Skip James
Ruler
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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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Ruler

Table Of Content (16 songs, 16 soundclips)

You are now in page 2

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.20-20 Blues
All Night Long
Catfish
Cherry Ball Blues
Crow Jane
Cypress Grove Blues

Devil Got My Woman
Drunken Spree
Get On Down The Road
Hard Time Killing Floor
How Long Buck
Illinois Blues

I'm So Glad
Little Cow And Calf Is Gonna Die Blues
Sick Bed Blues
Special Rider Blues

Ruler

Devil Got My Woman

soundclip


by Nehemiah Curtis "Skip" James
recording of 19
from probably
Complete Early Recordings (Yazoo 2009) & Melodeon 7321,
copyright notice

I'd rather be the devil, to be that woman man1
I'd rather be the devil, to be that woman man
Aw, nothin' but the devil, changed my baby's mind
Was nothin' but the devil, changed my baby's mind

I laid down last night, laid down last night
I laid down last night, tried to take my rest
My mind got to ramblin', like a wild geese
From the west, from the west

The woman I love, woman that I loved
Woman I loved, took her from my best friend
But he got lucky, stoled her back again
And he got lucky, stoled her back again

__________
Note: the song was inspired by his broken marriage;
Note 1: James usually completed this line with ""woman's man"

"... The devil was stronger than I was, an' he did have, and is got now, a certain amount of power... And he lives in hell, and that's where he haves his part. And God give him a certain amount of time to be on the earth, in the bowels, persuadin' people... He still have agencies out. Everywhere you've been. And then he's a man don't never sleep. he never get offa his job or duty, That is, you can lay down happy at night, you and your companion... and in harmony. Everything goin' well. Satan'll creep in the house overnight... next mornin' you cannot get a good word out of her. Why?. Because satan has got the bill of sale over her. He done crept in overnight...

 

--Skip James --"

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Ruler

Drunken Spree

soundclip


by Nehemiah Curtis "Skip" James
recording of 19
from
Today! (Vanguard 79219) & Tribute To Skip James, Vol. 1 (1964) (Biograph BLP-12016), copyright notice

I pawned my watch, pawned my chain,
pawned my diamond ring
If that don't settle my drunken spree1,
I'll never get drunk again

It was late last night when Miss Willie come home
She'd made one rap2 on my door
I said, "Is that you, Miss Willie? I'd like to know
Don't you rap no more"

I love Miss Willie, yes I do
I love her till the see go dry
And if I thought she didn't love me,
I'd take morphine and die

She's up in her little stockin' feet, tippin' 'cross the floor
Just like she had done before
Yes, and I pawned my clothes, pawned my shoe
I'll never get drunk no more

I begged Miss Willie, down on my knee,
to forgive me, if she please
"Well, you done caused me to weep and you caused me to moan
Done caused me to lose my happy home"

I hollered, "Oh me, oh my,
I'll never let another drink go by"
If I thought she didn't love me,
I'd take morphine and die

I pawned my watch, pawned my chain,
pawned my diamond ring
And if that don't settle all my drunken spree,
Lord, I'll never get drunk again

__________
Note 1: spree, an unrestrained indulgence in or outburst of an activity "she or he went on a buying spree";
Note 2: rap, a sharp blow or knock.

 

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Ruler

Get On Down The Road

soundclip


by Nehemiah Curtis "Skip" James
recording of 19
from probably
Complete Early Recordings (Yazoo 2009), copyright notice

If you haven't any hay, get on down the road
If you haven't any hay, mama Lord, go, get on down the road
Get on down the road
Get on down the road
If you haven't any hay, mama, Lord, go, get on down the road

I'm goin', I'm goin', comin' here no more
If I go to Louisiana, mama Lord, though, they'll hang me sure
They'll hang me sure
They'll hang me sure
If I go to Louisiana, mama Lord, they'll hang me...

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

I'm goin', I'm goin', comin' back no more
I'm goin', I'm goin', partner, never comin' back no more
Comin' back no more
Comin' back no...
I'm goin', I'm goin', mama, never comin' back no...

Hey hey, hey-hey-hey-hey
Hey-hey-hey-hey-hey-hey-hey
Hey hey hey hey

Hitch up my buggy, saddle up my black mare
You'll find me a rider, mama, Lord, so in this world somewhere
In this world somewhere
In this world somewhere
You can find me a rider, mama, look here, in this world somewhere

If you haven't any hay, get on down the road
If you haven't any hay, mama, look here, get on down the...
Get on down the road
Get on down the road
If you haven't any hay, mama, look here, get on down the...

