Son House, the epitome of the Delta blues man, wavered all his life between doing the Lord’s work as a minister and playing the devil’s music. “Oh and I had religion Lord this very day. But the womens and the whiskey, well they would not let me pray.”
The song has become something of a blues standard with its raunchy lyrics which nevertheless betray a stronger message about a Jim Crow South where a black man would always be referred to as a “boy”, a black “man” was just too much of a threat.
Robert Johnson is a mythical figure in the history of the blues. The details of his life are sketchy but his versatility and invention make him the most influential blues singer ever.