Smokestack Lightning

Howlin' Wolf
Played by Bob Dylan on Cynthia Gooding's Folksinger's Choice radio show, March 11, 1962
Tabbed by Eyolf Østrem


The entire song is really nothing more than a fooling around with a finger-picked E major chord, toying with the third (g#) in either direction, either towards Em or towards Esus4. It would be senseless to tab the entire thing: just finger an E chord, let the thumb start working (either just alternating between strings 6 and 4, or, as Dylan does, in a more irregular pattern, involving even the 5th string), and add flourishes like the following sample (heard for quite some time at the beginning of the second verse), or those found in the intro (see below).

      :   .   .   .     :   .   .   .
----|---0-------0-----|---0-------0------|
----|-----------------|------------------|
--2-|-------0h1-----2-|-------0h1--------|
----|-----2-------2---|-----2-------2----|
----|-----------------|------------------|
----|-0-------0-------|-0-------0--------|

Intro:

  :   .   .   .     :   .   .   .     :   .   .   .     :   .   .   .   .   .
|-----------------|-----------------|-----------------|-3-------0---------0-----|
|-----------------|-----------0-----|-----------------|-------------------------|
|-----------------|-------------1---|-2-----0--h1-----|-------------------------|
|-----2-------2---|-----2-----------|-----------------|-------------------------|
|-----------------|-----------------|-----------------|-------------------------|
|-0-------0-------|-0-------0-------|-0---0-------0---|-----0-------0---0---0---|
  :   .   .   .     :   .   .   .     :   .   .   .     :   .   .   .
|-----------------|-----------0-----|-3b----0---------|---------------0-|
|-2---------------|-0---------0-----|-----------------|-----------------|
|-----------------|-------1---------|-----------0--h1-|-----1-----------|
|-----------------|-----------------|-------------2---|-----------2-----|
|-----------------|-----------------|-----------------|-----2-----------|
|-----0---0---0---|-0---0---0---0---|-0---0---0-------|-0-------0--(0)--|
                        >       >         >       >
  :   .   .   .     :   .   .   .     :   .   .   .     :   .   .   .
|-----------------|-----------------|-----------------|-----------------|
|-----------------|-----------------|-----------------|-----------------|
|---0--h1---0--h1-|-----------------|-----------------|-----------------|
|-----2-------2---|-----2-------2---|-----2-------2---|-----2-------2---|
|-----------------|-----------------|-----------------|-----------------|
|-0-------0-------|-0-------0-------|-0-------0-------|-0-------0-------|
                                                            Hard days...
Hard days, Smokestack Lightning
shining down like ghost
Can't you hear me crying?

Tell me, tell me baby
Just where you stayed last night.
Can't you hear me crying?

Please stop your train, and
let a poor boy ride.
Can't you hear me crying?

Tell me, tell me baby
Just what's the matter here.
Can't you hear me crying?

Hey you been fooling
Who's been here since I been gone? Little Billy Boy?
Can't you hear me crying?

Dylan: "Did you like that?"
Cynthia: "Yeah, I sure do!"