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The Black Keys ‘Chulahoma’ album of Junior Kimbrough cover songs is regarded by many fans as their finest album. ‘Chulahoma’ was essentially a recording project, a homage to a great influence on Dan Auerbach especially.

The Black Keys never toured the album and rarely, if ever, play any songs from the album live. The Black Keys demonstrate so much respect for the music but at the same time have made the songs in their own image and added to their legacy. It’s so rare that this should occur when a band covers a song, not least an entire album’s worth of another artist’s material.

Arguably, the most notable song on the album was a cover of ‘Meet Me In The City’ by Junior Kimbrough.

‘Meet Me In The City’ is a classic, moody tale of longing for a woman – a classic blues subject. The lyrics are straight forward enough but it’s the emotion with which they are sung that elevates the song.

Before Dan Auerbach formed The Black Keys with Patrick Carney in 2001, Dan was in a band called The Barnburners. The Barnburners were a three piece made up of Dan Auerbach, Jason Edwards and Kip Amore and they released a 6 track EP ‘Raw Boogie’.

One of the tracks The Barnburners recorded was a cover of Junior Kimbrough’s ‘Meet Me In The City’.

It’s interesting listening to the contrast in the voices, guitar lines and bass-back beat between the three versions.

You can hear the pure raw belief in Kimbrough’s vocals while the guitar is restrained. Dan’s vocals are so much more assured in The Black Keys version like he’s really feeling the words where as at times he’s seemingly only repeating them with The Barnburners. The shimmering guitar lines in The Black Keys version brings the guitar to the fore as a fully formed emotional force. The drums are also urgent and driving unlike the Barnburners and Kimbrough versions where the back beat lopes along. The drumming urgency probably reflects the fact that the The Black Keys version is also alot shorter (3min  39sec) whereas the other versions are around 7mins.

Listen to Junior Kimbrough - Meet Me In The City here

Listen to The Barnburners - Meet Me In The City here

Listen to The Black Keys - Meet Me In The City here

Lyrics to Meet Me In The City:

Meet me over in the city
I see everything is so fine

We’ll get together now, Darling
Oh yeah, we will
We’ll make everything all right

Oh Honey, don’t
Please, please don’t leave me right now
Right now

You got me, Baby
You got me, Girl
You got me where you want me, Baby
Now Girl, I know you are
Satisfied

You got me, Baby
You got me, Girl
You got me where you want me, Baby
Now Girl, I know you are
Satisfied

Yeah but there’s one more thing I wanna tell you right now, Baby
Don’t leave me, Girl
Please, please don’t leave me right now
Right now

Sometimes I think I will, Baby
And then again my my my my my my my mind’ll change

Yeah, sometimes I think I will, Baby
And then again my my my my my my my mind’ll change

Ah tell me don’t do it right now
Please, please don’t leave me right now, right now

Ah ha, I love you, Girl
Yeah a yeah yeah yeah yeah
I love you, Babe
Please, please don’t leave me right
Right now

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2 Responses to “Meet Me In The City: Junior Kimbrough vs The Barnburners vs The Black Keys”

  1. fenster1977 says:

    great post. never heard that barnburners version before.

    as luck would have it, i just posted a new tab for MMITC in the forums.

    http://theblackkeysfanlounge.com/forum/topic/meet-me-in-the-city-tab

  2. MarkyMark says:

    The drums that you call “urgent” and “driving” in the Black Keys version I call elementary banging of the High Hat and snare that my 6 year old daughter could practically play. Did you actually listen to the Barnburners version? Yes, its long and although it “loped” along as you say (as I’m sure Dan wanted it to) at least it displayed a talented mix of toms, ride, snare, etc. Then around 4 mins in it starts to pick up, and the drums become a more “driving” masterful blend that puts the Black Keys version to shame. Like comparing a professional to a beginner. Sorry. Just my .02 cents!

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