Sweet Home Chicago

  • Posted on March 1, 2018 at 8:24 AM

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What does this song mean to you? Song Discussions is protected by U. Sweet Home Chicago” is a blues standard first recorded by Robert Johnson in 1936. Although he is often credited as the songwriter, several songs have been identified as precedents. The melody of “Sweet Home Chicago” is found in several blues songs, including “Honey Dripper Blues”, “Red Cross Blues”, and the immediate model for the song, “Kokomo Blues”.

The lyrics for “Honey Dripper Blues No. In 1932, Jabo Williams recorded “Ko Ko Mo Blues,” with the same refrain, but included a counting line: “One and two is three, four and five and six”. James Arnold laid claim to the song in 1933, styling himself Kokomo Arnold and naming his version “Old Original Kokomo Blues”. On November 23, 1936, in Room 414 of the Gunter Hotel in San Antonio, Texas, Robert Johnson recorded “Sweet Home Chicago”.

He changed the character of the song to one of aspirational migration, replacing “back to Kokomo” with “to Chicago”, and replacing “that eleven light city” with another migrational goal “that land of California”. Johnson sang this as the first verse and used it as the refrain. Otherwise, his verses retained the structure of Arnold’s recording, with similar counting verses. Johnson succeeded in evoking an exotic modern place, far from the South, which is an amalgam of famous migration goals for African Americans leaving the South.

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