A great songwriter can take even an uncomfortable or difficult subject and turn it into an enjoyable and inviting song. When two of the best songwriters in the world come together, they can take that same subject and not only create a hit but also illuminate the subject in ways both surprising and moving.
-Jim Beviglia (Pump It Up: Elvis Costello’s 100 Best Songs)
Here are some facts, original version, lyrics & live versions.
There stood a log cabin made of earth and wood
Where lived a country boy named Johnny B. Goode,
Who never ever learned to read or write so well
But he could play a guitar just like a ringin’ a bell.
You can’t copyright guitar licks and maybe that’s good, because if you could, Chuck might have hoarded them as he does his Cadillacs. Without The Chuck Berry Riff, we’d lose not just the Beach Boys, but essential elements of the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, Bob Seger, and Bruce Springsteen — to mention only the most obvious examples. In a way, what was at the center of the first wave of the British Invasion could be described as a Chuck Berry revival.
~Dave Marsh (The Heart of Rock and Soul)
If I hadn’t heard the Robert Johnson record when I did, there probably would have been hundreds of lines of mine that would have been shut down—that I wouldn’t have felt free enough or upraised enough to write.
— Bob Dylan
Chronicles: Volume One
“Come On in My Kitchen” is a blues song by Robert Johnson. Johnson recorded the song on November 23, 1936 at the Gunter Hotel in San Antonio, Texas – his first recording session. The melody is based on the song cycle by the string band the Mississippi Sheiks, “Sitting on Top of the World” (1930)/Things About Coming My Way (1931)/I’ll Be Gone, Long Gone (1932)/Hitting The Numbers (1934).
Johnson’s arrangement on slide guitar (in open tuning, commonly thought to be open G) is based on Tampa Red’s recording of the same tune with the title “Things ‘Bout Coming My Way”. Tampa Red had recorded an instrumental version in 1936, and the song had been recorded earlier by him in 1931, and by Kokomo Arnold in 1935 (Tampa Red may in fact have been the first to use the melody with his song “You Got To Reap What You Sow” (1929) based on Leroy Carr & Scrapper Blackwell’s version).
Johnson’s recording was released on the Vocalion label (no. 03563) as a “race record” – cheap records for the black consumer market. The song was among those compiled on the King of the Delta Blues Singers LP in the 1960s. (A slower alternate take was also later found and released on CD collections; this version also has ten extra lines of lyrics.)
Langston left us about a year ago.
Before he died made me promise to sing this song wherever I went, I told him that I would because he wouldn’t be around to say it anymore
Backlash Blues is the 6th track on one of my favourite albums, Nina Simone’s Nina Simone Sings The Blues.
This was Simone’s first album for RCA Records after previously recording for Colpix Records and Philips Records. The album was also reissued in 2006 with bonus tracks, and re-packaged in 1991 by RCA/Novus as a 17-track compilation under the title The Blues.
Nina Simone Sings the Blues is a classic record that will stand the test of time; it is a true classic. The best version, in my not so humble opinion, is on the album Forever Young, Gifted and Black: Songs of Freedom And Spirit, a fabulous compilation released in 2006.
“Folsom Prison Blues” is a song written and first recorded in 1955 by Johnny Cash. The song combines elements from two popular folk styles, the train song and the prison song, both of which Cash would continue to use for the rest of his career. It was one of Cash’s signature songs.