Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Black Betty Is Blues, Punk, Disco, Pop and Industrial Metal

One thing I love about having a blog about music is I have to type so little. The music says it all.

Black Betty was originally a  powerful song of rhythmic singing and handclaps, with misty beginnings in black folk/work song. Black betty could be booze, or a flintlock gun, or a hot girl depending on how far back you go. It was made popular by Ledbelly in 1939, and remade popular as a southernrock/disco tune in 1977.

Black Betty is so simple and powerful, the musicians can easily take it and play themselves right into it. I wish I could put them here left to right, so you could easily choose your favorite genre. I have my favorites. Scroll down and find yours.

Blues By Leadbelly

In 1977 Ram Jam combines disco drums with southern rock guitars to make a one-hit wonder

Raw punk by Nick Cave. Here it is live. It gives me chills.

If light rock is more your thing, the heavy rhythm from the original song gives Tom Jones an edge:

 Black Betty, by industrial metal band, Ministry. Interesting!

I had hoped to find a very different DJ remix of Black Betty, but they are all very stuck on the Ram Jam version, with added redundant drum beats. The main obvious versions I could not find online were a Black Betty rap, and Black Betty very simply played, where the singer sang the lines, but left the ram-a-lam sound to the electric guitar player.

Coming soon: Your Biblioscope for October.


  1. The Excello's do a great cover of Black Betty...I love that song.

  2. Thanks Kim. It's a rockabilly version!
    People can sample it at
    or play it on mog