Pre-war Blues Lyric Poetry: an Anthology

J - L

Jackson, Papa Charlie. 14

Papa's Lawdy Lawdy Blues. 14

Airy Man Blues. 14

Salty Dog Blues. 14

The Cats Got the Measles. 14

I Got What It Takes But It Breaks My Heart to Give It Away. 14

Shave Em Dry. 15

Coffee Pot Blues. 15

Shake That Thing. 15

The Faking Blues. 16

I'm Alabama Bound. 16

Drop that Sack. 16

Hot Papa Blues. 17

Take Me Back Blues. 17

Mama, Don't You Think I Know.. 17

Maxwell Street Blues. 17

All I Want Is a Spoonful 18

Texas Blues. 18

Butter and Egg Man Blues. 18

Up the Way Bound. 18

Your Baby Ain't Sweet Like Mine. 19

Fat Mouth Blues. 19

She Belongs to Me Blues. 19

Coal Man Blues. 19

Skoodle Um Skoo. 19

Sheik of Desplaines Street 20

Ash Tray Blues. 20

Jungle Man Blues. 20

Baby Please Loan Me Your Heart 20

Jackson, Jim.. 21

Bootlegging Blues. 21

I'm Wild About My Lovin' 21

This Mornin' She Was Gone. 21

This Mornin' She Was Gone. 21

Hesitation Blues. 21

St. Louis Blues. 22

James, Frank.. 22

Poor Coal Passer. 22

James, Jesse. 22

Sweet Patuni 22

Southern Casey Jones. 23

Lonesome Day Blues. 23

James, Skip. 24

Devil Got My Woman. 24

Cypress Grove Blues. 24

Cherry Ball Blues. 24

Hard Time Killin' Floor Blues. 24

Special Rider Blues. 24

Little Cow and Calf Is Gonna Die Blues. 25

22‑20 Blues. 25

If You Haven't Got Any Hay Get on Down the Road. 25

Jaxon, Frankie Half Pint 25

It's Heated. 25

Come On, Mama, Do That Dance. 26

She Can Love So Good. 26

Callin' Corrine. 26

Jefferson, Blind Lemon. 26

Got the Blues. 26

Long Lonesome Blues. 27

Booster Blues. 27

Dry Southern Blues. 27

Black Horse Blues. 27

Corinna Blues. 28

Chock House Blues. 28

Beggin' Back. 28

Old Rounders Blues. 28

Stocking Feet Blues. 29

That Black Snake Moan. 29

Wartime Blues. 29

Broke and Hungry. 29

Shuckin' Sugar. 30

Booger Rooger Blues. 30

Rabbit Foot Blues. 30

Bad Luck Blues. 30

Black Snake Moan. 31

Match Box Blues. 31

Easy Rider Blues. 31

Match Box Blues. 32

Match Box Blues. 32

Rising High Water Blues. 32

Right of Way Blues. 32

Teddy Bear Blues. 32

Black Snake Dream Blues. 33

Struck Sorrow Blues. 33

Rambler Blues. 33

Chinch Bug Blues. 33

Deceitful Brownskin Woman. 34

Sunshine Special 34

Lonesome House Blues. 34

Blind Lemon's Penitentiary Blues. 34

'Lectric Chair Blues. 34

Lemon's Worried Blues. 35

Mean Jumper Blues. 35

Balky Mule Blues. 35

Change My Luck Blues. 35

Prison Cell Blues. 36

Long Lastin' Lovin' 36

Piney Woods Money Mama. 36

Low Down Mojo Blues. 36

Competition Bed Blues. 36

Sad News Blues. 37

How Long How Long. 37

Lock Step Blues. 37

Hangman's Blues. 37

Christmas Eve Blues. 38

Happy New Year Blues. 38

Maltese Cat Blues. 38

D B Blues. 38

Eagle Eyed Mama. 38

Dynamite Blues. 39

Oil Well Blues. 39

Tin Cup Blues. 39

Empty House Blues. 39

Saturday Night Spender Blues. 40

That Black Snake Moan No 2. 40

Peach Orchard Mama. 40

Big Night Blues. 40

Bed Springs Blues. 40

Yo Yo Blues. 41

Mosquito Moan. 41

Southern Woman Blues. 41

Bakershop Blues. 41

Pneumonia Blues. 41

Long Distance Moan. 42

That Crawlin' Baby Blues. 42

Fence Breakin' Yellin' Blues. 42

Cat Man Blues. 42

Bootin' Me 'Bout 43

Johnson, Alec. 43

Miss Meal Cramp Blues. 43

Next Week Sometime. 43

Johnson, Billiken. 43

Sun Beam Blues. 43

Interurban Blues. 44

Frisco Blues. 44

Wild Jack Blues. 44

Johnson, Buster. 44

Undertaker Blues. 44

Johnson, Edith North. 44

Nickel's Worth of Liver Blues. 44

Good Chib Blues. 44

Can't Make Another Day. 45

Honeydripper Blues. 45

Johnson, Elizabeth. 45

Be My Kid Blues. 45

Sobbin' Woman Blues. 45

Johnson, James Stump. 46

Barrel of Whiskey Blues. 46

Johnson, Joe (Memphis Minnie) 46

I'm Going Back Home. 46

Don't Want No Woman. 46

Johnson, Ki Ki 46

Lady, Your Clock Ain't Right 46

Wrong Woman Blues. 46

Johnson, Lem.. 47

Candy Blues. 47

Johnson, Lil 47

Never Let Your Left Hand Know What Your Right Hand Do. 47

You'll Never Miss Your Jelly Till Your Jelly Rollers Gone. 47

House Rent Scuffle. 47

Johnson, Lonnie. 48

Mr. Johnson's Blues. 48

Falling Rain Blues. 48

Sweet Woman You Can't Go Wrong. 48

St. Louis Cyclone Blues. 48

Life Saver Blues. 48

Blue Ghost Blues. 48

Low Land Moan. 49

I'm So Tired of Living All Alone. 49

Way Down That Lonesome Road. 49

New Black Snake Blues‑Part 1. 49

When You Fall For Someone That's Not Your Own. 49

Baby Please Don't Leave Me No More. 50

Sam, You're Just a Rat 50

I'm Nuts About that Gal 50

Racketeers Blues. 50

Man Killing Broad. 50

Hard Time Ain't Gone No Where. 51

Flood Water Blues. 51

It Ain't What You Usta Be. 51

Something Fishy. 51

I'm Nuts Over You. 51

Friendless and Blue. 51

Devil's Got the Blues. 52

I Ain't Gonna Be Your Fool 52

Mr. Johnson Swing. 52

New Falling Rain Blues. 52

Laplegged Drunk Again. 52

Blue Ghost Blues. 52

South Bound Backwater. 53

Crowin' Rooster Blues. 53

Johnson, Louise. 53

All Night Long Blues. 53

Long Way from Home. 53

On the Wall 54

By the Moon and Stars. 54

Johnson, Margaret 54

If I Let You Get Away With It Once You'll Do It All of the Time. 54

When a 'Gator Holler, Folk Say It's a Sign of Rain. 54

Johnson, Mary. 54

Barrel House Flat Blues. 54

Key to the Mountain Blues. 55

Rattlesnake Blues. 55

Mary Johnson Blues. 55

Johnson, Robert 55

Kind Hearted Woman Blues. 55

Kind Hearted Woman Blues. 55

I Believe I'll Dust My Broom.. 56

Sweet Home Chicago. 56

Ramblin' On My Mind. 56

Ramblin' On My Mind. 56

When You Get a Good Friend. 56

Come On in My Kitchen. 57

Terraplane Blues. 57

Phonograph Blues. 57

32‑20 Blues. 57

They're Red Hot 58

Dead Shrimp Blues. 58

Cross Road Blues. 58

Walkin' Blues. 58

Last Fair Deal Gone Down. 59

Preachin' Blues. 59

Preachin' Blues. 59

If I Had Possession Over Judgment Day. 59

Stone in My Passway. 59

I'm a Steady Rollin Man. 60

From Four Until Late. 60

Hell Hound on My Trail 60

Little Queen of Spades. 60

Little Queen of Spades. 60

Malted Milk. 60

Drunken Hearted Man. 61

Drunken Hearted Man. 61

Me and the Devil Blues. 61

Stop Breakin' Down Blues. 61

Traveling Riverside Blues. 61

Honeymoon Blues. 62

Love in Vain. 62

Love in Vain. 62

Milkcow's Calf Blues. 62

Milkcow's Calf Blues. 62

Johnson, T. C. 63

J. C. Johnson's Blues. 63

Johnson, Tommy. 63

Cool Drink of Water Blues. 63

Big Road Blues. 63

Bye‑Bye Blues. 63

Maggie Campbell Blues. 63

Canned Heat Blues. 64

Lonesome Home Blues. 64

Lonesome Home Blues. 64

Big Fat Mama Blues. 64

Lonesome Home Blues. 64

Black Mare Blues. 65

Jones, Anna. 65

Trixie Blues. 65

Jones, Bo. 65

Back Door Blues. 65

Leavenworth Prison Blues. 65

Jones, Coley. 65

Sweet Mama Blues. 65

Texas and Pacific Blues. 66

Drunkard's Special 66

The Elder's He's My Man. 66

Jones, Elijah. 66

Katy Fly. 66

Mean Actin' Mama. 66

Jones, Jake. 67

Monkeyin' Around. 67

Southern Sea Blues. 67

Jones, Little Hat 67

New Two Sixteen Blues. 67

Two String Blues. 67

Rolled From Side to Side Blues. 68

Hurry Blues. 68

Little Hat Blues. 68

Corpus Blues. 68

Bye Bye Baby Blues. 68

Cross the Water Blues. 69

Cherry Street Blues. 69

Jones, Maggie. 69

Four Flushing Papa. 69

Jealous Mama Blues. 69

Box Car Blues. 69

Western Union Blues. 70

Poor House Blues. 70

Anybody Here Want to Try My Cabbage. 70

Thunderstorm Blues. 70

If I Lose, Let Me Lose. 70

Screamin' the Blues. 71

Good Time Flat Blues. 71

You May Go, But You'll Come Back Some Day. 71

Early Every Morn' 71

Dangerous Blues. 71

Suicide Blues. 72

Undertaker's Blues. 72

North Bound Blues. 72

Mamma. 72

I'm a Back Bitin' Mama. 72

Dallas Blues. 72

Never Drive a Beggar from Your Door. 73

Single Woman's Blues. 73

Never Tell a Woman Friend. 73

The Man I Love Is Oh So Good. 73

I'm a Real Kind Mama. 73

Jordan, Charley. 73

Stack O' Dollars Blues. 73

Keep It Clean. 74

Big Four Blues. 74

Raidin' Squad Blues. 74

Hunkie Tunkie Blues. 74

Gasoline Blues. 75

Keep It Clean‑No. 2. 75

You Run and Tell Your Daddy. 75

Tight Haired Mama Blues. 75

I Couldn't Stay Here. 76

Got Your Water On. 76

Don't Put Your Dirty Hands on Me. 76

Jordan, Luke. 76

Church Bells Blues. 76

Church Bells Blues. 77

Cocaine Blues. 77

My Gal's Done Quit Me. 77

Kelly, Eddie. 77

Poole County Blues. 77

Shim Shamming. 78

Kelly, Jack.. 78

Highway No. 61 Blues. 78

Highway No. 61 Blues No. 2. 78

Red Ripe Tomatoes. 78

Believe I'll Go Back Home. 79

Ko‑ko‑mo Blues. 79

Cold Iron Bed. 79

Betty Sue Blues. 79

Flower Blues. 79

Men Fooler Blues. 79

Kid Stormy Weather. 80

