Black Snake Moan

The new movie Black Snake Moan does not come out until March 2nd (Friday!!), but here at Honey H.Q. we’ve gotten our hands on the soundtrack which features Samuel L. Jackson doing a few classic blues numbers. Jackson plays an aging bluesman in the movie – and I’m guessing sings these songs during the course – as there is a lot of ambient nosies and dialog in the background of these tracks, especially before Black Snake Moan where he tells a story about his own personal blues and how his wife the did him wrong. Jackson learned how to play guitar for the role and it comes off well, but the star of course his his voice which is perfectly suited for the blues.

Black Snake Moan is left more or less the same as when Blind Lemon Jefferson first sang it in 1927 but his take on Stagolee is a very loose take on the tale that doesn’t feature a gambling match, Stetson hat or any real reason for the murder. It’s sort of a mix between Snatch and the Poontangs and a R.L. Burnside telling of the song which isn’t my favorite by any stretch of imagination, but Jackson sells it a lot better than Burnside. For those keeping up with our ongoing Stagolee project, this Burnside number is new to the list. I’ve also posted a bunch of other takes on the classic Black Snake Moan, my favorites are either Lemon’s original or Rosa Henderson’s female take on the song.

R.L Burnside – Staggolee (2001)
Samuel L. Jackson – Stackolee (2007)

Samuel L. Jackson – Black Snake Moan (2007)
Blind Lemon Jefferson – That Black Snake Moan (1927)
Blind Lemon Jefferson – Black Snake Moan
Blind Lemon Jefferson – Black Snake Moan No. 2
Brownie McGhee – Black Snake Moan (1951)
Lead Belly – Black Snake Moan (1935)
Rosa Henderson – Black Snake Moan (1927)
Martha Copeland – Black Snake Moan (1927)
Cobb and Underwood – Black Snake Moan (1930)


12 Comments so far
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By joe.mares on 02.27.07 6:20 pm

i am not certain, but i am pretty sure that SLJ’s version of Stackolee was actually from a Conan O’Brien show with the Black Keys.

Can anyone confirm this ?

In listening to his version of Black Snake Moan, I wouldn’t be surprised if that’s the Black Keys with him as well.

By Joe Cushley on 02.28.07 11:43 am

There’s an excellent modern version of Black Snake Moan on the album Blues Goblins on Off Records. This is a side project of Sam Coomes of the indie-rock band Quasi. Lots of other nice covers on it as well.

By ragdog on 02.28.07 3:42 pm

Samuel L. Jackson have a awesome blues-voice. I don’t know why they don’t make more movies about blues? The old prewar blues guys lived short but very interesting lives. There’s a lot of material out there to do it. Here is a challenge for you Scorsese!!!

PS.Thanks Peter for the songs, gret as always.

By peter patnaik on 02.28.07 6:28 pm

I think we all remember how awful Crossroads was.I think it is a big missed opportunity by not drawing from such a rich source of folklore like the pre-war blues scene – so here is to hoping Black Snake Moan spawns a new trend.

I was disappointed in Scorsese’s documentary series on the blues – though I seem to be in the minority on that one.

By Pablo on 03.02.07 1:31 pm

I agree with you that the documentary series was disappointing; but the one that covers the lives of Skip James and Blind Willie Johnson was a decent film, I thought.

By Tavo on 03.02.07 4:12 pm

I was thought I could tell when I heard it, and when I saw the video of “Stackolee” on the Black Snake Moan website, I think I confirmed it… I believe that’s Kenny Brown playing with Samuel L. Jackson on the song. Is that Cedric Burnside playing drums? Can anybody tell?

Just curious. I sure miss Burnside.


By StupidFresh on 03.03.07 11:10 am

“I believe that’s Kenny Brown playing with Samuel L. Jackson on the song. Is that Cedric Burnside playing drums?” It was!

By bene on 03.06.07 3:06 pm

thanks for the great tunes man. got really into the arizona dranes. Heard a song by washington philips today and thought of this site. Do you know about him or have any of his music? I believe he only recorded 18 songs.

By JPK on 03.29.07 7:13 pm

Wow, what a treat. Thanks so much for this!

By Scott "PoopDeFlex" Snyder on 05.16.07 11:48 pm

listen here you mammy suckas, burnside could tell a story better with his dick then any dirty mouth hollywood star could with a whole cast, and that is the motherin truth, have your opinions, but know in your heart, burnside was the truth. GO FUCK YOU.

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