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Mandolin tablatures for Catfish John

Old & In the Way

Recomended level: Beginner

"Catfish John" is a song written by Bob McDill and Allen Reynolds. It has been made popular by Jerry Garcia through "The Jerry Garcia band" and super group in the acoustic world: "Old and in the Way". The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band and many other great acts have recorded and performed the tune as well. The song chronicles the difficult life of a man who was a former slave and a young boy that saw Catfish John as an inspiration despite what the world boy grew up in wanted him to see.

As always start with the melody of the tune. This one is a bit simplified and will give you the notes for the verse and chorus. Check out the Bluegrass arrangement to get an idea of what you might play when "taking a break" at a jam session.

  • Mandolin Catfish John Melody


    This is a great melody and here we have the verse and the chorus. Use the Tunefox player to listen before and after practicing to aid in memorization. Try and sing or speak the words...

    Mandolin Catfish John Melody
  • Mandolin Catfish John Bluegrass


    This version of Catfish John gives you a basic break to play at a jam. When pickers take a lead on this and most other tunes it's on the verse melody and chords. Check out those lick...

    Mandolin Catfish John Bluegrass