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Magic Slim & James Cotton — When the Levee Breaks
Album: Whole Lotta Blues - Songs of Led Zeppelin
Avg rating:
7.3

Your rating:
Total ratings: 1643









Released: 1999
Length: 4:26
Plays (last 30 days): 3
If it keeps on rainin, levees goin to break,
If it keeps on rainin, levees goin to break,
When the levee breaks Ill have no place to stay.
Mean old levee taught me to weep and moan,
Lord, mean old levee taught me to weep and moan,
Got what it takes to make a mountain man leave his home,
Oh, well, oh, well, oh, well.
Dont it make you feel bad
When youre tryin to find your way home,
You dont know which way to go?
If youre goin down south
They go no work to do,
If you dont know about chicago.
Cryin wont help you, prayin wont do you no good,
Now, cryin wont help you, prayin wont do you no good,
When the levee breaks, mama, you got to move.
All last night sat on the levee and moaned,
All last night sat on the levee and moaned,
Thinkin bout me baby and my happy home.
Going, gon to chicago,
Gon to chicago,
Sorry but I cant take you.
Going down, going down now, going down.
Comments (251)add comment
Off topic of Magic Slim. If you like alternative versions of Zeppelin, search out Dread Zeppelin. Songs performed to a reggae beat. The lead singer is also a damn good Elvis impersonator.
I discovered the album is also under the name 'All Blues'd up:Songs of Led Zeppelin just in case you have trouble like I did trying to find it.
Various artists. Can't wait to hear the rest!
 SmackDaddy wrote:
Saw Mr. Superharp three times in the 80s, and even shook his hand and thank him for another killer show.
 
A ha! I'm not the only one  who saw him in the 80s and heard that nick name!  


Funky!
Its the real deal "Going, gon to chicago, Gon to chicago,
Sorry but I cant take you."
'nuff said!

 Stodoroff wrote:
A little too typical blues riffs here. Best thing about it is the lyrics. I prefer my beloved Zeppelin's heady, sweaty, raw version.
 
You say that as if you think Led Zeppelin played "original" blues riffs.  Magic Slim was probably playing these heady and sweaty riffs in the 1940s, before any of Led Zeppelin's members were born.
Saw Mr. Superharp three times in the 80s, and even shook his hand and thank him for another killer show.
Adequate.
06/04/19 Thousands of good people have lost everything when the levees broke, and most have no flood insurance. 
A little too typical blues riffs here. Best thing about it is the lyrics. I prefer my beloved Zeppelin's heady, sweaty, raw version.
Ah.....Mr "Super Harp", himself.  James Cotton!

He does a killer version of Whammer Jammer. better than Magic Dick.  
  
 Jota wrote:
Am I missing something here?  When the levee breaks was written in the 1920's.

 
That's Irony, man {#Smile}
Now this is a quote....dare you to use it in a sentence tonight:

According to Wiki, Music critic Robert Christgau argued that Led Zeppelin's version of "When the Levee Breaks" both transcends and dignifies "the quasi-parodic overstatement and oddly cerebral mood of" their past blues songs.
 LowPhreak wrote:

Baroque and classical music was written hundreds of years ago, but people are still playing and listening to it today - because they like it.

In your country of Scotland, people still play bagpipes and its music which isn't exactly a new thing.

Yes, I'd say you're missing something here...the idea that we don't toss our music, art, literature or other forms of expression in the trash forever just because something new comes along.
 
You may have missed Jota's point, which was likely whether this actually one of the "Songs of Led Zeppelin", a more interesting question than whether it's value depends on age.  Was Zep's take on the song unique enough to make it "theirs" somehow?  Somebody thought so.
 Jota wrote:
Am I missing something here?  When the levee breaks was written in the 1920's.

 
Baroque and classical music was written hundreds of years ago, but people are still playing and listening to it today - because they like it.

In your country of Scotland, people still play bagpipes and its music which isn't exactly a new thing.

