mama lion

sam_net

Member
Russian
This is from the song "Sixteen Tons":

I was raised in the canebrake by an ol' mama lion
Cain't no-a high-toned woman make me walk the line

Who's "mama lion"?

What's "cain't"?
 
  • Matching Mole

    Senior Member
    England, English
    She is speaking figuratively (I presume) of her upbringing as that of an orphan child raised by wild beasts (compare the Romulus and Remus legend, and many others), in this case a lioness. It means she was raised to be tough, independent, perhaps wild. That is why she will not be told what to do by "no a-high-toned woman". Cain't simply means can't: "I can't be made to walk the line".
     

    marget

    Senior Member
    This is from the song "Sixteen Tons":

    I was raised in the canebrake by an ol' mama lion
    Cain't no-a high-toned woman make me walk the line

    Who's "mama lion"?

    What's "cain't"?
    Cain't means "there ain't no high-toned who can". A mama lion may just mean a very rough person. I'm not sure. I don't even know what canebrake means.:confused:
     

    Matching Mole

    Senior Member
    England, English
    This is a song written in the speech style of African American folk music which hearks back to the 19th century. A "canebreak" is a thicket or bush of sugar cane plants; this further enforces the image of a deprived semi-wild upbringing. The singer's boasts are perhaps not meant to be taken absolutely literally (were there ever lions in the canebreaks?); there is an element of folk-lore about it.
     
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