm

    I found this some time ago and couldn’t get the words and accompaniment to fit. But I kept coming back and gradually it’s starting to make sense. I can’t tell you how much – as a novice – the words, music and tab that you provide here on Ukulele Hunt are helping me. Thank you!

  16. Woodshed March 14th, 2016 7:46 pm

    Phil: Thanks very much! That’s great!

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