Black Snake

Lyrics: John Lee Hooker
Music: John Lee Hooker

Played by Pigpen on 18 April 1970, in a show billed as Mickey and the Hartbeats and Bobby Ace and the Cards from the Bottom of the Deck. The album credits the song to Lightnin' Hopkins (who did a song called "I'm a Crawling Black Snake"), but what Pigpen sings is the John Lee Hooker song. Pigpen's version is (thanks to Andy McGaan for his help with the transcription):

Well, there's a mean black snake sucking my rider's tongue
It's a mean, mean old black snake been sucking my rider's tongue
If I catch him down there he won't suck my rider's tongue no more

Well, he crawl to my window, crawl up to my bed
Crawl up to my window and he crawls to my baby's bed
Yes, if I catch him down there, he's gonna be a snake what have no head

I'm gonna get some toad frog's hips, mix it up together, whip it up good
That old black snake won't suck my rider's tongue no more
No, he won't

I crawled up on the window
I crawled up on the door
I crawled up and I want any way she want me for
As I saw, my rider's got to be mine
Any jack come around messing with my old lady
You know that fool got to walk the line
John Lee Hooker's version is very similar:
He's a mean black snake sucking my rider's tongue
He's a mean black snake been sucking my rider's tongue
And if I catch him down he won't come back no more

And he crawl to my window and he crawl up in my bed
He crawl up to my window crawl up in my baby's bed
He is a mean, mean black snake been sucking my rider's tongue

Get me some toad frog hips, mix it up together
Gonna whip it up good, I bet you my bottom dollar
He won't suck my rider's tongue no more

Mean, mean, mean black snake been crawling round my back door
Been crawling round my back door

He worry me all through the day, he worry me all night long
He worry me all through the day, he worry me all day long
I bet you my bottom dollar, I'm going to kill, kill that old black snake
He won't suck my rider's tongue, he won't suck my baby's tongue no more
That mean mean black snake, he won't bother me no more
For comparison, here is the Lightnin' Hopkins song "Crawling Black Snake" (as best as I can make out the lyrics)
You know I'm a crawling black snake
Lots of these women like to crawl for Lightnin's [sake]
I'm a crawling black snake
Lots of women like to crawl for Lightnin's [sake]
Well they know that I don't make no jokes
And the trail they cross, they know they don't feel

You know the crawling black snake crawl a long way
Just to see a woman
All I hate he was deaf and dumb
When he walk up he give his sign by
[Brathering] his tongue
But there was one stayed back because she might get bit
He may not be two part, but
He may not be fit

Crawling black snake
One snake got dodging, that's the one they call the king
One snake got dodge
And that is the one that they call the king
They say he just got twenty five and no [pardon]
He can kill any snake on earth, don't care how mean
I think he could kill a rattlesnake
I better dodge him too

[?] I'm gonna tell you like [?]
I'm a crawling black snake
Don't dodge but one, and that is the king
I'm that crawling black snake
I don't dodge but one and that is the king
Well you know he is the best snake in the world
And that king snake can kill anything
And I broke down and I said
Grateful Dead Recordings
     Date Album
     18 Apr 1970 Family Dog at the Great Highway