Short Hair Blues. 80

King David. 80

What's That Tastes Like Gravy. 80

Rising Sun Blues. 80

Sweet Potato Blues. 80

I Can Deal Worry. 80

Kyle, Charlie. 81

Kyle's Worried Blues. 81

Lacy, Rubin. 81

Mississippi Jail House Groan. 81

Ham Hound Crave. 81

Lasky, Louie. 81

How You Want Your Rollin' Done. 81

Teasin' Brown Blues. 82

Ledbetter, Huddie. 82

Roberta‑Part 1. 82

Roberta‑Part 2. 82

Packin' Trunk Blues. 82

C. C. Rider. 82

Honey, I'm All Out and Down. 83

New Black Snake Moan. 83

Alberta. 83

Baby, Don't You Love Me No More. 83

Death Letter Blues‑Part 1. 84

Death Letter Blues‑Part 2. 84

Kansas City Papa. 84

Red River Blues. 84

My Friend Blind Lemon. 84

Mr. Hughe's Town. 85

Shorty George. 85

Match Box Blues. 85

Yellow Jacket 85

T. B. Woman Blues. 85

Pig Meat Papa. 86

Bull Cow.. 86

Lee, Bertha. 86

Mind Reader Blues. 86

Leecan, Bobby. 86

Macon Georgia Cut‑Out 86

Nobody Knows You When You're Down and Out 87

Lewis, Archie. 87

Miss Handy Hanks. 87

Lewis, Furry. 87

Jellyroll 87

Mr. Furry's Blues. 87

Sweet Papa Moan. 88

Good Looking Girl Blues. 88

Big Chief Blues. 88

Falling Down Blues. 88

Mean Old Bedbug Blues. 89

Why Don't You Come Home Blues. 89

Furry's Blues. 89

I Will Turn Your Money Green. 89

Mistreatin' Mama. 90

Dry Land Blues. 90

Judge Harsh Blues. 90

Black Gypsy Blues. 90

Creeper's Blues. 91

Lewis, Noah (Gus Cannon) 91

Viola Lee Blues. 91

Going to Germany. 91

Pretty Mama Blues. 91

Ticket Agent Blues. 91

New Minglewood Blues. 92

Bad Luck's My Buddy. 92

Lincoln, Charley. 92

Jealous Hearted Blues. 92

Hard Luck Blues. 92

Mojoe Blues. 93

My Wife Drove Me From the Door. 93

Country Breakdown. 93

Chain Gang Trouble. 93

Doodle Hole Blues. 93

Linthecome, Joe. 94

Pretty Mama Blues. 94

Liston, Virginia. 94

Rolls‑Royce Papa. 94

Little Son Joe. 94

Black Cat Swing. 94

Lockwood, Robert 94

Little Boy Blue. 95

Take a Little Walk with Me. 95

Lofton, Cripple Clarence. 95

Monkey Man Blues. 95

Brown Skin Girls. 95

I Don't Know.. 95

Change My Mind Blues. 96

Streamline Train. 96

Lofton, Willie. 96

Jake Leg Blues. 96

My Mean Baby Blues. 96

Dark Road Blues. 96

Lucas, Jane. 97

Pussy Cat Blues. 97

Where Did You Stay Last Night 97

Fix It 97

Double Trouble Blues. 97

Leave My Man Alone. 98


 

               Jackson, Papa Charlie

      Papa's Lawdy Lawdy Blues

         Chicago, c. Aug. 1924

         (1850‑1) Pm‑12219 RBF RF‑9

I love my baby : and my baby do love me

Get away from my window : honey babe get away from my door

Honey babe honey babe : why don't you tell me what you're going to do

I ain't crazy about no yellow : I ain't no fool about no brown

Because you can't tell the difference : mama when the sun goes down

I got a wife got a girl : and I'm fooling on the outside too

      Airy Man Blues

         Chicago, c. Aug. 1924

         (1851‑2) Pm‑12219 Yz L‑1029

Now *look here Mr* ??? : *says you take a good drop*


??? : he done broke your heart

Put you out : told you to go

You never come back : to her house no more

Now just trying : to throw it down

You know : you the foolishest man in town

Keep on talking : *to the will*

Says you'll never : get to ??? *Bill*

Well you can bring a lot of wood: you can bring in my clothes

You can iron my shirts : you can bless my soul

      Salty Dog Blues

         Chicago, c. Sept. 1924

         (1893‑?) Pm‑12236 Yz L‑1029

Says it ain't but the one thing : that grieve my mind

All these women : and none is mine

Says a little fish big fish : swimming in the water

Come on back here man : and give me my quarter

It's like hunting for a needle : in a bed of sand

Trying to find a woman : haven't got no man

Three barrels of your whiskey : four barrels of gin

Says I have a papa home : and you can't come in

Says God made a woman : and he made her mighty funny

Kiss her on the mouth : just sweet as any honey

Now who in the *ham* : *and the confoundation*

Been sowing them potatoes : on my plantation

Now the scariest I ever been : in my life

Uncle ??? caught me : kissing his wife

Now if this was a coffeepot : and that was a spout

I'll be the *worst* boy : to pour the coffee out

      The Cats Got the Measles

         Chicago, c. Jan. 1925

         (10019‑3) Pm‑12259 Bio BLP‑12042

Now the cat's got the measles : dog's got the whooping cough

Doggone a man : let a woman be his boss

Now I ain't no devil : crawl in a lion's den

But my chief occupation : taking women from their monkey‑men

Says I ain't good‑looking : my teeth don't shine like pearls

But I've got something babe : to carry me through this big darn world

Now I think I heard a rumbling : deep down in the ground

Well it must have been the devil : chaining my good gal down

Now the men don't like me : just because I speak my mind

But the women cry papa : just because I take my time


      I Got What It Takes But It Breaks My Heart to Give It Away

         Chicago, c. Jan. 1925

         (10020‑3) Pm‑12259 Bio BLP‑12042

I saved it up : since the Lord knows when

I ain't saved a thing : because of any of you men

I've had it so long : I hate to lose it

Because ever gets broke : I'll be able to use it

Now when you're laying in jail : with your head in your arms

And then you realize : your sweet mama's gone

      Shave Em Dry

         Chicago, c. Feb. 1925

         (10042‑?) Pm‑12264 Yz L‑1029

Now here's one thing : can't understand

Why a bow‑legged woman : likes a knock‑kneed man

*Times* way downtown : spread the news

State Street women : wearing broken shoes

Now I'm going away : to wear you off my mind

You keep me broken‑hearted : mama all the time

Now here's one thing : I can't understand

A good‑looking woman : likes a workingman

Now I don't see how : you *honky* women can *pace*

Shimmy all day : without a bite to eat

Now if it wasn't for the powder : store‑bought hair

State Street women : couldn't go nowhere

Now I went to the show : the other night

The people on State Street : trying to fight

I ain't crazy about my brown : or about my brown

You can't tell the difference : when the sun go down

When you see two women : running hand by hand

You bet your bottom dollar : she's got the other one's man

Now run here mama : stay back in my home

If your man catch you : I don't mean no harm

      Coffee Pot Blues

         Chicago, c. Feb. 1925 :

         (10043‑?) Pm‑12264 Yz L‑1029

You can always tell : when your good gal don't want to be seen

Because your meals ain't ready : the house is never clean

Just like hunting for a needle : buried in a bed of sand

That is to find a woman : haven't got no man


Three barrels of whiskey : mama four barrels of gin

She said the *headknots* at home : daddy and you can't in

It was early one morning : just at the close of four

When Dolly Smith : knocked on Evelyn's door

She jumped up sweet babe : tipped on across the floor

Hollering long tall daddy : don't you knock no more

It was in the loving kitchen : where they made the plot

For to poison her father and her mother : in the coffeepot

Then they carried the remains : throwed it out in the *shore*

Killed fifteen chickens :

Policeman said to Freddie : what do you know about this

Says I guess : you'll have to go arrest poor Dolly Smith

Then they carried poor dolly : put her behind the bar

Give him thirty‑nine days : mama and that ain't all

Poor evelyn's in jail : with her back turned to the wall

Hollering cool kind daddy : you know you the cause it all

I'm going to sing this time : ain't going to sing no more

Because my throat's got dry : swear my tonsil's sore

      Shake That Thing

         Chicago, c. May 1925

         (2120‑?) Pm‑12281 Yz L‑1029

Now down in Georgia : they got a dance that's new

There ain't nothing to it : it is easy to do

Now it ain't no Charleston : ain't no buck and wing

All you got to do : is to shake that thing

Now the old folks like it : the young folks too

The old folks showing : the young folks how to do

Now get back to me : and

Let your mammy ??? you : just *all to do*

I was walking downtown : and stumbled and fell

My mouth jumped open : like a country well

Now grandpa Johnson : grabbed sister Kate

He shook her : just like you shake the *jelly from the wheat*

Now old Uncle Jack : the jellyroll king

He just got back : from shaking that thing

Now old Uncle Moe : he's sick in bed

The doctor says : he's almost dead

Now the folks in Georgia : they done got wild

The *hobo* ??? :

