Honey Don't, Carl Perkins.

  • Background and Rockabilly
  • Performing Forces & their Handling
  • Vocals
  • Lead and Rhythm Guitar
  • Bass and Drums
  • Texture
  • Structure
  • Tonality and Harmony
  • Melody
  • Rhythm and Metre
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  • Recorded in 1955. 
  • Released as the B side of Blue Suede Shoes, which went on to become famous through Elvis Presley's cover. 


  • Piece is an example of rockabilly, an early and commercially successful version of rock and roll, combining elements of rhythm and blues with country music features. 
  • Fast 4/4 tempo derives from jazz and some country styles. 
  • Country instrumentation of double bass, electric and acoustic guitars, drums and vocals. 
  • Hoarse and declamatory singing style if derived from R & B, in contrast to smoothness of pop singers. 
  • It used 12 bar blues patterns as its basis. 
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Performing Forces and their Handling.

  • Set up meant that small amplified groups could fill a dance hall with as much sounds as big bands. 
  • The use of two guitars had been common in country music for some years.


  • Syllabic word setting. 
  • Improvisatory elements. 
  • Limited number of notes. 
  • Some nonsense syllables in choruses 3 and 4. 
  • Some half spoken notes. 
  • Deliberately poor diction. 
  • Sometimes harsh and declamatory blues vocal timbre. 
  • The vocal line is in a higher register in the choruses and in verse 3. 
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Lead Guitar and Rhythm Guitar.

Lead Guitar:

  • Played with a plectrum rather than fingers to get cleaner, punchier attack.
  • Begins with typical chromatic descending line with some double stopping - this passage is enhanced by tape echo, feeding the sound back through a tape delay to get a repetition of the sound. 
  • Plays a varied version of the walking bass in choruses, and this idea also provides the only melodic focus in bars 40-50. 
  • The solos and breaks in bars 30-40 and 74-80, consist largely of double stopped parallel fourths on the top two strings, emulating an early solo style for guitarists which was more rhythmic and chordal than melodic. 

Rhythm Guitar:

  • It provides strummed crotchet chords based on the Blues progression in the choruses. 
  • It plays damped punctuating chords in verses 1 and 2, and sustained chords in verse 3. 
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Bass and Drums.


  • Provided by a pizzicato double bass. 
  • In the verses it plays the roots of chords in time with guitars. 
  • In choruses, it plays traditional walking bass patterns common in rockabilly and rock and roll, sometimes involving minor seventh D, a cliche of 1950s popular music. 
  • Bars 38-45 have an entirely triadic bass line. 
  • Slap timbre is used to emphasise the off beats in bars 32-36. 


  • Shuffle type rhythm is heard in cymbals with swung quavers on beats 2+4.
  • The snare drum provides a backbeat on beats 2 and 4. 
  • The bass drum marks beats 1 and 3. 
  • In the verses, the bass drum also doubles the guitars' pick up rhythms. 
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Texture and Tonality.


  • Best described as melody dominated homophony, instruments supporting the vocals. 
  • The verses have a variant of stop time, where the voice continues while guitars and bass only play punctuating chords. 
  • A heterophonic texture occurs when the walking bass accompaniment in the bass part is doubled and embellished by the guitar. 
  • Parallel fourths appear in the two guitar instrumentals. 


  • In the tonic key of E major throughout with no use of modulation. 
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  • Verse and chorus structure with instrumental breaks. 
  • An 8 bar verse is followed by the 16 bar chorus, incorporating twice the 12 bar blues progressions, the first slightly altered. 
  • Bars 1-5: introduction. Centred on B and E with descending chromatic guitar line, followed by walking bass and strummed E chord. 
  • Bars 6-13: alternating E and C chords. 
  • Bars 14-29: chorus. Two dominant seventh chords, two tonic chords, followed by a conventional 12 bar blues pattern. 
  • Bars 30-37: instrumental. Guitar solo in parallel fourths over verse chord pattern, but with a substituted B7 chord instead of C chord in bar 38.
  • Bars 38-49: instrumental. Blues sequence, the last 12 bars of chorus. 
  • Bars 49-57: verse 3. Vocal line an octave higher than before, with some changes to fit chord sequence.
  • Bars 57-73: chorus. **** syllables based on rhtyhm of guitar solo. 
  • Bars 74-83: instrumental. Parallel fourths idea reused over altered verse chords (B7). 
  • Bars 83-96: final chorus and coda. Changed time signature to allow lengthened vocal anacrusis figure. Twelve bar pattern extended with use of chromatic descending line and a plagal cadence, involving E major 6th chord. 
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  • Diatonic, functional harmony is used throughout. 
  • A limited range of chords is used, dominated by the primary chords of E major, C, A and B7.
  • Substitution of non diatonic C major chord in verses where chord four might have appeared. This chord also fits nicely with the 'blue' third sung in these bars, and this kind of progression was often found in country songs.
  • The chord sequence of the chorus is a slightly altered version of the traditional 12 bar blues progression, where two dominant seventh chords replace the usual five four progression in bars 9 and 10 of the sequence. 
  • There is more sophisticated harmonic language in the chromatic descending lines of the introduction and at the end of the coda. 
  • The piece ends on an E major chord with the added sixth. 
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  • The melody is limited in both range and the number of notes used. 
  • It is very much centred around the tonic E. 
  • It uses blue flattened thirds and sevenths (D and G naturals). 
  • It is mainly disjunct, favouring intervals of a third up and down to chord notes, and octave leaps from E to E are common. 
  • Verses consist of four two bar phrases. 
  • Choruses mainly consist of one bar patterns seperated by rests, filled by **** syllables in choruses 3 and 4. 
  • The chorus melody is almost on a monotone, but dips down to C sharp, and D and G natural. 
  • The melody is highly improvisatory in nature, which may account for the small but evident differences between verses and repetitions of choruses. 
  • Excitement increases at each chorus as the line shifts up in register to the highter tonic, and this technique is also used in verse 3, where the vocal line is consistently based an octave higher than before. 
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Rhythm and Metre.

  • In fast quadruple time 4/4, reinforced by crotchet guitar strums. 
  • Internal subdivisions of crotchet beats create a feeling of 12/8, with shuffle and swung rhythms. 
  • Punctuating stop time chords in the verse use a characteristic pick up rhythm. 
  • The vocal line uses syncopation frequently against the strong pulse of the accompaniment, as does the guitar solo. 
  • The snare drum emphasises backbeats. 
  • The opening guitar break uses subdivision of 3+3+3 quavers.
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