“Black Betty” Performed by Ram Jam (1977), Spiderbait (2004) & Leadbelly (1939)

January 8, 2012


This post was intended for my Tumblr account,  but as is often the case,  I logged in only to get this error message. I wanted to discuss this song before bed so here is the chosen alternative outlet.

I generally treat myself to eat out on weekends at Ruby Tuesday’s and/or TGIFriday’s. The food is pretty much the same at either place, but Friday’s has the edge of the awesome music playing non-stop for this music lover. If you read my blogs you know I am partial to “oldies” from the late 50s to the late 70s –  and yet occasionally I have been turned on to an 80s or 90s song that I was not aware of, while dining at Friday’s.

I just got home from today’s late Sunday evening meal where I was re-introduced to a song that I hadn’t heard since the 70s — “Black Betty!”

This is  Ram Jam’s 1977 hit cover version that charted #18 Pop, and then again charted #13 Dance/Club in 1990. I keep telling you that everything old is new again and this is a great case in point. :-) This jam has been remixed over and over again for decades, and always sounds great. This is the band, Ram Jam’s, one-hit-wonder music history claim to fame: if you could only have one hit — then this is a great one to have!

The three piece group from Australia, Spiderbait,  charted #32 Mainstream Rock state-side with their 2004 cover of “Black Betty.” This song was their first single to reach #1 on the Australian charts.

Now, if you were paying attention, you noticed I mentioned that the two hit versions above were both “cover” tunes. So to school you completely, here is the original, a capella, recorded version of the African American folk song sung by Huddie “Lead Belly” Ledbetter. I love it and am so glad that it was recorded before Leadbelly’s death in 1949, and subsequently covered,  so that this important folk music remains  in the public eye for generations to come.

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Filed under:Black Betty,Lead Belly Ledbetter,Ram Jam,Spiderbait

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