King Cotton Blues
Lyrics by Robert Hunter
Music by Malcolm Welbourne (Papa Mali), Bill Kreutzmann, Matt Hubbard
as performed by 7 Walkers
Got the king cotton blues, that I can’t deny
I’ve always been in trouble, but, I never did know why
Some say it’s my attitude, others said my luck
Those that said my just deserts can take a flying fuck
Got the king cotton blues, right down to my core
I can take the licking, boys, stand up and ask for more
It ain’t because of courage, on account of being brave
I never saw much reason to avoid an early grave
King cotton blues boys, be it understood
Shotgun is too merciful, hanging is too good
Drowning’s too uncertain, poison is too slow
To snuff a worthless widow’s son whose time has come to go
Got the king cotton blues, reason to complain
All the local prostitutes, spit upon my name
I take out my handkerchief, and dust that shit away
Revenge don’t bring relief, boys, no matter what they say
Got the king cotton blues, price upon my head
A thousand bucks alive, and double if I’m dead
They don’t want to have to feed me, they know my appetite
Let’s head down to the bar afar, and pick another fight
Got the king cotton blues when shit hits the fan
No shame to duck, boys, any chance you can
Take your absolution, at the whorehouse down the block
For those who disavow you, can wind the devil’s clock
Got the king cotton blues, every dog knows the tune
Every cat has a version, beneath the brightful moon
Take your revolution, and stick it upper class
Be kind to one another, and dip your lights when you pass
Got the king cotton blues, that’s all I got to say
They done locked up the keys, and threw the house away
I’m just buying my time ’til they pop my red balloon
Feed me to the tigers, throw my leg across the moon
King Cotton Blues by 7 Walkers with Willie Nelson:
7 Walkers (2009-2012) featured former Grateful Dead drummer Bill Kreutzmann,
guitarist and singer Malcolm Welbourne aka Papa Mali,
multi-instrumentalist Matt Hubbard, and bassist George Porter Jr.
NOTE: Reed Mathis was an original member of 7 Walkers,
He played on the self-titled debut album (released on November 2, 2010)
He left the band due to touring commitments and was replaced by George Porter Jr..
And now a little King Cotton history:
“‘King Cotton’ is a slogan that summarized the strategy used before the American Civil War (of 1861–1865) by pro-secessionists in the southern states (the future Confederate States of America) to claim the feasibility of secession and to prove there was no need to fear a war with the northern states.” – wikipedia
Cotton is a soft, fluffy staple fiber that grows in a boll,
or protective case, around the seeds of the cotton plants.
Genus: Gossyplum – family: malvaceae
India is the world’s largest producer of cotton.
The five leading exporters of cotton in 2019:
(1) India, (2) the United States, (3) China, (4) Brazil, and (5) Pakistan.
The invention of the cotton gin lowered the cost of production,
leading to greater profits, and the expansion of cotton farming and slavery.
SLAVERY AND SLAVE LABOR – The real hands that built America!
George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, James Monroe,
John Hancock, and many other “Founding Fathers” owned slaves.
August, 1619 – First Slaves arrive in Jamestown, Virginia
20-30 enslaved Africans landed at Point Comfort
(now Fort Monroe in Hampton, Virginia)
Captain Jope and Mr. Marmaduke from the English warship ‘White Lion’
traded captives removed from the Portuguese slave ship, San Juan Bautista
to the Governor and Cape Merchant of Jamestown for food and supplies.
1662 – Slavery officially recognized as the statutory law of the colony.
Legislation passed to define the status of mixed-race (mulatto) children.
Children were considered the same status as their mother.
If the child was born to a slave, the child would be born a slave.
Acknowledge the history and legacy of slavery, the slave trade,
the failed reconstruction and post Civil War retaliation, sharecropping,
“The Great Migration”, the Klu Klux Klan, segregation, Jim Crow, and racism!
“Oh! Isn’t that a Dainty Dish to set before the King!”
by artist John McLenan (1827-1865)
This cartoon depicts General George B. McClellan delivering a live bombshell to the table of the British monarchy. The table top says “Virginia” while the body of it is made of cotton and the supports are “whiskey.” Standing nearby is Lord Palmerston pictured as a whiskey bottle (“Old Rye Prime Minister”). In the background is a slave atop a stack of cotton and a black servant commenting on the instabilty of the cotton stack. This is referencing Great Britiain’s policy of neutrality towards the American Civil War and the belief by many Northerners that it was merely a strategic position taken by the British to maximize their economic benefits. In reality, Palmerston viewed neutrality and the possible success of the Confederacy as lucrative economic possibilites for Great Britiain. This depiction is infering that McClellan and the Union Army will destroy the foundation of this economic plan (portrayed here as cotton) through their military successes.
The Triangular Trade in the 18th and 19th centuries:
Great Britain shipped goods to West Africa.
These goods were used to buy captured Africans.
The African slaves were shipped to the West Indies and the Americas
and exchanged for sugar, rum, and other goods.
And then these goods were shipped back to Great Britain.
“COTTON IS KING!”
The “King Cotton” March was composed in 1895 by John Philip Sousa
for the Cotton States and International Exposition (1895).
(June 4, 1928 – October 31, 1995) from Thibodaux, Louisiana
He pioneered the use of the electric bass in blues, jazz, and R&B.
He was a regular at the famous New Orleans’ Dew Drop Inn.
Bandleader for Guitar Slim, and he had his own orchestra.
He also played with big names like Nappy Brown and Little Richard.
Lloyd Lambert (and his band) – “King Cotton” instrumental
King Cotton is also the stage name of Dicky Sony,
an American Texas blues singer born in 1945 in Navasota, Texas.
King Cotton as Roscoe from the film “Tape Heads”
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