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California Dreamin' - Mamas and the Papas


(@oktay)
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Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 346
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Disclaimer: Not my own work. You can find the original of this and other very well done acoustic tabs at http://www.acoustictabs.co.uk .

This is one of those songs that will offer a great sense of accomplishment with relatively little effort. I have searched but did not find it in the Easy Songs database so even though it's not my work I decided to make people aware of it.

Two versions of this tab is available. The one I learned initially is the all barre chords version which I'd learned on the cable channel video-on-demand program called Guitar-Xpress. The other version utilizes a capo making the song a lot easier to play. The original at http://www.acoustictabs.co.uk/tabs/MammasandPapas,The-CaliforniaDreamin.txt lists both barred and capoed chords at the same time. I will remove the barred versions for easier reading. Do attempt the barred versions later on though. It's not that much more difficult and looks oh so professional while playing :)

Capo on 4th Fret

Intro Riff #1:

Am
-----------------|
-----0---3--1--0-|
---2-------------| X 3
-2-----2---------|
-----------------|
-----------------|

Basically form an Am shape (relative to capo). Do not put the index finger down initially. Use the pinky on the third fret of the B string, followed by putting the index finger on the 1st fret of the same string. You will definetely recognize this little riff.

According to the tab, a second guitar (12 string) starts playing another riff (Riff #2) during the 2nd and 3rd times this riff (Riff #1) is played. I like to play this riff (Riff #1) 3 times per normal, then play the next riff once before switching to chords.

Intro Riff #2:

|-----0-1-0-------|-----------------|---
|-------------3---|-1---3-1---------|---
|-----------------|---------4--2--0-|-2-
|-----------------|-----------------|---
|-----------------|-----------------|---
|-----------------|-----------------|---

Again this is pretty easy to play. Make sure to vibrato the last note.

I am not sure about how to make a smooth transition into the verses but for me singing the first "All the leaves are" bit without playing anything and then starting with the strummed chords works well. In general the song gives the guitar player a bit of room with the sections where you don't sing but just strum chords. These sections are really back vocal sections in sort of a verse & response kind of feel. If you can sing the main lyrics as well as the response sections, all the more power to you. Go for it ! :)

Before posting the verses let me remind you that the E7sus4 we need for this piece is not as scary as it looks. Just look at the following fingering and play it.

(chord images courtesy of jguitar.com used without permission and with great joy !)

Looking at the images you will notice that while playing the E7sus4 you can already place your index finger on the 1st fret of the G string (not that particular G string). This way you need only lift your middle finger to switch to E7 in record speed.

The rest of the song goes like this:

Verse 1:

[Am] [G] [F]
All the leaves are brown
(all the leaves are brown)

[G] [E7sus4] [E7]
And the sky is gray (and the sky is gray)

[F] [C] [E7] [Am]
I've been for a walk
(I've been for a walk)

[F] [E7sus4] [E7]
On a winter's day (on a winter's day)

[Am] [G] [F]
I'd be safe and warm
(I'd be safe and warm)

[G] [E7sus4] [E7]
If I was in L. A. (if I was in L. A.)

Chorus:

[Am] [G] [F]
California dreamin'
(California dreamin')

[G] [E7sus4] [E7]
On such a winter's day

Verse 2:

Stopped in to a church
I passed along the way
Well I got down on my knees
(got down on my knees)
And I pretend to pray (I pretend to pray)
You know the preacher likes the cold
(preacher likes the cold)
He knows I'm gonna stay (knows I'm gonna stay)

[repeat chorus]

Instrumental break:

flute solo over verse (hold C#m [Am] through first two lines or
3-1/2 bars) and chorus chords

Verse 3:

All the leaves are brown
(all the leaves are brown)
And the sky is gray (and the sky is gray)
I've been for a walk
(I've been for a walk)
On a winter's day (on a winter's day)
If I didn't tell her
(if I didn't tell her)
I could leave today (I could leave today)

Coda:

[Am] [G] [F]
California dreamin'
(California dreamin')

[G] [Am] [G] [F]
On such a winter's day (California dreamin')

[G] [Am] [G] [F]
On such a winter's day (California dreamin')

[G] [Fmaj7] [Am]
On such a winter's day

This song has a very particular strumming pattern (it's probably not even a pattern) that should come naturally if you've heard the song as many time as I have.

