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Mississippi Sheiks
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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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Mississippi Sheiks: an introduction...


The Mississippi Sheiks were a loosely knit good-times blues group that grew out of the family band. They were one of the most popular Mississippi Delta based string bands of the 1920's and 1930's. They took their name from the Rudolph Valentino film "The Sheik". Several years after they began performing, the group recorded their first session in 1930. Over the next five years, they cut nearly 70s songs, which ranged from old-timey string songs to racy blues. Based in Jackson, Mississippi, during this time, the core of the group consisted of fiddler Lonnie Chatmon and guitarist Walter Vinson, with guitarists Bo Carter and Sam Chatmon joining the group frequently; both Carter and Sam also had successful solo careers, which occasionally prevented them from performing with the group. They were best known for "Sitting on Top of the World," a song recorded again by Howlin' Wolf in the 1950s. The Mississippi Sheiks retained their popularity until the end of the '30s, when they slowly faded away from view.

Most lyrics transcribed & contributed by Nils Haakon Hornnaess.
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Table Of Content (10 songs, 10 soundclips)

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Bootleggers Blues
I've Got Blood In My Eyes For You
Lonely One In This Town
She Ain't No Good
Sittin' On Top Of The World (1)
Sittin' On Top Of The World (2)
Sittin' On Top Of The World (3)
Stop And Listen Blues No. 2
The World Is Going Wrong
Too Long

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Bootleggers Blues

soundclip


by
recording of early 1930's
from
Stop & Listen (Yazoo 2006), copyright notice

I got whiskey on my back,
and a sheriff's on my track
I'm gonna make it through this world if I can

I take a walk to go my bail,
brother took off to the county jail
You better make it through the world if you can

If you can
If you can
You better make it through the world if you can

If you want to have to leave home,
you just stick with a bottle of corn
You got to make it through the world if you can

You may think they're doin' you wrong,
but they'll send you to the county farm1
You better make it through the world if you can

If you can
If you can
You better make it through the world if you can

When you go out for a load,
the sheriff will stop you on the road
You have to make it through this world if you can

It's a real surprising thing,
that to hear those boys will drink
You better make it through the world if you can

If you can
If you can
You better make it through the world if you can

...they sure got to hear about liquor

Ever since this state went dry2,
the bootleggers have their shine3
They gonna keep out of the way of the jail if they can

If they can
If they can
They gonna keep out of the way of the jail if they can

__________
Note 1: county farm, a prison farm where convicts had to work of their time. Probably the most famous/notorious among these prison farms was Parchman Farm. The state prison in Parchman, Mississippi. Parchman was a complex of 15 labor camps covering a large area in Mississippi, a closed society of black men who were offered as "contract" labor to farms, railroads and industries of many sorts, passed around to do labor for the financial benefit of both the contractor and the state who sold them.;
Note 2: Ever since this state went dry, with the Prohibition Act sales and use of liquor was forbidden by law and under penalty;
Note 4: shine, short for moonshine, a home made whiskey made from corn

 

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I've Got Blood In My Eyes For You

soundclip


by
recording of early 1930's
from
Stop & Listen (Yazoo 2006), copyright notice

I was out this mornin' feelin' blue
I said, "A good lookin' girl, can I make love with you"
Hey, hey babe, I've got blood in my eyes for you

Hey, hey, hey babe I've got blood in my eyes for you
I've got blood in my eyes for you babe,
I don't care what in the world you do

I went back home put on my tie,
gonna get that girl that money will buy
Hey, hey babe, I've got blood in my eyes for you

She looked at me, begin to smile
Said, "Hey, hey man can't you wait a little while"
No, no babe, I've got blood in my eyes for you

No, no mam I can't wait
You got my money, tryin' to brake this date
Hey, hey babe, I've got blood in my eyes for you

I'm gonna tell you something, gonna tell you the facts
If you don't want me, give my money back
Hey, hey babe, I've got blood in my eyes for you

 

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Lonely One In This Town

soundclip


by
recording of early 1930's
from
Stop & Listen (Yazoo 2006), copyright notice

I'm the lonely one in this town,
everybody tried to threw me down
I'm lonely, as I can be

