Essential Swing for Guitarists #1: Honey Suckle Rose

Honey Suckle Rose is a classic song that was composed in 1929, but it never gets old. The music was written by the great Thomas Wright “Fats” Waller (May 21, 1904 – December 15, 1943) and the lyrics by Andy Razaf. It was recorded my countless musicians and it is considered a jazz standard in what has become known as The Great American Song Book. Like most songs by Waller, this song is very upbeat and great for dancing. The lyrics are funny and light hearted. This song seems to always bring a smile to to faces in the audience.

Former student Joel White, winner of multiple awards. Guitarist for the 1 o’clock Jazz Lab Band at University of North Texas..

My rendition:

The original:

When creating an arrangement of jazz standards I have a process:

  1. I learn the chords.
  2. I learn the melody as written, which is usually the lower octave in the first position.
  3. I learn the melody an octave higher.
  4. I put the chords and melody together creating chord melody or a solo guitar arrangement.
  5. I improvise over the chord changes as illustrated in the video.

I have provided charts below with the chords, notation and tabs for the melody. The chords may look intimidating at first glance, but if you look closely you, will see many of the fingerings of the chords are the same.

Honey Suckle Rose: chords, tab, and notation, (low octave)

Honey Suckle Rose: chords, tab, and notation, (high octave)

 

I hope you enjoy and as always I encourage comments and questions.

Lyrics:

Every honey bee fills with jealousy
When they see you out with me
Goodness knows
You’re my honeysuckle rose
When you’re passin’ by flowers droop and sigh
And I know the reason why
Goodness knows
You’re my honeysuckle rose
Don’t buy sugar
You just have to touch my cup
You’re my sugar
It’s sweeter when you stir it up
When I’m taking sips from your tasty lips
Seems the honey fairly drips
Goodness knows
You’re my honeysuckle rose
Goodness knows
You’re my honeysuckle rose
Don’t buy sugar
You just have to touch my cup
You’re my sugar
It’s sweeter when you stir it up
When I’m taking sips from your tasty lips
Seems the honey fairly drips
Goodness knows
You’re my honeysuckle rose

Other renditions:

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