Thursday, August 30, 2012

A Story about Race - "Black Cat Blues" by Lightnin' Hopkins

This is an amazingly played song by blues master Lightnin' Hopkins.

While it's sung in a funny tone, the song is actually a metaphor about whites and blacks.

You see, back before the civil rights movement, there was a lot of racial tensions in the US, especially in the 50's and 60's.

This song, which also features some amazing fingerstyle skills, while humorous in the way Hopkins speaks it, has serious underlying tone, such as:

The black cat told the white cat, let go out to town and clown
The white cat told the black cat to sit his black self down

I do feel a lot of the speech is improvised... which is a usual style of Lightnin'... to make up lyrics as he went by.

Here's the song!

1 comment:

  1. I realised there are no lyrics for this song online, so here they are (approximately)

    This is the black cat told that white cat let's go across town and clown
    The white cat told the black cat to sit his black self down, and I just left like this

    The black cat told the white cat stay where you can be
    He said I believe you're trying to cheap pull me and then
    Kept on going across town...
    Poor white wouldn't even drink some of that ole' Morgan Davis wine

    Long time...
    Just go ahead on and drink that Morgan Davis wine...

    That black cat got worried, you know he got up again and danced
    The white cat told the black cat sit down, said you look like you've got ants in your pants
    Black cat he couldn't get a word in
    And he sat down and he said gimme a little bottle of that Kronenbourg

    Both of em are drinking wine,
    One drinking Morgan Davis and the other drinking Kronenbourg
    They got drunk and they're beginning to stagger home together
    Said the black cat to the white cat said ain't we with one another he said yeah

    Black cat told the white cat I believe you're feeling a clown
    The white cat told the black cat you better sit your black self down
    Because it ain't no time for clowning and carrying on like that...

    You know that was that white cat

    Black cat told the white cat he said you know we've been together and the white cat said yeah
    He said it don't make sense for us to get mad at one another and he said no

    He said but you doing something I really don't like and he said what is it?
    He said just because you'se the black cat

    The black cat told the white cat said I'm doing it because I'm in town
    Since I was the biggest to prove it now you've got to prove it and sit your white self down

    "Black Cat Blues" - Sam "Lightnin'" Johnson


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