“Black Water“ is a song recorded by the American music group The Doobie Brothers from their 1974 album What Were Once Vices Are Now Habits….as the track features its composer Patrick Simmons on lead vocals….which in mid-March 1975 became the first of the two Doobie Brothers’ # 1 hit singles…. when Simmons would recall that he chanced on the basic guitar lick for “Black Water”….while at Warner Bros. Recording Studio for the recording sessions for the Doobies 1973 album The Captain and Me….when he stated that “I was sitting out in the studio waiting between takes and I played that part. All the sudden I heard the talk-back go on and [producer] Ted Templeman says: ‘What is that?’ I said: ‘It’s just a little riff that I came up with that I’ve been tweaking with.’ He goes: ‘I love that. You really should write a song using that riff.'”….to which Simmons would complete “Black Water” during a subsequent Doobie Brothers‘ sojourn in New Orleans….as he was a lifelong aficionado of Delta blues….after visiting New Orleans for a 1971 Doobie Brothers gig commenting “That’s when I got down there and it was everything I had hoped it would be….whereby the way of life and vibe really connected with me and the roots of my music.” Simmons cites the song’s opening section as “my childhood imaginings of the South from reading Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer”….while the lyrics subsequent to the first chorus draw on his actual experience of New Orleans while “going down to the French Quarter as often as possible and going into the clubs and listening to Dixieland”….when his lyrics “Well if it rains, I don’t care/ Don’t make no difference to me/ Just take that street car that’s goin’ uptown” was jotted down by Simmons while riding through the University District on the St. Charles Streetcar Line en route to the Garden District in Uptown New Orleans to do laundry stating “the sun was shining while it was pouring rain the way it does down there sometimes. And the lyrics just came to me there [on the streetcar]”….for “Black Water” is distinguished by its melodious a cappella section….whose lyrics are likely the song’s prevalent hook lines….“I’d like to hear some funky Dixieland/ Pretty mama, come and take me by the hand”.
As seen in this video herewith…..The Doobie Brothers perform “Black Water” live on stage at the 1983 Farewell Concert.