Mike Outram

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Blues in All Major and Minor Keys

Here’s a list of blues tunes in every major and minor key. I’ve made a Spotify playlist [yet again!] of 24 tunes [the ones underlined] so you could play along and you’ll be playing in every key. Why you would want to do this I’ve no idea, but it might give you something to do on a slushy day. It’s too cold out, not enough snow for a snowman, X-Factor’s finished…

Major Key Blues Heads [Opens Spotify Playlist]

Minor Key Blues Heads [Opens Spotify Playlist]

So, as you can see, there’s a couple of keys not there yet. If you know of a tune that fits the bill, let me know and with the power of the hive mind we can complete the list for the good of the world, or as Bach would have it in the prelude to Das Wohltemperierte Klavier, “for the profit and use of musical youth desirous of learning, and especially for the pastime of those already skilled in this study.” :) Also, I’ll add any other suggestions for existing keys so long as that doesn’t mean having a list of 500 blues’ in F.

So come on, surely it’s possible to get a blues in E minor, F# minor and Bb minor before Xmas/the end of the world…

**Update #1:

OK, with the help of top man Phil Wain we now have a blues in Bb min and F#min. I’m so happy to have Nina Simone on this playlist as she’s one of my absolute favourites. I Put A Spell on You in F# minor – fantastic! [I’ll leave it for you to decide if that’s a blues or not. Blues ballad, maybe?] There’s a Creedence Clearwater version of IPASOY in E minor but think it’d be better not to have duplicate tunes. So, still searching for the elusive blues in E minor. Now who would’ve predicted that?

**Update #2:

My life is complete. I can enjoy Christmas secure in the knowledge that here is a playlist that has a blues in every major and minor key. Adrian Clark nailed Riders on the Storm – the elusive E minor blues. A big Christmas thanks to everyone who came up with tunes and anyone else who even thought about it.

Happy Xmas!

***Update #3:

Curses! How can the New Year be a good one with the realisation that Up ‘Gainst The Wall, with its stupid apostrophe, is, as pointed out by good man Martin Speake, a major blues? How idiotic can I be? Anyway, enough self-flagellation. I will not rest until I have the minor blues in Ab on this list. Even an A minor blues by some de-tuning blues ruffian would suffice…

*** Update #4:

The circle is complete! – Thanks to top fella Alan Benzie who nailed the Ab minor blues with Lee Morgan’s tune ‘Party Time’. And it is cause for a party. So I’m off to the pub :)

Share the playlist far and wide with your musical friends. A practice playlist “for the profit and use of musical youth desirous of learning, and especially for the pastime of those already skilled in this study”

12 responses to “Blues in All Major and Minor Keys”

  1. Martin Speake says:

    Hi Mike
    Great blog and website you have. Inspiring stuff.
    I like the list of blues in all keys but I think Up ‘Gainst the Wall (Coltrane) is a major blues not minor.
    I will look for a replacement!

  2. Mike Outram says:

    Hi Martin! Cheers and Yikes! Of course it is. The quest is on then…

  3. Jon Russell says:

    Hi Mike,

    Perhaps a little late to this topic, but what hell! There’s a groovy little minor blues shuffle by Freddie Hubbard called “Down Under” that’s in F# minor if you want another slightly obscure key… plus it’s a 12-bar sequence, unlike “I Put a Spell on You”. Can be found on an Art Blakey album called “Mosaic”.


  4. Mike Outram says:

    Nice one Jon! Will add it on. Still searching for minor blues in Ab!

  5. Bruce Wells says:

    One of the MJQ albums, Blues on Bach, has an A minor blues and a blues in B minor (called Blues in H). Although I cannot positively say at this point if they are major or minor but the melodies are based on the minor blues scale it seems.

  6. Mike Outram says:

    Thanks for your comment, Bruce. What a bonkers sounding album! Harpsichord, bass, vibes and sleigh bells! Beautiful sounding recording too. The Blues in H is a major blues. Not many blues tunes in B major around, so thanks for that!

  7. Great job Mike. Any chance you know of tunes for rhythm changes in all keys? We are discussing at: http://forums.allaboutjazz.com/showthread.php?t=45683

  8. Mike Outram says:

    Thanks, Camden. I saw the discussion, but I doubt there are rhythm changes in every key. Maybe some vindictive guitarist has written a rhythm changes in E or A, but they would be loathed by all other sentient beings and so wouldn’t have a gig. To find them, and their recordings, I’d suggest street-dweller types ;)

    In all seriousness, I’ll post on twitter to see if you can’t get some more suggestions. Good luck!

  9. Alan Benzie says:

    Not sure when this was posted, so may be waaaaay after the fact here, but did you ever find that Ab minor blues? I think there is one called Party Time by Lee Morgan…

  10. Mike Outram says:

    No! So thanks a million for this, Alan :) Now the pieces come together, the playlist is complete! I think a gateway into another dimension just opened…

  11. Nicolas says:

    Hello Mike,
    Great blog! Very useful! Las Vegas Tango by Gil Evans could also be added to the E minor Blues’ list.

  12. Mike Outram says:

    Good one, thanks! Interesting tune, no V chord.

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