You Don't Know What's Going On
Exuma Lyrics


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You don't know what's going on
Can't make the world go 'round
Here today, tomorrow your gone
You don't know what's going on

When the holy cow's milking
And the greenbacks are rolling
You are the king and queen pin
But when the greenbacks turn brown
And you fall down
Whatcha gonna do, watcha gonna do

Come go with me
Come take my hand
I'm going home
Come go with me

You can't change the night into day
You can't take the milk from the milky way




You can't take the sun from the sky
And you can't put the light in Ray Charles eye

Overall Meaning

The song "You Don't Know What's Going On" by Exuma is a poignant commentary on the fleeting nature of power and wealth. The lyrics suggest that even those who seem to be on top of the world, the "king and queen pin," are ultimately subject to the vicissitudes of fortune. The line "Can't make the world go 'round" implies that no one person or group of people can truly control the direction or movement of the world. The repetition of the titular line "You don't know what's going on" emphasizes this sense of uncertainty and instability.


The second stanza adds a layer of social commentary, using the metaphor of a holy cow to represent the system of wealth and power. When the "greenbacks are rolling," those in charge feel invincible, but when the "greenbacks turn brown" and the system begins to falter, they are suddenly vulnerable. The line "Come go with me / Come take my hand / I'm going home" can be interpreted as a call to reject the false promises of material success and instead seek refuge in the comfort of home and community.


The final stanza emphasizes the limitations of human power and the immutable nature of the universe. No matter how much wealth or influence one may have, there are certain things that cannot be changed or controlled. The imagery of the milk, sun, and Ray Charles' blindness evokes a sense of cosmic stability and inevitability.


Line by Line Meaning

You don't know what's going on
You are unaware of the situation or circumstances


Can't make the world go 'round
You cannot control everything or everyone


Here today, tomorrow your gone
Life is unpredictable and things can change quickly


When the holy cow's milking
When everything is going well and money is flowing


And the greenbacks are rolling
And money is plentiful


You are the king and queen pin
You feel powerful and in control


But when the greenbacks turn brown
But when money becomes scarce or worthless


And you fall down
And you lose everything


Whatcha gonna do, watcha gonna do
What actions will you take or decisions will you make?


Come go with me
Join me on a journey or adventure


Come take my hand
Let me guide and support you


I'm going home
I am returning to my place of comfort and safety


You can't change the night into day
You cannot transform a negative situation into a positive one


You can't take the milk from the milky way
You cannot take what is not yours or impossible to obtain


You can't take the sun from the sky
You cannot control the natural world


And you can't put the light in Ray Charles eye
You cannot cure blindness or change someone's innate qualities




Contributed by Ellie T. Suggest a correction in the comments below.
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Comments from YouTube:

@WocklessGamingforAnimeMoms

Exuma is based. Havent listened to this in ages.

@johnhardesty3167

Whomever downloaded this rare album, I salute you, I love this forgotten song.

@savannahsav91824

an all time favorite 💖

@thomaswalker1513

This song was featured in a film called JOE, starring Peter Boyle and Susan Sarandon. This was her first film. She went with her husband Chris Sarandon to his audition(the drug dealer role). He didn't get the part, but they liked her. She was cast as the dealer's girlfriend. Surprised this nugget was here because I only hear it when I watch this extraordinary period film basically NYC after Woodstock. Really unpredictable movie which I love. I saw this movie one night before I was cast as an extra for a film called In the Line of Duty Street Wars, starring Maro Van Peebles, Peter Boyle and Ray Sharkey. I had no clue Peter Boyle would be on the set. And the night before I'd seen him on JOE. I even told him. But he was busy with Ray Sharkey. They knew each other from a remake of Baby Doll. Ray Sharkey died of HIV not long after. I believe Ray revealed this to Boyle. He gave me a look I'll never forget.

@evansgate

Peter Boyle gave you the look?

@g-girl9867

@@evansgate yeah, please continue your story.... watching Joe again tonite. Remarkable film with an amazing cast. And this song. So easy to locate within the web! Gracias

@kakonis

Thank you for this story. I just saw "Joe" tonight. Boyle's performance is brilliant, the way he made that character both pitiable and somehow sympathetic. I know he refused to do anything involving violence for years, because he thought some people took "Joe" the wrong way. He turned down "The French Connection," because the Popeye Doyle character seemed like such a hardcore reactionary. The funny thing was that Gene Hackman felt the same way, and despised Doyle when he had to interact with him to prepare for his role. Eventually I guess Boyle must have softened his view of "Joe" because he was slated to make a sequel. Alas, it never came off.

@thomaswalker1513

@@kakonis You're right BECAUSE when I mentioned I just saw JOE last night the look I received falls in line with he didn't know was I giving him a thumbs up or down. He was too involved with whatever Ray Sharkey was telling him to respond. I think it's a great post WOODSTOCK period drama and the way it unfolds is so unexpected which is a BIG reason I love this flick. Unpredictable and a real treat for those that haven't seen it.

@marcuspray7631

I'm going to have to check this out. Most recently, Exuma The Obeah Man was featured in Jordan Peele's film "Nope" which led me to revisiting this wonderful album.

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@vanessas3385

I got sent here from the Missing Witches podcast. Their prescription for the day was to listen to this song in the dark in a hot bath. 🖤

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