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Ram Jam - Black Betty



This is a traditional song that folk singer Leadbelly popularized before his death in 1949. He recorded a lot of songs that otherwise might have been lost, including "Goodnight Irene" and "Midnight Special." Leadbelly's version is a cappella and commonly sung by laborers to pass the time while working.

Ram Jam were a short-lived band from New York City, and this was their only hit. While the lyrical content is pretty standard folk/blues material - about a black woman from Alabama who has a "wild" child, Ram Jam took some heat because some civil rights groups felt the lyrics were disrespectful to black women. While the lyrics can be deconstructed, Ram Jam's version is driven by the powerful beat and aggressive tempo, making it one of those songs that gets your heart beating faster. The song is commonly played at sporting events to pump up the crowd.


Lyrics


Whoa, Black Betty, bam-ba-lam

Whoa, Black Betty, bam-ba-lam

Black Betty had a child, bam-ba-lam

The damn thing gone wild, bam-ba-lam

Said it weren't none of mine, bam-ba-lam

The damn thing gone blind, bam-ba-lam

I said oh, Black Betty, bam-ba-lam

Whoa, Black Betty, bam-ba-lam


Whoa, Black Betty, bam-ba-lam

Whoa, Black Betty, bam-ba-lam

She really gets me high, bam-ba-lam

You know that's no lie, bam-ba-lam

She's so rock steady, bam-ba-lam

And she's always ready, bam-ba-lam

Whoa, Black Betty, bam-ba-lam

Whoa, Black Betty, bam-ba-lam


Whoa, Black Betty, bam-ba-lam

Whoa, Black Betty, bam-ba-lam

She's from Birmingham, bam-ba-lam

Way down in Alabam', bam-ba-lam

Well, she's shakin' that thing, bam-ba-lam

Boy, she makes me sing, bam-ba-lam

Whoa, Black Betty, bam-ba-lam

Whoa, Black Betty, bam-ba-lam


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