Elizabeth Cotten – Freight Train

Political Tunes

Feminism is an ideology which puts patriarchy at its core. Patriarchy is when socially, politically and economically, men are in authority. Thus they are heads of families, government and business. Women are subordinate. Patriarchy keeps things that way.

Elizabeth Cotten (1893 or 1895-1997) may be an unlikely feminist hero.

As a little girl, she enjoyed playing the guitar. A lefty, it never occurred to her to restring the guitar for a southpaw when turning the guitar over. Consequently, she developed a unique and impressive upside down style. Playing the folk blues style, which features an alternating bass line and syncopated melody and chord notes… well, Cotten played this complicated method in reverse! (Just like the old saying, that Ginger Rogers was a better dancer than her partner, Fred Astaire, since Rogers did the same moves backwards). And back to Cotten, as any guitarist knows, this Cotten-picking style has a technical…

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