      The Faking Blues

         Chicago, c. May 1925


         (2121‑?) Pm‑12281 Yz L‑1029

I got plenty of whiskey : put them up on the shelf

But I'm getting sick and tired : of doing ??? by my faking self

Now tell me pretty mama : tell me please don't lie

Can your sweet papa stop by here : or must I pass on by

I got the faking blues : going to sing them anywhere I please

That's the reason why : give my poor heart some ease

Lord I'm going away mama : believe me it ain't stall

Because I can get more women : than a passenger can haul

Lord I'm going to the nation : buy me an Indian squaw

I'm going to raise me a family : got me an Indian ma

I got the faking blues : sing them anywhere I go

Tell you the reason I sing them : my sweet mama don't love me no more

Lord I went to the river : looking for a place to set down

I thought about my faking jellyroll : come on back to town

      I'm Alabama Bound

         Chicago, c. May 1925

         (2144‑2) Pm‑12289 Yz L‑1029

Stood on the corner : feet got soaking wet

I was hollering and crying to every brown : to hell I'm at

I'm Alabama bound : I'm Alabama bound

Then if you want me to love you babe : you got to leave this town

When the rooster crowed : the hen looked around

Said if you want me to love you babe : you got to run me down

Look here pretty mama : who can your regular be

Says the reason I'm *blacking out stalling* babe : you been so good to me

There's a preacher in the pulpit : Bible in his hand

And the sisters was back in the amen corner : hollering that's my man

Now the boat's up the river : can't be floated down

But she's *way on south* now darling babe : Alabama bound

Just like a beefsteak beefsteak : ain't got no bone

Then if a man like a good brownskin woman now babe : he ain't got no home

Elder Green's in town : and he's going around

And he's telling all the sisters and the brothers he meets : he's Alabama bound

Now don't you leave me here : don't you leave me here

Just before you and your partner get ready to go : leave a dime for beer

      Drop that Sack

         Chicago, c. May 1925

         (2145‑1) Pm‑12289 Yz L‑1029

Now I got a gal : works in the yard

She brings me meat : she brings me lard


Only thing : that keep me barred

People she works for : don't allow me in the yard

Going to tell you one thing : it's a natural fact

Want you to come on home : and drop that sack

Now I got a gal : she lives on the hill

Took our corn : to the sugar mill

Still I know : I wouldn't take no salt

I'll grind your corn : into sweet jellyroll

I asked for one : she brought me two

Down to the crap game : me and you

Got two dollars : my point was nine

Police come a‑running : and the *chips* went flying

Said I went to the Gypsy : to get me a hand

See my gal walking : with another man

I said you may go : you'll come back

If you ever come back : you got to drop that sack

      Hot Papa Blues

         Chicago, c. Aug. 1925

         (2207‑2) Pm‑12305 Bio BLP‑12042

I ain't good‑looking : and I don't dress cute

But I just want to *break* : some good man's *opportune*

I ain't no race horse : I ain't built for speed

But I got everything : that a race horse papa needs

You may fall from the mountain : down in the deep blue sea

You ain't done no falling : till you fall in love with me

I ain't no coalman : ain't no coalman's son

But I can keep you warm : until your coalman comes

Won't you tell me pretty mama : I won't have to wait

Will I be your regular : or did I come too late

I may look green : but I ain't no clown

I'm just a red‑hot papa : just blowed in your town

      Take Me Back Blues

         Chicago, c. Aug. 1925

         (2208‑2) Pm‑12296 Bio BLP‑12042

Take me back baby : you know I don't know my mind

For when I'm mistreating you : I'm loving you all the time

I walked the streets all day : hung my head and cried

I laid awake all night : trying to make myself satisfied

There's one thing honey : I want you to understand

That's your time ain't long : if I catch you with another man

You ain't good‑looking : and you don't dress fine


But there ain't no reason : let some other man read my sign

Going down to the river : honey don't you wear no black

Because when you think I'm gone : I'll come creeping back

If you don't want me : why don't you tell me why

Because you flirting with the undertaker : I mean it ain't no lie

      Mama, Don't You Think I Know

         Chicago, c. Aug. 1925

         (2224‑2) Pm‑12305 Bio BLP‑12042

Got a knock‑kneed mama : down in Tennessee

She's short and squatty : she's all right with me

Now knock‑kneed mama : what you going to cook tonight

Whatever you cook : just cook it right

You got a face like a washboard : and a mouth like a tub

Teach my mama : that washboard rub

Now some people say : chitlings are good to eat

I'll never eat chitlings : long as hog got feet

Takes a long‑tailed monkey : a short‑tailed dog

To do that dance : they call the falling off the log

Now the monkey told the elephant : if he's not drunk

I know you're sober : you got the tail in front

Now the monkey told the elephant : you may be drinking wine

You can't switch your tail : like I switch mine

      Maxwell Street Blues

         Chicago, c. Sept. 1925

         (2288‑2) Pm‑12320 Bio BLP‑12042

I was walking down Morgan : stopped on Maxwell Street

I asked the desk sergeant ??? police force : my gal ain't off of the street

I couldn't talk to the desk sergeant : tell him *when and* where it took place

Because I knew my mama : got arrested on Maxwell Street

Lord I'm talking about the wagon : talking about the ??? car too

Because Maxwell Street's so crowded on a Sunday : you can hardly pass through

There's Maxwell Street Market : got Water Street Market too

If you ain't got no money : the women got nothing for you to do

I got the Maxwell Street blues : mama and it just won't pay

Because the Maxwell Street women : going to carry me to my grave

I live six twenty‑four Maxwell : mama and I'm talking about you

Because I swear I don't walk : said Buly Buly Buly how do you

      All I Want Is a Spoonful

         Chicago, c. Sept. 1925

         (2298‑1) Pm‑12320 Bio BLP‑12042


I told you once : this makes twice

That's the last time : don't you boil them rice

You can brown your gravy : fry your steak

Sweet mama : don't make no mistake

Just sure as the winter : follows the fall

There ain't no one woman : got it all

You can meet a woman : that you can't understand

Must be looking for you : or a monkey‑man

Now cool kind mama : says you needn't've stalled

Throw it out the window : I'll catch it before it falls

I got the blues so bad : I couldn't sleep last night

My cool kind mama : want to fuss and fight

Now I'm so glad : that dog can talk

I can't teach him : to take a morning's walk

Now if you don't believe : that I can run mighty fast

Ask that man : that run me last

      Texas Blues

         Chicago, c. Dec. 1925

         (11031‑?) Pm‑12335 Yz L‑1029

I'm Texas bound : I got a freight train on my mind

If you miss me on the local : look for me on the gine

My suitcase is packed : my trunk's already home

Said you can know by that : your sweet papa's going to be gone

Just look around the corner : see that passenger train

Be a long long time : before you see my face again

Takes a good old fireman : a cool kind engineer

Now to pull that train : take me away from here

I'm Texas bound : got no time to lose

Because my sweet mama quit me : left me with the Texas blues

      Butter and Egg Man Blues

         Chicago, c. Feb. 1926

         (11069‑1) Pm‑12358 Bio BLP‑12042

Everybody in town : got a butter and egg man but me

Tell me please : Lord because I can't see

Come here mama : sit down on your papa's knee

I'm just a butter and egg man : you can easy get along with me

Why don't you take me pretty mama : make something out of poor me

I'm just a butter and egg man : just as soft as I can be

Well it's butter and eggs butter and eggs : butter and eggs is all you crave

When you die : put butter and eggs on your grave

Why don't you take me pretty mama : let you treat me as you do


Because my weakness is pretty women : keep me with the butter and egg blues

      Up the Way Bound

         Chicago, c. May 1926

         (2547‑1) Pm‑12375 Yz L‑1029

My baby done quit me : and talk's all over town

I'm too good a man : to let that talk go around

I'm leaving today : going to leave this southern town

Because my baby caught a plane : that was up the way bound

I feel like jumping : from a treetop to the ground

To get a flying start : and run my baby down

I'm reeling and rocking : Lord howling like a hound

If brownskin's the best : I'll *play a teasing brown*

Oh feel like a dirty : feel like a dat dat dat

Doesn't somebody know : where my baby at

I'm going to grab me a train : beat it on up the line

I'm going to ride : until I find that good‑goody woman of mine

      Your Baby Ain't Sweet Like Mine

         Chicago, c. Aug. 1926

         (2613‑4) Pm‑12383 Yz L‑1029

Everybody's talking : about the *gren??? day*

I got one : with the sweetest ways

Your baby : can roll her jelly fine

Nobody's baby : can roll it like mine

Your baby : ain't sweet like mine

She bake her jellyroll : all the time

And when I'm feeling : lonesome and blue

My baby : know just what to do

Never has a baby : put me outdoor

She even buys me : all my clothes

I don't want to brag : just want to put you in line

Your baby : ain't sweet like mine

      Fat Mouth Blues

         Chicago, c. Jan. 1927

         (2769‑3) Pm‑12422 Yz L‑1029

Tell me tell me : please has anybody seen my brown

She used to love me : till old fatmouth blew in town

She's a long tall woman : with coal‑black curly hair

With one gold tooth : then you'll know her anywhere

She used to be mine : but the fatmouth has got her now

That's a dirty mistreater : didn't mean me no good nohow


I'm going to love you mama : till my whiskers pass the ground

When you die : I'm going to keep on hanging around

I bought all her clothes : I bought her a diamond ring

Then along come a fatmouth : keep me shaking that thing

      She Belongs to Me Blues

         Chicago, c. Mar. 1927

         (4243‑1) Pm‑12461 Yz L‑1029

It was early one morning : just about the break of day

Says I thought I heard : my sweet baby say

You can read a newspaper : you can't read a person's mind

But when you think she's loving you : dropping you all the time

Now baby you can tell me : just what are you to do

Now I believe I'll go back : to my old‑time used‑to‑be

She's long and she's tall : she's shaped just like a willow tree

And the reason I love her : says she belongs to me

      Coal Man Blues

         Chicago, c. Mar. 1927

         (4244‑2) Pm‑12461 Bio BLP‑12042

I get up early in the morning : sweet mama and I comb and curry my horse

Because I don't want nobody : not to *see my pause*

Then I goed up to the coal pile : get me a friend to buy some coal

Then I get on my wagon : *then I'm a coal‑traveling snow*

*I ought to tell how much* for coal : thirty‑five cents a bag

And if you want to know my name : just look around on my sack

I got on my wagon : trying my best to sell my coal

My baby's back home : serving my jellyroll

Now a lot of your women : ought to be put in jail

Some standing on the corner : trying to get themselves in jail

      Skoodle Um Skoo

         Chicago, c. July 1927

         (4670‑1) Pm‑12501 Bio BLP‑12042

Now I got a lady : by the name of Sue

She'd like to know : just what to do

Now when you what it : I agree

Don't forget : to ask for me

Now she's a woman : hard to beat

All you got to do is dance : and stay on your feet

Now you ain't good‑looking : you don't dress cute

You got to keep a papa : for your personal use

Now January February : and March too


The women come along : and showed her just what to do

Now a woman needn't think : she got a man by herself

A man needn't think : he got a woman by himself

Now tain't but one thing : that grieve my mind

All these brownskins : none of them mine

      Sheik of Desplaines Street

         Chicago, c. July 1927

         (4671‑2) Pm‑12501 Bio BLP‑12042

I know a man : he's on our street

He don't do nothing : but eat and sleep

Now he's a man : that I would love to meet

He's always dressed up : and out in the street

Now he don't drink whiskey : nothing sweet

When it comes to pretty women : he sure loves to meet

*I'm hot as the devil* : *I walk about the street*

All that ??? : to the sweet man's *feet*

Now he's a man : has a *copper* good to eat

He always looks good : from his head to his feet

Now when he walks into a place : and takes his seat

His ways and actions : is hard to beat

      Ash Tray Blues

         Chicago, c. May 1928

         (20604‑2) Pm‑12660 Bio BLP‑12042

I ain't talking to one : I ain't talking to two

I'm talking to the captain : and the whole doggone crew

Yes she smokes the cigarettes : throws ashes in the tray

She's a good woman : she likes to have her way

