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Mud Below My Feet: Verse

 

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The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down

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Let's get started by reviewing the chords (in terms of shapes) for the verse: Am, C, F, and D. Note that unlike many popular songs, the order of the chords never repeats in the verse, interesting since RR is essentially using only 3 chords.

The verses to this song have an unusual length, 18 bars. 16 bars would be what we would expect (4 lines of 4 bars each), but Robbie Robertson, a great songwriter, chose to stretch the last line of the verse - creating tension and expectation for the upcoming chorus.

Adding to this build up is the introduction of a chord that we have not heard yet (D major), is not in the key, and for the first time in the song, holds the chord for 2 bars.

The verses are in Am, and that the vocal takes a low and almost conversational tone, again as a pacing device to keep the song from "paying off" too soon.
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