Yes, I'd say you're missing something here...the idea that we don't toss our music, art, literature or other forms of expression in the trash forever just because something new comes along.

Mojo made up his mind, he needed a jailbreak.
 Jota wrote:
Am I missing something here?  When the levee breaks was written in the 1920's.

 
It's still breaking.
Sorry, but nothing comes close to the Zeppelin version of this song.
Am I missing something here?  When the levee breaks was written in the 1920's.
 dubberdan wrote:

The album title gives that away {#Wink}

 
LOVE the sub-title!!
 BBoyes wrote:
Wow, I guess this is the same "When The Levee Breaks" Led Zeppelin did on the 4th "stickman" album - what a different version! This must be more like "the original". Fun to hear it.

 
The album title gives that away {#Wink}
Love that serious blues shuffle going on... drummer and bass player locked in and bringin' it!!!

 
 Gregorama wrote:
As one blues artist once put it, "How you ever know if you feel good, if you never had the blues?" :)

Colorwise wrote: Can someone tell me why anyone likes blues? I really don't understand what's so great about this style of music.

Wait a spell, get your heart shredded a couple of times real bad, then listen again.  Should start gettin it.  Good blues players are all about changin yer mood.
 

 
Or as Buddy Guy so elequently stated at his induction into the Rock N Roll hall of fame: "If you ain't had the blues, just keep living".
Wow, I guess this is the same "When The Levee Breaks" Led Zeppelin did on the 4th "stickman" album - what a different version! This must be more like "the original". Fun to hear it.
Dudes better learn how to play those damn guitars...
 boober wrote:

Lincoln,Ne used to be part of my sales territory. I would often drive 100 miles out of my way to see nationally touring blues players work their way from Chicago to KC (Thru Lincoln and sometimes Omaha). I still am a big fan of the Zoo bar. I bought an old raggity Zoo bar t-shirt one time and wore it on the beach in Mexico (Cazumel). A man came running up to me from an Oceanside bar and said....".where did you get that t-shirt".... I said" Zoo Bar- Lincoln Ne"

He said," I'm the owner of that bar and I think it is so cool that I see that t-shirt all the way down here in Mexico".



 
{#Clap}{#Notworthy}

Great story. The owner should have hired you as traveling advertisement. Looks like they pull a lot of great acts...

Misterfixit wrote:

Have they removed the chicken wire screen yet in front of the band?  Man oh Man did I have some times there.  Did a Nuke inventory compliance inspection at one of the sites, 2 Army guys and 10 Air Force guys.  Oh My God.  We felt like we were nuked the next day.  And indeed "Cryin' won't hep you!"

  
Oh, Great! I feel so much safer now! 

Slim Pickens riding the Big One from Dr. Strangelove

"Wait...this ain't fer real now, right...? I'm gonna have such a headache..."

Got to see James Cotton three times while living in Florida in the 80s. Great performer.
Only when drunk...!
Great tune. Thanks!
 Gregorama wrote:
Magic Slim plays all the time back home in Lincoln, Nebraska at the Zoo Bar.  I believe they say it's either the longest running, or close to the longest running Blues Bar in the country.  Since the late '70s.  Great bar!

 
Lincoln,Ne used to be part of my sales territory. I would often drive 100 miles out of my way to see nationally touring blues players work their way from Chicago to KC (Thru Lincoln and sometimes Omaha). I still am a big fan of the Zoo bar. I bought an old raggity Zoo bar t-shirt one time and wore it on the beach in Mexico (Cazumel). A man came running up to me from an Oceanside bar and said....".where did you get that t-shirt".... I said" Zoo Bar- Lincoln Ne"

He said," I'm the owner of that bar and I think it is so cool that I see that t-shirt all the way down here in Mexico".


I woulda thought this was the original.
 ick wrote:
I find it ironic that the album is called "Whole Lotta Blues - Songs of Led Zeppelin" when most of them probably weren't even Led Zeppelin's songs to begin with.

