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)

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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

I'm So Glad

soundclip


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

And I'm so glad, and I am glad, I am glad, I'm glad
I don't know what to do, don't know what to do, I don't know what to do1
I'm tired of weepin', tired of moanin', tired of groanin' for you

And I'm so glad, I am glad, I am glad, I'm glad
I'm tired of weepin', tired of moanin', tired of groanin' for you
And I'm so glad, and I am glad, I am glad, I'm glad

I'm so tired of moanin', tired of groanin', tired of longin' for you
I'm so glad, and I am glad, I am glad, I'm glad
I don't know what to do, know what to do, I don't know what to do
I'm so tired, and I am tired, I am tired...

And I'm so glad, I am glad, I am glad, I'm glad
I don't know what to do, know what to do, I don't know what to do
I'm tired of weepin', tired of moanin', tired of groanin' for you
And I'm so glad, and I am glad, I am glad, I'm glad

I'm so tired, and I am tired, I am tired, I'm tired
I'm tired of weepin', tired of moanin', tired of groanin' for you
I'm so glad, and I am glad, I am glad, I'm glad
I don't know what to do, know what to do, don't know what to do

__________
Note 1: the seemingly illogical juxtaposition of "I'm so glad" and "I don't' know what to do" was likely a figure of black speech or song, inasmuch as Tarter and Gay's "Brownie Blues" (1928) contains the phrase, "So glad I'm brownskin, I don't know what to do".

 

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Ruler

Little Cow And Calf Is Gonna Die Blues1

soundclip


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

Hey hey-hey-hey-hey, hey hey hey hey hey
Hey hey-hey-hey-hey, hey hey hey hey...
And every cow and calf, I believe was born to die

I'm a-milk my heifer2, milk her in a churn
I'll milk my heifer, I'll milk her in a churn
If you see my rider, tell her it ain't a darn thing doin'3

I wringed my hands, baby, and I wanted to scream
I wringed my hands, honey, and I wanted to scream
And when I woke up I thought it was all a dream

Hey hey-hey-hey-hey, hey hey hey hey
Hey hey-hey-hey-hey, hey hey hey hey...
And every cow and calf, I believe was born to die

Hey hey-hey, I ain't gonna be here long
Hey hey-hey, pretty mama, I ain't gonna be here long
That's the reason why you hear me singin' my old lonesome song

Hey, hey-hey-hey-hey-hey, hey hey hey hey
Hey hey-hey-hey-hey, hey hey hey hey hey
And every cow's calf, honey, got to be dyin'

I walked the levee from end to end
I walked the levee, honey, from end to end
I was just tryin' to find, my calf, again

I'm feelin' back to my used-to...
I feel a notion, back to my used-to-be
I have a pretty mama, she don't care for me

__________
Note 1: although women are clearly represented by the expressions "heifer" and "calf" in the second and seventh verses, James described this song as a product of boyhood experiences tending his grandmother's cattle, whose waywardness drove him to distraction;
Note 2: heifer, a young cow; one that has not had a calf. To all us city-slickers this poses an interesting question: how does one milk a cow that never has had a calf?. Mail me if you know the answer... (indecent and or obscene language will be punishable by law);
Note 3: here James asks the listener to conceal his infidelity to his "rider".

 

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Ruler

Sick Bed Blues

soundclip


by Nehemiah Curtis "Skip" James
recording of 19
from probably
Blues From The Delta (Vanguard 79517) & Melodeon 7321, copyright notice

Layin' sick, honey, on my bed
I'm layin' sick, honey, and on my bed
I'm layin' sick, honey, and on my bed
I used to have some friends but they wish that I were dead

In awful pain and deep in misery
Awful pain and deep in misery
Awful pain and deep in misery
I ain't got nobody to come and see about me

And every dog, baby, got a day
And every dog, baby, got a day
Every dog, baby, got a day
But I said, "Please, don't you treat me this-a way"

The doctor came, lookin' very sad
The doctor came, lookin' very sad
The doctor came, lookin' very sad
He diagnosed my case and said it was awful bad
He walked away, mumblin' very low
He said, "He may get better but he'll never get well no more

I hollered, "Lord, oh Lord, Lord, Lordy, Lord
Oh Lordy, Lord, Lord, Lord
I been so badly misused and treated just like a dog"

I've got a long trip and I'm just too weak to ride
I've got a long trip and I'm just too weak to ride
I got a long trip and I'm just too weak to ride
Now it's a thousand people standin' at my bedside

You take a stone, you can bruise my bone
You take stone and you can bruise my bone
You take a stone and you can bruise my bone
But you sure gonna miss me when I'm dead and gone

I been on the ocean, I been across the sea
Been on the ocean, I been across the sea
Been on the ocean, I been across the sea
I ain't found nobody would feel my sympathy

 

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Ruler

Special Rider Blues

soundclip


by Nehemiah Curtis "Skip" James
recording of 19
from
Today! (Vanguard 79219) & Tribute To Skip James, Vol. 1 (1964) (Biograph BLP-12016) & Yazoo L-1009, copyright notice

I ain't got no special rider1 here
I ain't got no special rider...
I ain't got nobody to love and feel my care

I woke up this mornin', looked at the special risin' sun
Got up this mornin', looked at special risin' sun
An' I prayed to the Lord my special rider would go

I sing this song to ease your trouble in mind
Sing this song, ease your trouble in mind
And you stay worried, yeah, and bothered all the time

Hey, hey, what more can I do?
Hey, hey, what more can I do?
Honey, you must want me keep singin' these special blues

__________
Note 1: James understood the phrase "special rider" to mean a favorite girl friend.

 

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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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