I'm going away : won't be long

You look for me : I'll be gone

      Jungle Man Blues

         Chicago, c. Dec. 1928

         (21045‑2) Pm‑12721 Bio BLP‑12042

Ain't nothing in the jungle : that's any better than me

I'm the baddest man : ever came from Tennessee

I slept with a panther : until just about the break of day

I grabbed the wildcat in the collar : and asked the tiger what he had to say

I wear a scorpion for my watch fob : a rattlesnake for my chain

I scares a gorilla : and make him change his big ugly name

I make a *sea tick* catch a freight train : I make a flea grab the mail

I make a jumbo elephant : grab an airplane and sail


I was traveling in a rowboat : drifting out in the sea

I made a sea lion cub come back : and shake glad hands with me

Way down in the forest : there's where I long to be

Because ain't nothing in the jungle : that's any better than me

      Baby Please Loan Me Your Heart

         Chicago, c. Jan. 1929

         (21081‑2) Pm‑12736 Yz L‑1029

Now you know baby : you know it's true

I don't love : no one but you

I'm going to tell you : just before we start

All I want you to do : is to lone me your heart

I'm going to ask you : now baby before you start

All you got to do : is to lone me your heart

               Jackson, Jim

      Bootlegging Blues

         Memphis, 14 Feb. 1928

         (41904‑2) Vi‑21268 Rt RL‑323

This corn liquor ??? : there's plenty more to be made

Just get a job at one of these stills : and you surely will be paid

I tell you it's a mighty risk to run : and a mighty chance to take

To spend your money : for the corn that the bootlegger makes

When the bootlegger goes to his still : get ready to make his stuff

He got his concentrated lye : cocaine and his snuff

I went home the other night : I swore I wouldn't drink no more

Until saloons come back with bottle and *bondy* : in the days of long ago

But I see that will never be : so I just got drunk again

I haven't nothing so long as corn liquor lasts : and I got no money to spend

      I'm Wild About My Lovin'

         Memphis, 27 Aug. 1928

         (45416‑1) Vi‑V38505 His HLP‑32

I'm going to tell the sergeant : *he the* chief of police

The women around here : won't let me see no peace

Because I'm wild about my loving : and I like to have my fun

You want to be a girl of mine baby : bring me whiskey when you come

Hello Central : what's the matter with your line

I want to talk : to that high brown of mine

I don't want no sugar : stirred up in my tea

Because the girl I want : is sweet enough for me

I ain't no iceman : no iceman's son

But I can keep you cool : till the iceman comes

I ain't no fireman : and no fireman's son


But I can keep you warm : until the fireman comes

I'm going to tell you people : to listen to this song

I'm going to see my gal : and it won't be long

      This Mornin' She Was Gone

         Memphis, 27 Aug. 1928

         (45417‑1) Vi‑V38003 His HLP‑32

Oh how she loved to dance : that old grizzly bear

I guess she's gone to Frisco : to dance it there

Always a sign : everybody know you through

The more you do for people : the less they think of you

      This Mornin' She Was Gone

         Memphis, 27 Aug. 1928

         (45417‑2) Vi‑V38003 His HLP‑5

Oh how she loved to dance : that old grizzly bear

I guess she's gone to Frisco : to dance it there

It's always a sign : everybody knows it's true

The more you do for people : the less they they think of you

      Hesitation Blues

         Memphis, c. Feb. 1930

         (MEM‑804‑ ) Vo‑1477 Her H‑205

Hello Central : what's the matter with your line

I want to talk : to that high brown of mine

I'm going to the river : with a rope and a rock

And the way you treat me : I'm going to jump over the dock

Tell me how long : will I have to wait

Can I get you now : or must I hesitate

I'm got something to tell you : and I know it ain't good news

Because a hesitating woman : give me the hesitation blues

I'm going to tell the sergeant : and the see the chief police

Because the women around here : won't let me see no peace

I've got a girl in Memphis : she's all right

But the girl in Cincinnati : is just too tight

I'm got a girl in Cairo : loves me I know

But the gal in Louisville : has got the best *clothes*

My mother says I'm wicked : daddy says I'm wild

I know I ain't good‑looking : but some woman's angel child

I'll sing you these verses : and it didn't take long

If you want to hear any more : you'll have to buy this song

      St. Louis Blues


         Memphis, c. Feb. 1930

         (MEM‑805‑ ) Vo‑1477 Yz L‑1003

Well I hates to see : that evening sun go down

Because it makes me think : about my last go‑round

It I'm feeling tomorrow : a‑like I feel today

I'm going to pack my suitcase : and make my long get‑away

Because the St Louis woman : she wears a diamond ring

She leads a man around : by her apron string

If it wasn't for powder : and this store‑bought hair

Oh the girl I love : wouldn't go nowhere

A redheaded woman : make a freight train jump the track

And a black‑headed girl : will make a preacher ball the jack

               James, Frank

      Poor Coal Passer

         Chicago, 21 Dec. 1936

         (01893‑1) BB‑B7116 Yz L‑1015

I'm a poor coal loader : I'm in the mine

Slave for my woman : till I'm almost blind

I work so hard : from dawn to dusk

Can't find a woman : that I can trust

I work so : from six to six

Kid‑man wait : to get his business fixed

I work every day : in the mine

Come home at night : you got my best friend crying

The food you cook : a hound dog sick

Woman I swear : you's a no‑good chick

               James, Jesse

      Sweet Patuni

         Chicago, 3 June 1936

         (90760‑ ) De unissued Yz L‑1028

Ah wake up mama : wake up and don't sleep so sound

Give me what you promised me : before you lay down

I said get my tuni : only thing I love

Make you weep like a willow : sling snot like a turtledove

Now I've got a gal : and the kid live out on the hill

She got good doing : serve to the one she may will

She got good tuni : I'm a fool about my yam yam yam

Get my yam yam yam : I'm going back to Alabam'

Now come in here baby : and sit down in my lap

Sit one side : I forgot to tell you I had the

Clap your hands Charlie : Charlie where's you been so long

I been down in Tennessee : and I couldn't stay there very long

I got a job in the freight house : trying to learn how to truck


A box fell on me this morning : like to bust one of my

Nuthouse for crazy folks : folks got sense don't go there

And all the friends I had : done shook hands and left there

I got a gal : and the kid playing deaf and dumb

But the movements in her hip : will make a dead man

Come on out my window : don't knock on my door

And I told you two or three times : don't want you no more

Now run in here baby : because I done got kind of sick

It ain't nothing ailing my stomach : it's something wrong with my

Dixieland was a camp in Georgia : you can't stay there very long

All the friends I had : done shook hands and gone

Now here's a verse : I don't want a soul to miss

I been taking charity grub : I've got to go outside

Shut your mouth boy : four boys can't talk at once

And I done told you two or three times : I don't want no junk

      Southern Casey Jones

         Chicago, 3 June 1936

         (90761‑A) De‑7213 AH‑158

I heard the people say : Casey Jones can't run

I'm going to tell you : what the poor boy done

Left Cincinnati : about half past nine

Got to Newport News : before dinner time

Now Casey Jones said : before he died

He fixed the road : so a bum could ride

And if he ride : he have to ride the rod

Rest his heart : in the hand of God

Now little girl says : mama is that a fact

Papa got killed : on the I C track

Yes yes honey : but hold your breath

Get that money : from your daddy's death

When the news reached town : Casey Jones was dead

Women went home : and *had it* out in red

Slipping and sliding : all across the streets

With their loose mother hubbard : and their stocking feet

Now Casey Jones : went from place to place

Another train hit his train : right in the face

People got off : but Casey Jones stayed on

Natural policeman : but he dead and gone

Here come the biggest boy : coming right from school

Hollering and crying : like a doggone fool

Look here mama : is our papa dead

Womens going home : and *had it* out in red


*Low cut* shoes : and their evening gowns

Following papa : to the burying ground

Now tell the truth mama : he say is that a fact

Papa got killed : on the I C track

Quit crying boy : don't do that

You got another daddy : on the same damn track

      Lonesome Day Blues

         Chicago, 3 June 1936

         (90762‑A) De‑7213 AH‑158

Lord today has been : a long lonesome day

You hear me talking to you : did you hear what I say

Lord today has been : a long old lonesome day

And now my rider : eee Lord will be the same old way

I've been to the nation : around the territor'

You hear me talking to you : you got to reap what you sow

I've been all through the nation : and around the territor'

But I found no heaven on earth : Lord nowhere I go

I'm going to the big house : and I don't even care

Don't you hear me talking to you : I'm scolding to my dear

I'm going in the morning : and I don't even care

I might get four or five years : Lord I might get the chair

Oh stop and listen : see tomorrow bring

You hear me talking to you : start to playing

You better stop now and listen : and see what tomorrow brings

It might bring you sunshine : Lord and it may bring rain

Some got six months : some got a solid year

You hear me talking to you : buddy what made you stop by here

Some of them got six months partner : and some got a solid year

But I believe my partner : Lord got a lifetime here

               James, Skip

      Devil Got My Woman

         Grafton, Wis., c. Feb. 1931

         (L‑746‑1) Pm‑13088 Bio BLP‑12029

I'd rather be the devil : to be that woman's man

Oh nothing but the devil : changed my baby's mind

I laid down last night : tried to take my rest

My mind got to rambling : like the wild geese from the west

The woman I love Lord : stoled her from my best friend

But he got lucky : stoled her back again

      Cypress Grove Blues

         Grafton, Wis., c. Feb. 1931

         (L‑747‑2) Pm‑13088 Bio BLP‑12029

I would rather be buried : in some cypress grove

To have some woman : Lord I can't control

And I'm going away now : I'm going away to stay

That'll be all right pretty mama : you going to need my help some day

Well the sun going down : and you know what you promised me

And what's the matter : baby I can't see

I would rather be dead : and six feet in my grave

To be way up here honey : treated this a‑way

Well the old people told me : baby but I never did know

The Good Book declares : we got to reap just what we sow

When your knee bones aching : and your body cold

Well you just getting ready : honey for the cypress grove

      Cherry Ball Blues

         Grafton, Wis., c. Feb. 1931

         (L‑748‑2) Pm‑13065 Bio BLP‑12029

I love my cherry ball : better than I love myself

She gets so she don't love me : she won't love nobody else

Cherry ball quit me : she quit me in a calm good way

Lordy what to take to get her : I carries it every day

Sure as that spider : hanging on the wall

I warned little old cherry ball : she was *falling out cold*

I'll catch the Southern : and she'll take the Santa Fe

I'm going to ride and ramble : till cherry come back to me

      Hard Time Killin' Floor Blues

         Grafton, Wis., c. Feb. 1931

         (L‑752‑2) Pm‑13065 Bio BLP‑12029

Hard times here : everywhere you go

Times is harder : than ever been before

Well the people are drifting : from door to door

Can't find no heaven : I don't care where they go

Let me tell you people : just before I go

These hard times will kill you : just dry long so

When you hear me singing : my so lonesome song

These hard times : can last us so very long

If I ever get off : this killing floor

I'll never : get down this low no more

If you say you had money : you better be sure

Because these hard times will drive you : from door to door


Sing this song : and I ain't going to sing no more

Hard times will drive you : from door to door

      Special Rider Blues

         Grafton, Wis., c. Feb. 1931

         (L‑760‑2) Pm‑13098 Yz L‑1001

I ain't got no : special rider here

Ain't got nobody : nobody feel my care

I woke up this morning : looked at the special rising sun

I prayed to the Lord : my special rider would come

I'm going tell you something : to ease your trouble in mind

*Them whiskey women* : *give* trouble all the time

Now *honey* : what more can I do

Hear you done call : the easy rider special blues

      Little Cow and Calf Is Gonna Die Blues

         Grafton, Wis., c. Feb. 1931

         (L‑763‑1) Pm‑13085 Bio BLP‑12029

Hey hey hey hey : hey hey hey hey hey

And every cow's calf man : honey he was born to die

I going to take my heifer :