 

But Zeppelin turned a whole lotta kids onto them, many more than the old blues cats ever did with the original versions.
Luv me some Magic Slim and Mr. James Cotton!!  Thanks RP!!  {#Daisy}
The irony here is that this a cover of a cover. "When the Levee Breaks" was originally recorded by Memphis Minnie and Kansas City Joe in 1928 or 1929--sources disagree.
Blow your face out. James Cotton is riffing hard in the background.


Magic Slim & The Teardrops - February 21, 2013: R.I.P. Magic Slim. We will allways remember you like this. Jon McDonald - guitar, background vocals Magic Slim - vocals, guitar, Chris Biedron - bass instrument, Vernal Taylor - drums, background vocals.



 iSoul wrote:
{#Guitarist}{#Bananajam}{#Drummer}{#Dancingbanana_2}{#Dancingbanana}

 
8 -> 9. Or maybe 10. Resistance is futile.
{#Guitarist}{#Bananajam}{#Drummer}{#Dancingbanana_2}{#Dancingbanana}
As Solomon said, "Nothing new is under the sun."
Excellant!!!  Magic Slim's playing is Awesome
As long as it's only one song like this....otherwise: bleh.....
 
Nice!!
love this song...
Oh. Hell. Ya!
Nice!
 Gregorama wrote:
As one blues artist once put it, "How you ever know if you feel good, if you never had the blues?" :)

Colorwise wrote: Can someone tell me why anyone likes blues? I really don't understand what's so great about this style of music.

Wait a spell, get your heart shredded a couple of times real bad, then listen again.  Should start gettin it.  Good blues players are all about changin yer mood.
 
 

IF YOU AIN'T HAD THE BLUES, YOU AIN'T BREATHIN'
 cc_rider wrote:
Wiki says:

"When the Levee Breaks" is a blues song written and first recorded by husband and wife Kansas Joe McCoy and Memphis Minnie in 1929. The song is in reaction to the upheaval caused by the Great Mississippi Flood of 1927.

So I'm cornfused why this album is 'Led Zeppelin' songs. But hey, any version of it is okay with me.

BTW, that is the same flood Randy Newman wrote a song about. To this day that flood, and the official reactions to it, have repercussions in the places it affected.
 

the brits were not stupid, public acccess public prorerty, they(many)claimed wrighting bill, some even got away with it because the orignators were dead with no family. the world KNOWS where the BLUES come from................
Wiki says:

"When the Levee Breaks" is a blues song written and first recorded by husband and wife Kansas Joe McCoy and Memphis Minnie in 1929. The song is in reaction to the upheaval caused by the Great Mississippi Flood of 1927.

So I'm cornfused why this album is 'Led Zeppelin' songs. But hey, any version of it is okay with me.

BTW, that is the same flood Randy Newman wrote a song about. To this day that flood, and the official reactions to it, have repercussions in the places it affected.
 Gregorama wrote:
Magic Slim plays all the time back home in Lincoln, Nebraska at the Zoo Bar.  I believe they say it's either the longest running, or close to the longest running Blues Bar in the country.  Since the late '70s.  Great bar!
 
Have they removed the chicken wire screen yet in front of the band?  Man oh Man did I have some times there.  Did a Nuke inventory compliance inspection at one of the sites, 2 Army guys and 10 Air Force guys.  Oh My God.  We felt like we were nuked the next day.  And indeed "Cryin' won't hep you!"
As one blues artist once put it, "How you ever know if you feel good, if you never had the blues?" :)

Colorwise wrote: Can someone tell me why anyone likes blues? I really don't understand what's so great about this style of music.

Wait a spell, get your heart shredded a couple of times real bad, then listen again.  Should start gettin it.  Good blues players are all about changin yer mood.
 


 kcar wrote:
 
Uh, yeah...Tom, what's the original version of thisong by your lights? Granted, this isn't it...but neither is Led Zep's. 

