Black Rat Swing
Memphis Minnie Lyrics


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Yes you is one black rat someday i'll find your trail
Yes you is one black rat someday i'll find your trail
Then i'll hide my shoe, somewhere near your shirt tail
Yes i've taken you down town,paid your doctor bills
now i'm in a little trouble and you're trying to get me killed

Says, he sneaked in my kitchen,eat up all my bread
soon as i left home,start to cutting up in my bed

Yes you is one black rat someday i'll find your trail
Yes you is one black rat someday i'll find your trail
Then i'll hide my shoe, somewhere near your shirt tail

Break, yea beat it out

he must dance in the basement,was seen in my bedroom




trapping for the youngsters
i'm gonna catch him someday soon

Overall Meaning

The lyrics of Memphis Minnie's "Black Rat Swing" delve into the themes of friendship, betrayal, and revenge. In the song, Memphis Minnie accuses her friend, someone she once helped and took care of, of being a "black rat". She vows to find his "trail" and hide her shoe near his shirt tail as an act of revenge. This is a metaphor for Minnie wanting to physically harm the black rat.


The lyrics further illustrate the extent of the betrayal that Minnie feels in the context of the relationship between the two. She has taken him to the hospital and paid his medical bills but now feels that he is trying to kill her due to her ongoing problems. The black rat's actions, such as sneaking into her kitchen and cutting up her bed are presented as a form of revenge, possibly due to her present problems that she is unable to assist him with. The imagery used in this song is often violent as Minnie seeks to take revenge on the black rat.


Line by Line Meaning

Yes you is one black rat someday i'll find your trail
The singer is acknowledging the deceitful behavior of someone they know and promises to expose their lies.


Then i'll hide my shoe, somewhere near your shirt tail
The singer plans to execute revenge by placing a trap or obstacle in the path of the deceitful person to bring them down.


Yes i've taken you down town,paid your doctor bills now i'm in a little trouble and you're trying to get me killed
The singer has been kind to the deceitful person in the past but now finds themselves in a difficult situation, and the same person is now trying to harm them.


Says, he sneaked in my kitchen,eat up all my bread soon as i left home,start to cutting up in my bed
The artist is providing evidence of the deceitful person's behavior, such as sneaking into their personal space and causing damage.


Break, yea beat it out
Musical interlude, no meaning inferred.


he must dance in the basement,was seen in my bedroom trapping for the youngsters i'm gonna catch him someday soon
The singer suspects the deceitful person is up to no good and could be involved in inappropriate activities. They vow to bring this person to justice in the near future.




Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group
Written by: ERNEST LAWLER

Lyrics Licensed & Provided by LyricFind
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Comments from YouTube:

@rievans57

What an incredible metaphor. This could be interpreted literally or figuratively. Long live Memphis Minnie and long live her music.

@LuvBlues64

You can't beat this original,but Joanne Kellys version is also very good!

@richardcorysghost

Well here's another one for ya, leslieandbird - the driving rhythm in the background likely played by Kansas Joe, is reminiscent of the Jazz-infused rhythms of Lonnie Johnson, and, since I know for sure that Django Reinhart was also influenced by Lonnie Johnson, I can also hear how the Gypsy Jazz sound evolved from what was a blues sound, heard here in the work of Ms. Douglas. You can hear a similar driving rhythm in her most famous track: "Me and my Chauffeur Blues" She was a fantastic talent

@Sinatrasalwaysinging

Indeed, Mr. Memphis Minnie--doing it big always, like the boss she was. ;)

@lastrada52

"... you is one black rat...someday I'll find your trail...yeah, you is one black rat...someday I'll find your trail...then I'll hide my shoes...somewhere near your shirt tail." Tell me if that doesn't sound like The Rolling Stones? This woman's songs are incredible. You won't hear this on commercial radio back in her day. Memphis Minnie...worth remembering...worth listening to...she looks, judging from the picture in the post, too attractive to be such a singer. But she's one of the best for sure.

@FatimaCantante

I would say Rolling Stones sound *like her ;-)

@lastrada52

And I would agree with you Ms. Maldonado.

@francheska404

this is not Minnie singin its her former husband Little Son Joe

@leitros

Rubbish.

@MrFranklinBlues

No, not rubbish. It is indeed Little Son Joe. I have the original 78, it has him credited on the disc.

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