Robert Johnson


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Walkin' Blues

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by Robert Johnson
recording of 3rd of 5 sessions, November 27 1936, San Antonio, Texas
The Complete Recordings (CBS 467246 2 & Columbia/Legacy C2K-46222 & Columbia 4622 & Sony 64916), copyright notice

I woke up this mornin', feelin' round for my shoes
Know 'bout 'at I got these, old walkin' blues
Woke up this mornin', feelin' round for my shoes
But you know 'bout 'at I, got these old walkin' blues

Lord, I feel like blowin' my woh old lonesome horn
Got up this mornin', my little Bernice was gone
Lord, I feel like blow ooohn' my lonesome horn
Well I got up this mornin' woh all I had was gone

Well ah leave this morn' of I have to, woh, ride the blind, ah
I've feel mistreated and I don't mind dyin'
Leavin' this morn' ah, I have to ride a blind
Babe, I been mistreated, baby, and I don't mind dyin'

Well, some people tell me that the worried, blues ain't bad
Worst old feelin' I most ever had, some
People tell me that these old worried old blues ain't bad
It's the worst old feelin', I most ever had

She got an Elgin1 movement from her head down to her toes
Break in on a dollar most anywhere she goes, oooh ooooh
(spoken: To her head down to her toes, oh, honey)
Lord, she break in on a dollar, most anywhere she goes

Note: this song has so many things reminiscent of Son House's style that it's probably a song Robert learned from him. The rhythm, with the short rest before each vocal phrase, has the same work-gang phrasing that Son used in a number of his songs. These songs were so closely linked to their work-gang roots that they were still phrased with that short pause left for what was probably an (pick)axe blow. Chopping songs recorded in southern prisons have this same characteristic form of a short vocal line, the (pick)axes lifting while the songster sings the phrase, then the sharp noise of the (pick)axes hitting the (ground) tree, all of it in a steady, slow rhythm that a strong chain-gang could keep up for hours;
Note 1: only meaning for Elgin I found in was a place in Illinois. However Scott Niedentohl suggests: "I think he's talking about an Elgin watch or clock. It 's a brand name. She's got a real fine, real smooth "movement" - like a fine watch." Thanks to Scott for this contribution. Any idea's on Scott's suggestion?. If so or if anyone knows another more likely meaning, please mail me,


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