About the song
If you are a fan of Elvis Presley, you might have heard him sing a song called “Polk Salad Annie” in his live concerts. But do you know the origin and meaning of this song? In this blog post, we will explore the history and background of this swamp rock classic that Elvis made famous.
“Polk Salad Annie” was written and performed by Tony Joe White, a singer-songwriter from Louisiana who grew up in the rural South. The song was released as a single in 1969 and reached No. 8 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.
The lyrics of the song describe the life of a poor Southern girl named Annie, who picks pokeweed, a wild plant that grows in the woods and fields, and cooks it for supper. Pokeweed, also known as polk or poke salad, is a cooked greens dish that is popular in some parts of the South. However, it can also be toxic if not prepared properly.
White said he was inspired to write the song after hearing Bobbie Gentry’s “Ode to Billie Joe”, a country song that tells a story about life in the Mississippi Delta. White said he wanted to write about something he knew about, and he had eaten a lot of poke salad as a child. He also said he knew a girl like Annie who lived near his hometown.
The song has a distinctive swampy sound that reflects White’s musical influences, such as blues, Cajun, country and rock. White used a whammy bar on his guitar to create a vibrato effect, and he also made grunting noises and spoken interjections throughout the song.
Elvis Presley recorded a live version of “Polk Salad Annie” in 1970 and included it on his album On Stage. He also performed it regularly in his concerts until 1977. Elvis added his own flair and energy to the song, often dancing and karate-kicking while singing it. He also changed some of the lyrics, such as replacing “sock a little” with “shake a little”.
“Polk Salad Annie” is one of the songs that showcases Elvis’s versatility and charisma as a performer. It also pays tribute to his Southern roots and culture. The song remains a favorite among Elvis fans and lovers of swamp rock music.