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Cactus Tree

Guitar tablature transcribed by Les Irvin  Printer-friendly version of this piece
[Capo on fret 4]
Tuning: DADF#AD   "Joni" Tuning: D75435

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Joni's playing on this song is quite intricate and challenging.   
She makes extensive use of the low string as a drone and moves 
back and forth between 2 or 3 subtly different right-hand patterns. 

Each dash of the tablature represents a 16th note. Above each staff I've 
written the measure numbers and (on the next line) the eighth note counts 
to help understand the highly syncopated rhythm. Best to listen carefully 
to the recording a few times before attempting it. 

Right hand fingering is important here, I would guess Joni primarily uses 
the thumb on the 6th string, the index finger on the 5th string, and the 
middle and ring fingers as pairs on the 4th/3rd and 2nd/1st strings.    

------------------------------------------------------------------- 

INTRO 

   1               2               3               4            
   1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 

D  ------------------------0---------------0---------------0------- 
A  ------------------------0---------------0---------------0------- 
F# --3-----3---------1---------------3---------------1------------- 
D  --0-----0----0----0----------0----0----------0----0----------0-- 
A  -----4-----4---4-----2-----2---2-----4-----4---4-----2-----2---- 
D  0-0---0---0---0-0-0---0---0---0-0-0---0---0---0-0-0---0---0---0- 
                                                                 There.. 

VERSE 

   5               6               7               8* 
   1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 

D  ------------------------0-----------------------4----4-------0-- 
A  ------------------------0-----------------------0----0-------0-- 
F# 3----3--3----3--1----1-------1--3----3--1----1-----3---s---1---- 
D  0----0--0----0--0----0-------0--0----0--0----0----4---4s2-2----- 
A  ---4-------4-------2-------2-------4-------2-------------------- 
D  --0---0---0---0---0---0---0---0---0---0---0---0---------------0- 
   man..   sailing..       dreams..        schooner..      queen.. 


(* Measure 8 - shift your right hand, thumb and index finger 
   play the two middle strings now. Same thing in measures 17-19. 
   's' means to slide down, or up as in measure 20.) 


   9               10              11              12 
   1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 

D  ------------------------------------------------0--------------- 
A  ------------------------------------------------0--------------- 
F# 3----3--1----1--3----3----1-----1---------1-------------1----1-- 
D  0----0--0----0--0----0----0-----0----0----0----------0--0----0-- 
A  ---4-------2-------4---------2-----2---2-----2-----2-------2---2 
D  0-0---0---0---0-0-0---0-0-0---0---0---0-0-0---0---0---0---0---0- 
   beads..         amber..   green..                       called.. 


   13              14              15              16            
   1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 

D  --------0-----------------------0-----------------------0------- 
A  --------0-----------------------0-----------------------0------- 
F# --0----------0--1----1----0----------0--1----1----0----------0-- 
D  --0----------0--0----0----0----------0--0----0----0----------0-- 
A  -----0-----0-------2---------0-----0-------2---------0-----0---- 
D  0---0-0---0---0---0---0-0---0-0---0---0--0----0-0---0-0---0---0- 
   harbor..        kissed..                 heard.. 


   17              18              19              20            
   1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 

D  --------2----2--4----4--4----4--2----2--0----0------------------ 
A  --------0----0--0----0--0----0--0----0--0----0------------------ 
F# 1----1-----1-------3-------3-------1-------1----s3---3--1----1-- 
D  0----0----2---2---4---4---4---4---2---2---2---2------0--0----0-- 
A  ---2--------------------------------------------s4-4-------2---- 
D  --0---0-------------------------------------------0---0---0---0- 
   breaking..      water..                         she..   busy.. 


   21*             22                        
   1 + 2 + 3e+ 4 + 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 

D  ------------------------0------- 
A  ------------------------0------- 
F# --0-----01---1----0----------0--  Back to measure 5 
D  --0-----0----0----0----------0--  and start next verse 
A  -----0-----2---------0-----0---- 
D  0---0-0---0---0-0---0-0---0---0- 
   free.. 


(* Measure 21 - on the 3e beat, both the index and middle fingers hammer 
   onto the 3rd and 5th strings from their open positions. Easier done 
   than written... listen to the recording.) 

------------------------------------------------------------------- 

There's a man who's been out sailing 
In a decade full of dreams 
And he takes her to a schooner 
And he treats her like a queen 
Bearing beads from California 
With their amber stones and green 
He has called her from the harbor 
He has kissed her with his freedom 
He has heard her off to starboard 
In the breaking and the breathing 
Of the water weeds 
While she was busy being free 

There's a man who's climbed a mountain 
And he's calling out her name 
He hope her heart can here 
3000 miles he calls again 
He can think her there beside him 
He can miss her just the same 
He has missed her in the forest 
Where he showed her all the flowers 
And the branches sang the chorus 
As he climbed the scaley towers 
Of the forest trees ... 
While she was somewhere being free. 

There's man who sent her letters 
He is waiting for reply 
He asks her of her travels 
Since the day they said good-bye 
He writes "Wish you were beside me, 
We can make it if we try." 
He has seen her in the office 
With her name on all his papers 
>From the sharing of the profits 
He will find it hard to shake her 
>From his memory ... 
While she's so busy being free. 

There's a lady in the city 
And she thinks she loves them all 
There's the one who thinking of her 
There's the one who sometimes calls 
There's the one who writes those letters 
With his fact and figure scrawl 
She has brought them to her senses 
They have laughed inside her laughter 
Now she rallies her defenses 
'Cause she fears that one will ask her 
For eternity ... 
And she's much too busy being free. 

There's a man who sends her medals 
He is bleeding from the war 
There's a jouster and a jester 
And a man who owns a store 
There's a drummer and a dreamer 
And you know there could be more 
She will love them when she sees them 
They will lose her if they follow 
And she only means to please them 
And her heart is full and hollow 
Like a cactus tree ... 
And she's so busy being free. 

Ending: 
You know, once you've gotten this far through the song, the ending 
will be a piece of cake for you. :-) 

© 1966, renewed 1994 Crazy Crow Music (BMI)

 

This transcription is the author's own work and represents their interpretation of the song.
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