Posted by: Rob | June 19, 2008

Song Lyric Thursday – June 19 2008

Well, kids, we’re packing up and heading down to the soggy south.  Well, at least it’s south of here.  Destination: Iowa.

In recognition of the floods in place names I’ve recently had occasion to learn – places like Cedar Rapids and Iowa City – and river names like the Cedar River, the Iowa River and the Des Moines River, I’ve selected a tune called “When the Levee Breaks” for this week’s Song Lyric Thursday.

Now, I’m most familiar with the version recorded by Led Zeppelin and, as I searched for lyrics,  I was surprised to learn that Led Zeppelin’s version is actually a cover.  According to Wikipedia, the blues tune was originally recorded by Kansas Joe McCoy and Memphis Minnie.  There’s even a link to a recording by them, which is now in the public domain.  It’s a pretty cool recording.

When the Levee Breaks

Kansas Joe McCoy and Memphis Minnie

If it keeps on rainin’, levee’s goin’ to break,
If it keeps on rainin’, levee’s goin’ to break,
When The Levee Breaks…have no place to stay.

Mean old levee taught me to weep and moan,
Mean old levee taught me to weep and moan,
It’s got what it takes to make
a mountain man leave his home,
Oh, well, oh, well, oh, well.

Don’t it make you feel bad
When you’re tryin’ to find your way home,
You don’t know which way to go?
If you’re goin’ down South,
There ain’t no work to do,

If you’re goin’ North,
There’s Chicago.

Cryin’ won’t help you,
prayin’ won’t do you no good,
Now, cryin’ won’t help you,
prayin’ won’t do you no good,
When the levee breaks,
mama, you got to move.

All last night sat on the levee and moaned,
All last night sat on the levee and moaned,
Thinkin’ ’bout my baby and my happy home.

Going, going to Chicago… Going to
Chicago… Sorry but I can’t take you…
Going down… going down now…
going down….

I still prefer the Led Zeppelin version, though:

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Responses

  1. I found both versions interesting. I like the Zepplin version, too. But then I “grew up” with Led Zepplin.

  2. […] Original post by Rob […]

  3. Very appropriate lyric choice, becareful over there in Iowa!

    I have some long lost inlaws in Iowa (well not inlaws anymore I guess since the link between us was my late husband) but I hope that they were washed away with the floods.

    Sorry thats not very nice to say is it…I am not feeling in a very generous mood and the thought of them make me bristle. Just do me a favour, if you see people being washed away who look like gold diggers, don’t go to any trouble to rescue them.

    Hope your trip is eventful, Rob. For you and Annie both.

    Pam

  4. Take extra galoshes!


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