Song of the Day #3,821: ‘Mississippi Goddam’ – Nina Simone

Nina Simone’s 1964 civil rights anthem ‘Mississippi Goddamn’ was released on an album of live recordings from Carnegie Hall. Simone reportedly wrote the song in just an hour, inspired by the deaths of Medgar Evers in Mississippi and the four black children murdered in an Alabama church bombing.

The song was banned in some southern states due to its language, though I’m sure the subject matter and general sentiment didn’t help.

Many of Simone’s most famous recordings are covers, and she was a peerless interpreter of others’ material, but ‘Mississippi Goddam’ shows that she was an excellent songwriter as well.

[Spoken Introduction]
The name of this tune is Mississippi Goddam
And I mean every word of it[Verse 1]
Alabama’s gotten me so upset
Tennessee made me lose my rest
And everybody knows about Mississippi Goddam

Can’t you see it
Can’t you feel it
It’s all in the air
I can’t stand the pressure much longer
Somebody say a prayer

[Chorus]
Alabama’s gotten me so upset
Tennessee made me lose my rest
And everybody knows about Mississippi Goddam

(This is a show tune, but the show hasn’t been written for it, yet)

[Verse 2]
Hound dogs on my trail
School children sitting in jail
Black cat cross my path
I think every day’s gonna be my last

Lord have mercy on this land of mine
We all gonna get it in due time
I don’t belong here
I don’t belong there
I’ve even stopped believing in prayer

Don’t tell me, I’ll tell you
Me and my people just about due
I’ve been there so I know
They keep on saying “Go slow!”

[Refrain]
But that’s just the trouble
“do it slow”
Washing the windows
“do it slow”
Picking the cotton
“do it slow”
You’re just plain rotten
“do it slow”
You’re too damn lazy
“do it slow”
The thinking’s crazy
“do it slow”
Where am I going
What am I doing
I don’t know
I don’t know

Just try to do your very best
Stand up, be counted with all the rest
For everybody knows about Mississippi Goddam

(I bet you thought I was kidding, didn’t you)

[Verse 3]
Picket lines, school boycotts
They try to say it’s a communist plot
All I want is equality
For my sister, my brother, my people, and me

Yes, you lied to me all these years
You told me to wash and clean my ears
And talk real fine just like a lady
And you’d stop calling me Sister Sadie

Oh but this whole country is full of lies
You’re all gonna die and die like flies
I don’t trust you any more
You keep on saying “Go slow!”
“Go slow!”

[Refrain]
But that’s just the trouble
“do it slow”
Desegregation
“do it slow”
Mass participation
“do it slow”
Reunification
“do it slow”
Do things gradually
“do it slow”
But bring more tragedy
“do it slow”
Why don’t you see it
Why don’t you feel it
I don’t know
I don’t know

[Chorus]
You don’t have to live next to me
Just give me my equality
Everybody knows about Mississippi
Everybody knows about Alabama
Everybody knows about Mississippi Goddam

[Spoken Outro]
That’s it!

4 thoughts on “Song of the Day #3,821: ‘Mississippi Goddam’ – Nina Simone

  1. Dana Gallup says:

    Powerful song. FYI, you have the states reversed. Evers was killed in Jackson Mississippi and the church deaths were in Montgomery Alabama. We visited both places in our Civil Rights tour of the South.

  2. Doug says:

    This is one of those rarely heard songs that deserves a bigger audience. Nice job.

  3. Peg Clifton says:

    Love this song and her performance!

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