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Archive for August, 2009

I was listening to The Black Keys’ 2002 album The Big Come Up album today and I heard the lyric “…Gotta keep it hid” in the song ‘Leavin Trunk’. This caught my attention. It’s not the most common lyric or phrasing. I obviously picked up on it in light of Dan Auerbach’s recent 2009 ‘Keep It Hid’ song and album of the same name which also uses the line “…Gotta keep it hid”.

I needed to do some further investigation. The appearance of the ‘keep it hid’ lyric seemed to be more than coincidence.

When I looked at the lyrics of the respective songs I was again surprised. The songs are relatively similar in their subject matter – a man on the run wanting to impress his sweetheart. ‘Keep It Hid’ almost reads like ‘Leavin Trunk – Part 2’.

Many of Dan’s lyrics revolve around this lurking dark side which we’ve previously covered on The Black Keys Fan Lounge.

The original lyrics to Leavin Trunk were written as ‘Milk Cow Blues’ by blues singer Sleepy John Estes (1899 – 1977). The song became a bit of a blues standard when it was adapted and recorded as Leavin Trunk by Taj Mahal amongst many others. The Leavin Trunk lyrics were then shortened and recorded by The Black Keys.

I find this all very interesting.

Dan has always been very up front about his influences and style. Clearly he continues to mine a rich vein of inspiration through these influences, musical styles and themes from his first album lyrics through to his most recent. In so doing he places himself into the blues musical lineage of those he admires.

When you listen to the respective songs performed the musical similarities are also quite notable. Not only do the lyrics in ‘Keep It Hid’ seem derived from the theme in ‘Leavin Trunk’, so does the musical composition.

What do you think?

Leavin Trunk Lyrics by The Black Keys

Goin’ upstairs to pack my leavin’ trunk
I ain’t seen no whiskey
woman make me sloppy
Ain’t seen no whisky
woman made me drunk
Goin’ back home where I had much better luck
Look here darling
want me to be your king
Said you’re kiddin’ darling
gotta keep it hid
Don’t let your main man
your husband catch me here
Don’t let your main man
your husband catch me here

Keep It Hid Lyrics by Dan Auerbach

Lock the door and close the blinds
They’re coming for me girl and I ain’t got time
If they ask you, darlin’, oh about what I did
Baby you gotta keep it hid
I’m heading south, and I can’t say where
But I’ll phone you baby soon as I get there
They’re not gonna seal my coffin lid’
Cause you’re gonna keep it hid
(Bridge)
Well Big Sue knew but she don’t no more
If you know what I mean
They’ll never find what they’re looking for’
Cause you’re my tight-lipped queen
I’ll buy you a dress, a nice handmade piece
And send your Mom on a vacation to Greece
If you’re an auction, oh I’m the highest bid
Oh baby, ’cause you’re gonna keep it hid

Leavin Trunk by The Black Keys

Keep It Hid by Dan Auerbach

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Have you ever seen a random interview with The Black Keys and noticed the photo used to accompany the story is the same one that was used on another article you’ve read?

It’s obviously easier and cheaper for magazines and newspapers to use a stock PR photo than commission a new one. In any case, bands like using the same images to build up an identifiable attitude or profile.

I’ve assembled the commonly seen publicity images that have come to define the look and story of The Black Keys (in no particular order).

From the look of this lot, I guess there’s only so many band photo faces you can pull.

They are interesting in that they each capture a moment in the band’s life, a piece of it’s history, from the early days to recent days. None of them portray a self-satisfied or smug attitude, rather the modesty and irony of Dan and Pat’s personality comes across.

In a recent comment on this post, Black Keys fan Dan mentioned the first image below of Dan and Pat in the basement would make a great poster. I’d have to agree.

I look forward to seeing some new images for the new Black Keys album being released. With a bit of luck they’ll be done by James Quine who took all of Dan Auerbach’s recent solo press images.

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