Song Lyric Sunday – March 22 2020 – Promised Land

song-lyric-sundayJim Adams’ Song Lyric Sunday gives us the chance to share familiar, and sometimes not so familiar, songs. This week we’re asked to go with Promise, Vow, or Oath and I’ve chosen to link to the word Promise.

If you fancy sharing one of your favourite songs you can find out how to participate, and also listen to all the great entries, here.

The song I’ve chosen is Promised Land originally recorded by  Chuck Berry to the melody of “Wabash Cannonball“, an American folk song.

In the lyrics, the singer (who refers to himself as “the poor boy”) tells of his journey from Norfolk, Virginia, to the “Promised Land”, Los Angeles, California, mentioning various cities in Southern states that he passes through on his journey. It has subsequently been performed by numerous other artists, including the Grateful Dead which should please Jim!!!

However, I reckon that the best cover of this song was provided by Johnnie Allan

He was Born in Rayne, Louisiana, and grew up in a musical family. At age six he obtained his first guitar and  by age thirteen he was playing with Walter Mouton and the Scott Playboys, a traditional Cajun music band. About two years later he switched to Lawrence Walker and the Wandering Aces, another traditional Cajun band.

Throughout the 1960s he pursued his music career while developing a distinguished career in education and would often use the school PA system to advertise his latest records!

He combined his love and expertise in music and education as the author of two books on Cajun culture.

Just look at this album cover. What a fantastic head of hair!

CDCHD-380_1200_1200

I’m including two versions of the song. The original recording and a later supposedly live performance where they were miming!

Now that is accordion playing at its best!

Promised Land
I left my home in Norfolk Virginia
California on my mind
I straddled that Greyhound
And rode into Raleigh
And on across Caroline
We had motor trouble that turn into a struggle
Halfway across Alabam’
And that hound broke down and left us all stranded
In downtown Birmingham
Right away I brought me a through train ticket
Ridin’ across Mississippi clean
And I was on that midnight flyer out of Birmingham
Smoking into New Orleans
Somebody help me get out of Louisiana
Just to help me get to Houston Town
There are people there who care a little about me
And they won’t let the poor boy down
Sure as you’re born brought me a silk suit
Put luggage in my hand
And I woke up high over Alburquerque
On a jet to the promised land
Working on a T-bone steak a la carte
Flying over to the golden state
Ah when the pilot told us in thirteen minutes
He would set us at the terminal gate
Swing low chariot come down easy
Taxi to the terminal zone
Cut your engines and cool your wings
And let me make it to the telephone
Los Angeles give me Norfolk Virginia
Tidewater four ten o nine
Tell the folks back home this is the promised land calling
And the poor boy is on the line
Working on a T-bone steak a la carte
Flying over to the golden state
Ah when the pilot told us in thirteen minutes
He would set us at the terminal gate
Swing low chariot come down easy
Taxi to the terminal zone
Cut your engines and cool your wings
And let me make it to the telephone
Los Angeles give me Norfolk Virginia
Tidewater four ten o nine
Tell the folks back home this is the promised land calling
And the poor boy is on the line
Source: LyricFind
Songwriters: Andreas Behle / Christian Kundschaft / Mike Rejchel
Promised Land lyrics © Warner Chappell Music, Inc, Universal Music Publishing Group

 

10 thoughts on “Song Lyric Sunday – March 22 2020 – Promised Land

  1. Gosh. I may just have lost part of my Southern card!!! I’m from the deep South in the USA and have never heard this song or of Johnnie Allen! ACK!!! And I don’t remember the Grateful Dead version. Where in the world have I been? Thanks for the edumacation, Peter!!! My long-gone elders are rolling over in their graves; my Dead Head friends sadly shake their heads and consider disowning me. 🤣

    Liked by 1 person

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