Ma Rainey
Eternal thanks to bluesman Dorus Sturm for transcribing and contributing most of the lyrics!
Ruler
Page 1 of 1

New! Nonstop Internet Blues Radio: listen to your favorite blues music while you surf!

General Blues
Electric Blues
Rockin' Blues
Acoustic Blues
Jump Blues
Also: Blues MP3
Have you already seen the new Blues MP3 page?
Want free blues mp3 for your own site? Click here!.

Home Page
FFree Blues MP3!E
Internet Blues RadioE
Blues History
Blues Language
Lyrics by Artist
Lyrics by Title
Lyrics by Topic
Top 100 Lyrics Sites
Tabs & Chords
Top 100 Tab Sites
Lyrics&Tabs Wanted!
Essential Blues CD's
Essential Blues Books
Message Board
Chat Room
Blues Musician Ad's
Links
Site Map
The Awards Page
About...

alternate navigation menu

[Ma Rainey]

Google

Search this site
Search WWW



Find the top music sites

Vote for Top50 Tab/Lyric/Music Sites

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.

about... printing

* = additions of November 1999, ** = additions of June 2000
Ruler

Table Of Content (18 songs, 13 soundclips)

** Bad Luck Blues
** Barrel House Blues
* Big Feeling Blues
** Black Cat, Hoot Owl Blues
Blues And Booze
** Bo-Weavil Blues
Chain Gang Blues
Counting The Blues
Don't Fish In My Sea

* Jelly Bean Blues
** Last Minute Blues
** Moonshine Blues
See See Rider
** Sissy Blues
** Southern Blues
** Those All Night Long Blues
** Walking Blues
* Yonder Come The Blues

Ruler

Bad Luck Blues

soundclip


by Lovie Austin
recording of December 1923
from
Complete Recorded Works, Vol. 1 (1923-1924) (Document 5581), copyright notice

Hey people, listen while I spread my news
Hey people, listen while I spread my news
I wanna tell you people all about my bad luck blues

Did you ever wake up just at the break of day
Did you ever break up just at the wake of day
With your arms around the pillow where your daddy used to lay

Lord, look where the chump's1 done gone
Lord, Lord, look where the time's done gone
Hey Lord, there's something going all wrong

What's the use of living if you can't get the man you love
The use of living if you can't get the man you love
You might as well go die, give your soul to the Maker above

__________
Note: take 2 on the album;
Note 1: chump, fool, one that is easily deceived or cheated.

 

Top

Ruler


Ranked
- statistics -



Click Here!


Barrel House Blues

soundclip


by Lovie Austin
recording of December 1923
from
Complete Recorded Works, Vol. 1 (1923-1924) (Document 5581), copyright notice

Got the barrel house blues, feeling awfully dry
Got the barrel house blues, feeling awfully dry
I can't drink moonshine 'cause I'm afraid I'd die

Papa likes his sherry, mama likes her port
Papa likes his sherry, mama likes her port
Papa likes to shimmy, mama likes to sport

Papa likes his bourbon, mama likes her gin
Papa likes his bourbon, mama likes her gin
Papa likes his outside women1, mama likes outside men1

__________
Note 1: outside women, slang for a mistress or "woman on the side". Outside men, male lover.

 

Top

Ruler

Big Feeling Blues


by rev. Charlie Jackson / Ma Rainey
recording of December 1928, Chicago, Illinois
from
Mother of the Blues: 1923-1928 (Epm Musique 159232) & Rarities MRR - 4010, copyright notice

Ma:
"All these many years I've been pleadin' for a man
How come I can't get me a real monkey man?
I'm not no triflin'1 woman

I've been lookin' for a man I can call my own
Been married many times but they left my home
Ah, big feelin' blues, worst I ever had
I've got the big feelin' blues I mean I've got them bad"

Charlie2:
"If you're lookin' for a brown, come get this chocolate cream
I'm a big kid-man - just out of my teens"

Ma:
"Ah, big feelin' blues, worst I ever had
I've got them big feelin' blues, I mean I've got them bad"

"Unlucky with my yellow, unlucky with my brown,
the black bitches keep on throwin' me down'
"Ah, big feelin' blues, worst I've ever had
I've got the big feelin' blues, I mean I've got them bad"

Charlie:
"If you need a good man why don't you try me?
I sure can put you out of your misery"

Ma:
"Ah, big feelin' blues, worst I've ever had
I've got the big feelin' blues, I mean I've got them bad
There's a whole lot left, what's left is good
Give me a chance, honey, I'll make you change your neighbourhood
Ah, big feelin' blues, worst I've ever had,
I've got the big feelin' blues, I mean I've got them bad"

__________
Note 1: triflin', to talk in a mocking manner or with intent to delude or mislead, to treat someone or something as unimportant;
Note 2: Charlie, "Papa" Charlie Jackson, banjo, vocals.