I'm the lonely one in this town,
everybody tried to threw me down
I'm lonely, can't you see

Because I'm a stranger here,
everybody turn their backs on me
A friend old Tennessee

I'm the lonely one in this town,
everybody tried to threw me down
I'm lonely, as I can be

I'm' the lonely one in this town,
everybody tried to threw me down
I'm lonely, as I can be

I'm the lonely one in this town,
everybody tried to threw me down
I'm lonely, can't you see

Because I'm a stranger here,
everybody turn their backs on me
I believe I'll go right back, a friend old Tennessee

I'm the lonely one in this town,
everybody tried to threw me down
I'm lonely, as I can be

You've got somebody, c'mon let's go!

I'm the lonely one in this town,
everybody tried to threw me down
I'm lonely, as I can be

 

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She Ain't No Good

soundclip


by
recording of early 1930's
from
Stop & Listen (Yazoo 2006), copyright notice

I had a girl, she was just that kind
I thought I would make her mine
But when I looked the matter through, she was the worst of kind

She ain't no good,
oh, she ain't no good
When I come to find her out, I found she was no good

Some men like the country girl,
mine's gonna live in town
A towns girl will be lovin' you,
when the country girl messes around

She ain't no good,
oh, she ain't no good
When you see'em brother, lives in the woods, you know she ain't no good

A girl town girl will get one man,
and always treat him well
But a country girl will get her ten men,
and give them all hell

She ain't no good,
oh she ain't no good
She once left a man in the neighborhood, you know she ain't no good

A yeller cow1 drinks the corn whiskey,
browns can't do the same
The country girl get a two'a brown meal,
but she's getting drunk just as well

She ain't no good,
oh, she ain't no good
She left a man in the neighborhood, you know she ain't no good

I went to the country, a good haul,
and only one night I spent
I got up the next morning, and come back home, been runnin' ever since

Oh, she ain't no good,
oh, she ain't no good
Deliver me, from a country girl, before she ain't no good

__________
Note 1: yeller cow, probably not what he sings, but sounds like it. Any suggestions anyone?

 

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Sittin' On Top Of The World (Version 1)

soundclip


by
recording of early 1930's
from probably
Stop & Listen (Yazoo 2006), copyright notice

Was all the summer, and all the fall,
just trying to find my little all in all
But now she's gone, I don't worry
I'm sitting on top of the world

Was in the spring, one summer day
Just when she left me, she's gone to stay
But now she's gone, I don't worry
I'm sitting on top of the world

An' you come here runnin', holdin' up your hand
Can't get me a woman, who can just kin1 a man
But now she's gone, I don't worry
I'm sitting on top of the world

It have been days, I didn't know your name
Why should I worry and prayer in vain
But now she's gone, I don't worry
I'm sitting on top of the world

Goin' to the station, down in the yard
Gone get me a freight train, worked some - got hard
But now she's gone, I don't worry
I'm sitting on top of the world

The lonesome days, they have gone by
Why should you beg me and say goodbye
But now she's gone, I don't worry
I'm sitting on top of the world

___________
Note 1: kin, probably wrong, doesn't seem to fit in the context.

 

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Sittin' On Top Of The World (Version 2)

soundclip


by
recording of 1930
from The Blues (Smithsonian RD 101-2),
copyright notice

It was all the summer, and all the fall
Just trying to find my little all and all
But now she's gone, I don't worry
I'm sittin' on top of the world

It was in the spring, one summer day
Just when she left me, she's gone to stay
But now she's gone, I don't worry
I'm sittin' on top of the world

You may come1 here running, holding up your hands
I can't get me a woman, couldn't even2 get a man
But now she's gone, I don't worry
I'm sittin' on top of the world

There have been days, I didn't know your name
Why should I worry and pray3 in vain
But now she's gone, I don't worry
I'm sittin' on top of the world

Going to the station down in the yard
Gone get me a freight train, waiting done got hard
But now she's gone, I don't worry
I'm sittin' on top of the world

The lonesome days, they have gone by
Why should beg me and say goodbye
But now she's gone, I don't worry
I'm sittin' on top of the world

__________
Note 1: You may come, unclear part of lyrics;
Note 2: even, unclear part of lyrics;
Note 3: pray, unclear part of lyrics.

