C.C. Rider

Album: His Greatest Recordings (1957)
Charted: 12


  • This is a blues standard written and first recorded by Ma Rainey, whose version hit #12 in 1925 as "See See Rider Blues." The "C.C. Rider," also known as "See See Rider" or "Easy Rider," is a blues cliché for the sexual partner, although originally it referred to the guitar hung on the back of the traveling bluesman.

    Ma Rainey was a vaudeville star in the early 1900s, singing in tents at travelling shows. In 1923, she started recording for Paramount Records, becoming, along with Bessie Smith, one of the first female blues artists to find a wide audience. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Patrick - Port Arthur, TX
  • This song is about a jilted lover, but the lyrics vary a great deal depending on the performer. The original Ma Rainey version starts with a section that is omitted in most later versions:

    I'm so unhappy
    I feel so blue
    I always feel so sad
    I made a mistake
    Right from the start
    Oh, it seems so hard to part

    This is where the song typically begins, with "gal" transposed to "man" when sung by a male singer:

    C.C. rider, see what you done
    Made me love you, now your gal done come

    The singer then goes away, saying he/she won't be band until fall, and won't come back at all if they find a proper lover. Rainey, though, has murderous thoughts:

    I'm gonna buy me a pistol just as long as I am tall
    Gonna kill my man and catch the Cannonball
    If he don't have me, he won't have no gal at all

    The Chuck Willis version is far more anodyne, with no hints of homicide. His ends:

    Well now see, C. C. Rider
    See now the moon is shining bright
    If I could just walk with you
    Everything would be alright
  • Well over 100 artists have recorded this song, including Pigmeat Markham, The Orioles, Louis Armstrong, Wilbert Harrison, Ray Charles, Peggy Lee, Lightnin' Hopkins, Mississippi John Hurt, The Everly Brothers, Cher, B.B. King, The Chambers Brothers, and John Lee Hooker. The charting versions of the song in America are by:

    Chuck Willis - #12, 1957
    LaVern Baker - #34, 1963
    The Animals - #10, 1966
    76/66 Bobby Powell - #76, 1966

    In 1965, Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels incorporated "C.C. Rider" into a medley of songs with Little Richard's "Jenny Jenny." This version peaked at #10 in the US in early January, 1966.
  • Willis' version started "The Stroll" dance craze. The Diamonds (of "Little Darlin'" fame) capitalized by writing and releasing "The Stroll," which peaked at #4 as it sold over one million copies.
  • Louis Armstrong played cornet on Ma Rainey's version. The rest of the instrumentation is:

    Charlie Green - trombone
    Buster Bailey - clarinet
    Fletcher Henderson - piano
    Charlie Dixon - banjo
  • When Ma Rainey sings she's going to "catch the Cannonball," she's referring to a train. An earlier song called "Wabash Cannonball" introduced the concept of the Cannonball train, which was a folk tale. The Band later sang about catching a Cannonball in their song "The Weight."
  • Elvis Presley performed a surprisingly upbeat version at his 1973 Aloha From Hawaii concert, which was the first concert broadcast via satellite to a global audience.

