Bob: Thank you for responding to my question about the term "rider" and its connotations. If I read you correctly, it seems to be a double entendre? A "rider" can connote lack of fidelity, as he travels from town to town, partner to partner. (Such a frequent theme in folk songs in general! Rambler Gambler, Rambling Sailor... please help me out with the scores of others...) But it also connotes the sex act itself, being "ridden" by a man. Both connotations are sexual, only the latter is more graphically so. The term "rider" seems to link these two meanings in a playful way.
I guess the other thing about this song that has always intrigued (provoked?) me is the problematic grammar. Am I supposed to *assume* there's a comma between you and rider? As in, "I Know You, Rider". The woman is *addressing* the lover? Apparently others grappled with this issue as well since, if I'm remembering correctly, several performers changed the lyric to "I Know My Rider" so as to make the sentence flow more smoothly: "I know my rider's gonna miss me when I'm gone..." Perhaps I (and others) are a little too verbally uptight for Blues talk... ;^)
And one more thing, which perhaps should be (already has been?) a separate thread: What do y'all think about performers who change the gender of the song's speaker so as to match their own? I bring it up because, personally, I've always had a problem with it. I'm not so musically blessed as to be a performer myself, but in my frequent daydreams in which I am singing a song to an audience, I always sing the song as I have learned it, and simply *take on* the persona of the song's speaker, gender and all. I guess I feel that's part of the art of musical performance. Can any (actual) performers comment on this?
--Catherine (who used to be a GUEST but is now registered)