Sunday, February 8, 2009

Crow Jane


The next several posts will be looking at my new painting: Crow Jane Blues. An image of the painting is above (click to enlarge).

This song, although not a bluegrass song, sure could be adapted. I've played it in different styles from uptempo bluegrass to fingerstyle blues.

It was originally a Delta blues and uses a standard 8 bar format. Several versions use a tag (added measure or two) by repeating the last line once or twice similar to skip James version.

There aren't many good lyric versions and the song itself is fairly obscure (although Derek Trucks did a slide version). I love the second verse which as I remember is from Sonny Terry and Brownie McGee but is found earlier in different versions from many of Piedmont bluesmen in the 1920 and 1930s.

Here are my lyrics (from traditional sources):

Crow Jane Blues

CHORUS: Crow Jane, Crow JaneDon't you hold your head so high,
Cause someday baby, you know you’re gonna die.

Which way, which way, Does that blood red river run?
From my back door, to the Risin' Sun.

I'm gonna buy me a pistol, Long as I am tall,
Shoot Crow Jane just to see her fall.

I dug that woman’s grave Eight feet in the ground,
Didn’t feel sorry, ‘til I laid her down.

I dug her grave, With a silver spade,
Ain't nobody, gonna take my Crow Jane’s place.

They laid her down, With a golden chain
And every link would cry Crow Jane’s name.

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