Ram jam - black betty

Ram jam - black betty
music

Ram jam - black betty

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Description

"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 cadence about a flint-lock rifle.

In 1977, the rock band Ram Jam — whose members included Bill Bartlett, formerly of Starstruck and The Lemon Pipers — rerecorded the song with producers Jerry Kasenetz and Jeff Katz under Epic Records. The song became an instant hit with listeners, as it reached number 18 on the singles charts in the United States and the top ten in Australia. At the same time, the lyrics became the cause of a boycott by civil rights groups NAACP and Congress of Racial Equality, who claimed it insulted black women.

In 1990 dance remixes of Ram Jam's version made the top twenty of the US dance charts and top thirty in Australia. Other notable artists such as Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds (1986) and Tom Jones (2002) have covered the song.

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Tags

classic rock | rock | 70s | hard rock | southern rock