"The Boll Weevil Song" is a blues standard whose history goes back at least a hundred years. Blues pioneer Charley Patton is credited with writing the first version, then called "Mississippi Bo Weavil Blues"; Ma Rainey ("Mother of the Blues") recorded a version in 1923 as "Bo-Weevil Blues" and Bessie Smith covered it in 1924. There's also Lead Belly, Jaybird Coleman, and Blind Willie McTell in there. Over time the version with the dialog between the farmer and the insect evolved.
Brook Benton's version is the one that stands out, having made #2 on the Billboard charts. Brook Benton himself had over fifty hits on the charts to his credit; in fact, he averaged three Top-40 hits per year from 1959 to 1964. If anyone could spin cotton-bug into gold, it was him.
The boll weevil is an ugly little black bug which migrated from Mexico at the start of the 20th century to ravage cotton crops of the American South. In fact, by the 1920s it made cotton farming less popular and encouraged farmers to diversify into other crops, like peanuts. To this day, a monument to this bug, erected in 1919, stands in the city of Enterprise, Alabama, as a reminder to not have your economy depend too heavily on one crop. Boll weevils are still a destructive force to cotton crops throughout North and South America.
Benton and frequent collaborator Clyde Otis rewrote this version specifically for single release, citing it as a novelty song. The chorus has backing from the Mike Stewart Singers.
This song has the unique distinction of being the first #1 song on Billboard's Easy Listening chart.