Music

'Marie Laveau': The Story Behind Bobby Bare's Bewitching Tale

Bobby Bare performs onstage during Band Against Cancer with Sarah Cannon on a special Sunday night Opry performance on October 1, 2017 in Nashville City. (Photo by Rick Diamond/Getty Images for Sony Music Nashville)

One of the world's most famous voodoo practitioners is none other than Marie Laveau, a Louisiana woman who held the souls of New Orleans in her hands in the late 1800s. Marie Laveau would dispense potions, tell fortunes and heal the sick through ceremonies.

If you're a fan of country music, you've likely heard the tales of another Marie Laveau through the storytelling of poet Shel Silverstein and songwriter Baxter Taylor. While it's not a historically accurate depiction of the real Queen of New Orleans, it's a gripping tale of a fictional New Orleans witch who encounters the scoundrel Handsome Jack. Jack, who attempts to fool Marie for a get-rich-quick scheme quickly learns the downside of crossing a powerful woman.

"So if you ever get down where the black trees grow/ And meet a voodoo lady named Marie Laveau/ If she ever asks you to make her your wife/ Man, you better stay with her for the rest of your life," Bare warns on the eerie tune.

Though perhaps best known as a Bare recording, the song was first recorded by Dr. Hook and the Medicine Show for their 1971 album.

Bobby Bare brought the mysterious witch back to life on his 1974 record Bobby Bare Sings Lullabys, Legends and Lies. The song flew to the top of the charts and landed Bare a No. 1 country song on the Billboard Hot Country chart. It was Bare's only number-one single.

Watch Bobby Bare perform "Marie Laveau" below.

 

"Marie Laveau" Lyrics:

Down in Louisiana, where the black trees grow
Lives a voodoo lady named Marie Laveau
She got a black cat's tooth and a Mojo bone
And anyone who wouldn't leave her alone
She'd go... another man done gone

She lived in a swamp in a hollow log
With a one-eyed snake and a three-legged dog
Bent, bony body and stringy hair
And if she ever seen y'all messin' 'round there
She'd go... another man done gone

And then one night when the moon was black
Into the swamp came handsome Jack
A no good man like you all know
Lookin' around for Marie Laveau

He said, "Marie Laveau, you lovely witch
Gimme a little charm that'll make me rich
Gimme a million dollars and I tell you what I'll do
This very night, I'm gonna marry you"
Then It'll be (uhh), another man done gone

So Marie done some magic, shook a little sand
Made a million dollars and she put it in his hand
Then she giggled and she wiggled, and she said, "Hey, Hey
I'm gettin' ready for my weddin' day

"But old handsome Jack said, "Goodbye Marie
You're too damned ugly for a rich man like me"
Marie started mumblin', her fangs started gnashin'
Her body started tremblin', and her eyes started flashin'
And she went... another man done gone

So if you ever get down where the black trees grow
And meet a voodoo lady named Marie Laveau
If she ever asks you to make her your wife
Man, you better stay with her for the rest of your life

Or it'll be... another man done gone
(Aah we'll see)
(Another man done gone)

 

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'Marie Laveau': The Story Behind Bobby Bare's Bewitching Tale