Backwater Blues - 2


House washed away - Austin Texas 1935

Bessie Smith recorded 'Backwater Blues' for Columbia on February 17, 1927. It has been suggested that the song was inspired by the great Mississippi floods of that same year. However, Bessie's recording preceded that event by a few weeks. You can read more background about flood songs in my comments on Uncle Dave Macon's song of the same title: Backwater Blues.

Bessie's Backwater Blues became a favorite blues standard and was recorded by the likes of Lonnie Johnson, Big Bill Broonzy, and Leadbelly (where I first heard it),Josh White, Skip James, Brownie and Sonny, B.B. King and Jimmy Witherspoon. So I guess I have a lot of nerve try to follow acts like that. But I love the song so much I can't help it.

Lyrics: 

Well it rain five days and the skies turned dark as night
Well it rain five days and the skies turned dark as night
Then trouble's takin' place in the lowlands at night

I woke up this mornin', can't even get out of my door
I woke up this mornin', can't even get out of my door
Trouble make a poor man wonder where he want to go

Then they rowed a little boat about five miles 'cross the pond
Then they rowed a little boat about five miles 'cross the pond
I packed all my clothes up in it and they rowed me along

When it thunders and lightnin' and when the wind begins to blow
When it thunders and lightnin' and the wind begins to blow
There's thousands of people ain't got no place to go

Then I went and stood upon some high old lonesome hill
Then I went and stood upon some high old lonesome hill
Then looked down on the house were I used to live

Backwater blues done call me to pack my things and go
Backwater blues done call me to pack my things and go
'Cause my house fell down and I can't live there no more

Mmm, I can't move no more
Mmm, I can't move no more
Trouble make a poor man wonder where he want to go

Instruments: