Lesson 04: “OGD” (aka The Road Song)

A real Wes Montgomery classic, OGD aka the Road Song. You can find this song on the ‘Dynamic Duo’ album where Wes plays together with the incredible Jimmy Smith. (OGD stands for Organ, Guitar and Drums by the way).

The first time I realized how good this song was, was when I stayed in a hotel in Coimbra Portugal (because of a wedding of a friend) and I watched a jazz concert on the Arte channel. It was this version:

Fantastic how these four players solo on this song but back home listening to the original version must admit Wes’ version is the best (and a little bit faster):

The chord progression is as follows:

Melody
Gm7|Am7|D7b9
Gm7|Fm7|Ebmaj7|Em7b5|Cm7|D7#9|Gm7

Bridge
Cm7|F7|Bbmaj7|Bm7|E7
Bbm7|Eb7|Abmaj7|D7b9

The song is a G minor song. The progression is based upon the G-Dorian scale (G-A-Bb-C-D-E-F).
First we have a sort of i-ii-V7 progression, the D7b9 as a dominant:

  • Gm7: G-Bb-D-F
  • Am7: A-C-E-G
  • D7b9: D-Eb-Gb-C

A good choice is to play G-Dorian: G-A-Bb-C-D-E-F over these chords.
The Eb and Gb of the D7b9 don’t appear in this scale which is not a big issue (check it while playing). The Eb is a nice bridge to the second part.

Second we have:

  • Gm7: G-Bb-D-F
  • Fm7: F-Ab-C-Eb
  • Ebmaj7: Eb-G-Bb-D
  • Em7b5: E-G-Bb-D

The F-Dorian fits perfectly well: F-G-Ab-Bb-C-D-Eb

Third in the melody, we return to the root:

  • Cm7: C-Eb-G-Bb
  • D7#9: D-Eb-Gb-C
  • Gm7: G-Bb-D-F

I like to play G-Dorian again (G-A-Bb-C-D-E-F) over these chords.

So it’s, G-Dorian 4 measures, F-Dorian 2 measures, G-Dorian 2 measures.  Simple isn’t it?

The G-Dorian and F-Dorian only differ two positions on the neck. To make a fluent transition from one scale to another it is useful to learn the two scales on exactly the same neck position. You don’t understand what I mean? let’s have a look at this:

 

 

Let’s have a close look at the D7#9: this type of chord is also known as the ‘Hendrix’ chord.
I love it as a substitute for the dominant 7th chord since it’s so funky. I learned it from copying Stevie Ray Vaughan (check out the song ‘Testify’) who of course copied it from Jimi, who copied it from Wes?

The bridge is a more common ii-V-I. First the Cm7|F7|Bbmaj7 and then the Bbm7|Eb7|Abmaj7. Again the old jazz rule major to minor (Bbmaj7 to Bbm7) is applied. Looking at the first part:

  • Cm7: C-Eb-G-Bb
  • F7: F-A-C-Eb
  • Bbmaj7: Bb-D-F-A

Notes C-D-Eb-F-G-A-Bb => C Dorian scale, the standard choice for a ii-V-I progression.

The last part is also a ii-V-I but now in Bb. So that’s two positions up the neck compared to the previous block of chords , you can do the math yourself (Bb Dorian scale). I have shown the scale in the same neck position as the previous scale so you can easily switch.

 

 

 

Something else, It ends with a turn-around on the D7b9. I used to play a D7#9 here but give the b9 a chance, it’s so more sophisticated.

Regarding the scales, you have mastered now 4 shapes of the Major scale. And in this song you can play them all in the same position. Of course that’s only for practicing purposes. Get used to the shapes and the root positions that belong to them. Try also another approach by playing these scales in another position (e.g. the G-Dorian on the 10th etc.).

For the song itself. Besides for learning the progressions and (possible) scales, this song has another nice feature. It’s a great way to learn how to play octaves. I find octaves very hard to play, in fact I found it impossible. The reason for this is that you need a lot of technique and you must be well familiar with the fretboard. The technique part you can work on by practicing playing the melody line as in the original. To be honest, it took me months to get a decent sound but now it works for me.

I play octaves with a pick, not the way Wes did it. He played (everything) with his thumb. Playing with a pick gives a sound that is not that smooth. But by holding your pick under a slight angle and playing the strings with he side of the pick and not the point, you can avoid that.

One again, you have to practice a lot!!! Good luck!

One Response to Lesson 04: “OGD” (aka The Road Song)

  1. Erwin says:

    Never knew where OGD stood for, until now! Thanks,

    Erwin

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