Chauffeur Blues

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"Chauffeur Blues"
Song by Jefferson Airplane
from the album Jefferson Airplane Takes Off
Released 1966
Recorded February 25, 1966
Genre Rock, blues
Length 2:25
Label RCA Victor
Songwriter(s) See text
Jefferson Airplane Takes Off track listing
  1. "Blues from an Airplane"
  2. "Let Me In"
  3. "Bringing Me Down"
  4. "It's No Secret"
  5. "Tobacco Road"
  6. "Come Up the Years'
  7. "Run Around"
  8. "Let's Get Together"
  9. "Don't Slip Away"
  10. "Chauffeur Blues"
  11. "And I Like It"

"Chauffeur Blues" is a song originally recorded by Memphis Minnie as "Me and My Chauffeur Blues" in 1941[1] and subsequently covered by many other artists.

The 1941 recording credited Memphis Minnie's husband and performing partner, Ernest "Little Son Joe" Lawlars as the songwriter, though it is thought she wrote it herself.[2] The song was also sometimes credited to the recording's producer, Lester Melrose, which allowed him to collect royalties on it without actually having written it. The melody is identical to that of "Good Morning, School Girl", recorded by Sonny Boy Williamson I in 1937.[3]

The Jefferson Airplane version of this song is on the album Jefferson Airplane Takes Off, with Signe Anderson as the lead vocalist. It is performed at a faster tempo and uses only three of the four verses. Anderson performed the song with strong contralto vocals. According to Jeff Tamarkin, author of Got a Revolution! The Turbulent Flight of Jefferson Airplane, "Chauffeur Blues" was picked by Anderson from an album by the South African folksinger Miriam Makeba.[4] It was not included in the repertoire of Jefferson Airplane's early gigs and was performed only occasionally. It was last performed by the Airplane on October 15, 1966, at the concert recorded as Signe's Last. An extended version of the song is included in the remastered version of Jefferson Airplane Takes Off.

The blues writer and historian Thomas Millroth claims Memphis Minnie received no royalties from Jefferson Airplane.[5]


  1. ^ Russell, Tony (1997). The Blues: From Robert Johnson to Robert Cray. Dubai: Carlton Books. p. 13. ISBN 1-85868-255-X. 
  2. ^ Garon, Paul; Garon, Beth (1992). Woman With Guitar: Memphis Minnie's Blues. New York: Da Capo Press. pp. 51ff. ISBN 0-306-80460-3.
  3. ^ "Good Morning Little School Girl". The Originals. Arnold Rypens. Retrieved July 22, 2016. 
  4. ^ Tamarkin, Jeff (2005). Got a Revolution! The Turbulent Flight of Jefferson Airplane. Atria. ISBN 978-0671034047.
  5. ^ Garon, Paul (2014). Woman with Guitar: Memphis Minnie's Blues. San Francisco: City Lights Books. p. 140. ISBN 978-0-87286-621-8. 

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