My Black Mama

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Overview

This song by Son House features his catchy, riff-based slide style, which uses sounds that are recognizable from his other recordings, including his 1960s recordings of Death Letter Blues.

The playing itself is quite methodical, with very specific timings for each chord, and slight variations depending on whether it’s the I chord, IV chord, or turnaround.

Workstation

Open G — DGDGBD
1st Fret

I solemnly swear, Lord I raise my right hand
That I’m gonna get me a woman you get you another man
I solemnly swear, Lord I raise my right hand
That I’m gonna get me a woman, babe you get you another man

I got a letter this morning, how do you reckon it read?
Oh hurry hurry, the gal you love is dead
I got a letter this morning, how do you reckon it read?
Oh hurry hurry, the gal you love is dead

I grabbed my suitcase, I took off up the road
I got there she was laying on the cooling board
I grabbed my suitcase, I took off up the road
Oh, when I got there she was laying on the cooling board

Well, I walked up close I looked down in her face
Good old girl got to lay here till judgement day
I walked up close and I looked down in her face
Yes, the good old girl got to lay here till judgement day

[Spoken]
Aw, sure now. I’m feelin’ low down this evenin’

Oh, my woman so black she stays apart of this town
Can’t nothing go when the poor girl is around
My black mama stays apart of this town
Oh, can’t nothing go when the poor girl is around

Oh, some people tell me the worried blues ain’t bad
It’s the worst old feeling that I ever had
Some people tell me the worried blues ain’t bad
But it’s the worst old feeling, Lord I ever had

Mmm, I fold my arms and I walked away
That’s all right mama, your trouble will come some day
I fold my arms, Lord I walked away
Yeah, that’s all right mama, your trouble will come some day

Song History

August 1930
Grafton, WI
Paramount 13042

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