Black Water (song)

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"Black Water"
Single by The Doobie Brothers
from the album What Were Once Vices Are Now Habits
B-side "Song to See You Through"
Released November 15, 1974
Format 7" single
Recorded 1973
Genre Roots rock, country rock
Length 4:18
Label Warner Bros. Records
Writer(s) Patrick Simmons
Producer(s) Ted Templeman
The Doobie Brothers singles chronology
"Nobody (re-issue)"
(1974)
"Black Water"
(1974)
"Take Me in Your Arms (Rock Me)"
(1975)

"Black Water" is a song by the American music group The Doobie Brothers from the album What Were Once Vices Are Now Habits. Released in 1974, it features its composer Patrick Simmons on lead vocals.

Simmons would credit his writing the song to making his first visit to New Orleans when the Doobie Brothers toured the southern states in the early 1970s. A lifelong aficionado of Delta blues, Simmons would state: "When I got down there [to New Orleans] it was everything I had hoped it would be ... The way of life and vibe really connected with me and the roots of my music." Having earlier constructed the song's basic guitar lick, he completed "Black Water" on the basis of the experience of his introduction to New Orleans: the lyrics Well if it rains, I don't care - Don't make no difference to me/ Just take that street car that's goin' uptown specifically reference a streetcar journey Simmons made on a rainy day to the Garden District in Uptown New Orleans to do his laundry.[1]

Introducing a bluegrass sound to traditional rock, "Black Water" hit #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 on March 15, 1975. The song was originally released in early 1974 as the B-side to "Another Park, Another Sunday", but, according to Tom Johnston in the Live at Wolftrap DVD, radio stations withdrew "Another Park, Another Sunday" from airplay because of its words ".. radio brings me down .. ", and "Black Water" ultimately became the more popular song.[2] "Black Water" became one of the few records by any act released as a B-side to another Hot 100 hit before topping the Hot 100 itself. Billboard ranked it as the No. 15 song for 1975.[3]

The song is characterized by the melodious a cappella section, with lyrics that are perhaps the most well known in the entire song: "I'd like to hear some funky Dixieland/Pretty mama, come and take me by the hand." These lines are also featured in the Train song, "I Got You" (from Save Me San Francisco) on which Simmons received a co-writing credit. The a cappella idea came from producer, Ted Templeman, the former lead singer of Harpers Bizarre, whose 1967 hit, "The 59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin' Groovy)," featured an a cappella section with harmonies. The song "Black Water" is also noted for its instrumental violin section.

The song is one of several performed by the Doobie Brothers during the band's two episode appearance in 1978 on the ABC sitcom What's Happening!![4]

A Finnish rendering "Lauantaisin" was recorded by Reijo Karvonen on his 1975 album Tulossa.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Doobie Brothers Keep on Rolling Down the Highway". NaplesNews.com. Retrieved August 21, 2013. 
  2. ^ Morse, Tim. Classic Rock Stories: The Stories Behind the Greatest Songs of All Time. St. Martin's Griffin, New York. p. 19. ISBN 0-312-18067-5. 
  3. ^ Billboard Year-End Hot 100 singles of 1975
  4. ^ Sally Wade (writer); Mark Warren (director) (1978-01-28 & 1978-02-04). "Doobie or Not Doobie (Parts 1 and 2)". What's Happening!!. Season 2. Episode 16 & 17. ABC.

External links[edit]

Preceded by
"Have You Never Been Mellow" by Olivia Newton-John
Billboard Hot 100 number one single
March 15, 1975
Succeeded by
"My Eyes Adored You" by Frankie Valli