Ram Jam – “Black Betty”

Ram Jam – “Black Betty” | Society Of Rock Videos

Whoa, Black Betty…

Just think – ‘Black Betty’ might have been lost to the pages of time had it not been dusted off and given new life by New York rock band Ram Jam in 1977! Written by in the early 20th century and made popular by blues legend Leadbelly, ‘Black Betty’ enjoyed quite a revival when Ram Jam put a southern rock spin on it. This was the band’s only hit, but it was definitely a good one.

So Many Meanings, So Little Time!

The origin and meaning of the lyrics are subject to debate. Historically the “Black Betty” of the title may refer to the nickname given to a number of objects: a musket, a bottle of whisky, a whip, or a penitentiary transfer wagon.

That’s the great, and at times, frustrating part about classics like ‘Black Betty’. Depending on what part of the United States you come from, the origin and meaning of the song can be completely and totally different! I’ve heard it as being about a barmaid in 18th century London, but then again, ‘Black Betty’ also has roots as a work song sung by prison inmates in the 1930’s. Who knows?

In any case, we absolutely love Ram Jam’s spirited rendition of ‘Black Betty’! Regardless of what it’s about, it’s an incredibly fun song with a rhythm that makes it virtually impossible to resist singing along and stomping your feet to!

+ Black Betty lyrics +

Whoa, Black Betty (bam-ba-lam)
Whoa, Black Betty (bam-ba-lam)
Black Betty had a child (bam-ba-lam)
The damn thing gone wild (bam-ba-lam)
She said “I’m worryin’ outta mind” (bam-ba-lam)
The damn thing gone blind (bam-ba-lam)
I said Oh, Black Betty (bam-ba-lam)
Whoa, Black Betty (bam-ba-lam)

Oh, Black Betty (bam-ba-lam)
Whoa, Black Betty (bam-ba-lam)
She really gets me high (bam-ba-lam)
You know that’s no lie (bam-ba-lam)
She’s so rock steady (bam-ba-lam)
And she’s always ready (bam-ba-lam)
Whoa, Black Betty (bam-ba-lam)
Whoa, Black Betty (bam-ba-lam)

Whoa, Black Betty (bam-ba-lam)
Whoa, Black Betty (bam-ba-lam)
She’s from Birmingham (bam-ba-lam)
Way down in Alabam’ (bam-ba-lam)
Well, she’s shakin’ that thing (bam-ba-lam)
Boy, she makes me sing (bam-ba-lam)
Whoa, Black Betty (bam-ba-lam)
Whoa, Black Betty

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