Daily Prompt: High Water Everywhere

Daily Prompt: Always Something There to Remind Me

 A song comes on the radio and instantly, you’re transported to a different time and place. Which song(s) bring back memories for you and why? Be sure to mention the song, and describe the memory it evokes.


Full credit to Charley Patton and his magnificent piece:
High Water Everywhere

The tall thin man from Mississippi pulled an old fruit crate to the front of the house and turned it on end.  He walked back to the drive and retrieved a worn and battered guitar from the pile of belongings he had carried up to the house.  Everybody gathered round on the patchy grass and dirt in front of the porch.  There was going to be music and music wasn’t something that came by often.  You tended to take the opportunity to enjoy it whenever you could.

He took his time tuning his instrument and he told us about the song he was going to play.  “This song, I call High Water Everywhere.  I writ this song to tell a story. A story o’ the great Mississippi flood in 19 and 27.  This is sumpin we ought never forget.  If you chose to live and work on a river such as this you gotta reckon that from time to time she gonna wanna remine ya who’s boss.”

He placed his left hand over the top of the neck of his old guitar and played a couple of bars by the way of intro and then commenced to hollering the blues and thumping on his guitar box.  Went something like this*:

Well, backwater done rose all around Sumner now,
drove me down the line
Backwater done rose at Sumner,
drove poor Charley down the line
Lord, I’ll tell the world the water,
done crept through this town

Lord, the whole round country,
Lord, river has overflowed
Lord, the whole round country,
man, is overflowed
You know I can’t stay here,
I’ll go where it’s high, boy
I would go to the hilly country,
but, they got me barred

Now, look-a here now at Leland,
river was risin’ high
Look-a here boys around Leland tell me,
river was raisin’ high
Boy, it’s risin’ over there, yeah
I’m gonna move to Greenville,
fore I leave, goodbye

Look-a here the water now, Lordy,
Levee1 broke, rose most everywhere
The water at Greenville and Leland,
Lord, it done rose everywhere
Boy, you can’t never stay here
I would go down to Rosedale,
but, they tell me there’s water there

Now, the water now, mama,
done took Charley’s town
Well, they tell me the water,
done took Charley’s town
Boy, I’m goin’ to Vicksburg
Well, I’m goin’ to Vicksburg,
for that high of mine

I am goin’ up that water,
where lands don’t never flow
Well, I’m goin’ over the hill where,
water, oh don’t ever flow
Boy, hit Sharkey County and everything was down in Stovall
But, that whole county was leavin’,
over that Tallahatchie shore
Boy, went to Tallahatchie and got it over there

Lord, the water done rushed all over,
down old Jackson road
Lord, the water done raised,
over the Jackson road
Boy, it starched my clothes
I’m goin’ back to the hilly country,
won’t be worried no more

*I have tried to reproduce Part I of
High Water Everywhere
by Charley Patton – Father of the Delta Blues
recorded in 1929 in two parts – it filled both sides of a 78rpm record  My dad had a copy of this record. The scratches and pops that come with listening to recordings stored on a ceramic disc only added depth and color to the music.  Before you ask – the record is gone.

I lifted the lyrics above from the internet because, although I remember the words, I was unsure of the stanza and line breaks.  I’m not sure if what I have presented is accurate but I would have been able to do no better.


There’s not many of us who can write like Charley Patton but…  Well, you decide.

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