BLACK BETTY

Latest update on 30/07/2015

Artist: James 'Iron Head' Baker
Author: traditional
Label: Library Of Congress
Year: 1933

Not about a woman but a whip. Black Betty came down on chainganger's backs soon as their nine pound hammers came down off key. Others claim it was the name of the truck bringing convicts to their work place. Recorded in the Sugarland prison farm in Texas. Iron Head of course had a real black woman in mind to make his day. "Black Betty had a blue eyed baby"... As if a white janitor was the father of that child.

Covers:

1935:

Lead Belly [same session as Pick A Bale Of Cotton (see there)]

1964:

Koerner, Ray & Glover

1964:

Harry Belafonte

1968:

Manfred Mann

1977:

Ram Jam [one hit wonders with members of The Lemon Pipers and The Hassles (Billy Joel's first band)]

1986:

Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds [with elements of On A Monday - see there]

1997:

Flash Back

1997:

Sheila Wilcoxson [linked to Lead Belly's Looky Looky Yonder]

1998:

Jive Bunny & The Mastermixers

2002:

Tom Jones

2003:

Player feat. Peter Beckett [in film Basic]

2004:

Spiderbait [n°1 AUS]

In 1736 Benjamin Franklin published The Drinker's Dictionary in The Pennsylvania Gazette with 228 ways to tell someone's drunk. One of them: He's kiss'd Black Betty.

Contact


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info@originals.be

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