It’s that man again! This time Jon Bishop contributes a great version of a ‘70s James Gang classic and Eagles live favourite.
Funk 49 was recorded in 1970 by the James Gang. It was featured on their second studio album, James Gang Rides Again, which is considered a classic by both critics and fans a like. The track features the James Gang in power trio mode with Dale Peters on bass, Jim Fox on drums and Joe Walsh on guitar. The first James Gang record boasts the not dissimilar predecessor, Funk 48, while Walsh would later release Funk 50 on his 2012 album, Analog Man.
Funk 49 is in the key of A and uses chords from A Mixolydian. The Mixolydian mode is the fifth mode of the major scale and is commonly used in the blues and classic rock as it fits nicely with the dominant 7 chord. The chords of the A Mixolydian mode are A7, Bm7, C#m7b5, Dmaj7, Em7, F#m7 and Gmaj7. These chords are also found in A Mixolydian’s parent scale, D major.
The main verse riff uses the three major chords from this key (A, D and G) and this is a popular trick for creating riffs with the Mixolydian mode. The tempo is an easy 91 bpm with a straight 4/4 feel.
As the second James Gang album was recorded with a three-piece line-up, Joe
Funk 49 is a great rhythm guitar workout, and there are also some cool, quirky lead breaks to navigate.
played rhythm and lead guitar, as well as performing lead vocals. This track is a great rhythm guitar workout and there are some cool, quirky lead breaks to navigate, too.
Semiquaver strumming is one of the key techniques used in the performance of this track, so it’s well worth spending some time making sure your strumming hand work is solid. The semiquaver sub division has four notes in the space of one beat. So a whole bar would be counted 1 e + a, 2 e + a, 3 e + a, 4 e + a. The semiquaver sub division is best played with alternating down and up strums starting on a down strum. Take a second to play a few bars of muted semiquaver strumming, using alternating down and up strums. Keep your hand and arm loose and place an accent by strumming slightly harder on the downbeat.
Both rhythm and lead parts in the song demonstrate Joe’s incredibly laid back feel, and if your tendency is to run ahead of things, then make sure you check out my ‘Improve Your Timing’ feature on page 16.
We have recorded the track in full for your reference and then muted the tabbed guitar performance so you can play along with the backing track. The original recording has a fade-out, but in the interests of clarity the GT version has an arranged ending on beat 1 of bar 89. Many thanks to Pete Riley for performing and recording the drums.