Blind Joe Reynolds
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All lyrics on this site are for private study, scholarship, or research purposes only. Read the copyright notice before printing/copying anything from this page.

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Blind Joe Reynolds: an "unknown" bluesman, an introduction...

The mysterious Blind Joe (Willie) Reynolds was believed to be born in Arkansas in 1900. What is known of his vagabond life is the result of extensive research by Gayle Dean Wardlow, in his book "Chasin' the Devil Music". His real name was Joe Sheppard, although his two stage names were among many aliases that he used to stay hidden and cover up a rambling, checkered past which included two prison terms. His blindness was the result of a shotgun blast of bird shot to the face that blew away his eyes during a drunken argument with a friend near Talullah, Louisiana in the mid-1920's. Miraculously surviving this assault, his unique bottleneck slide guitar-playing was discovered playing in barrelhouses by talent scout H.C. Speir near Lake Providence, Louisiana. Joe was known as a flamboyant rogue who flagrantly taunted societal norms for good behavior. His blindness did not prevent him from fending for himself, as he became known as a crack-shot with a pistol from hearing his target. He continued to travel and play on street corners across the United States, eventually settling near Monroe, Louisiana in his senior years. He was still playing during those years, successfully making the transition from pre-war acoustic guitar to modern electric guitar. He died in Monroe on March 10, 1968.

Blind Joe (Willie) Reynolds was known to have recorded 4 songs at each of his two recording sessions (1929 and 1930), but the 4 songs presented here are the only ones discovered so far. He had another 78" single in 1929 that was released but has not been located by collectors or reseachers. It was released as Paramount No. 12983, the two songs on it were "Cold Woman Blues" and "Ninety-Nine Blues".

-- Mark Reljac

 

All lyrics transcribed & contributed by Mark Reljac.

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Table Of Content (4 songs, 3 soundclips)

You are now in page 1

Page 1

Married Man Blues
Nehi Blues
Outside Woman Blues
Third Street Woman Blues

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Married Man Blues

soundclip


by Blind Joe (Willie) Reynolds
recording of February 1930, Memphis, Tennessee
from
Complete Recorded Works of Son House & The Great Delta Blues Singers (Document DOCD 5002), copyright notice

When you lose your money, please don't lose your mind1
When you lose your money, please don't lose your mind
When you lose your woman, please don't fool with mine

Tell you married men, how to keep your wife at home
Tell you married men, how to keep your wife at home
Get you a job, and roll for the man, and try to carry your labor home
Hmm, hmm, try to carry your labor home

Tell you married women, how to keep your husbands at home
Tell you married women, how to keep your husbands at home, hmm hmm hmm
Take care of your husband's labor, and let these single boys alone

Make a single woman crazy about a married man
What make a single woman crazy about a married man
'Cause he works hard all the time, he puts money in her hand

Make a married woman so crazy about a single man, hmm hmm hmm
Make a married woman crazy about a single man
'Cause her husband might lay down and die, and raise that fella to her hand

Let me tell you men what these married women will do
Let me tell you boys what these married women will do
You will get your money, she will catch up to you

If you ask me, ain't gonna tell you nothin' else
If you ask me, ain't gonna tell you nothin' else
Man's a fool if he thinks, got a whole woman to himself

__________
Notes: recorded under the performing name, Blind Willie Reynolds. The song is a variation of his earlier single "Outside Woman Blues";
Note 1: this lyric appears to be common in early blues recordings. It also appears in Tampa Red's recording of his hokum hit "Western Bound Blues" in May 1932.

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Nehi Blues


by Blind Joe (Willie) Reynolds
recording of November 1929, Grafton, Wisconsin
from
Complete Recorded Works of Son House & The Great Delta Blues Singers (Document DOCD 5002), copyright notice

Some girls wear short dresses, and these married women wears 'em too
Some girls wear short dresses, and these married women wears 'em too
That's the reason single men, Lord, don't know what we want to do

When the proper judges make these women let these dresses down
When the proper judges make these women let these dresses down
Told that tremblin' soul, doggone, what you learnin' in town

Women tarry too long, pullin' this short dress style
Women tarry too long, pullin' the short dress style
So we single men can't tell a married woman from a child

Hmmm, Hmm, Hmmm, hmmm

Let me tell you boys what these nehi1 dresses will do
Let me tell you boys what these nehi dresses will do
Get you broke, ragged, and hungry boy, then come down on you

