Whole lotta really good Creedence goin’ on here.
Willy and the Poor Boys is the fourth studio album by Creedence Clearwater Revival released in 1969. This is the one you want if you want “Down on the Corner,” “Cotton Fields,” “Fortunate Son,” and “The Midnight Special,” all on one album. All favorite songs for me, “Cotton Fields” a little higher than the rest. But it gave me pause this time through. I don’t know why but it occurred to me that CCR probably didn’t write this song. So, I looked it up and sure enough, it’s a cover. The song was written by American blues artist Huddie Ledbetter, better known as Lead Belly. He first recorded it in 1940. There have been many covers of the song by quite a few artist, including The Beach Boys. About the only thing of note I could find about the lyrics for the song is the “down in Louisiana, just 10 miles from Texarkana” part. CCR changed this to “down in Louisiana, just about a mile from Texarkana.” Both versions make it obvious that neither artist is familiar with the area. Texarkana is about 30 miles north of the Arkansas-Louisiana border. I was hoping for more info about the song, but didn’t really have time to look into it. It’s that one song that always causes me to burst into song. While, Led Belly didn’t write “Midnight Special,” he did record a cover of it in 1934. It’s one of those traditional folk songs with an unknown origin. It was first recorded in 1905 by Howard Odum. Everything else on the album was written by John Fogerty.
I might have to have a Lead Belly day soon.