Artist: James 'Iron Head' Baker
Label: Library Of Congress
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.
Lead Belly [same session as Pick A Bale Of Cotton (see there)]
Starstruck [Cincinnati band (on a Truckstar 45) with guitarist Bill Bartlett, four years before he moved this song to his new band Ram Jam]
Ram Jam [one hit wonders with members of The Lemon Pipers and The Hassles (Billy Joel's first band)]
Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds [with elements of On A Monday - see there]
Sheila Wilcoxson [linked to Lead Belly's Looky Looky Yonder]
Player feat. Peter Beckett [in film Basic]
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.
If you noticed blunt omissions, mis-interpretations or even out-and-out errors, please let us know by contacting us:
B-2840 Reet (Rumst)