Friday’s Freebies #6: Suzy Q, Both Sides Now, Cuatro Scales, and Ask Asher

How to play the intro to Suzy Q

Suzy Q is a song by musician Dale Hawkins recorded late in the rockabilly era in 1957. He wrote it with bandmate Robert Chaisson, but when released, Stan Lewis, the owner of Jewel/Paula Records and whose daughter Susan was the inspiration for the song, and Eleanor Broadwater, the wife of Nashville DJ, Gene Nobles, were credited as co-writers to give them shares of the royalties.

Hawkins cut Susie Q in a radio station in Shreveport Louisiana. Susie Q captured the spirit of Louisiana and featured guitar work by James Burton, who also worked with Ricky Nelson and later with Elvis Presley, among others.

Creedence Clearwater Revival released a version on their debut album in 1968. The band’s only Top 40 hit not written by John Fogerty, it peaked at number 11. This song was one of their first big hits. The album version clocks in at 8:37. The single is split into parts one and two on its A and B sides, respectively. The jam session during the coda is omitted in part one. Instead, it fades out with the guitar solo right before the coda, which fades in with part two on the B-side.

Fogerty told Rolling Stone magazine in 1993 that he recorded Suzie Q to get the song played on KMPX, a funky progressive-rock radio station in San Francisco, which is why it was extended to eight minutes.


How to play Both Sides Now

Both Sides Now is one of the best-known songs of Canadian singer-songwriter Joni Mitchell.  First recorded by Judy Collins, it appeared on the U.S. singles chart during the fall of 1968. The next year it was included on Mitchell’s album Clouds (which was named after a lyric from the song). It has since been recorded by dozens of artists, including Frank Sinatra, Willie Nelson, Herbie Hancock, Neil Diamond and many others. Mitchell herself re-recorded the song, with an orchestral arrangement, on her 2000 album Both Sides Now.

In 2004, Rolling Stone ranked Both Sides Now at #171 on its list of The 500 Greatest Songs Of All Time.


My solo arrangement of Both Sides Now is in Spanish tuning (also known as open G tuning). For best results learning the song use the tab and watch and listen to the video at slow speed. You can slow You Tube videos down in the settings in the top, right corner of the screen (three dots usually). The notation duration (stems, flags, etc.) aren’t totally accurate because the syncopation is too tedious to write out and I know most people will use the tab anyway.



How to play the C major scale on the Puerto Rican Cuatro

The major scale is the most essential scale in the western hemisphere. The video and web page below explains various ways to play the scale.


The C Major Scale on the Cuatro


Ask Asher #5: Tips for buying your first guitar



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Friday’s Freebies
Friday’s Freebies