All of you women, you all oughta be ashamed
All of you young women, the whole lot oughta be ashamed
makin' these old men naughty, when they're walkin' on walking canes

Hmmm, Hmmm, Hmmm, Hmmm

An old man ain't nothin' but a young woman's slave
These old mens ain't nothin' but a young woman's slave
He works hard all the time tryin' to stay in a young man's ways

Hmmm, hmmm, hmmm, hmmm

__________
Notes: recorded under the performing name, Blind Joe Reynolds. This song reflects Blind Joe's moral commentary and criticism about women of the 1920's wearing their dresses too short, evidently exposing too much of their thighs, knee's and legs which was uncommon in earlier decades. This fad of wearing short dresses came into fashion during the roaring 1920's when morals loosened. One could consider this as moral hypocrisy for Blind Joe to have made such observations about women since he basically held women in low esteem and was such a womanizer himself.;
Note 1: nehi, is slang for a knee-high.

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Outside Woman Blues

soundclip


by Blind Joe (Willie) Reynolds
recording of November 1929, Grafton, Wisconsin
from
Complete Recorded Works of Son House & The Great Delta Blues Singers (Document DOCD 5002), copyright notice

When you lose your money, great God, don't lose your mind1
When you lose your money, great God, don't lose your mind, hmm hmm
And when you lose your woman, please don't fool with mine

I'm gonna buy me a bulldog, watch my old lady whilst I sleep
I'm gonna buy me a bulldog, watch my old lady when I sleep, hmm hmm
'Cause women these days, get so doggone crooked, till it might make a 'fore-day creep

Tell you married men, how to keep young wifes at home
Tell you married men, how to keep young wifes at home
Get you a job, roll for the man, and try to carry your labor home

Tell you married women, how to keep your husbands at home
Tell you married women, how to keep your husbands at home, hmm hmm
You oughta take care of that man's labor, and let these single boys alone

You can't watch you wife and your outside women2 too
You can't watch you wife and your outside women too
While you off with your woman, your wife could be at home
Beatin' you doin' it, buddy what you trying to do?

Hmmm hmmm, buddy what you tryin' to do?

__________
Notes: this song was recorded under the performing name, Blind Joe Reynolds. The song describes to the troubles a man has in keeping his wife and a mistress. Blind Joe Reynolds had several "outside" women of his own and was known to have lived with at least 2 women at a time. The Rock and Roll supergroup Cream recorded their own variation of this song on their Disraeli Gears album in 1967. It is doubtful that Reynolds ever knew of their covering the song;
Note 1: this lyric appears to be common in early blues recordings. It also appears in Tampa Red's recording of his hokum hit "Western Bound Blues" in May 1932";
Note 2: outside woman, slang for a mistress or "woman on the side".

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Third Street Woman Blues

soundclip


by Blind Joe (Willie) Reynolds
recording of February 1930, Memphis, Tennessee
from
Complete Recorded Works of Son House & The Great Delta Blues Singers (Document DOCD 5002), copyright notice

Hmm-mmm, where my Third Street woman now?
Hmm-mmm, where my Third Street woman now?
Thought she would cheat street me, got the coldest stuff in town

Don't like my ch-chick...1

I had so much chicken till I heard cluckin' in my sleep
I got so much chicken till I heard cluckin' in my sleep
Don't like my table, mama, please don't dig so deep

Hmm hmm, I got a...2

She's a big fat mama with the meat shakin' on her bone
She's a big fat mama with the meat shakin' on her bone
And every time she shake it, Lord, a hustlin' woman lose her home

She's got something that the men call a stingaree
She's got something that the men call a stingaree
Four o'clock every morning, you turn it loose on me

Hmm-mmm, where my Third Street woman gone?
Hmm-mmm, where my Third Street woman gone?
Believe to my soul, she would hustle everywhere but home

If you can't be my rollin' mama, you can't spend your change
If you can't be my rollin' mama, you can't spend my change

__________
Note: this song was recorded under the performing name, Blind Willie Reynolds. Third Street refers to a street in Vicksburg, Mississippi. This song is derived from his life in Vicksburg at one time;
Note 1: "Don't like my ch-chick..." is obviously a recorded miscue on Reynold's part in trying to begin the next lyric;
Note 2: another obvious miscue on Reynold's part in trying to begin the next lyric.

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Created by:
Bluesman Harry
Page last updated on:
May 28 2000


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