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"Hey Josephine": Addressing the Virulent Misogyny of A Great American Rock Song

Updated: Nov 29, 2023


I was inspired to do our version of "Hey Joe" for our 2022 album, So Far Gone, by Otis Taylor's fantastic live version from 2014:

Mark and I were also impressed by Tim Rose's early version, which was supposed to have influenced Jimi Hendrix's version:

Our version tries to address the virulent misogyny of Rose's lyrics, which differ from Billy Roberts' 1962 lyrics, by making the protagonist of the song a woman, and the victim a male. I was never really comfortable with the gun violence, but I thought it was more interesting for a female protagonist to be wielding this iconic phallic weapon in the song--and to make her violence more justified by portraying the victim as a typical wife beater (like the wife beater in the original version).


It is not easy figuring out who wrote the all-time-toxic-masculinity lyrics for "Hey Joe," so I stopped trying. Maybe Jimi wrote them. Regardless, I felt strongly that the time had come to switch the roles around in order to highlight the misogyny of this blues-rock classic.


It was Mark's idea to do our version in 6/8. Here is the record, produced by Mike Butler, who also plays the electric guitar:

And here is an outtake with Grammy-winning guitarist Randy Ray Mitchell on guitar and working the ProTools:

And here are my un-traditional lyrics for a very traditional song of unknown origin.


Hey Josephine

(Un-Traditional, additional lyrics by Eric Anders)


Hello Josephine

Where you goin' with that gun in your hand?

Hello Josephine

Where you goin' with that gun in your hand?

I'm going down to shoot my old man

You know, it’s the last time he’s going to kick me around

I'm going down to shoot my old man

You know, it’s the last time he’s going to kick me around

Those blues ain't too cool

Hey Jo

I heard you shot your old man down, shot him down, now

Hey Jo

I heard you shot your old man down

Shot him down to the ground

Yes I did, I shot him

You know, it’s the last time he’s going to kick me around

Yes I did, I shot him

You know, it’s the last time he’s going to kick me around

I gave him the gun

I shot him!

Alright

Shoot him one more time for me

Yeah, dig it


Break


Ain’t no one gonna find me

Ain’t no hangman gonna put a rope around me

Ain’t no one gonna find me

Ain’t no hangman gonna put a rope around me


Hey Jo

You better run, you better run on down

Hey Jo

You better run, you better run on down

Goodbye everybody

Goin’ down where I can be free

Goodbye everybody

Ain’t no hangman gonna put a rope around me

Hey Jo

Where you gonna run, you gonna run to now

Hey Jo

Where you gonna run, you gonna run to now

Hey Jo


Break


Hey Jo

Where you goin’, goin’ run to now

Hey Jo

Where you goin’, goin’ run to now

Goodbye everybody

Goodbye

Goodbye everybody

Goodbye


Eric Anders, 10/20/23


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