This blues-tinged country tune has a long and unique history. It most likely started as a Southern folk song, similar to “The Crawdad Hole,” and the rebellious words paraphrased as “we don’t care, we’re going to do it anyhow” found an audience with African-Americans and other oppressed persons. W.C. Handy used the words to speak about the mayor of Memphis, and musicians from at least the 20s recorded the piece.
This arrangement starts off with a soft single note melody, as if trying to avoid Ma’s anger, then gets louder as the piece continues. The melody has been simplified, but there are still moments of syncopation. The left hand gets more complex, adding to the excitement.
Key: C Major
Mood: rebellious, aggressive, bluesy
Pedagogy: fingering, chords, accidentals, syncopation