This song is a cheeky refashioning of Blind Willie McTell's 1928 "Three Women Blues." White explained to Uncut magazine why he recorded his own version. "A friend of mine had heard 'Three Women Blues' at a party and I thought it was an interesting song," he said. "I had covered Blind Willie McTell songs in the past and I came up with that first line - 'I've got three women, red, blonde and brunette' - just as a starting point for myself. I thought, 'I'm gonna do a completely modern version of this song.' It doesn't really have much to do with Blind Willie McTell's song at all beyond the first line."
"I also think his song is a lesson in how it's all false to begin with, how you shouldn't believe these are all real events for the songwriter or the person singing," he continued. "It's like when Elvis was singing his songs - he didn't write the songs so they're not about him. That's one thing people really get wrong about all the old blues musicians - that every song they were singing was from the heart and about their own specific problems. I highly doubt that Blind Willie McTell had three girlfriends at the same time - it's hard to pull off for anyone, especially someone who's blind."
The song finds White hollering: "I got three women, red blonde and brunette. It took a digital photograph to pick which one I liked."
A digital photograph is the sort of modern technology that the famously techno-phobe singer wouldn't normally take to. White told Rolling Stone that there's a difference between the narrators of his songs and his own beliefs. "If you know anything about me, do you think I like digital photography? No. I don't," he said. "So obviously this song is not about f---ing Jack White."
White was taking out his frustrations on those who criticize his songs without understanding them.
Much of this song was recorded live in the studio, but Cory Younts' harmonica solo and White's vocals was overdubbed later.
Old Crow Medicine Show mandolin player Cory Younts was loaned out to Jack White's backup band, The Buzzards, on the world tour to support his 2012 Blunderbuss album. He returned the following year, contributing harmonica, Korg Synthesizer, mandolin, piano, shaker and backing vocals to Lazaretto.