 

Top

Ruler

Black Cat, Hoot Owl Blues

soundclip


by
recording of June 1928, Chicago, Illinois
from
Paramounts Chronologically, Vol. 5 (Black Swan 5), copyright notice

Black cat on my door-step, black cat on my window-sill
If one black cat don't cross me, another black cat will

Last night a hoot owl come and sit right over my door
A feelin' seems to tell me I'll never see my man no mo'

I feel my left side a-jumpin', my heart a-bumpin', I'm mindin' my P's and Q's1
I feel my brain a-thumpin', I've got no time to lose
Mama's superstitious, tryin' to overcome these blues

________
Note: superstition was omni-present in the black communities of the south and much significance was attached to the behavior of animals which were looked upon as omens of good or evil;
Note 1: P's and Q's, haven't found the meaning yet, if anyone has any suggestions, please mail me.

 

Top

Ruler

Blues And Booze

soundclip


by Suddoth
recording of 1924
from
Complete Recorded Works, Vol. 2 (1924-1925) (Document 5582), copyright notice

Went to bed last night, and boy I was in my sleep, sleep
I went to bed last night, and I was in my sleep
Woke up this mornin', the police was shakin' me

I went to the jailhouse, drunk and blues as I could be
I went to the jailhouse, drunk and blues as I could be
But that cruel old judge sent my man away from me

They carried me to the courthouse, Lordy, how I was cryin'
They carried me to the courthouse, Lordy, how I was cryin'
They jailed me sixty days in jail, and money couldn't pay my fine

Sixty days ain't long if you can spend them as you choose
Sixty days ain't long if you can spend them as you choose
But this seems like jail than a cell where there ain't no booze

My life is all a misery when I cannot get my booze
My life is all a misery when I cannot get my booze
I spend every dime on liquor, got to have the booze to go with these blues

 

Top

Ruler

Bo-Weavil Blues

soundclip


by Ma Rainey
recording of December 1923
from
Complete Recorded Works, Vol. 1 (1923-1924) (Document 5581), copyright notice

Hey, bo-weavil1, don't sing them blues no more
Hey, hey, bo-weavil, don't sing them blues no more
Bo-weavil's here, bo-weavil's everywhere you'll go

I'm a lone bo-weavil, been out a great long time
I'm a lone bo-weavil, been out a great long time
I'm gonna sing these blues to ease the bo-weavil's lonesome mind

I don't want no man to put no sugar in my tea
I don't want no man to put no sugar in my tea
Some of them's so evil, I'm afraid they might poison me

I went downtown and bought me a hat
I brought it back home, I laid it on the shelf
Looked at my bed, I'm getting tired of sleeping by myself

__________
Note: take 2 on the album;
Note 1: bo or boll weevil or weavil, a grayish weevil, super-family of beetles, that infests the cotton plant and feeds on the squares and bolls. drawing.

 

Top

Ruler

Chain Gang Blues

soundclip


by Parker / Williams
recording of 19
from
Complete Recorded Works, Vol. 3 (1925-1926) (Document 5583), copyright notice

The judge found me guilty, the clerk he wrote it down
The judge found me guilty, the clerk he wrote it down
Just a poor gal in trouble, I know I'm county road bound

Many days of sorrow, many nights of woe
Many days of sorrow, many nights of woe
And a ball and chain everywhere I go

Chains on my feet, padlock on my hand
Chains on my feet, padlock on my hand
It's all on account of stealing a woman's man

It was early this morning that I had my trial
It was early this morning that I had my trial
Ninety days on the county road, and judge didn't even smile

 

Top

Ruler

Counting The Blues

soundclip


by Ma Rainey
recording of 1924
from
Complete Recorded Works, Vol. 2 (1924-1925) (Document 5582), copyright notice

Layin' in bed this mornin' with my face turned to the wall
Layin' in bed this mornin' with my face turned to the wall
Trying to count these blues so I could sing 'em all

Memphis, Ramport, Beale Street set 'em, free
Memphis, Ramport, Beale Street set 'em, free
Graveyard, 'Bama Bound, Lord, Lord, come from stingaree

Lord sittin' on the Southern1 gonna ride all night long
Lord sittin' on the Southern gonna ride all night long
Downhearted, Gulf Coast - they was all good songs

Lord, 'rested at midnight, Jailhouse made me loose my mind
Lord, 'rested at midnight, Jailhouse made me loose my mind
Bad Luck 'n' Boll-Weevil, made me think of old Moonshine

Lord, goin' to sleep now for Mama just got bad news
Lord, goin' to sleep now for Mama just got bad news
To try to dream away my troubles, countin' these blues