If you see my rider : tell her carry on carry on

I wring my hands : baby and I want to scream

And I woke up : I found out it was all a dream

Hey hey hey : I ain't going to be here long

That's the reason why you hear me : sing my old lonesome song

Hey hey hey hey : hey hey hey hey hey

And every cow's calf : honey got to lay down and die

I walked the levee : I just walked end to end

I just want to find : my cow again

I'm stealing I'm stealing : back to my used‑to‑be

Hey pretty mama : please don't tell on me

      22‑20 Blues

         Grafton, Wis., c. Feb. 1931

         (L‑765‑1) Pm‑13066 Bio BLP‑12029

If I send for my baby : and she don't come

All the doctors in West *Conton* : they won't help her none

And if she gets unruly : and she don't want to do

Take my thirty‑two twenty : I cut her half in two

You talk about your forty‑four forty : buddy it'll do very well

But my twenty‑two twenty : Lord is a burning hell

Now that thirty‑eight special : buddy it's most too light


But my twenty‑two twenty : make the *camp* go right

Hey hey hey : and I can't take my rest

And my forty‑four : laying up and down my breast

      If You Haven't Got Any Hay Get on Down the Road

         Grafton, Wis., c. Feb. 1931

         (L‑766‑1) Pm‑13066 Bio BLP‑12029

If you haven't any hay : get on down the road

Get your habit in your hand mama : Lord Lord get on down the road

I'm going I'm going : coming here no more

If I go to Louisiana mama : Lord Lord they'll hang me sure

If you haven't any hay : get on down the road

I'm going I'm going : coming back no more

Hitch up my buggy : saddle up my black mare

You'll find me riding : mama Lord Lord in this world somewhere

               Jaxon, Frankie Half Pint

      It's Heated

         Chicago, 11 June 1929

         (C‑3585‑ ) Vo‑1539 Yz L‑1039

Folks I'm going to tell you : about a brand new song

I'm going to beat some dirt : and it won't take long

Well they cool it on State Street : warm it down the line

You ought to hear the frogs on Durban : singing and crying

Now the folks down east : are crying Lord Lord Lord

Gang in the west : say the cops is so hard

Well I went down to Michigan : came up Grant

Saw the sweetbacks and the strutters : all raising sand

I went to a good‑time flat : last Saturday night

The cops knocked on the door : everybody made their flight

I met myself a good gal : she said she was fifty‑one

She started to loving and squeezing : I thought she say son you just begun

Now a yellow gal is like a frigid zone : brownskin's about the same

You want some good loving : get yourself an old Crow Jane

Now I ain't no janitor : no fireman's son

But I can keep your boiler hot : till the superintendent come

      Come On, Mama, Do That Dance

         Chicago, 27 June 1929

         (   ) Vo‑1420 Yz L‑1039

Come on and let me know : who you are

Do that dance : called the *don't be long*

Do the Mississippi : and the Mobile Bay


Turn right around : go the other way

Put your hands on your hips : and let your mind move on

Holler like you did : the first day you was born

Do the black snake wriggle : and the frog hop

Take it to the attic : if it gets too hot

Now old sister Sue : *got* heavy a load

She likes to do it : because she got kind of cold

*Hatsie Gray* : and old friend Lou

Some day : this thing's going to happen to you

      She Can Love So Good

         Chicago, c. mid Aug. 1930

         (C‑6079‑A) Vo‑1540 Mel MLP‑7324

I've got a gal : she's low and squatty

I mean boys : she'll suit anybody

Last night : she loved me for a while

You could hear me holler : mmm for a while

Sometimes she makes me sneeze : sometimes she makes me cough

Lord you ought to see her : when she starting me off

Last night : while I was sound asleep

I felt a funny feeling : from my head to my feet

She was born in Kentucky : raised in Tennessee

Came all the way from Dixie : to put that thing on me

      Callin' Corrine

         New York, 19 May 1939

         (65608‑A) De‑7619 AH‑158

Ain't you getting tired : of [trying to cheat, cheating] on your papa hon'

Corrine : you the meanest gal I ever seen

Corrine : she just about five feet tall

She sleeps in the kitchen : one foot in the hall

I've got a corrine in Texas : sure can bring me down

Got a corrine in Harlem : make a rabbit hug a hound

               Jefferson, Blind Lemon

      Got the Blues

         Chicago, c. Mar. 1926

         (2471‑1) Pm‑12354 Bio BLP‑12000

I walked from Dallas : I walked to Wichita Falls

After I lost my sugar : I wasn't going to walk at all

Women see you coming : they go get their rocking chair

I want to fools this man : and make out he's welcome here

So cold in China : this voice can't hardly sing

You didn't make me mad : till you broke my diamond ring


I'm going to grab my sugar : papa don't care what you do

I know my baby : she's going to jump and shout

When she gets a letter from Lemon : I wrote her two days out

Tell me what's the matter : [papa Lemon, I] can't get no mail

Mama said last night : don't let a black cat cross your trail

I got up this morning : the blues all around my bed

Went in to eat my breakfast : and the blues all in my bread

      Long Lonesome Blues

         Chicago, c. Mar. 1926

         (2472‑2) Pm‑12354 Bio BLP‑12000

Well the blues come to Texas : loping like a mule

You take a high brown woman : man she's hard to fool

You can't never tell : what a woman's got on her mind

You might think she's crazy about you : but she leaving you all the time

Ain't so good‑looking : your teeth don't shine like pearls

But that nice disposition : carry a woman all through the world

I'm going to the river : going to carry my rocking chair

Going to ask that gal for a ??? : *how* the worried blues left here

I think I heard : my good gal call my name

She couldn't call so loud : but she calls so nice and plain

I was raised in Texas : schooled in Tennessee

High‑stepper you can't make : no fatmouth out of me

Can't a woman act funny : quit you for another man

Can't go look down the street : but she's always raising sand

      Booster Blues

         Chicago, c. Mar. 1926

         (2474‑1) Pm‑12347 Bio BLP‑12000

My right foot itches : something going on wrong

My right foot itching me : and I just can't stay here long

I thought I'd write : but it's the best to telephone

For that fast mail train : can carry your sugar so far from home

Girl I can't live right : ain't going to try no more

This woman's left town : and she ain't coming back no more

I went to the depot : and I set my suitcase down

I thought about my baby : and tears come rolling down

I said ticket agent : how long your train been gone

Say yon go the train : that this fair brown left here on

I couldn't buy [me] no ticket : but I walked on to the door

Well my baby left town : she ain't coming here no more

I got up this morning : my sure‑enough on my mind

I had to raise a conversation with the landlady : to keep from crying


Excuse me woman : I won't say that no more

I'm fixing to leave town : and hang crepe on your door

      Dry Southern Blues

         Chicago, c. Mar. 1926

         (2475‑1) Pm‑12347 Bio BLP‑12000

Well my mind leads me : to take a trip down south

Take a trip down south : *it's tough to spend my round*

A train left the depot : with a red and blue light behind

Well the blue light's the blues : the red light's the worried mind

I hate to tell you : it ain't nobody there

If a man stay here : he stay most anywhere

I got up this morning : rambling for my shoes

The little woman : sung me a song of her worried blues

Uncle Sam wasn't no woman : but didn't he grab your man

Tell me them good‑looking womens : is on the border raising sand

Well women on the border : drinking out of the water trough

I wish uncle Sam would hurry up : and pay these soldiers off

I can't drink coffee : and the woman won't make no tea

I believe to my soul : sweet mama going to hoodoo me

I asked the girl did she love me : she said Lemon I don't know how

Caught me *commentating* : yes I love you *sky high*

She has feet like a monkey : head like a teddy bear

And a mouthful of lip : I guarantee it's everywhere

I got a girl in Cuba : I got a girl in Spain

I got a brown yonder in Dallas : I's afraid to call her name

      Black Horse Blues

         Chicago, c. May 1926

         (2543‑1) Pm‑12367 Mil MLP‑2004

[Tell me, I want to know] what time : do the trains come through your town

I want to laugh and talk : with a long‑haired teasing brown

One goes south at eight : and it's one goes north at nine

I got to have a good talk : with that long‑haired brown of mine

Go and get my black horse : and saddle up my grey mare

I'm going home to my good gal : she's in the world somewhere

I can't count the times : that I'm so unsatisfied

Sugar the blues ain't on me : but things ain't going on right

      Corinna Blues

         Chicago, c. May 1926

         (2544‑2) Pm‑12367 Mil MLP‑2004

See see rider : you see what you done done


Made me love you : and now your friend is come

A great tall engine : and a little small engineer

Carried the woman away Lord : and left me standing here

If I had a‑listened : to my second mind

I don't believe I'd a‑been here : wringing my hands and crying

Ain't no more good 'taters : the frost have killed the vine

The blues ain't nothing : but a good woman on your mind

I done told you woman : I been telling your partner too

You're three times seven : and you know what you want to do

If you see Corinna : tell her to hurry home

I ain't had no true love : since Corinna been gone

      Chock House Blues

         Chicago, c. May or June 1926

         (2558‑2) Pm‑12373 Mil MLP‑2007

So many wagons : they have cut that good road down

And the girl I love : her mama don't want me around

Baby I can't drink whiskey : but I'm a fool about my homemade wine

Ain't no sense in leaving Dallas : they makes it there all the time

These here women want these men : to act like some boxer dog

Grab a pick and shovel : and roll from sun to sun

I got a girl for Monday Tuesday : Wednesday Thursday Friday too

I'm going to sweeten up on Saturday : what are the women through the week going to do