Comments: 31

  • Cookie from Atlanta Ga,CC Rider was banned from radio in Atl. 1957 , we never could figure out why with all credit and many thanks to this site... now I know!Coy from Texas explanation seems just right.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn September 27, 1957, Chuck Willis performed "C. C. Rider" on the Dick Clark ABC-TV weekday-afternoon program 'American Bandstand'...
    Five months earlier on April 4th, 1957 "C. C. Rider" entered Billboard's Top 100 chart at position #98, twelve weeks later it would peak at #12 {for 1 week} and it spent a half-year on the Top 100 {26 weeks}...
    In June 1957 it reached #1{for 2 weeks} on Billboard's R&B Singles chart...
    Three covered versions have made the Top 100; LaVern Baker {#34 in 1963}, Bobby Powell {#76 in 1966}, and Eric Burton & the Animals {#10 in 1966}
    Between 1952 and 1958 Chuck Willis had fourteen records on the R&B Singles chart, ten made the Top 10 with two* reaching #1, besides "C. C. Rider", his other #1 record was "What Am I Living For?", for 1 week in June 1958...
    Harold Jerome Willis passed away at the young age of 32 on April 10th, 1958 {peritonitis}...
    May he R.I.P.
    * He just missed having a third #1 record when "My Story" peaked at #2 in 1952, the record that kept it out of the top spot was "Five Long Years" by Eddie Floyd.
  • Coy from Palestine, TexasSee See Rider Blues was written by Ma Rainey in 1924. Bea Booze had a huge hit with it in 1943. This is the definitive version you hear performed today. Sammy Price, the great Boogie Woogie Pianist arranged it and plays on the record. It crossed over to the white record charts and was a hit for 22 weeks.
    See See Rider was slang for 'Easy Rider'. Blind Lemon Jefferson, Texas Alexander and others did records using Easy Rider in the title in the 1920's and 30's. C.C. Rider and See See Rider were slang for 'Easy' Rider or EZ Rider.
    It referred to women, or prostitutes who were Easy and enjoyed sex. It had nothing to do with Circuit Court Riders or Canadian Club Whiskey or Choppers. It came from the clubs and tracks along Deep Ellum in Dallas and from the Sawmill piano players in Texas in the early days of the 20th Century.
  • Mose Calloway from Annapolis, MarylandCC Rider, means; Circuit Court Rider. Back in the horse and buggy days, the circuit court Judge would ride from district, to district, to hold court. Black People called him CC Rider. But the song means a man that has a woman in different cities , and visits them regularly, one at a time.
  • Jim Kersten from Central IllinoisNot sure which came first. But if you look up CC rider in slang dictionaries, you'll find that a CC Rider is a prostitute who will 'ride' for $200. CC being the Roman numeral 200. But since the song was written so long ago, I'm not sure if 200 would be a realistic figure or not, or even if it is today.
  • Bill from Nanaimo, BcJust to throw in another possibility. Somebody told me that they heard the C.C. came from the booze C.C. (Canadian Club) Whiskey which was popular in the south during the roaring 20's. Drinking it alot would result in the lyrics "C.C. rider see what you have done." Pick it apart, just a thought, I liked it when I heard it.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyWillis' 1957 version peaked at No. 12, Baker's 1963 version hit No. 34, and in 1966 both The Animals & Bobby Rydell released it, Rydell's hit No. 76 while The Animals made the Top 10 at No. 10!!!
  • Richard from Fountain Hill, PaBeaucoup Blue, a Philly based father & son duo play a great cover of this song. Sometimes they perform it with a "full band" (drums, bass, keyboard.) They also do an acoustic version with just 2 guitars. Both are great.
  • J from Riverdale, Njhow many different artists have performed cc rider?
  • Fred from Winston Salem, NcNo one even mentioned the C.C.Camps where men could get some work during the Depression. Since the only housing provided was tents and was only utilized during good weather.

    The men came back in the Fall. (I won't be back til Fall)
  • Arlene from Copenhagen, DenmarkThe C.C. in "C.C. Rider" stand for Chopper Couture!
    Chopper Couture's early Fall 2009 collection of motorcycle inspired rock-n-roll t-shirts is aptly named: "C.C. Rider!"
  • Nady from Adelaide, AustraliaBest version of this song is By Eric Burdon...and his Animals ofcourse
  • John from Lynton, EnglandThe song Sea Sea Rider, according to Big Bill Broonzy, is in fact first written in 1908 and refers to a man with nothing better to do than hanging out the water in his boat. This is given by Bill in a live recording intro before launching into his version.

