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I went down to the crossroads, fell down on my knees.
Down to the crossroads, fell down on my knees.
Asked the Lord above for mercy, "Save me if you please."
I went down to the crossroads, tried to flag a ride.
Down to the crossroads, tried to flag a ride.
Nobody seemed to know me, everybody passed me by.
Well I'm going down to Rosedale, take my rider by my side.
Going down to Rosedale, take my rider by my side.
You can still barrelhouse, baby, on the riverside.
Going down to Rosedale, take my rider by my side.
Going down to Rosedale, take my rider by my side.
You can still barrelhouse, baby, on the riverside.
You can run, you can run, tell my friend-boy, Willie Brown.*
Run, you can run, tell my friend-boy, Willie Brown.*
And I'm staying at the crossroads, believe I'm sinking down.
* My original transcription used "friend boy", after viewing some sheet music I changed it to "friend poor". This is a common transcription of Eric's rendition, however after listening closely on the remastered "Those Were the Days" it is definitely "friend-boy" as in Johnson's take 2 version (which I'm listening to as I write this as I have at last purchased "The Complete Recordings" box set). The confusion is caused by Eric mimicing Johnson's accent on the "boy". Friend-boy is a dialectic substitute for boyfriend and Willie Brown was a very generous teacher of the blues to Robert.
It is also interesting how Eric has substantially reworked the lyrics, a traditional blues activity shown by the variation in Johnson's own consecutive takes. The "Going down to Rosedale" verse is actually lifted from Johnson's musically related "Traveling Riverside Blues" and Eric's riff also seems to be partly derived from that song.


Robert Johnson's Take 2 lyrics transcription:

Cross Road Blues
By Robert Johnson (rec 27/11/1936, San Antonio, Texas)

I went down to the crossroad, fell down on my knees
I went down to the crossroad, fell down on my knees
Asked the Lord above "Have mercy, save poor Bob, if you please."

Mmmmm, standin' at the crossroad, I tried to flag a ride
Standin' at the crossroad, I tried to flag a ride
Didn't nobody seem to know me, everybody pass me by

Mmm, the sun goin' down, boy, dark gon' catch me here
Oooo, ooee, eee boy, dark gon' catch me here
I haven't got no lovin' sweet woman that love and feel my care

You can run, you can run, tell my friend-boy, Willie Brown.
You can run, tell my friend-boy, Willie Brown.
Lord, that I'm standin' at the crossroad, babe, I believe I'm sinking down.



Lyrics taken from http://www.lyricsmode.com/lyrics/c/cream/crossroads.html

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    UnregisteredJun 28, 2012 at 8:09 pm
    The term rider was often in use in traditional folk songs of the 30's to refer either to a boyfriend or girlfriend with an obvious sexual connotation. Not only is it used in crossroads but the titles of see see rider covered by the animals and mitch ryder but also i know you rider covered by hot tuna and the grateful dead. There are undoubtedly many other traditional songs that use this term in that way.
  • u
    -0
    UnregisteredMay 8, 2012 at 10:36 am
    Further to my question below, i've looked at 3 versions of cream doing crossroads and i think the 3rd verse should read, 'take my runner by my side' (not that that makes any more sense then 'rider'), and 'we can still powerhouse, baby, which, as a metaphor for sex, does make sense of a sort. And in the last verse i'm pretty sure it's 'friend, poor willie brown' ( listen to clapton live with jeff beck and to the backing singers - who are definitely singing 'poor'). Finally, the last line follows from the lines above and says 'tell him, i'm standing at the cross roads'. Which what you're supposed to run and tell willie brown.
  • u
    -0
    UnregisteredDec 14, 2011 at 3:56 am
    This is a song showing the times then were much like they are now. The protagonist is tryin' to get to the action but just like the line "couldn't get the seat belt loose... " in "no particular place to go" by chuck berry, it's a kind of blues/rock pergatory.

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