Kansas City Blues, Jim Jackson (Jim Jackson), 1927

Original recording: Jim Jackson (Guitar and Vocals)

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Recording information:

Recorded for Vocalion Records in 1927

Other covers

None known

Lyrics:

I woke up this morning, feeling bad
Thought about the good times I once have had
I’m gonna move to Kansas City
I’m gonna move to Kansas City
I’m gonna move, baby, honey where they don’t like you / don’t ‘llow you

My mother told me, daddy told me too
If by the cramps in your feet son, ain’t no friend to you
You oughta move to Kansas City
You oughta move to Kansas City
You oughta move to Kansas City, baby, honey where they don’t like you / don’t ‘llow you

I got me a bulldog, two shepherds and two greyhounds
Two high yellows, three blacks and one brown
We gonna move to Kansas City
We gonna move to Kansas City
We gonna move to Kansas City, baby, honey where they don’t like you / don’t ‘llow you

It takes a rocking chair to rock, a rubber ball to roll
Nice looking teasin’ brown to satisfy my soul
then i’ll move to Kansas City
then i’ll move to Kansas City
I’m gonna move to Kansas City, baby, honey where they don’t like you / don’t ‘llow you

T is for Texas, T is for Tennessee
Boll weavil got to Mississippi, and the women wants me
I’m gonna move to Kansas City
I’m gonna move to Kansas City
I’m gonna move, baby, honey where they don’t like you / don’t ‘llow you

You can always tell when you good girl want to flirt
want to where red slippers to match that old matching skirt

Boogie Chillin, John Lee Hooker (John Lee Hooker), 1948

Original recording,John Lee Hooker (Vocals and Guitar)

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Hooker had a local Detroit Record Store owner named Bernard Bessman listen to this song and he agreed to record it. The original song recording was only John Lee voice and guitar. The song became an immediate hit and rose to #1 on Billboard’s R&B chart.

The song has been covered many times as well as being lifted and renamed frequently. It has been recorded by Junior Parker, Magic Sam, James Cotton, as well as Canned Heat and ZZ Tops (who were sued for copywrite infringement).

Lyrics:

Well , my Mama she didn´t allow me, just to stay out all night long,
… ooh, Lord!
Well , my Mama didn´t allow me, just to stay out all night long,
I didn´t care if she didn´t allow me, I was boogie-woogie´n´ anyhow.

When I first came to town, people, I was walkin´ down Hastings Street,
I heard everybody talkin´ ´bout the Henry Swing Club.
I decided to drop in there that night, and when I got there,
I say, yes people, they we´re really havin´ a ball, yes I know …..
… boogie, chillen´!

One night I was layin´ down, I heard Mama and Papa talkin´,
I heard Papa tell Mama: Let that boy boogie woogie,
´cause it´s in him and it got to come out!
Well, I felt so good, and I went on boogie-woogie´n´ just the same,
… yes …..

Shake ’em On Down, Mississippi Fred McDowell (Fred McDowell, Bukka White), 1964

Original recording:  Mississippi Fred McDowell (Guitar and Vocals)

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Recording information:  

Recorded in 1964 for Arhoolie Records.Typical of his powerful style. 

Other covers

Bukka WhiteFurry LewisBo CarterDavid “Honeyboy” EdwardsR. L. Burnside, The Steve Barry Band (Great Version!) and others

Lyrics:

Get your nightcap mamma,
And your gown
Night before day
We gonna
Shake ’em on down

I need some time holler, now
Oh, must I shake ’em on down
I done shout hollerin’, now
Must I shake ’em on down

Too much is debted to me
Through the week
Save these chili peppers
Some ol’ rainy day, here

Best I’m hollerin’, now
Ooh, must I shake ’em on down
I done shout hollerin’, now
Must I shake ’em on down, now

Fix my supper
Let me go to bed
This white lightnin’ done gone
To my head

Oh, must I holler now
Ooh, must I shake ’em on down
I done shout hollerin’, now
Must I shake ’em on down

I ain’t been in Georgia, babe
I been told
Georgia women got the best
Jellyroll

These nights time holler, now
Oh, must I shake ’em on down
I done shout hollerin’, mama
Must I shake ’em on down

See See mama, heard
You, done-done
Made me love you, now I know
Man done coming

Best I’m hollerin’, now
Oh, must I shake ’em on down
I done shout hollerin’, mama
Must I shake ’em on down

Pretty girl’s got
They don’t know
What it is
Make me drunk at that old
Whiskey still

It’s best I’m hollerin’, now
Oh, must I shake ’em on down
I done shout hollerin’
Must I shake ’em on down

Bumble Bee, Memphis Minnie (Minnie McCoy),1930

Original recordingMemphis Minnie (Vocals) and Kansas Joe McCoy (Guitar)

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Recording information: 1930 for Vocalion Records 

Covers: Bob Corritore, David “Honeyboy” Edwards

Here are the Lyrics. It’s possible they have a double meaning :)