    John, Lynton, Devon, England.
  • Bunk from Possum Creek, LaI agree with the first commenter.
    C.C. Rider referred to the guitar on the back of a bluesman traveling the "Chitlin' Circuit," the route through the larger towns in and around the Mississippi Delta region.
  • Thomas from Charlotte, NcAKA SEE SEE RIDERdone by Lavern Baker in 1962.
  • Thomas from Charlotte, NcLaVern Baker had smoking version on Atlantic Records in 1962!
  • Lynchknot from Portland, OrDuring the Great Depression a large population of Americans driven by poverty rode the railroad system & the term easy rider, (along with hobo and bum) found its way into slang vocabulary to mean a slow moving train and the men that, even after the great depression, continued to live and travel along the rails. Majority of these trains, commissioned in the early 1920s had the letters C.C. (for Colorado Central) or S.C. (for Southern Coastal) stenciled on them in bold white letters & this is most likely where the term C.C. rider originated.
    The term appears in the famous "See See Rider Blues" song recorded by Ma Rainey in 1925. The song and others like it used the loneliness of a rider of the rails or wanderer as a theme in their music.

    Source: http://en.wikipedia.org
  • Derek from Liverpool, United Statescc rider blues originated from kc rider blues, kc standing for kansas city
  • Darrell from EugeneThis song (or one with a similar title) was recorded in the 1960s by Mitch Ryder & The Detroit Wheels (famous for "Devil With A Blue Dress On" and "Good Golly Miss Molly"). I do not know just how popular it was, but I remember hearing it a lot 40 years ago.
  • Anders from Copenhagen, DenmarkA C.C. Rider is merely a Costum Cycle Rider - thats why the movie Easy Rider is named as it is. A Wordplay on the kind of people that were driving Costum Cycles...
  • Dave from Romeo, MiWayne Cochrane and the CC Riders recorded this song also. The CC Riders were a great band. Elvis and Wayne were friendly. Elvis was influenced by Wayne's wardrobe (capes, jumpsuits, big belts)and used CC Rider as his opening song. They played in the same Las Vegas hotels. Cochrane was known as the king of blue eyed soul. In the movie the Blues Brothers, Cochrane and his band were mentioned during the sauna scene by Steve Lawrence. The 2nd Blues Brother album is also dedicated to Cochrane and his CC Riders
  • Pablo from Rochester, Ndi beleive "C.C" is a derivation of the orignal "See, See" As in "see what yove done now. It's not really a name or person's initials.
    "Rider" is slang for prostitute but in blues terms can mean the guitar carried by a musician.Some singers in "Crossroads" sing a line " got my rider by my side". Lots of double meanings in the blues...
  • Nianow I'm Anonymous from The Hague, NetherlandsThe song has been used in a Dutch televison commercial for the beverage SiSi (orangejuice with bubbles, like Fanta). A tiny car distributed crates of Sisi. At the background: SiSi rider (C.C. of course)
  • Barry from New York, NcSome noteable Elvis versions of "See See Rider" are in the film ELVIS ON TOUR (1972) and in the famous tv special ALOHA FROM HAWAII VIA SATELLITE (1973).
  • Barry Larkin from Cincinatti, OhThis song is also covered by The Old Crow Medicine Show a "new" grass band. They are an excellent "under the radar" group that I encourage you to check out if you like Bluegrass music. "Wagon Wheel" is one of my favorites they do.
  • Ake from Ostersund, SwedenC.C. Rider was also recorded by Bill Haley & His Comets in the early 70´s.
  • Derek from Qld, AustraliaI read once (i think in Honeyboy Edwards' autobiography) that C.C. Rider is about a prostitute. Hence the line "you made me love you, now your man done come" (her man being the pimp). If anyone's after a really clear version of how it was originally, check out Robert Lockwood Jr's Delta Crossroads album.
  • Paul from Fort Collins, CoJust a current update: A really sharp looking grandmother named Carol owns and operates, for the last 20 years, "C.C. Rider Transportation Services, Inc." in the Chicago area. She brokers trips between used car dealers and the guys who drive the big multi-car transport rigs. Her friends swear she chose the name because she was always a raving Elvis fan.
  • Bruce from West Orange,nj, NjOK,what does the C.C. in C.C.Rider stand for?
  • Tom from Alma, GaElvis Presley did it in the early '70's, and used it as his opening music and song for most all of his concerts till he died.
  • Erik from Davis, CaThis song was also played by The Animals.
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