Sonny Boy Williamson II photo By Thomas R Machnitzki

From Sonny Boy Williamsons II first album: The dark lyrics of “Your Funeral, My Trial”

Well, the swinging rhythms and virtuous harmonica might indicate this is a happy song, but Sonny Boy Williamson’s II “Your Funeral, My Trial”,  is a  gangsta rap kind of song. It was recorded on his debut album Down and Out Blues and released on Checker records in 1959.

King of the Harmonica

Sonny Boy Williamson has always been a mysterious figure.  That gives in some way a romantic side to his story. We are not sure when he was born and also his birth name is uncertain.  But we do know that Williamson was one hell of a harmonica player. Multiple songs show his gifted talent and dedication to this instrument.  His hit song “Nine Below Zero” is a perfect example of why they called him the king of the Harmonica.

 “Please come home to your daddy, and explain yourself to me
Because I and you are man and wife, tryin’ to start a family
I’m beggin’ you baby, cut out that off the wall jive
If you can’t treat me no better, it gotta be your funeral and my trial”

“Your Funeral, My Trial”

When I heard “Your Funeral My Trial” for the first time I got into that happy groove instantly. The steady blues beat and bass riff make you tap that foot on the floor the full two and a half minute of this song.  But more interesting about this song are the Gangsta rap kind of lyrics.  “You know you gotta treat me better, if you don’t it gotta be your funeral and my trial”,

I hear it again: “You know you gotta treat me better, if you don’t it gotta be your funeral and my trial”, that is one hell of a statement.  In blues songs, you’ll find a whole lot of songs about women who should come back to their man, but I’ve not seen it brought this way earlier.

 

Photo: By Thomas R Machnitzki (Own work) [GFDL  or CC BY 3.0 ], via Wikimedia Commons

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