Don't look for me on Sunday : I want to take pigmeat to Sunday school

She's a fine looking fair brown : but she ain't never learned Lemon's rule

      Beggin' Back

         Chicago, c. Aug. 1926

         (3016‑4) Pm‑12394 Bio BLP‑12000

Listen here mama : I'll be good

Drink your wine : cut your wood

When I had you : you wouldn't do

Now I got another : and I don't want you

Every evening : half past eight

*Hobbling along* : *with my gait*

Working in the spring : *sleeping in the sand*

Got to get that fifty dollars : that I wish I had

You may think : because you're black

I'm going to beg you : to take me back

I went a‑walking : down the line

To see if this woman : changed her mind

She turned around : two or three times

Take you back : in the wintertime


      Old Rounders Blues

         Chicago, c. Aug. 1926 :

         (3018‑?) Pm‑12394 Rt RL‑306

I ain't going to marry : ain't going to [be no settling, settle] down

I'm going to stay like I am : going to ride from town to town

There's a house over yonder : painted all over green

Going to find these young women : that a man most ever seen

I'm going to run to town : talk with that chief of police

Tell him my good gal has quit me : and I can't live in no peace

My home's in Oklahoma : I ain't got no business here

I'm just stopping around : to have a drink of a little drink of beer

I went home last night : fell down on my bed

I got to dreaming so : I was talking all out of my head

      Stocking Feet Blues

         Chicago, c. Oct. 1926

         (3066‑1) Pm‑12407 Mil MLP‑2013

Somebody : just keep on calling me

She got hair : like a mermaid on the sea

Make me down a pallet : on your floor

Make it ??? and easy : make it down by your door

I can't stay away : I done cried the whole night long

The good woman I love : she done packed her trunk and gone

Don't mistreat me : because I'm young and wild

Sister you ought to remember : that you once was a child

I don't feel welcome : and I don't care where I go

The woman I love : she drove me from her door

Said fair brown : where did you stay last night

Your hair's all down : and you know you ain't talking right

I'm a stranger here : just come in on the train

Won't some good man : tell me some woman's name

      That Black Snake Moan

         Chicago, c. Oct. 1926

         (3067‑2) Pm‑12407 Mil MLP‑2013

Oh : ain't got no mama now

She told me late last night : you don't need no mama nohow

Mmm : black snake crawling in my room

Some pretty mama : better come and get this black snake soon

Oh that must've been a bedbug : baby a chinch can't bite that hard

Asked my sugar for fifty cents : she said Lemon ain't a dime in the yard

Mama that's all right : mama that's all right for you


Mama that's all right : most any old way you do

Mmm : what's the matter now

Sugar what's the matter : don't like no black snake nohow

Mmm : wonder where my black snake gone

Black snake mama : done run my darling home

      Wartime Blues

         Chicago, c. Oct. 1926

         (3070‑1) Pm‑12425 Rt RL‑301

What you going to do : when they send your man to war

I'm going to drink muddy water : go sleep in a hollow log

Ain't got nobody : I'm all here by myself

Well these women don't care : but the men don't need me here

Well I'm going to the river : going to walk it up and down

If I don't find *fourteen* : I'm going to jump overboard and drown

If I could shine my light : like a headlight on some train

I would shine my light : in Corinna's brain

Well they tell me that southbound train : had a wreck last night

You little section foreman : ain't treating your railroad right

Well the girl I love : is the one I crave to see

Well she's living in Memphis : and the fool won't write to me

Now tell me woman : what have I said and done

You treat me : like my trouble have just begun

      Broke and Hungry

         Chicago, c. Oct. 1926

         (3076‑?) Pm‑12443 Mil MLP‑2007

I am broke and hungry : ragged and dirty too

Mama if I clean up : can I go home with you

I am motherless fatherless : sister and brotherless too

Reason I'm trying so hard : to make the trip with you

You miss me woman : count the days I'm gone

I'm going away : to build me a railroad of my own

I feel like jumping : through the keyhole in your door

If you jump this time baby : you won't jump no more

I believe : my good gal have found my black cat bone

I can leave here Sunday morning : Monday morning I'm sitting around home

I want to show you women : what careless love have done

Caused a man like me : steal way away from home

Girl if you don't want me : why don't you let me know

So I can leave at once : and hunt me somewhere else to go

      Shuckin' Sugar

         Chicago, c. Oct. 1926

         (3077‑2) Pm‑12454 Mil MLP‑2007

I've got your picture : and I'm going to put it in a frame

And then if you leave town : we can find you just the same

Now if you don't love me : please don't dog me around

If you dog me around : I know you put me down

I know my baby : thinks the world and all of me

Every time she smiles : she shines her light on me

Oh I said fair brown : something's going on wrong

This here woman I love : she's done been here and gone

Oh listen fair brown : don't you want to go

Going to take you across the water : where that brownskin man can't go

Lord I'm worried here : worried everywhere

Now I just started home : and I'll not be worried there

Lord I'm tired of being married : tired of this settling down

I only want to stay like I am : and slip from town to town

      Booger Rooger Blues

         Chicago, c. Oct. 1926

         (3088‑2) Pm‑12425 Bio BLP‑12015

I drived to the station : woman I bid you all adieu

Tell me : you always got a fatmouth following you

Now my baby quit me : and she done throwed me down

I wouldn't hate it so bad : but that talk is all over town

She's a long tall woman : she got relatives in Arkansas

She ain't so good‑looking : but boys them dimples is *going to draw*

I cried all night : and all that night before

Know it's the best to get single : then you won't have to cry no more

I got ten little puppies : I got twelve little shaggy hounds

Well it just takes them twenty‑two dogs : to run my good gal down

I got a girl in *North Clifton* : *hollering for a good long‑legged man* too

I may live in Magnolia Texas : what them Mill City women going to do


Some joker learned my baby : how to shift gears on a Cadillac Eight

If you ever shift that habit : now I can't keep my business straight

      Rabbit Foot Blues

         Chicago, c. Oct. 1926

         (3089‑1) Pm‑12454 Mil MLP‑2004

Blues jumped a rabbit : run him one solid mile

This rabbit sat down : cried like a natural child

Well it seem like you hungry : honey come and lunch with me

I want to stop these married‑looking women : from worrying me

I have Uneeda biscuits here : and a half a pint of gin

The gin is mighty fine : them biscuits are a little too thin

[Baby tell me something, I want to know] : about those meatless and wheatless days