Bumble bee, bumble bee, please come back to me
Bumble bee, bumble bee, please come back to me
He got the best old stinger any bumble bee that I ever seen

He stung me this morning, I been looking for him all day long
He stung me this morning, I been looking for him all day long
Lord, it got me to the place, hate to see my bumble bee leave home

Bumble bee, bumble bee, don’t be gone so long
Bumble bee, bumble bee, don’t be gone so long
You’s my bumble bee and you’re needed here at home

I can’t stand to hear him buzz, buzz, buzz
Come in, bumble bee, want you to stop your fuss
You’re my bumble bee and you know your stuff
Oh, sting me, bumble bee, until I get enough

Bumble bee, bumble bee, don’t be gone so long
Bumble bee, bumble bee, don’t be gone so long
You’s my bumble bee and you’re needed here at home

I don’t mind you going, ain’t going to stay so long
Don’t mind you going, don’t be gone so long
You’s my bumble bee and you’re needed here at home

I can’t stand to hear him buzz, buzz, buzz
Come in, bumble bee, I want you to stop your fuss
You’s my bumble bee and you know your stuff
Oh, sting me bumble bee, until I get enough

Police Station Blues, Peetie Wheatstraw (William Bunch), 1932

Original recording:  Peetie Wheatstraw 

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Recording information:

Recorded for Vocalion in 1932.  

Other covers

Big Bill BroonzyRobert Johnson and others

Lyrics:

Well-oh-well
Mama, now on some old rainy day
Hoo-hoo-um-mm
Babe, I see you some old rainy day
Well-well now, you’re gonna be sorry
Hoo-hoo-um-um
Babe, now you walked away

Well-well, sun did rose
Mama, now just before the trees
I said now when the sun broke
Ooo-um-mm, just a’fore the trees
Well, now I went to the police station, ask them
Plan on gettin’ me my little girl, please

Now-now-now, your days so lonesome
Mama, yo nights so dreadful long
Hoo, times can run me down
Hee-hoo-umm
Babe, now yo’ nights so dreadful long
Well-well, spent so many lonesome days
Hoo-hoo-well, babe since I been gone

(guitar)

Well, babe tomorrow is Sunday
Hoo-hoo-umm
Baby, you may see me Christmas Eve
Hoo-hoo-well, know the meaning
I said honey, now tomorrow Sunday
Hee-hoo-ooo, next day was Christmas Eve
Well-well, have I got a present mama, babe
Und’ your lil’ Christmas tree?

Baby now, when are you gon’ give me
Hoo-hoo-umm
Mama now things you promised me?
(Know the kind) know now I mean it
Hee-hee-umm
Mama now things you promised me?
Well-well, you know I don’t see why
Baby now, you so hard on me.

Big Boss Man, Jimmy Reed (Luther Dixon and Al Smith), 1959

Original recording: Jimmy Reed (Harmonica and Vocals), Willie Dixon (Bass), Earl Phillips (Drums)

Recording information: Recorded for Collectables Records in 1959 

 

 

 

 

Other covers

John Hammond Jr., Elvis Presley, The Animals, Charlie Rich, Grateful Dead, Jimmy Witherspoon, Jerry Lee Lewis, Mance LipscombKoKo Taylor and others

Lyrics:

Big boss man
Can you hear me when I call
Big boss man
Can you hear me when I call
Oh, you ain‘t so big
You‘re just talk, that‘s all

You got me working, boss man
Working ’round the clock
I want me a drink of water
You won’t let me stop
You big boss man
Can you hear me when I call?
Oh, you ain’t so big
You just talk, that’s all

Gonna get myself a boss man
One gonna treat me right
Work me hard in the day time
But I’ll sure rest easy at night
Big boss man
Can you hear me when I call?
Oh, you ain‘t so big
You just talk, that‘s all

(It is written as “You just tall, that’s all” but I think this must be right)

Story Of The Blues, Gary Moore (Gary Moore), 1990

Original recording:  Gary Moore (Guitar and Vocals)

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Recording information:  Recorded for Virgin Records in 1990. The late Gary Moore was not as well known in North America as Europe. Here is a fine example. 

Other covers

Not known

Lyrics:

My baby she left me, my baby she’s gone.
My sweet little angel has spread her wings and flown.
Can’t think of a reason for going on.
From this day I will play the blues.

She said it was over, this time it’s the end.
Bad luck and trouble gonna be my only friend.
I still can’t believe it, after all we’ve been through.
Everyday I will play the blues.

Everybody knows what the blues is all about.
It’s a pain you can’t live with.
It’s a woman you can’t live without.
She came from Chicago.
She read me the news.
In the headlines was a story of the blues.

They say a broken heart can always mend.
Time is the healer and sadness will end.
But I’ve done so much crying, when will I laugh again?
Till that day I will play the blues.

Everybody knows what the blues is all about.
It’s a pain you can’t live with.
It’s a woman you can’t live without.
Could have cried me a river
when they told me the news.
On that day was a story of the blues.

