zzzm | Rider story

In this column: See See Rider, Rider, Fore Day Rider


See See Rider / C.C. Rider / See See Rider Blues or Easy Rider is a 12-bar blues song. Gertrude "Ma" Rainey recorded it in 1924 followed by many other musicians over the years. The song tells the story of an unfaithful lover, commonly called an easy rider: "See see rider, see what you have done," making a play on the word see and the sound of easy.

The term see see rider/easy rider refers to a woman or a man who has liberal sexual views or is skilled at sex.
A man without a steady job who lives by gambling or sponging; a male lover who lives off a woman's earnings.

Some say that C.C.’s a freeloader. The term refers to a train "The Colorado Central" and someone who hitches a ride on those rails.

Other sources indicate that C.C. Rider refers to early "church circuit" traveling preachers who did not have established churches and held church services in cabins, in barrooms, or outdoors. A circuit rider was a young Methodist assistant of a preacher, who could preach and was willing to ride a horse for weeks over wild country.

In one of Alan Lomax’s collection of poems it says that C.C. means Calvary Corporal and that in the poem a woman writes to her soldier lover.
In Ma Rainey's "See See Rider" the woman in the song writes a letter to her cheating lover.

Ma Rainey with Louis Armstrong in 1924.


I'm going down to Rosedale, take my rider by my side.
You can still barrelhouse, baby, on the riverside (from Crossroads)

For the blues singer, the most valuable instrument was the guitar and as his "easy rider". The guitar could be slung across his back when he wished to travel.

Traveling blues man in Atlanta, 1930
Traveling blues man in Atlanta, 1930



I'm a 'fore-day rider mama : riding all night
Anywhere I come mama : I sing my worried song (Four Day Rider, Leroy Carr, 1934)

I'm a 'fore-day rider mama, baby, you oughta see me ride
Once in your saddle mama you won't want me from your side (Fore Day rider, Jay McShann/Walter Brown, 1968)

Fore-day is a part of the day: the wee hours, before the break of day, before cockcrow. Is it "four" or "fore". It is fore. The label wrote in the title of the song "Four" instead of "fore", because that could be mistaken for a dirty blues song. Compare also Ida cox's song "Four Day Creep". It is fore day creep. Meaning, before day. To cheat and sneak around in the night. 

To be continued.

Sources: pancocojams.blogspot.nl, americanbluesscene.com, YouTube, Wikipedia, Hudson Motors Compagny, Archive Minneapolis, The Cruel Plains, M.H.Price a.o., truewestmagazine.com, The Austin Chronicle, Cambridge Free English Dictionary, Oxford Dictionary, TheSaurus.com, dragonjazz.com/grablue/blues_travel,