__________
Note: text in italic are the titles of blues songs;
Note 1: the Southern, a Y&MV (Yazoo & Mississippi Valley) railroad line

 

Top

Ruler

Don't Fish In My Sea

soundclip


by Ma Rainey
recording of 1926
from
Complete Recorded Works, Vol. 4 (1926-1927) (Document 5584), copyright notice

My daddy come home this mornin', drunk as he could be
My daddy come home this mornin', drunk as he could be
I know that he's done got bad on me

He used to stay out late, now he don't come home at all
He used to stay out late, now he don't come home at all
I know there's another mule1 been kicking in my stable

If you don't like my ocean, don't fish in my sea
If you don't like my ocean, don't fish in my sea
Stay out of my valley, let my mountain be

I ain't had no loving since God knows when
I ain't had no loving since God knows when
That's the reason I'm through with these no-good, trifling2 men

You'll never miss the sunshine till the rain begin to fall
You'll never miss the sunshine till the rain begin to fall
You'll never miss your ham till another mule be in your stall

__________
Note 1: mule, a hybrid between a horse and a donkey; especially the offspring of a male donkey and a mare;
Note 2: trifling, to talk in a mocking manner or with intent to delude or mislead, to treat someone or something as unimportant.

 

Top

Ruler

Jelly Bean Blues

soundclip


by Lina Arant / Ma Rainey
recording of October 16th 1924, New York City
from
Mother of the Blues: 1923-1928 (Epm Musique 159232), copyright notice

If you ever wake up with your good man on your mind
If you ever wake up with your good man on your mind
My daddy left me this morning, that's why I moan and cry

He'll make you laugh, he'll make you cry, he'll drive those blues away
You'll sit right down and weep and moan and then you'll find he's went
Lord, I been wonderin' where my jelly bean1 has gone

I can see you rider, yea, helle loo, a thousand miles away
I just can't remember what my baby had to say
He said: see see rider, today I'm goin' away, and I won't be back until you change your way

So back and easy rider, today that mean' goodbye
You did not worry me, you had no right to lie

__________
Note 1: jelly bean, term of endearment for a lover.

 

Top

Ruler

Last Minute Blues


by Thomas A. Dorsey
recording of December 1923
from
Complete Recorded Works, Vol. 1 (1923-1924) (Document 5581), copyright notice

Minutes seem like hours, hours seem like days
Minutes seem like hours, hours seem like days
It seems like my daddy won't stop his evil ways

Seems like every minute's going to be my last
Seems like every minute's going to be my last
If I can't tell my future I won't tell my past

The brook runs into the river, river runs into the sea
The brook runs into the river, river runs into the sea
If I don't run into my daddy, somebody ought to bury me

If anybody asks you who wrote this lonesome song
If anybody asks you who wrote this lonesome song
Tell 'em you don't know the writer, but Ma Rainey put it on

 

Top

Ruler

Moonshine Blues

soundclip


by K. Winters
recording of December 1923
from
Complete Recorded Works, Vol. 1 (1923-1924) (Document 5581), copyright notice

- Hold him, Luke, he must be a bootlegger1! -

I've been drinking all night, babe, and the night before
But when I get sober I ain't gonna drink no more
'Cause my friend's left me standing in my door

My head goes round and around, babe, since my baby left town
I don't know if the river's running up or down
But that one thing certain is, mama's going to leave town

You'll find me reeling and a-rocking, howling like a hound
Catch the first train that's running Southbound
Oh stop, you'll hear me saying
Stop, right through my brain
Oh stop that train
So I can ride back home again

Here I'm upon my knees
Play that again for me
'Cause I'm about to be a-losing my mind
Boys, I can't stand up, I can't sit down
The man I love has done left town
I feel like screaming, I feel like crying, Lord
I've been mistreated, folks, and don't mind I'm dying
I'm going home, I'm going to settle down
I'm going to stop my running around
Tell everybody that comes my way
I've got those moonshine blues, I say
I've got those moonshine blues

__________
Note 1: bootlegger, someone who manufactures, sells, or transports alcoholic liquor illegally for sale. In general, to produce, reproduce or distribute illicitly or without authorization, CD's for example.

 

Top

Ruler

See See Rider

soundclip


traditional
recording of 1924
from
Complete Recorded Works, Vol. 2 (1924-1925) (Document 5582), copyright notice

See see rider, see what you have done, Lord, Lord, Lord
Made me love you, now your gal has come
You made me love you, now your gal has come

I'm goin' away, baby, I won't be back till fall, Lord, Lord, Lord
Goin' away, baby, won't be back till fall
If I find me a good man, won't be back at all

I'm gonna buy me a pistol, just as long as I am tall, Lord, Lord, Lord
Shoot my man, and catch a cannonball
If he won't have me, he won't have no gal at all

See See Rider, where did you stay last night? Lord, Lord, Lord
Your shoes ain't buttoned and your clothes don't fit you right
You didn't come home till the sun was shining bright

 

Top

Ruler

Sissy Blues


by
recording of September 1926, Chicago, Illinois
from
Complete Recorded Works, Vol. 3 (1925-1926) (Document 5583), copyright notice

I dreamed last night I was far from harm
Woke up and found my man in a sissy's1 arms

"Hello, Central, it's 'bout to run me wild
Can I get that number, or will I have to wait a while?"

