San Francisco Bay BluesWords & Music by Jesse Fuller, 1954
Recorded by Peter, Paul & Mary, 1965
B7 E A Edim E E7 I got the blues when my baby left me down by the Frisco Bay; A F#m Cdim E E7 An ocean liner came and took her away. A B7 E G#m C#m I didn't mean to treat her bad, she was the best gal I ever had; F#7 She said good-bye, made me cry, B7 F#7 B7 Made me wanna lay down my head and die. Refrain: B7 E A Edim E E7 Well I ain't got a nickel, and I ain't got a lousy dime–, A F#m Cdim G#7 She don't come back, I think I'm gonna lose my mind. A B7 E G#7 C#7 She ever comes back to stay, it's gonna be another brand new day, A B7 E Cdim B7 Walkin' with my baby by the San Francisco Bay. Bridge: E A Edim E A Edim E Well, I'm sittin' here on the back porch, don't know which way to go; A F#m G#7 The gal that I'm so crazy about, she don't love me anymore. A Cdim F#m E G#m C#m Think I'm gonna take a freight train, 'cause I'm feelin' blue, F#7 C#m7-5 F#7 B7 F#7 B7 Gonna ride it to the end of the line, thinkin' only of you. Refrain: B7 E A Edim E E7 Well I ain't got a nickel, and I ain't got a lousy dime–, A F#m G#7 She don't come back, I think I'm gonna lose my mind. A B7 E G#7 C#7 She ever comes back to stay, it's gonna be another brand new day, A B7 E Cm7-5 C#7 Walkin' with my baby by the San Francisco Bay, A B7 E Fdim(IV) C#7 Walkin' with my baby by the San Francisco Bay, A B7 E A7 Am7 E6 Walkin' with my baby by the San Francisco Bay.
I've been playing this song for years, since Peter, Paul & Mary's recording of it, and I learned to enjoy it all over again when Eric Clapton included his version on "Unplugged." Recently I transposed it, just for kicks...and found that it became fun to play all over again because of the new chord progression.
Recent visitor Gordon Jackson forwarded me a short bio on composer Jesse Fuller, reprinted in part here:
In 1951, Fuller decided to devote himself entirely to his music, and over the next decade he built a small cult following. He often used a one-man band setup he had devised that allowed him to play guitar, harmonica, hi-hat with castanets, and his own invention, the footdella (a piano-string bass operated with a foot pedal). He wrote, 'San Francisco Bay Blues" in 1954, and five years later appeared at the Monterey Jazz Festival. Fuller became popular in Europe and England, and toured the U.S. regularly throughout the Sixties. It wasn't until the mid-Fifties that he began recording, cutting his early tracks for Prestige (later reissued on Fantasy). In 1976, he died of heart disease. (From the Rolling Stone Encyclopaedia of Rock and Roll. 1983.)