Howlin' Wolf - SMOKESTACK LIGHTING

First performance: 00/09/1968


Coverinfo

1968-09-00 - OCEAN COUNTY COLLEGE, TOMS RIVER, NJ 
 
Springsteen (along with fellow Earth-band members John Graham and Michael Burke) entered Ocean County College in September 1968. Bruce ended up staying for three semesters, dropping out in December 1969 shortly after his parents moved to California. Earth is believed to have performed several times at Ocean County College during the September to December 1968 period. Springsteen even contributed a piece of poetry to Seascape, the school's Literary Yearbook. The twenty-six mentioned songs are taken from the only known Earth-era repertoire listing. The document is likely to have been created by Springsteen in September or October 1968. The amount of tracks displayed, their sequencing, plus the header and numbering notation by Bruce, all point to this as being an inventory of Earth's live repertoire of 'cover' material. For this reason it is of greater historical significance than an individual gig setlist, particularly in that no Earth audio is circulating. A few of these songs are performance hold-overs from the The Castiles-era. Since Earth was a three-piece band it's hardly surprising that material from both Cream and The Jimi Hendrix Experience (the era's two premier three-piece bands) are abundantly represented. 
 
BACK DOOR MAN 
 
  
photo credit Billy Smith
 

Songinfo

"Smokestack Lightning" (also "Smoke Stack Lightning" or "Smokestack Lightnin'") is a blues song recorded by Howlin' Wolf in 1956. It became one of his most popular and influential songs. It is based on earlier blues songs, and numerous artists later interpreted it. Wolf had performed "Smokestack Lightning" in one form or another at least by the early 1930s, when he was performing with Charley Patton in small Delta communities. The song, called "a hypnotic one-chord drone piece", draws on earlier blues, such as Tommy Johnson's "Big Road Blues" (1928, Victor 21279), the Mississippi Sheiks' "Stop and Listen Blues" (1930, OKeh 8807), and Charley Patton's "Moon Going Down" (1930, Paramount 13014). Wolf said the song was inspired by watching trains in the night: "We used to sit out in the country and see the trains go by, watch the sparks come out of the smokestack. That was smokestack lightning." In 1951, he recorded the song as "Crying at Daybreak". It contains the line "O-oh smokestack lightnin', shinin', just like gold, oh don't you hear me cryin'", similar to the Mississippi Sheiks' lyric "A-ah, smokestack lightnin', that bell shine just like gold, now don't you hear me talkin'". 
 
 
 

Bruce on the artist

Lyrics

Ah oh, smokestack lightnin'
Shinin', just like gold
Why don't ya hear me cryin'?
Whoo hoo
Whoo hoo
Whoo
Whoa oh, tell me, baby
What's the, matter with you?
Why don't ya hear me cryin'?
Whoo hoo
Whoo hoo
Whoo
Whoa oh, tell me, baby
Where did ya, stay last night?
A-why don't ya hear me cryin'?
Whoo hoo
Whoo hoo
Whoo
Whoa-oh, stop your train
Let her, go for a ride
Why don't ya hear me cryin'?
Whoo hoo
Whoo hoo
Whoo
Whoa-oh, fare ya well
Never see, a you no more
A-why don't ya hear me cryin'?
Whoo hoo
Whoo hoo
Whoo
Whoa-oh, who been here baby since,
I-I been gone, a little, bitty boy
Girl, be on
Whoo hoo
Whoo hoo
Whoo