You might want to check out 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i6C_5wxkuAQ

and see if you actually like the original...
 
Thanks for the link! I always appreciate knowing the real history.
 TomFromPoland wrote:
I really like blues, but it's unbearable. Couldn't stand this version...{#Puke}

There are songs being uncoverable. ' When the Levee...' is among them.

2/10
 

Oh I don't know that little band out of England....Zep I think it was did a pretty good job with it.
Magic Slim plays all the time back home in Lincoln, Nebraska at the Zoo Bar.  I believe they say it's either the longest running, or close to the longest running Blues Bar in the country.  Since the late '70s.  Great bar!
... great morning boogie 'round the breakfast table. O yaaa...
I know the feeling.
 slowhand wrote:
Super, all genres of modern music came from this type of Blues/Rock.
 
Probably the majority of Rock and some Jazz, but probably not all "genres of modern music".
 TomFromPoland wrote:
I really like blues, but it's unbearable. Couldn't stand this version...{#Puke}

There are songs being uncoverable. ' When the Levee...' is among them.

2/10
  
Uh, yeah...Tom, what's the original version of thisong by your lights? Granted, this isn't it...but neither is Led Zep's. 

You might want to check out 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i6C_5wxkuAQ

and see if you actually like the original...


 musickat wrote:
Nice to hear a little "real blues" here.  I think blues is always best when sprinkled in like salt.  
 
very true
Nice to hear a little "real blues" here.  I think blues is always best when sprinkled in like salt.  
I really like blues, but it's unbearable. Couldn't stand this version...{#Puke}

There are songs being uncoverable. ' When the Levee...' is among them.

2/10
Colorwise wrote: Can someone tell me why anyone likes blues? I really don't understand what's so great about this style of music.

Wait a spell, get your heart shredded a couple of times real bad, then listen again.  Should start gettin it.  Good blues players are all about changin yer mood.
There you go playing some AWESOME BLUES...  {#Cowboy}
 nalle wrote:
Buy this album, it´s great and this tune rocks.
 
I agree...  this song is soooo good for the ears...
 
Buy this album, it´s great and this tune rocks.

Don't know how one can love rock, jazz, or any other branch of american (or modern) music without digging the blues at least a little....it's the foundation of it all.
 fingerpin wrote:
Colorwise wrote: Can someone tell me why anyone likes blues? I really don't understand what's so great about this style of music. 

jools wrote: 
I can only suggest that you have no soul.

{#Clap} 
I suggest you have never colored outside the lines.....
 


Just want to get up from my chair and dance around in my cube!  Oh yeah.

Yeah, that's what I'm talkin about!!!  I do like me some blues...ready, to head to the bar for another beer.{#Bananajam}


Colorwise wrote: Can someone tell me why anyone likes blues? I really don't understand what's so great about this style of music. 

jools wrote: 
I can only suggest that you have no soul.

{#Clap} 

Well, well, when the levee breaks I hope this song is playing...{#Bananajam}{#Cowboy}
BluesPower
 WonderLizard wrote:
Killer version by Memphis Minnie and Kansas City Joe on the Roots of Rock CD.
 
Boot in repsonse to Giselle62's question below. The irony of course is that Led Zep's version was a (unaccredited) cover. Memphis Minnie's and Kansas City Joe's was the original. Interesting—and hopefully factual—Wiki article: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/When_the_Levee_Breaks


I find it ironic that the album is called "Whole Lotta Blues - Songs of Led Zeppelin" when most of them probably weren't even Led Zeppelin's songs to begin with.
 fredriley wrote:
Doncha just lurv basic shit-kickin' blues? 8 from the back to basics Nottingham jury.
 
