Feel the Blues with all that Jazz
English (United Kingdom)Polish (Poland)
Home Music Notes Blues Notes When the Levee Breaks

When the Levee Breaks

User Rating: / 19
PoorBest 

When the Levee Breaks

In 1927 the Mississippi river overflowed. The flood had a severe impact, but the state of Mississippi suffered most, especially its Delta area. Whole towns were destroyed as well as agriculture, the base of income for many people from that area. Tens of thousands of colored people were forced to leave their homes and head to the cities.

 

This way the river caused ‘The Great Migration’ of black people from South to North. This disaster echoed widely across the Unites States. Blind Lemon Jefferson was singing sad blues songs about the flood while being in Chicago.

When the Levee Breaks

 

The flood itself and its impact have been witnessed by the pair of bluesmen: Kansas Joe McCoy and his wife Memphis Minnie. In 1927 they wrote a blues together 'When the Levee Breaks'. The authors dedicated it to the memory of inhabitants of Greenville, a city in Delta which was most intensively destroyed by the flood. The town depopulated strongly whilst around 13 000 of its inhabitants left to seek better fortune elsewhere.

 

Your browser cannot display images.
Kansas Joe i Memphis Minnie

 

In December 1970 Led Zeppelin recorded 'When the Levee Breaks' as a first piece on their latest album Led Zeppelin IV. The following pieces were being recorded till March 1971. This album became one of the bestsellers in the rock music history. Over 23 millions of records were sold in the States alone.

 

The sound of blues was nicely enhanced by the typical drum beats of John Bonham, whining guitar and weeping harmonica. Again Page used the 'reverse echo' effect this time on Plant’s harmonica.

 

Your browser cannot display images.
Led Zepplin

 

The famous performance of the drumming part was recorded in a Headley Grange building. Andy Johns, the sound engineer, placed John Bonham and his instruments at the bottom of the staircase and two dynamic microphones at its top. This way he achieved a more subtle, a bit muffled sound, which became a big event among drummers’ society.

 

Drumming part was many times put into use in late hip-hop and dance music. Led Zeppelin even brought a lawsuit against Beastie Boys for illegal usage of this effect in their first album.

 

Because of the drumming play the piece was very difficult to perform live. The band did it only few times during their US tour in 1975.

 

When the Levee Breaks, Led Zeppelin lyrics

If it keeps on rainin', levee's goin' to break,
If it keeps on rainin', levee's goin' to break,
When The Levee Breaks I'll have no place to stay.

Mean old levee taught me to weep and moan,
Mean old levee taught me to weep and moan,
Got what it takes to make a mountain man leave his home,
Oh, well, oh, well, oh, well.

Don't it make you feel bad
When you're tryin' to find your way home,
You don't know which way to go?
If you're goin' down South
They got no work to do,
If you're going NORTH to Chicago.

Cryin' won't help you, prayin' won't do you no good,
Now, cryin' won't help you, prayin' won't do you no good,
When the levee breaks, mama, you got to move.

All last night sat on the levee and moaned,
All last night sat on the levee and moaned,
Thinkin' about my baby and my happy home.
Going, going to Chicago.. Going to Chicago.. Sorry but I can't take you..
Going down.. going down now.. going down...

 

 

 

When the Levee Breaks, Kansas Joe & Minnie lyrics

If it keeps on rainin', levee's goin' to break (2x)
And the water gonna come in, have no place to stay

Well all last night I sat on the levee and moan (2x)
Thinkin' 'bout my baby and my happy home

If it keeps on rainin', levee's goin' to break (2x)
And all these people have no place to stay

Now look here mama what am I to do (2x)
I ain't got nobody to tell my troubles to

I works on the levee mama both night and day (2x)
I ain't got nobody, keep the water away

Oh cryin' won't help you, prayin' won't do no good (2x)
When the levee breaks, mama, you got to lose

I works on the levee, mama both night and day (2x)
I works so hard, to keep the water away

I had a woman, she wouldn't do for me (2x)
I'm goin' back to my used to be

I's a mean old levee, cause me to weep and moan (2x)
Gonna leave my baby, and my happy home

 

 

 

 

 

 

Last Updated (Thursday, 12 March 2015 21:04)

 

Add comment


Security code
Refresh

Polls
What music genre would you like to find here the most?
 
Now onsite:
  • 61 guests
Content View Hits : 37722939