Some are young, some are old
My man says sissy's got good jelly roll

My man got a sissy, his name is Miss Kate
He shook that thing like jelly on a plate

Now all the people ask me why I'm all alone
A sissy shook that thing and took my man from me

__________
Note 1: sissy, homosexual.

 

Top

Ruler

Southern Blues


by Ma Rainey
recording of December 1923
from
Complete Recorded Works, Vol. 1 (1923-1924) (Document 5581), copyright notice

House catch on fire and ain't no water 'round
If your house catch on fire, ain't no water 'round
Throw your trunk out the window, building, burn on down

I went to that gypsy to have my fortune told
I went to that gypsy to have my fortune told
He said, "Doggone you girlie, doggone your bad luck soul"

I turned around, went to that gypsy next door
I turned around, went to that gypsy next door
He said, "You'll get a man anywhere you'll go"

Let me be your rag doll until your Chinee comes
Let me be your rag doll till your Chinee comes
If she beats me ragging1, she's got to rag it some

__________
Note 1: ragging, teasing.

 

Top

Ruler

Those All Night Long Blues

soundclip


by J.G. Sudath
recording of December 1923
from
Complete Recorded Works, Vol. 1 (1923-1924) (Document 5581), copyright notice

I have sent a letter away 'cause my man and I don't agree
There's no reason why he should treat me this way
'Cause the way I worry, I will soon be old and grey

Don't want to do nothing that's wrong
But can't stand this treatment long
I just lay and suffer, crying, sighing all night long
'Cause the way that I'm worried, Lordy it sure is wrong

All night long, all night long
It's this one man on my mind
Can't sleep a wink at night from crying
All night long, got my worries just renewed
And I suffer with those all night blues

 

Top

Ruler

Walking Blues


by Ma Rainey
recording of December 1923
from
Complete Recorded Works, Vol. 1 (1923-1924) (Document 5581), copyright notice

Woke up this morning, up this morning
With my head bowed down, hey, hey, hey
Woke up this morning with my head bowed down
I had that mean old feeling, I was in the wrong man's town

Mailman's been here, mailman's been here
But didn't leave no news, hey, hey, hey
Mailman's been here but didn't leave no news
That's the reason why mama's got the walking blues

Walked and walked till I, walked and walked
I almost lost my mind, hey, hey, hey
Walked and walked till I almost lost my mind
I was afraid to stop walking 'cause I might lose some time

Got a short time to make it, short time to make it
And a long ways to go, Lord, Lord, Lord
Short time to make it and a long way to go
Trying to find the town they call San Antonio

Thought I'd rest me, thought I'd rest me
I couldn't hear no news, Lord, Lord, Lord
Thought I'd rest me, I couldn't hear no news
I'll soon be there 'cause I got the walking blues

 

Top

Ruler

Yonder Come The Blues

soundclip


by
recording of 1926
from
Complete Recorded Works, Vol. 3 (1925-1926) (Document 5583) & Classic Blues Women (Rhino R2 71134), copyright notice

I worry all day, I worry all night
Every time my man comes home, he wants to fuss and fight
When I pick up the paper to read about the news,
just as I'm satisfied, yonder comes the blues

I went down to the river each and every day
Trying to keep from crying' and do my self away
I walked and walked till I wore out my shoes
I can't walk no further, yonder comes the blues

Some folks never worry, things all go all right
Or lay down on that sofa, weep and cry all night
When I get a letter, it never brings good news
Every time I see the mail, babe, yonder comes the blues

Go back blues don't come this way
Oughta give me something else beside the blues all day
Every man I love, I've been refused
And when I want some loving yonder comes the blues

People have different blues and think their mighty bad
But blues that bother me are the worst I've ever had
I've been disgusted and all confused every time I look around yonder come those blues

 

Top

Ruler

Created by:
Bluesman Harry
Page last updated on:
June 8 2000


[
Home Page | Blues History | Blues Language | Lyrics by Artist | Lyrics by Title | Lyrics by Topic |
|
Tabs & Chords | Lyrics & Tabs Wanted! | Essential Blues CD's | Message Board |
|
Chat Room | Blues Musician Ad's | Essential Blues Books | Links | Site Map | Awards Page | About... ]

(Trying out this banner exchange service)