 

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Sittin' On Top Of The World (Version 3)

soundclip


by
recording of 19
from,
copyright notice

One summer day, she went away,
She gone and left me, she gone to stay
But now she's gone, and I don't worry,
'Cause I'm sittin' on top of the world

Worked all the summer, worked all the fall,
Had to work Christmas in my overalls
But now she's gone, and I don't worry,
Because I'm sittin' on top of the world

Going down to the freight yard, gonna catch me a train,
Gonna leave this town, work done got hard
But now she's gone, and I don't worry,
Because I'm sittin' on top of the world

 

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Stop And Listen Blues No. 2

soundclip


by
recording of December 19 1930, Jackson, Mississippi
from
Complete Recorded Works, Vol. 2 (1930-1931) (Document DOCD-5084), copyright notice

Well I left town this morning, I was on my way back home
Now don't you a hear me talkin' pretty mama?
Well I left town this morning. I was on my way back home
I heard the woohoo church bells makin' a woohoo mournful sound

I stopped and listened, fell from hanging on
Now don't you a hear me talkin' mama?
I stopped and listened, fell from hanging on
I know about that a sound but it isn't gone?

Well I got home now people met me and said
Now don't you a hear me talkin' pretty mama?
When I got home people said me regrets
I run your woohoo your sweet little faror is dead

Well I got home
People said get in touch, scream and cry
Now don't you a hear me talkin' pretty mama?
Well I got home, guess I'll scream and cry
I thought my little woohoo baby was too cute to die

I went to the churchyard, cried at the door
Now don't you a hear me talkin' pretty mama?
I went to the churchyard, cried at the door
I never will see my sweet baby anymore

__________
Note: Walter Vinson-guitar; Lonnie Chatman-violin. Mamlish S-3804;
Note 1: faror, 'fair one', girl friend

 

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The World Is Going Wrong

soundclip


by
recording of early 1930's
from
Stop & Listen (Yazoo 2006), copyright notice

Strange things have happened, like never before
My baby told me I would have to go
I can't be good no more, once like I did before
I can't be good baby, honey because the world gone wrong

Feel bad this mornin', ain't got no home
No use for worryin', 'cause the world gone wrong
I can't be good no more, once like I did before
I can't be good baby, honey because the world gone wrong

I told you baby, right to your head
If I did leave you I would have to kill you dead
I can't be good no more, once like I did before
I can't be good baby, honey because the world gone wrong

I tried to be lovin' and treat you kind
But it seems like now I, got no love in mind
I can't be good no more, once like I did before
I can't be good baby, honey because the world gone wrong

If you have a woman and she don't be kind
Pray to the good lord, you're off your mind
I can't be good no more, once like I did before
I can't be good baby, honey because the world gone wrong

Then when you've been good now, can't do no more
Just tell her kindly; there is the front door
I can't be good no more, once like I did before
I can't be good baby, honey because the world gone wrong

Pack up my suitcase, give me my hat
No use to ask me babe, because I'll never be back
I can't be good no more, once like I did before
I can't be good baby, honey because the world gone wrong

 

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Too Long

soundclip


by
recording of early 1930's
from
Stop & Listen (Yazoo 2006), copyright notice

My baby she left me, she never said a word
It was on the account of something that she'd heard
She thought when she left, my brother would run and cry
But there's a crape on my door, for your bidded you goodbye

Too long, you waited too long to come home
Now your daddy, don't need you no'mo

Too you long, you don't belong here any more
So stop, you're not knocking on my door

Now you left me sweet mama, for no good reason at all
And now, there's another mule kicking in your same ol' stall
Too long, you waited too long to come home
Now your daddy, don't need you no'mo

Too long, you waited too long to come home
Now your daddy, don't need you no'mo

Too long, you don't belong here anymore
So stop, you're not knocking on my door
Now you left me sweet mama, for no good reason at all
And now, there's another mule kicking in the same ol' stall

Too long, you waited too long to come home
Now your daddy, don't need you no'mo

 

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


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