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Black water Hattie lived back in the swamp
Where the strange green reptiles crawl
Snakes hang thick from the cypress trees
Like sausage on a smokehouse wall
Where the swamp is alive with a thousand eyes
An' all of them watching you
Stay off the track to Hattie's Shack in the back of the Black Bayou

Way up the road from Hattie's Shack
Lies a sleepy little Okeechobee town
Talk of swamp witch Hattie lock you in when the sun go down
Rumours of what she'd done, rumours of what she'd do
Kept folks off the track of hattie's shack
In the back of the Black Bayou

One day brought the rain and the rain stayed on
And the swamp water overflowed
Mosquitoes and the fever grabbed the town like a fist
Doctor Jackson was the first to go
Some say the plague wasa brought by Hattie
There was talk of a hang'n too
But the talk got shackled by the howls and the cackles
From the bowels of the Black bayou

Early one morn 'tween dark and dawn when shadows filled the sky
There came an unseen caller on a town where hope run dry
In the square there was found a big black round
Vat full of gurgling brew
Whispering sounds as the folk gathered round
"It came from the Black Bayou"

There ain't much pride when you're trapped inside
A slowly sink'n ship
Scooped up the liquid deep and green
And the whole town took a sip
Fever went away and the very next day the skies again were blue
Let's thank old Hattie for sav'n our town
We'll fetch her from the Black Bayou

Party of ten of the town's best men headed for Hattie's Shack
Said Swamp Witch magic was useful and good
And they're gonna bring Hattie back
Never found Hattie and they never found the shack
And they never made a trip back in
'Twas a parchment note they found tacked to a stump
Said don't come look'n again

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  • U
    UnregisteredJun 25, 2014 at 8:59 pm
    A lesson in prejudice, perhaps? The whole town spreads tales of Hattie's terrible activities, and when the town falls into crisis, she's the one who saves the day. The ambiguity, to me, lies in the very last verse: the town's best men rode out to her shack, and never found it, nor her, "nor ever made a trip back in." So they never returned home--did she keep them as payment for saving their town? Heroes/anti-heroes.
  • U
    UnregisteredAug 15, 2012 at 11:24 am
    Like stafford's other hit songs, swamp witch tells a straight forward tale with no without guile or poetic allusions. Listeners easily identify with both hattie and the town's folk and there is a story is straight forward enough that kids under stand it. Still there is enough moral ambiguity to make it interesting and the fun is in asking people to resolve the ambiguity. Like most good stories, there is no one resolution so interpreting the story tells more about the listener than the story.
  • U
    UnregisteredMar 10, 2012 at 10:54 pm
    First off i love the song i dont know if its because my names hattie and people actually call me black water hattie i didnt know why it never bothered me but i found out about the legend and then i heard swamp witch black water hattie and i love it. When people make fun of me i take it as a complement so the name stayed i still like it because... I dont know why but being called that perticular name filled me with joy and power
  • U
    UnregisteredJan 12, 2012 at 2:05 am
    No real meaning, just a fun legend song. I did a one man lounge act from the late 70s to early 90s and my forte was cool,fun ditties nobody else did live. Between verses and at the end i would open my mouth wide and hiss right into the mic. Sounded eerily like an alligator!

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