In the process of of researching the top 15 greatest blues songs of all time I came across a version of Black Betty I never knew existed. It is listed on the album by Leadbelly that has Gallows Pole on it. This, I never knew. So of course I have to share it with you! Don’t you just love all the little gems we find on our journey? This song was made famous mostly by Ram Jam but I kinda favor Spiderbait…But I never get over how truly awesome Leadbelly was and still is in my opinion. Still lovin’ the roots!
“Black Betty” (Roud 11668) is a 20th-century African-American work song often credited to Huddie “Lead Belly” Ledbetter as the author, though the earliest recordings are not by him. Some sources claim it is one of Lead Belly’s many adaptations of earlier folk material; in this case an 18th-century marching cadenceabout a flintlock musket. There are numerous recorded versions, including a cappella, folk, and rock arrangements. The best known modern recordings are rock versions by Ram Jam, Tom Jones, and Spiderbait, all of which were hits.