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Ragtime Blues Guitar Lesson - How To Play Candyman by Rev Gary Davis

Fingerstyle Ragtime Blues Guitar Of Gary Davis

how to play candyman gary davis lesson

We should all be forever grateful for the legacy left by the original great of blues guitarists. Here's a short lesson showing a couple of simple variations on the basic Candy Man theme, as played by the legendary Reverend Gary Davis. What he did with just three chords was fascinating.

Radio interview I did

For me, Rev Davis was the daddy of them all. He could play delta blues, swing blues, folk, Gospel - anything at all. if it culd be finger-picked, he could do it. He said he was taught in part by Blind Willie Walker, another South Carolina ragtime guitar wizard, but by the time Gary was 30 years old, he was the King.

He never professed to looking up to any other guitar players, except he did once say that Blind Blake was the best that ever did it, and that 'nobody could swing like Big Bill (Broonzy)'. That's the nail on the head right there, the three best blues players of them all. Robert Johnson doesn't come close as far technique is concerned. 

Listen to the MP3 of Gary Davis talking about playing the guitar below:

Advice on Guitar Playing from Rev. Gary Davis.mp3


Candy man been here and gone
Candy man been here and gone
Candy man, salty dog
If you can't be my Candy man you can't be my salty dog

Candy man, candy man
Candy man, fattin hog
Candy man, Santa Claus
If you can't be my candy man, can't be my fattin hog

Candy man, candy man
Candy man, been here and gone
Candy man, salty dog
I wish I was in New Orleans, sitting on the candy stand

Run get the pitcher, get the baby some beer (6X)
I'd give anything in this god almighty world
To get my Candy man home

Candy man, salty dog
Candy man, fattin hog
Candy man, salty dog
If you can't be my Candy man
You can't be my man at all


  • Thanks Jim, this is a fantastic video! Thanks for such a great tutorial to such a great song! You are a master of guitar, and a master of teaching. I love your DVDs, they are perfect for a guitarist like me. Keep it up!

  • Thta's great! Thansk very much for your comment.



  • Another gem. Thanks Jim. I hope you are making a living from the DVD's and lessons - you deserve it. 

  • Thanks for your comment and support - Spring's coming, soon be back on the street...

  • I put up links on a few beginner forums to the acoustic travelers channel, and this vid in particular (it's just such a great way to start "ragtime" guitar) and placed links to your website all over my website. Hope it helps! I know I've said it before, but I love how you teach-breaking the song into chunks helps my brain figure everything out, and repeating each section keeps me form having to back the video up. Keep it up!

  • This is great material! Going to have a closer look at your site.

  • How does this video only have 2,410 views? I came back here just for fun today, and I have no idea how this could happen! It's such a great video, do you mind if I promote it on other forums/webpages (and maybe slip your website in there too...)? I love your style of teaching, it's so easy to learn from! Thanks so much!

  • Hi - great comment. Beats me - some vids, such as the Doc Watson Deep River Blues lessons get 1000 views a day, and others don't. It would be great if you promoted it - anywhere you like. I'd really appreciate it.



  • Yep - just try and play this stuff without looking, and you'll - it really make syou think ...

  • Thanks Jim, for all your lessons. The Reverend is a gold mine of material. Everything he recorded is worth a listening to. The same is true of you.

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