The Dying Crapshooter’s Blues, Blind Willie McTell (Willie McTell), 1940

Original recording:  Blind Willie McTell (Guitar and Vocals)

Recording information:  

One of ten recordings made for the Library of Congress in 1940 for which McTell was paid 10 dollars. McTell has a nice story telling style. McTell recorded this twice later but we think this is the first.

Other covers

David Bromberg, Paul Geremia, Rosa Henderson and others 

Lyrics:

Little Jesse was a gambler night and day
He used crooked cards and dice
Sinful guy good hearted but had no soul
Heart was hard and cold like ice
Jesse was a wild reckless gambler
Won a gang of change
Although’ a many gambler’s heart he led in pain
Began to spend a-loose his money
Began to be blue sad and all alone
His heart had even turned to stone
What broke Jesse’s heart while he was blue and all alone
Sweet Lorena packed up and gone
Police walked up and shot my friend Jesse down
Boys I got to die today
He had a gang of crapshooters and gamblers at his bedside
Here are the words he had to say
Guess I ought to know
Exactly how I wants to go
(How you wanna go Jesse?)
Eight crapshooters to be my pallbearers
Let ’em be veiled down in black
I want nine men going to the graveyard Bubba
And eight men comin’ back
I want a gang of gamblers gathered ’round my coffin-side
Crooked card printed on my hearse
Don’t say the crapshooters’ll never grieve over me
My life been a doggone curse
Send poker players to the graveyard
Dig my grave with the ace of spades
I want twelve polices in my funeral march
High sheriff playin’ blackjack lead the parade
I want the judge and solic’ter who jailed me 14 times
Put a pair of dice in my shoes (then what?)
Let a deck of cards be my tombstone
I got the dyin’ crapshooter’s blues
Sixteen real good crapshooters
Sixteen bootleggers
to sing a song
Sixteen racket men gamblin’
Couple tend bar while I’m rollin’ along
He wanted 22 womens outta the Hampton Hotel
26 off-a South Bell
29 women outta North Atlanta
Know little Jesse didn’t pass out so swell
His head was achin’ heart was thumpin’
Little Jesse went to hell bouncin’ and jumpin’
Folks don’t be standin’ around ole Jesse cryin’
He wants everybody to do the Charleston
whilst he dyin’
One foot up a toenail dragging
Throw my buddy Jesse in the hoodoo wagon
Come here mama with that can of booze
The dyin crapshooter’s leavin’ the world
The dyin’ crapshooter’s goin’ down slow
With the dyin’ crapshooter’s blues

Nobody’s Fault But Mine, Blind Willie Johnson (Traditional),1927

Original recording: Blind Willie Johnson (Guitar and Vocals)

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Recording information:
Recorded for Columbia Records in 1927.  

Other covers:

Grateful Dead, Led Zeppelin, Sister Rosetta TharpeMance Lipscomb and others

Lyrics:

Nobody’s fault but mine, nobody’s fault but mine.
If I don’t read it my soul be lost.

I have a Bible in my home, I have a Bible in my home.
If I don’t read it my soul be lost.

Mmm, Father he taught me how to read, Father he taught me how to read.
If I don’t read it my soul be lost, nobody’s fault but mine.

Ah, Lord, Lord, nobody’s fault but mine.
If I don’t read it my soul be lost.

Ah, I have a Bible of my own, I have a Bible of my own.
If I don’t read it my soul be lost.

Oh, Mother she taught me how to read, Mother she taught me how to read.
If I don’t read it my soul be lost, nobody’s fault but mine.

Ah, Lord, Lord, nobody’s fault but mine.
If I don’t read it my soul be lost.

And Sister she taught me how to read, Sister she taught me how to read.
If I don’t read it my soul be lost, nobody’s fault but mine.

Ah, mmmm, Lord, Lord, nobody’s fault but mine.
If I don’t read it my soul’d be lost, mmmm.

Diving Duck Blues, Sleepy John Estes (John Estes), 1929

Original recording: Sleepy John Estes (Vocal and Guitar), Yank Rachell (Mandolin), Jab Jones (Piano)

Recording information: Recorded for Victor Records on September 26th, 1929 

Other covers:

Taj MahalJohnny Winter 

Lyrics

Divin’ Duck Blues – Sleepy John Estes
Self-accompanied, with Jab Jones, piano and Yank Rachell, mandolin

Now if the river was whiskey, and I was a divin’ duck
Now if the river was whiskey, I was a divin’ duck
I would dive on the bottom, never would come up

Don’t never take a married woman to be your friend
Don’t never take, married woman to be your friend
She will get all your money, give it to her other man

Now, a married woman always been my crave (2)
Now a married woman gon’ carry me to my grave

Now ain’t it hard to love some else, then? (2)
You can’t get her when you want her, have to use her when you can

Now the sun gon’ shine on my back door someday
Now the sun gonna shine on my back door some day
Now the wind gonna rise gonna blow my blues away

Now I went to the railroad, looked up at the sun (2)
If the train don’t hurry gon’ be some walkin’ done

© 2012 Blues Suffusion theme by Sayontan Sinha