Hell yeah!!!!!
Yep, it´s Magic.
Hey I remember Bishopstock, great blues festival out in the Devon (UK) countryside, till the organisers screwed up and did a runner almost a decade ago

https://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/music/features/bad-case-of-the-blues-as-music-festival-companies-cease-trading-668719.html

 
gumbo73039 wrote:
Oi luv this fella, saw him at Bishopstock Blues fest with Eric Bibb and Charlie Musselwhite. Oh and beer. Oh and sun.
It's nice to be old and look back !
 


Hard drivin' bad ass blues yes! I aspire to sneaking some 'Lee Gates' from the 'Musicmaker' roster of bluesmen onto the play list one day; go get to see him if you can, though it helps if you live in the States round Durham NC or up in Milwaukee:

https://www.musicmaker.org/artists_profile/Lee-Gates


 fredriley wrote:
Doncha just lurv basic shit-kickin' blues? 8 from the back to basics Nottingham jury.

 

 Giselle62 wrote:
This version was a little too happy for me too; I have heard an old, old version that was more fingerpickin' blues i seem to remember was that a woman playing? I'm thinking Memphis Minnie or something?
 
Yep. Memphis Minnie.

Oi luv this fella, saw him at Bishopstock Blues fest with Eric Bibb and Charlie Musselwhite. Oh and beer. Oh and sun.
It's nice to be old and look back !
Doncha just lurv basic shit-kickin' blues? 8 from the back to basics Nottingham jury.


Magic Slim by ~gloubi
©2010-2012 ~gloubi

American blues living legend Magic Slim


.

yep, yep i was right. Cool song and originally played by a woman.
This version was a little too happy for me too; I have heard an old, old version that was more fingerpickin' blues i seem to remember was that a woman playing? I'm thinking Memphis Minnie or something?
Papernapkin wrote:
...It's raunchy, honest music from black people who've had a lot of heartache...
Blues music broke the color barrier long ago (like, in the 1930's). They still label the drinking fountains in your nape of the woods?

 Colorwise wrote:
Can someone tell me why anyone likes blues? I really don't understand what's so great about this style of music.
 
It's raunchy, honest music from black people who've had a lot of heartache. People can relate to heartache. And the raunchiness is a nice alternative to the smooth pleasantries of, say, Bing Crosby. Blues and R&B merged to form good old Rock & Roll, so that's worth something especially to bands like The Rolling Stones and Led Zeppelin who were big fans and emulators. And lastly, over time the genre has taken on a mythic reverence and you'd really have to put yourself on the line to say, 'I don't like it. I don't get it.' So God bless you, Colorwise, for the courage to shake up the band wagon and speaking your mind.

James Cotton visited Kansas City about 10 years ago(Grand Emporium).At the concert this young kid was walking around with a harmonica case.He couldn't have been more than 16 years old.He said he was going to go on stage with "Mr Cotton and jam".The kid's name is Brody Buster and he blew everybody away.I don't think James Cotton ever came back on stage.Brody still plays all over KC and now as a veteran 26 year old he's worth checking out if you see him listed.
I saw Brody chatting with BB King at the Blues festival that same year.This kid knows everybody!


A wonderful time was had by all!

Blues by rockers by bluse. Humm
 stkman wrote:
James Cotton Blues Band used to be at all the festivals and was allways a pleasure to see, never was dissapointing, great song
 
Right on - They played a couple of times at my university in the early 70's. Smokin' on all counts.
Play some more Magic Slim Bill, he's gooooood.9
{#Bananajam}
yeah man! can we just keep it easy, the is for a nice fat one with a cold one!
 Colorwise wrote:
Can someone tell me why anyone likes blues? I really don't understand what's so great about this style of music.
 
I can only suggest that you have no soul.
 Colorwise wrote:
Can someone tell me why anyone likes blues? I really don't understand what's so great about this style of music.
 

In the future, we will all like the same music.  In fact, there will only be one song, an homage to Dear Leader, and we will all listen to it in rapt attention and agree how good it really is.

VET! ;-)
Bump & Grind music at it's finest!

OK, but this version seems too "happy" to me for the song's subject.  I much prefer Led Zeppelin's version which has an ominous feeling to it.

