Wednesday, October 15, 2014

BOTB-BLACK BETTY

I am going to make this short and sweet.

Two versions. One song. You pick.

If you think this is a pointless exercise, blame these two bloggers:

Far Away Series

STMcC Presents BATTLE OF THE BANDS


If you like the idea, these guys are bandwagon jumpers like me:

Tossing It Out

Your Daily Dose


And those who came after:

Curious As A Cathy

The Creative Outlet of Stratplayer

The Sound Of One Hand Typing


I know I posted about this song at some point in the past, but I do not think it has made it onto a BOTB yet.

A lot of rock and roll guitarists cite the old blues masters as key influences.


“Black Betty” is a 20th-century African-American work song often credited to Huddie "Lead Belly" Ledbetter, although the earliest recordings are not by him. 

Some sources claim it is one of Lead Belly's many adaptations of earlier folk material.

There have been numerous recorded versions, although the best known modern recording may be a 1970’s rock version by one-hit wonders Ram Jam (although they did have a second album, they only had one hit).

The origin and meaning of the lyrics are subject to debate. 

Historically the "Black Betty" of the title may refer to the nickname given to a number of objects: a musket, a bottle of whisky, a whip, or a penitentiary transfer wagon.

I would imagine in today’s extremely PC environment, the song would immediately be censored as racist.

Which makes me want to feature it all the more! 

A little controversy-now THAT’S worth posting about!

So here goes the "original" from Leadbelly...





And here's the version you may remember from the seventies....




Finally, here's a recent cover by Pat Travers...





So who wins....tradition, or one of the young whippersnappers?