This not being my home : I don't think I could stay

I cried for flour and meat : I declare it was gone

Keep a‑feeding me corn bread : I just can't stick around long

Got an airplane baby : now I'm going to get a submarine

Going to get that Kaiser : and we'll be seldom seen

Mmm hitch me to your buggy mama : drive me like a mule

Reason I'm going home with you sugar : I ain't much hard to be fooled

      Bad Luck Blues

         Chicago, c. Oct. 1926

         (3090‑2) Pm‑12443 Mil MLP‑2007

I want to go home : and I ain't got sufficient clothes

I bet my money : and I lost it Lord it's dough

I'll never bet : on this old trey game no more

Oh my ??? *gambler's* gone : why don't you quit crying

That joker stole off : with that long‑haired brown of mine

Sister you catch the Katy : I'll catch that Santa Fe

When you get to Denver : pretty mama look around for me

The woman I love : why she's five feet from the ground

She's a tailor‑made woman : she ain't no hand‑me‑down

I ain't seen my sugar : in two long weeks today

Girl it's been so long : seems like my heart going to break

I'm going to run across town : catch that southbound Santa Fe

Be on my way : to what you call loving Tennessee

      Black Snake Moan

         Chicago, 14 Mar. 1927

         (80523‑B) OK‑8455 Fwy FJ‑2802

Hey : ain't got no mama now


She told me late last night : you don't need no mama nohow

Mmm : black snake crawling in my room

And some pretty mama : had better come and get this black snake soon

Oh that must have been a bedbug : you know a chinch can't bite that hard

Asked my baby for fifty cents : she said Lemon ain't a dime in the yard

Mama that's all right : mama that's all right for you

Said baby that's all right : most any old way you do

Mmm : what's the matter now

Tell me what's the matter baby : I don't like no black snake nohow

Well : wonder where's that black snake gone

Lord that black snake mama : done run my darling home

      Match Box Blues

         Chicago, 14 Mar. 1927

         (80524‑B) OK‑8455 RBF RF‑1

I'm going to the river : going to walk down by the sea

I got those tadpoles and minnows : arguing over me

Sitting here wondering : would a matchbox hold my clothes

I ain't got so many matches : but I got so far to go

Lord mama : who may your manager be

He asked so many questions : can you make arrangements for me

I got a brown across town : she crochet all the time

Baby if you don't quit crocheting : you going lose your mind

I wouldn't mind marrying : but I can't stand settling down

I'm going to act like a preacher : so I can ride from town to town

I'm leaving town : crying won't make me stay

Baby the more you cry : the further you drive me away

      Easy Rider Blues

         Chicago, c. Apr. 1927

         (4423‑2) Pm‑12474 Mil MLP‑2004

Now tell me : where my easy rider's gone

Now easy riding woman : always in the wrong

Well easy rider : died on the road

I'm a poor blind man : ain't got nowhere to go

It's going to be the time : that a woman don't need no man

Then baby shut your mouth : and don't be raising sand

The train I ride : don't burn no coal at all

The coal I'm burning : everybody says it's cannonballs

I mean I went to the depot : and set my suitcase down

The blues overtake me : and tears come rolling down

The woman I love : she must be out of town

She left me this morning : with a face that's full of frowns


I got a gal across town : she crochets all the time

Baby if you don't quit crocheting : you going to lose your mind

Said fair brown : what's the matter now

You turn your back to quit me : woman and you don't know how

      Match Box Blues

         Chicago, c. Apr. 1927

         (4424‑2) Pm‑12474 Mil MLP‑2004

I'm sitting here wondering : will a matchbox hold my clothes

I ain't got so many matches : but I got so far to go

Brown across town : going to be my teddy bear

Put that thing on me : and I'll follow you everywhere

I say a peg leg woman : just can't hardly get her dough

I left one in Lakeport last night : and I'm selling jellyroll

I don't see why : these women treat me so mean

Sometimes I think : a good man these women ain't never seen

Well I got up this morning : with my [sure‑enough, same thing] on my mind

The woman I love : she keeps a good man worried all the time

Now tell me mama : who may your manager be

I asked so many questions : can't you make arrangements for me

      Match Box Blues

         Chicago, c. Apr. 1927

         (4446‑4) Pm‑12474 Bio BLP‑12000

I'm sitting here wondering : will a matchbox hold my clothes

I ain't got so many matches : but I got so far to go

I said fair brown : who may your manager be

He asked so many questions : can't you make arrangements for me

I got a girl across town : she crochets all the time

Sugar the blues ain't on me : but things ain't going on right

Mama if you don't quit crocheting : you going to lose your mind

I can't count the times : I stoled away and cried

If you want your [lover, baby] : you better pin him to your side

If she flag my train : papa Lemon's going to let her ride

Ain't seen my good gal : in three long weeks today

Lord it's been so long : seems like my heart going to break

Excuse me mama : for knocking on your door

If my mind don't change : I'll never knock here no more

      Rising High Water Blues

         Chicago, c. May 1927

         (4491‑5) Pm‑12487 Mil MLP‑2007

Backwater rising : southern people can't make no time


And I can't get no hearing : from that Memphis gal of mine

Water all in Arkansas : people screaming in Tennessee

If I don't leave Memphis : black water been all over poor me

People since it's raining : it has been for nights and days

Thousand people stands on the hill : looking down where they used to stay

Children stand there screaming : mama we ain't got no home

Papa says to children : black water left us all alone

Backwater rising : come in my windows and doors

I leave with a prayer in my heart : backwater won't rise no more

      Right of Way Blues

         Chicago, c. May 1927

         (4515‑2) Pm‑12510 Rt RL‑301

I hate to hear : my good gal call my name

She don't call so loud : but she call so nice and plain

Lord the train I ride : eighteen coaches long

And the girl I love : she's just now leaving home

Well a high brown girl : loves to ride away somewhere

If a man is worthy : she would make you a millionaire

Don't never drive : a stranger away from your door

It could be your best friend : mama you don't know

Don't tell no stories : please don't tell no lies

Did my gal stop here : Lord did the mama keep on by

Oh if you don't love me : pretty mama don't run no stall

There's a whole lots of women : *just ran through your brown's hall*

      Teddy Bear Blues

         Chicago, c. June 1927

         (4567‑2) Pm‑12487 Mil MLP‑2007

I'm going to make friends : with the fish in the deep blue sea

And stop the Chicago women : from arguing over me

Come here pretty mama : going to take you far across the pond

I'm going to make my stop in Italy : where the monkey‑man don't belong

These women in Chicago : they like their fashions and forms

But these women from Nashville : swear they just won't be here long

I said fair brown : let me be your teddy bear

Tie a string on my neck : and I'll follow everywhere

      Black Snake Dream Blues

         Chicago, c. June 1927

         (4577‑2) Pm‑12510 Bio BLP‑12015

Black snake is deceitful : crawling in all in my bed

I had a dream last night : black snake is killed my baby dead


Hey hey mama : black [snake's lying, snake is] all in my hall

And if you quit me mama : you can't see that black snake at all

Listen here mama : black snake is wearing my clothes

And I told you about it : and you put my trunk outdoors

Take me back mama : I [won't, can't] be bad no more

And you can get my loving : if you let that black snake go

Black snake crawl out : he said he don't mean no harm

But I'm getting tired of that black snake : lying in my baby's arms

      Struck Sorrow Blues

         Chicago, c. Sept. 1927

         (20039‑2) Pm‑12541 Rt RL‑335

I'm going away : now don't you want to go

I'm going to stop at a place : I haven't never been before

I ain't got no watch : I ain't got no *China spoon*

Reason I'm hanging around here : man I'm sticking here dry long so

If you got a sweet woman : you better love her while you can

For your heart strike sorrow : when I come back to town again

I lie down last night : rolled from side to side

Say that the blues ain't on me : but things ain't going on right

I drink so much whiskey : I travel in my sleep

For that brown across town : I declare she is worrying me

I believe I'll sing this song : ain't going to sing no more

Going to leave town : and hang crepe on your door

      Rambler Blues

         Chicago, c. Sept. 1927

         (20040‑2) Pm‑12541 Bio BLP‑12015

Well the train's ??? : track's all out of line

And I commence to how I want to : catch that Number Nine

I'm worried and bothered : don't know what to do

Reason I'm worried and bothered : it's all on account of you

When I left home : I left my baby crying

She keeps me worried : and bothered in the mind

Now don't your house look lonesome : when your baby pack up and leave

You may drink your moonshine : but baby your heart ain't free

If you take my rider : I can't get mad with you

Just like you taken mine : I'll take someone else's too

I got a girl in Texas : I got a brown in Tennessee

Lord but that brown in Chicago : have put that jinx bug on me

      Chinch Bug Blues

         Chicago, c. Oct. 1927


         (20064‑1) Pm‑12551 Bio BLP‑12015

I never feel uneasy : I know how you love your tricks

You leave town the spate of ten days : you got your business well fixed

I wonder if the chinches bite in Beaumont : bite like they do in Beale Street town

The first night I stayed in Memphis : chinch bugs turned my bed around

I had to get sinful with the bedbugs : to keep the chinches from taking my life

Because the chinches got my number : wrote a letter to my wife

My wife caught me easing : way across that Richland Road

The next time I go to slip out : I ain't going to leave on the light anymore

My wife has quit me : and my best pigmeat gal has too

All of ??? *Lord* : here with the chinch bug blues

      Deceitful Brownskin Woman

         Chicago, c. Oct. 1927

         (20065‑2) Pm‑12551 Bio BLP‑12015

There's a brown across town : and she's taller as a sycamore tree

That's the gal'd walk through the rain and snow : for to ease that thing on me

Brownskin girl is deceitful : till she gets you all worn down

She get all your pocket change : she going drive you from her town

Went home last night : found a note in my brownskin's door

Daddy *stay long* has got your room : man you can't live here no more

I [begun to walk, commenced walking] : walked till my feet got soaking wet

Trying to find good home mama : man I ain't found none yet

Well the sun's going to shine : in my back door some day

Ah it's one more drink : going to drive these blues away

Lord it's heavy‑hipped mama : and the meat shakes on the bone

Every time it shakes : it's a sign my baby's home

      Sunshine Special

         Chicago, c. Oct. 1927

         (20066‑?) Pm‑12593 Mil MLP‑2007

Burn the railroad down : so that Sunshine Special can't run

I got a gang of women : man they ride from sun to sun

Same old fireman : going to keep this same old engineer

So that Sunshine Special : is going to run me on away from here

Going to leave on the Sunshine Special : going in on the Santa Fe

Going to *set up and stop* that Katy : because it's taking my brown from me

Going to ride that kansas Texas : right on to San Antone

Somebody's been trying to fire your engines : man ever since you been gone

Cotton Belt is a slow train : also that I and C N

If I leave Texas anymore : going to leave on that L and N

      Lonesome House Blues


         Chicago, c. Oct. 1927

         (20076‑2) Pm‑12593 Mil MLP‑2007

I had a dream last night : all about my gal

You can tell by that : sweet papa ain't been so well

I'm going away mama : just to wear you off my mind

So if I live in Chicago : murder's going to be my crime

This house is lonesome : my baby left me all alone

If your heart ain't rock : sugar it must be marble stone

I got the blues so bad : it hurts my feet to walk

It has settled on my brain : and it hurts my tongue to talk

      Blind Lemon's Penitentiary Blues

         Chicago, c. Feb. 1928

         (20363‑2) Pm‑12666 Mil MLP‑2013

Take Fort Worth for your dressing : and Dallas all for your sal

So you want to go to the state penitentiary : go to Grossbeck for your trial

I hung around Grossbeck : I work in hard showers of rain

I never felt the least bit uneasy : till I caught that penitentiary bound train

I used to be a drunkard : rowdy everywhere I go

If ever I get out of this trouble I'm in : man I won't be rowdy no more

Boys don't be bad : please don't crowd your mind

If you get in trouble in Grossbeck : they going to send you to penitentiary flying

I want you to stop and study : don't take nobody's life

They got walls at the state penitentiary : you can't jump man as hard as you try

      'Lectric Chair Blues

         Chicago, c. Feb. 1928

         (20364‑2) Pm‑12608 Bio BLP‑12015

I walked to the jail with my partner : asked him how come he's here

I had a *ruckus* with my family : they going to send me to the electric chair

I wonder why they electrocute a man : *if he ??? line*

Because the current's much stronger : *when they send it straight out on the line*

*I said to the electrocutor* : *awful lousy crime*

And my baby asked the judge : was he going to electrocute that man of mine

Going to get me a taxi : to take me away from here

I don't know but one thing in this world : could keep me *married* to the electric chair

I feel like jumping in the ocean : I feel like jumping in the deep blue sea

There wasn't no blood left in my heart : and they brought my  electrocuted daddy to me

      Lemon's Worried Blues

         Chicago, c. Feb. 1928

         (20375‑3) Pm‑12622 Mil MLP‑2004

I'm going to tell you why : I got Lemon's lowdown worried blues


I left my meal ticket down at ??? : my pot of chitlings boiling a little past noon

Lord I'm worried here : worried everywhere I go

I worried my rider so late last night : she had a mule wagon backed up to my door

I woke up this morning : took a walk till the break of day

I asked for a woman to marry me : and I just made my get‑away

I woke up this morning : woke up about half past ten

Ease my head in the window : she's singing Lemon's worried blues again

Worried so bad : can't tell my stockings from my shoes

I lay down last night : with Lemon's lowdown worried blues

Lord what makes that [banty] rooster : he keeps crowing for the dawn of day

His man better watch his footsteps for the hen : now doggone his ways

      Mean Jumper Blues

         Chicago, c. Feb. 1928

         (20380‑2) Pm‑12631 Mil MLP‑2007

I feel like jumping : through the keyhole in your door

If you jump this time baby : you won't jump no more

I feel like falling : from treetops to the ground

My rider's got a mean jumper : and he don't allow me around

I go there early in the morning : and I goes there late at night

Don't care how late I goes there : he hasn't ever turned down his light

I believe he's looking for me : he's up all hours at night

She used to be my rider : and he ain't treating her right

I met this jumper one morning : he was out on the out edge of town

I had to talk and plead : for to keep him from blowing me down

      Balky Mule Blues

         Chicago, c. Feb. 1928

         (20381‑3) Pm‑12631 Mil MLP‑2007

I got up this morning : sure was feeling fine

I heard a rap at the door : must be that bad cat woman of mine

She was fussing she was fighting : and acting like a doggone fool

And hemming and a‑hawing : and acting just like a balky mule

Bad cat ain't no wildcat : and he's going to stay home at night

But when it comes to squabbling : he sure can scratch and bite

I got up this morning : I was easing across this floor

Now my bad cat's leaving me : ain't going to catch my mice no more

I was standing on the corner : when they brought me the bad cat news

Now here come my bad cat mama : to run me away with them bad cat blues

      Change My Luck Blues

         Chicago, c. Feb. 1928

         (20387‑2) Pm‑12639 Mil MLP‑2007


Hey hey mama : that rider's done and gone

I just can't see : what in the world is you waiting on

I've got another mama : she ain't long and up tall

But to tell you the truth man : she is as soft as a butterball

She got Elgin movements : from her head down to her toe

And she can break in on a dollar : man most anywhere she goes

She was my best mama : but she wouldn't treat me right

She wouldn't do nothing : but barrelhouse all night long

I'm going to get me a mama : I mean with lots of bucks

I'm going to be gone mama : so I can change my luck

      Prison Cell Blues

         Chicago, c. Feb. 1928

         (20388‑2) Pm‑12622 Mil MLP‑2004

Getting tired of sleeping : in this lowdown lonesome cell

Lord I wouldn't've been here : if it hadn't've been for Nell

Lay awake at night : and just can't eat a bite

Used to be my rider : but she just won't treat me right

Got a red‑eyed captain : and a squabbling boss

Got a mad dog sergeant : honey and he won't knock off

I asked the government : to knock some days off my time

Well the way I'm treated : I'm about to lose my mind

I wrote to the governor : please turn me a‑loose

Since I didn't get no answer : I know it ain't no use

I hate to turn over : and find my rider gone

Walked across my floor : Lordy how I moan

Lord I wouldn't've been here : if it hadn't've been for Nell

I'm getting tired of sleeping : in this lowdown lonesome cell

      Long Lastin' Lovin'

