Back up and push

Back Up and Push

Let’s have a look at the fiddle tune, Back Up and Push!

Back Up and Push

Back Up and Push is a standard bluegrass tune. Its melody likely comes from the ragtime song “Creole Belles” by Lampe, J. Bodewalt, published in 1900.

This song is generally led by the fiddle or mandolin. Back Up and Push is most commonly played as an instrumental, but was performed with lyrics by June Carter. Rumor is that the seldom-sung lyrics for this song were written by Raymond McLain of the McLain Family Band in the 1950s-60s.

Key signature

Back Up and Push is generally played in the key of C Major.


Here is the basic melody of Back Up and Push, as written in the key of C Major:

Chord progression

There are three chords in Back Up and Push.

Back Up and Push has a 4 – 1 – 5 chord progression. The chord progression is unique because it starts on the 4 rather than the 1.

Here is the chord progression, with one digit per bar of melody:

4 4 1 1
5 5 1 1
4 4 1 1
5 5 1 1


Here are the chords for Back Up and Push in the key of C:




Lyrics are seldom sung for this tune, but here they are, just in case:

Did you ever wonder about the riddle
What kind of spirit lives in a fiddle
Well, it’s old Satan, right there a’ waitin’
Or are you tuned with the Angel band


Well, you back up and push, back up and push
Back off of sin and let Glory in
You can’t go wrong singing this song
Back up and push away

If you let the devil play on your senses
Prepare to suffer the consequences
The foolish measure of the worldly pleasure
Can only drag you to the roaring fire


Here are some hot takes on this song

Michael Cleveland & Pete Wernick play Back Up and Push

Mile Twelve plays Back Up and Push

Back Up and Push Hotel Jam at SPBGMA 2023

Back up and push


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