Great White Cathedrals


Written by John Stewart


'Great White Cathedrals’ is on the great “Willard” album, Capitol Records, 1970, best re-release as BGO Records double CD (2001) (together with the outstanding California Bloodlines” album from 1969). 

This is an excellent song.

Not all that easy to play, a couple of unusual chord progressions, and it took us a while to ascertain the chords – a real Guitars Across the Water group effort, again.  Thanks, friends!






Capo 3rd fret


(C/E)(C/D)(C)(C/D)(G/B)(G)(bass run E-G-C-A) (hold)

Was it (G)you all a(G/F#)long, good (Em)Jesus,(high notes g-b-a-g)

Were (C)you all a(Am)long the right (G/D)way? (G7/F)

Oh, you (C)told me you (Am7short)were,

But the (G)writing was (Em)blurred.

The (E4/C#)people who told me, they (D)twisted your (D7)words,

Saying (Em)burn, (C/E)child, (D)burn,(bass run, middle strings D-F#-G-A-G-F#)

(C/E)When in your (D)name will they (G)learn (G7/F)

That you (C/E)can't buy a (Am)soul

With his (Bm)silver and (G)gold?

And a (E4/C#)sway-backed old jackass was (D)all that you rode,

As the (Em)bells (C/E)still (D)peal(bass run, middle strings D-F#-G-A-G-F#)

In the (C/E)great white ca(C/D, hammer on E)thedrals

Of (C/D, hammer on E)people for(C/D, hammer on E)getting (D)to (G)feel.

(C/E)(C/D)(C)(C/D)(bass run B-G-A) (hold)


Was it (G)you all a(G/F#)long, green (Em)meadow, (add A-note on G-string, bend)

Were (C)you all a(Am)long my true (G/D)home? (G7/F)

Your (C)grass sure was (Am7short)cool,

With your (G)high mountain (Em)pools

But (E4/C#)out on the highway, I be(D)came like the (D7)fools

Saying (Em)burn, (C/E)child, (D)burn,(bass run, middle strings D-F#-G-A-G-F#-E)

(C/E)When in the (D)world will I (G)learn (G7/F)

That you (C/E)must stay a(Am)live?

In the (Bm)cities you (G)die.

And (E4/C#)old mother nature just (D)fights to survive,

As the (Em)bells (C/E)still (D)peal(bass run, middle strings D-F#-G-A-G-F#-E)

In the (C/E)great white ca(C/D, hammer on E)thedrals

Of (C/D, hammer on E)people for(C/D, hammer on E)getting (D)to (G)feel.

(highlight bass notes G-B-D-middle E-D-C-D)


© John Stewart, All Rights Reserved


While we were working on it, Charlie wrote:

I looked, and it seems to me that it's in A capoed at 1

Needs the rich bass notes....


I think:

Drop D, capo 1






D--2 h -4--2--0-2-----------0—0-




However, I'm wondering if your key isn't more playable?



(It is, I said)


Art agreed: Could play it in Jan's G capo at 3rd fret


But for the accomplished players we added Charlie´s intro., Charlie Woodward & Art Faller


December 2006