I hope you enjoy playing and benefit from this. I would love to hear your recordings if you feel like sharing.

oktay


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(@jonetoe)
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Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 368
 

I thought I was done with my guitar tonite then saw this and was trying out the riff's. I like it thanks


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(@dogsbody)
Honorable Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 726
 

Good addition to the database oktay,

One of those iconic songs of the mid sixties hippy era. Always puts me in mind of the tv news items we used to see over here in the uk at the time of Vietnam war protests, San Fransisco and flower power etc. Memorable times eh.

I love this song and I'll be trying this out tonight.

Thanks

Chris.

The guitar is all right John but you'll never make a living out of it! (John Lennon's Aunt Mimi)


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(@vic-lewis-vl)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 10340
 

Great song, I have a very similat tab to this in a songbook - the one and only difference is in the 3rd line of the verse, it gives an E7sus4/b9 (!!!) chord.....

E A D G B E
0 2 3 2 3 0

like this.....

(F)I've been for a (C)walk (E) (Am)
(Am)On a winter's (E7sus4/b9)day, on a winter's (E)day....

and in the same place in each verse....it sounds great, but it's a horrible chord to get to in a hurry, especially from an Am - no common points at all - so I usually stick to the E7sus4!

:D :D :D

Vic

"Sometimes the beauty of music can help us all find strength to deal with all the curves life can throw us." (D. Hodge.)


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(@doug_c)
Reputable Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 398
 

Good stuff! Thanks for throwing that in there, and adding the information on just how to get those riffs. Forty years later, I might finally get a shot at playing that!
BTW, in the course of looking up other things, I found out that "Papa Denny" Doherty recently starred in a show called "Dream A Little Dream." (Subtitled “The nearly true story of The Mamas and The Papas.”) This URL is way huge; if it won't fly, I'll try making it into a TinyURL later on: http://entertainment.ctcentral.com/html/modules.php?op=modload&name=News&file=article&sid=1908&mode=thread&order=0&thold=0

Next, we can work on that song about wearing flour in your hair . . .
http://members.iinet.net.au/~hartman/mckenzie.htm


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 shug
(@shug)
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Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 168
 

Thanks for the post Oktay. This is one I've always meant to get around to . . . but haven't . . . until now!! What a nice song for the "arsenal" . . . everyone's heard of it, not too hard to play (at least not the open chord version), and it's got that catchy little riff. I love these 60s songs. Thanks again! Shug

"Music hath charms to soothe a savage breast, to soften rocks, or bend a knotted oak."


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(@robbie)
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Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 456
 

Thanx for this Oktay. The riffs really add to the effect, capoing on 4 lets me play with the mp3,and the tab I had before was missing the E7sus4 (and my brain couldn't figure out what chord was missing). This really helped me with a tune that I struggled with a couple of years ago and put away in frustration. Now it sounds cool.
Robbie


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 shug
(@shug)
Estimable Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 168
 

Was enjoying this tab on my guitar tonight when I tried the following riff on the 1st and 2nd lines of Verse 2 and it sounded good to me:

Am G F G
e ---------------------------------------------1----3---
B ------------------1------------0---------1--------0---
G ---------------2------------0---------2-----------0---
D ------------2------------0---------3--------------0---
A ----------0---------------------------------------2---
E -----------------------3--------------------------3---
. . . church I passed a-long

"Music hath charms to soothe a savage breast, to soften rocks, or bend a knotted oak."


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(@virgo65)
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Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 15
 

What is the struming pattern ? (verses and chorus )


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(@oktay)
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Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 346
Topic starter  

What is the struming pattern ? (verses and chorus )
Just as a suggestion. The first verse.

Am (D-D), G(D-U-D), F(U)
G(D-D), E7sus4(D-U-D-U), E7(D)


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(@ioaniancu)
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Joined: 10 years ago
Posts: 1
 

Stepped into a church I passed along the way well, I got down on my knees andI pretended to pray you know the preacher likes the cold he knows I'm gonna stay
California dreaming on such a winters day...... :D :)


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(@tosh48)
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Joined: 5 years ago
Posts: 3
 

I like this song.


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(@treborillusion)
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Joined: 4 years ago
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I'm learning this song at the moment.


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(@treborillusion)
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(@deewelch)
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Joined: 4 years ago
Posts: 5
 

I love the song and I will try to practice it. ;)


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