Monday, October 09, 2006

Woman of the ghetto

Possibly my favorite song in all time.

There is a great review about it on

Here goes my personal transcription of the lyrics.

Woman of the ghetto (live version 1973)
Marlena Shaw

(ging, gi-gi-gi-gi-ging...)
(la-la-la-la-la-la-la, ...)

I was born, raised in a ghetto
I was born and raised in a ghetto
I'm a woman, of the ghetto
Won't you listen, won't you listen to me, legislator?

(ging, gi-gi-gi-gi-ging...)

How do you raise your kids in a ghetto?
How do you raise your kids in a ghetto?
Do you feed one child and starve another?
Won't you tell me, legislator?

Enthralled through
I know that my eyes ain't blue
But you see I'm a woman
Of the ghetto

I'm proud, free,
Black, that is me
But I'm a woman of the ghetto

(ging, gi-gi-gi-gi-ging...)

How does your heart feel late at night?
How does your heart feel late at night?
Does it beat with shame, or does it beat with pride?
Won't you tell me, legislator?

(na-na-na-na-na-na-na, ...)

Puts me in the mind of,
come and cross the water in a boat
Chained, tied, together

They said, "no, no, they're really not man, and women,
just chain 'em up, tie 'em up, chain 'em up, tie 'em up,
chain 'em up, tie 'em up, work, work, work"
There's where the movement came from

Say no, no...

My children learned just the same as yours
As long as nobody tries to close the door
They cry with pain when the knife cuts deep
They even close their eyes when they wanna sleep

Now peace, you say
is all that you ask
But self-respect is a separate task

You may be sitting up there
in your ivory tower
60 stories tall

I know that you may have checked out at least one ghetto
But I wonder have you lived there at all?

Places like Watts,
ah, Holland, tell me
Chicago, ah tell me
Washington got some too
I have been up on the mountains, I

And I'm free at last
I say I'm free at last
I've seen the children dying
And I've been one of the mothers who was crying

(ging, gi-gi-gi-gi-ging...)

I am a woman
I am a woman
I am a woman, yes I
I said that I am,
I mean that I am,
I'm the woman, I'm the woman, I'm the woman of the ghetto

Strong, true,
A woman
A woman

You can walk through the streets of the ghetto at night
Whole lotta pretty, some ugly sites
Along comes the sleek limousine
Say "hey baby I got ten...
Look at me, I'm clean"
So she takes a little dope
What the hell everybody got to go

I got a baby
I got a baby
I got a baby i want to feed and I'm not really giving it all

up, just a little ten-cent piece or two
Ah, the black woman...

But I ain't gonna raise your babies no more
I got a few on my own,
I wanna keep strolling,
I say I am a woman

gi-gi-gi-gi-ging, I am

I am
I am

Remember me
I'm the one who had your babies, I

gi-gi-gi-gi-ging, I am
I am
I am a woman
Of the ghetto

I'm a woman, yeah yeah yeah
Just a woman...

(I liked it)
(Marlena Shaw!)


Amy said...

Hi Pedro, I'm afraid I don't know the lyrics to the live version. It seems like maybe they're a little different from the original (as you have here).

Francesco said...

Hi Pedro, I play guitar in a black music band, near Venice, North-Eastern Italy.

We use to play Woman Of The Ghetto... thanks to your lyrics transcription!!

Our website:

Thanks a lot, from the whole band!