118. “I heard you shot your woman down.”

The episode:Racket Girls,” ep. 616

The riff: Delivered in a deadpan voice by Crow after a crooked businessman walks into a room and greets one of his flunkies, “Hey, Joe.”

The explanation: They’re referring to the classic American roots song that became a rock standard in the 1960s, recorded by many groups. The best known version is the one by Jimi Hendrix, but actual authorship of the original is still unknown. Many laid claim to it, but the copyright belonged to small-time country singer Billy Roberts. The song itself, about a murderer on the run, was pretty clearly inspired by even older American roots songs and murder ballads–“Little Sadie” in particular.

Novelty factor: I love that song, so it was immediate recognition. I am interested by the countless covers and lack of a full history on the tune. Enjoy my favorite version, featuring ridiculous mandolin-playing by Tim O’Brien.


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