         Chicago, c. Feb. 1928

         (20407‑2) Pm‑12666 Mil MLP‑2013

I wonder why : my partner sitting around looking sad

I mean the woman if she quit me : it's going to be too black bad

She's a fair made woman : and she's cunning as a squirrel

When she starts to loving : man it's out the world

Oh she's a dark brownskin : we always call her chocolate drop

If the fool starts a‑loving : man it just won't stop

When I first met the woman : I says I hadn't made no hit

She got this old‑fashioned loving : man it just won't quit

I met her at a *sociable* : she acts just like a crook

Lord when she starts to loving : man it ain't in the book

      Piney Woods Money Mama

         Chicago, c. Mar. 1928

         (20408‑2) Pm‑12650 Mil MLP‑2004

Lord heavy‑hipped mama : she done moved to the piney wood

She's a high‑stepping mama : and she don't mean no man no good

She got ways like the devil : and hair like a Indian squaw

She been trying two years : to get me to be her son‑in‑law

Big mama : own everything in her neighborhood

But when she made the money : is when she lived in the piney wood

Blues in my kitchen : blues in my dining room

And some nice young fair brown : had better come here soon

Well the cook's in the kitchen : picking and fussing over turnip greens

White folks in the parlor playing cards : and they're serving their cake and tea

My baby loves my baby : like a cow loves to chew her cud

But that fool just off and left me : she done moved to the piney wood

      Low Down Mojo Blues

         Chicago, c. June 1928

         (20636‑1) Pm‑12650 Mil MLP‑2004

I love my baby : better than a farmer likes his Jersey cow

Been trying to quit my baby for two years : and man I don't know how

When I was young : on my big‑foot way to school

I met a nice‑looking brownskin : made me lose my mammy's rule

My rider's got a mojo : and she won't let me see

Every time I start to loving : she ease that thing on me

She's got to fool her daddy : she's got to keep that mojo hid

But papa's got something : for to find that mojo with

She got four speeds forward : and she don't never stall

The way she bumps over the hill : it would make a panther squall

      Competition Bed Blues

         Chicago, c. July 1928

         (20749‑2) Pm‑12728 Rt RL‑306

Competition worrying me : you been having a competition with me

*Big foot* stops at every man's door : and he's always in his midnight creep

I have a loving brown : I did never miss it *till her gone*

I found a ??? competition : he better not get in town

I passed my partner's house : I stopped in to comb my head

Who should I find : but my gal making up my partner's bed

I'm going to wreck my mind : competition going between me and my friend

It hurt me so : I thought we'd be pals till the end

It makes a man feel bad : when competition

Now there's so much competition : I believe I'll leave your town


      Sad News Blues

         Chicago, c. July 1928

         (20772‑2) Pm‑12728 Rt RL‑306

I got a letter : I got a letter here in my hand

My brown wrote to tell me sad news : she got a brand new man

I'm a long long way from home : I ain't got no *lover* in town

I'm going to get that *B and M* to Baltimore boy : I heard my baby *is there*

I was drinking all night [long] : got up this morning sloppy drunk

I would pack my things : but somebody done stole my trunk

I went uptown last night : I tried drinking hard to ease my pain

But you ain't got no money : so don't come back here again

It's sad news : when your baby's ???ing on you

Even though you been kind : there's nothing that you can do

      How Long How Long

         Chicago, c. July 1928

         (20788‑1) Pm‑12685 Bio BLP‑12015

Standing at the station : watch my baby leave town

I feel disgusted : no peace can be found

Now you can hear the whistles blowing : but I just can't see no train

Way down in my heart : got a lot of aches and pains

Sometime I feel disgusted : and I feel so blue

I hardly know what in this world baby : a good man can do

If I could holler : just like a mountain jack

I'd go up on the mountain : and call my baby back

Some day you're going to be sorry : you ever done me wrong

It'll be too late darling : your man will be gone

My mind goes to wondering : I feel so bad

Thinking about the trouble : a good man always have

      Lock Step Blues

         Chicago, c. Aug. 1928

         (20815‑2) Pm‑12679 Mil MLP‑2004

I used to take my feet : in a midnight tramp

Now they got me : doing a different kind of dance

I couldn't keep away from [wild, bad] women : bad [liquor, whiskey] cards and dice

Now I'm doing the lock‑step baby : things ain't going so nice

It don't matter to me : whether it sunshine snow or rains

Because I can't go gay cutting : and carry a ball and chain

Mean old jailor : taking away my dancing shoes

I can't strut my stuff : when I got those lock‑step blues

Big rats in my cell : keeps me woke all night


My woman done turned me down : and I don't think that's right

Every morning : I walk down that big long hall

I'm screaming for my mama : can't make no time at all

      Hangman's Blues

         Chicago, c. Aug. 1928

         (20816‑2) Pm‑12679 Mil MLP‑2004

Hangman's rope : it's so tough and strong

They got to hang me : because I done something wrong

I want to tell you : the gallows Lord is a fearful sight

Hang me in the morning : and cut me down at night

Well the mean old hangman : he went and tightened up that noose

Lord I'm so scared : I am trembling in my shoes

[Jury, jurymen] heard my case : and it said my hand was red

And the judge is telling me : be hanging till I'm dead

The crowd around the courthouse : and the time is growing fast

Soon a good‑for‑nothing killer : is going to breathe his last

Lord I'm almost dying : gasping for my breath

And that trifling woman staying : until I breaks my neck

      Christmas Eve Blues

         Chicago, c. Aug. 1928

         (20818‑2) Pm‑12692 Bio BLP‑12000

Now it's the day before Christmas : mama won't you hear me moan

If you take me back baby : I'll give you anything you need

I had a good chance : baby give me just one more

I will change the way I'm loving : like you never have been before

I know I did do wrong : I'm just as sorry as I can be

It's the day before Christmas : mama come back to me

Mama don't turn me down : on this Christmas Eve

I cried about you so hard : done wetted my whole coat sleeve

It's the day before Christmas : let me bring [me] your present  tonight

I'm going to be your Santa Claus : even if my whiskers ain't white

      Happy New Year Blues

         Chicago, c. Aug. 1928

         (20819‑2) Pm‑12692 Bio BLP‑12000

I'm thinking about the year : of nineteen and twenty‑nine

New year caught me with *marked money* : man I was doing just fine

I was lying down with my baby : we had one small quart of gin

That old doorbell kept ringing : I wouldn't leave nobody come in

The whistle was blowing for New Year : around twelve o'clock at night

I lied down on there with my baby : until the good Lord brought daylight


Early one New Year morning : I was walking down by the hill

Every man likes his liquor : when he gets it fresh from the still

I hate to drink all new year : for this whiskey they making is too strong

Because when I take two or three drinks : I'll be drunk the whole year long

      Maltese Cat Blues

         Chicago, c. Aug. 1928

         (20820‑1) Pm‑12712 Bio BLP‑12015

Rats is mean in my kitchen : and I lost my Maltese cat

I'm going to make things right with my good gal : man and it's tight like that

I'm going to start walking : walk the shoes clean off of my feet

Just thinking about my mama : and man that woman sure is sweet

I ain't got no suitcase : I don't have a one bottle of gin

I've got to stay drunk to keep warm : because my clothes is so thin

Long lonesome train : come passing me a‑flying

I was thinking about my mama : and I didn't pay that train no mind

When you get a‑home : buy a Maltese cat

And a good strong brownskin : man it's tight like that

      D B Blues

         Chicago, c. Aug. 1928

         (20821‑1) Pm‑12712 Bio BLP‑12015

Who is that coming : hey with a motor so strong

That's Lemon in his D B : people think he's got his girl out on

Going to get out of my four‑cylinder Dodge : I want to get me a Super Six

I'm always around the ladies : and I like to have my business fixed

I'm crazy about a Packard : but my baby only rates a Ford

A Packard is too expensive : Ford will take you where you want to go

Come here brownskin : listen to my motor roar

Because my Super Six sufficient : to take you where you want to go

I never did like no horses : I never could stand no *steel*

Ever since I was old enough to catch a brown : give me the automobile

      Eagle Eyed Mama

         Chicago, c. Jan. 1929

         (21095‑3) Pm‑12739 Rt RL‑301

My woman got eyes like an eagle : and she watching me all the time

The way she follow me around : Lordy it's going to be a crime

Watching me all through the day : watching me all through the night

Keeps her eagle eyes on me : till the good Lord brings daylight

Mmm : papa Lemon's feeling so blue

Eagle‑eyed mama's worrying me : what am I going to do

Dog in my back yard : oh Lordy how he can howl


I'm trying to quit that eagle‑eyed woman : man and I don't know how

My eagle‑eyed woman : is got ways I can't explain

If I ever leave her : I must be going insane

      Dynamite Blues

         Chicago, c. Jan. 1929

         (21096‑1) Pm‑12739 Rt RL‑301

I feel like tramping : from the *great big corral*

Because the woman I love : says she don't want me nohow

She swore that she loved me : but I know that she doing me wrong

I'm going to start something man : and I tell you it won't be long

The way I feel now : I could get a keg of dynamite

Put it all in her window : and blow her up late at night

I just swallowed some fire : take a drink of gasoline

Throw it up all over that woman : and let her go off and scream

I'm going to get in a cannon : and let them blow me out to sea

Going down with the whales : and the mermaids make love to me

      Oil Well Blues

         Chicago, c. Mar. 1929

         (21197‑1) Pm‑12771 Riv RLP‑12