Tonight on KBEM Jazz 88, the local Twin Cities Jazz Station, I heard jazz singer Catherine Russell sing this blues/jazz song, and it was very moving. Catherine was interviewed tonight and she talked about the background of this song, how it was a favorite of Duke Ellington in the Cotton Club days. She shared how this song reflects the African-American experience.
The person speaking in the song speaks of how others call her "one of the devil's daughters," how "they speak of her in scorn" and "go around scandalize my name."
But the troubled waters which "are way beyond [her] control will wash away [her] sins before the Lord."