Song: Catfish Blues featuring Peggy Jenkins
Catfish Blues (Public Domain Song - original author unknown but first popularized by Mississippi Delta bluesman, Robert Petway)
Peggy Jenkins and the Project Preservation Band give this song a particularly swampy feel, featuring superb guitar work by David Adkins and authentic blues harmonica by Woolvin James. Peggy Jenkins’ powerful, bellowing vocals drive the song home with a dynamic force that enlivens the lyrics’ storytelling.
Peggy Jenkins (Lead Vocals)
Project Preservation Band:
David Adkins (Guitar, Keys)
Woolvin James (Harmonica)
Kevin Scott (Bass)
John Seals (Drums)
The origin of “Catfish Blues” is unknown, but it was first popularized by Robert Petway, a Mississippi Delta Bluesman in 1941. The lyric about wishing to be a catfish can also be traced to a 1928 recording (American Blues Music Scene). The song has been performed and recorded numerous times over the past eighty years, most famously by Muddy Waters who changed the title to “Rollin’ Stone.” This title supposedly inspired a young English band to name themselves the Rolling Stones as well as the naming of the influential music magazine, Rolling Stone. Jimi Hendrix also put his own spin on “Catfish Blues” riffs, creating “Voodoo Chile” which was featured in his legendary 1969 Woodstock Festival performance and later recorded as “Voodoo Child.” Warren Haynes with Gov’t Mule also performed the song with a hard-rock edge and squealing slide guitar.
Well I wish, wish I was a catfish
Swimming in the deep blue sea
I have all - all you handsome fellas
Fishing after me, fishing after me
Fishing after me, yeah
When I went down to my boyfriend’s house
And I sat down, Lord on his front steps
He said, “Come on in, my sweet, sweet pea.
My wife just now - you know she just now left.
Oh no, no, she just now left. Yes, she did now.”
Well I did not know - two trains running, yeah
But there is not one that’s going my way
You know there’s one train running at midnight, yeah
The one leaves just for a day
Said the other one leaves just for a day
Just for a day yeah, for a day
Well I wish, wish I was was a catfish
Swimming in the deep blues sea
I have all of you handsome fellas
Fishing after me, said fishing after me
Fishing after me, yeah
Yeah, said fishing after me
They’s fishing after me, boy