__________
Note: also known under the title "If You Haven't Any Hay Get On Down The Road".

 

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Ruler

Hard Time Killing Floor1

soundclip


by Nehemiah Curtis "Skip" James
recording of 19
from
Today! (Vanguard 79219) & Origin Of Jazz Library No. 5 & Melodeon 7321, copyright notice

Hard time here and everywhere you go
Times is harder than ever been before

And the people are driftin' from door to door
Can't find no heaven, I don't care where they go

Hear me tell you people, just before I go
These hard times will kill you just dry long so

Well, you hear me singin' my lonesome song
These hard times can last us so very long

If I ever get off this killin' floor
I'll never get down this low no more
No-no, no-no, I'll never get down this low no more

And you say you had money, you better be sure
'Cause these hard times will drive you from door to door

Sing this song and I ain't gonna sing no more
Sing this song and I ain't gonna sing no more
These hard times will drive you from door to door

__________
Note 1: "Hard time Killing Floor Blues" is the title of the original Paramount recording of James's topical Depression piece, which he called by the more serviceable title "Hard Times".

 

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Ruler

How Long Buck1

soundclip


by Nehemiah Curtis "Skip" James
recording of 19
from
Today! (Vanguard 79219), copyright notice

How long, how long has my Crow Jane treat me wrong?
So long, baby so long, baby, so long

I got to the station, she left town
I'm blue and disgusted and nobody been down
But hey, so long, baby, so long, baby, so long

How long, how long has my Crow Jane been so wrong?
So long, so long, baby, so long

I could holler like a jack2
I'd go to the mountain, call her back
How long, baby, how long, baby, how...?

How long, been so long, am I to be treated wrong?
How long, how long, baby, how long?

I got to the station, she left town
I couldn't hardly change her mind
How long, how long, baby, how long?

Aw, someday you'll be sorry you treated me wrong
It'll be too late, baby, and I'll be gone
So long, so long, baby, so long

So long, baby, so long, has my Crow Jane been gone?
How long, how long, baby, so long

How long, baby, how long has my Crow Jane been...
So long, so long, baby, so long

I was waitin' for the mail
Hey-hey-hey, hey-hey-hey
How long, so long, so long

How long, how long am I to call you girl-of-my-own?
How long, how long, how long?

How long, am I to be treated wrong?
So long, so long, so long

How long, baby, how long am I to be treated wrong?
How long, how long, baby, how long?

__________
Note 1: despite the title, James neither called nor considered this version of a popular blues standard a "buck" (buckdance), but viewed the titling as a mistake on the part of the company that recorded it;
Note 2: jack, a mule

 

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Ruler

Illinois Blues

soundclip


by Nehemiah Curtis "Skip" James
recording of 19
from probably
Complete Early Recordings (Yazoo 2009) & Tribute To Skip James, Vol. 1 (1964) (Biograph BLP-12016), copyright notice

You go to Banglin'1, tell my boys
You go to Banglin', tell my boys
What times I'm havin' up in Illinois
In Illinois, up in Illinois

When I gin2 my little cotton I'm going to sell my seed
When I gin my little cotton and sell my seed
I'm gonna give my baby, everything she need
Everything she need, ev'rything she need
I'm gonna give my baby everything she need

You know, I been in Texas and I been in Arkansas
I been in Texas and I been in Arkansas
But I never had a good time till I got to Illinois
Up in Illinois, up in Illinois

The people will treat you just so-so so'3
You'll never go back to old Banglin' no more
Never no more, never no more

I been to Chicago and I been to Detroit
I been to Chicago and I been to Detroit
But I never had a good time till I got up in Illinois
In Illinois, up in Illinois

When you go down in Banglin', will you tell my boys
When you go down in Banglin', tell my boys
What a good time's a-waitin' up in Illinois
Up in Illinois, up in Illinois

__________
Note 1: Banglin', James spelling, was Skip James's own pet name of a lumber camp operating out of Pelahatchie, Mississippi, that employed him as a timber-cutter in the early twenties. His explanation of this word coinage - that it followed from the camp's "saggy" position on a bluff - suggests that it may have arisen through confusion with "dangling";
Note 2: gin, a cotton gin, a machine that separates the seeds, hulls, and foreign material from cotton;
Note 3: so', soft

 

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Ruler

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Ruler

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


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