I always liked this song, even though my last name is Levy and I got teased a lot as a kid in the 70s when the Xeplin version was so popular.  Now my husband is the only one who calls me a "Mean ol' Levy" sometimes.

 Colorwise wrote:
Can someone tell me why anyone likes blues? I really don't understand what's so great about this style of music.
 
{#Beat}
James Cotton Blues Band used to be at all the festivals and was allways a pleasure to see, never was dissapointing, great song
 marshall_42 wrote:
wheres the river?

rtrudeau wrote:
Whee! It's a levee set! How about American Pie by Don Maclean? Or maybe not ...

Just a reminder that we have levees here in California:



Well, the Sacramento River has been known to flood, and we do have levees about which government officials are concerned. For our non-U.S. friends, many mountain rivers, such as the American coming through the Sierra Nevada range, empty into the Sacramento which, in turn, empties into Suisun Bay immediately adjacent to San Francisco Bay. And the Sac starts up north near Mt. Shasta, so there's plenty of water running through the system. We even have a real delta, complete with many environmental issues, as in "What happened to the salmon this year?"
 
P.S. No Don McLean, thanks.


AH-MAZE-ING

10 after only hearing 15 seconds
This might be as good a place as any to ask a question that's been bothering me (as a non-native speaker) for long:
Is the blues a plural noun?
Ah, yes. And, no, I don't like it eiter, though I tried.

And rumour has it that The Levee in American Pie s a bar that was no longer allowed to serve alcohol, hence them good ole boys had to go to Rye(?) to drink their whiskey there.

wheres the river?

rtrudeau wrote:
Whee! It's a levee set! How about American Pie by Don Maclean? Or maybe not ...

Just a reminder that we have levees here in California:




 ThePoose wrote:


Without the blues, you would be listening to reworked polkas and big band compositions on the radio today.
 

so it's a school of rock sort of thing?
 Colorwise wrote:
Can someone tell me why anyone likes blues? I really don't understand what's so great about this style of music.
 

Poor, poor befuddled soul.  You have my deepest sympathy.
Whee! It's a levee set! How about American Pie by Don Maclean? Or maybe not ...

Just a reminder that we have levees here in California:

'cause it's down 'n dirty, baby!
Colorwise wrote:
Can someone tell me why anyone likes blues? I really don't understand what's so great about this style of music.

As Muddy Waters (a great bluesman) said, The Blues had a baby, and they called it Rock 'n Roll.  'Nuff said.

 Colorwise wrote:
Can someone tell me why anyone likes blues? I really don't understand what's so great about this style of music.

 
*boggle*

I think I'll laugh while crying too....
Colorwise wrote:
Can someone tell me why anyone likes blues? I really don't understand what's so great about this style of music.
Without the blues, you would be listening to reworked polkas and big band compositions on the radio today.
Colorwise wrote:
Can someone tell me why anyone likes blues? I really don't understand what's so great about this style of music.
:drunk:
Colorwise wrote:
Can someone tell me why anyone likes blues? I really don't understand what's so great about this style of music.
If you like Rock & Roll you really should investigate the Blues
Didn't Led Zep do a song on this subject? Oh, there it is right up there in the song data. Sounds like two separate songs.
Colorwise wrote:
Can someone tell me why anyone likes blues? I really don't understand what's so great about this style of music.
if you have to ask ...
WTF?!?Colorwise wrote:
Can someone tell me why anyone likes blues? I really don't understand what's so great about this style of music.
Killer version by Memphis Minnie and Kansas City Joe on the Roots of Rock CD.
Colorwise wrote:
Can someone tell me why anyone likes blues? I really don't understand what's so great about this style of music.
May I laugh while I cry?
Can someone tell me why anyone likes blues? I really don't understand what's so great about this style of music.
Oh man, is this awesome or what! I just want to crank it up and get my boogie on ... or something like that.