by catherine yronwode

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TITLE: Don't Put That Thing On Me
MATRIX NO.: Matrix 57174-2
SINGER: Clifford Gibson, v./g.
DATE OF REC.: NYC 26 November 1929
ORIGINAL ISSUE(S): Victor V38572, Bluebird B5110, Sunrise S3193
REISSUE(S): Alabama Blues, 1927 - 1931 (Yazoo) [See Note below.]
TRANSCRIPTION: catherine yronwode
by Clifford Gibson

Don't put that thing on me,
Don't put that thing on me,
I swear, I'll be good, kind Mama,
Don't put that thing on me

Don't care what you say,
Don't what you do,
You sure can't quit your woman
If she put that thing on you

She put that thing on you,
She puts it on you right,
You can't eat when you get hungry, partner,
And you can't sleep at night

You can't sleep at night,
You can't sleep at night,
You can't eat when you get hungry, partner,
And you can't sleep at night

I asked a maried woman,
To let me be her kid,
She said she'd swear she'd put that thing on me
And i couldn't keep it hid

I couldn't keep it hid,
I couldn't keep it hid,
She said she'd swear she'd put that thing on me
And i couldn't keep it hid

My woman quit me,
Found her another man,
And the way she had that thing on me
I couldn't raise my hand

Now from my exerience,
I give you your advice:
If you got a good woman, partner,
You'd better treat her right

You'd better treat her right,
You'd better treat her right,
If you got a good woman, partner,
You'd better treat her rught
TRANSCRIBED by catherine yronwode ( 21 Mar 2006

DISCOGRAPHY BY: Chris Smith ( 21 Mar 2006

COMMENTS BY CAT: Although "that thing" is never named, the idiomatic phrase "don't put that thing on me" refers to a specific form of conjure in which a hoodoo uses physical means -- generally a powder containing minerals, roots, and herbs -- to curse or jinx the victim, often, specifically, the victim's sex life. See the same phrase in Hoodoo Lady by Memphis Minnie (Lizzie Douglas) (1936).

NOTE ON THE YAZOO RE-ISSUE BY CHRIS SMITH: "Despite the title, 'Alabama Blues, 1927 - 1931' Clifford Gibson was from St. Louis (though born in Kentucky); Alabama was a speculation on Yazoo's part, based on his having accompanied Alabamian Ed 'Sluefoot Joe' Bell on a circa June 1929 session for QRS." (To which i'd like to add that Gibson's delicately high-pitched guitar work strongly resembles that of his Saint Louis contemporary Charley Jordan. --cat)

FURTHER INFORMATION: The following web pages can be consulted for more details about the topics referenced in this song:
V.1 - V.7 that thing (conjure)
V.1 - V.7 that thing (a jinx, crossing, mess, or trick)
V.1 - V.7 spells of female domination to control a man
V.1 - V.7 the use of body fluids in hoodoo to control a man's sexuality

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS: Individual acknowledgements for transcriptions and discographical data appear on each song-page, but i want to note that this Blues Lyrics and Hoodoo archive would never have been possible without the contributions of Gorgen Antonsson, who generously shared with me the format and content of his own personal lyrics archive, and Alan Balfour and Chris Smith, who have devoted a great deal of time to supplying me with tapes, transcribed lyrics, and detailed discographical information. Additionally, i wish to thank the kind members of the prewar blues e-list who have aided my research in innumerable ways. If you have missing data to supply, hear a substantially different take on a transcription, or want to let me know about a song that has been overlooked in these pages, please contact me through the prewar blues e-list:

COPYRIGHT NOTICE: Due to certain social, economic, and political paradigms in place at the time of their composition, many early blues songs were improperly copyrighted or not copyrighted at all. Many bore no composer credits. Many were ripped off by unethical music publishers who falsely claimed authorship and copyrighted them in their own names. Many that were once copyright-protected are now in the public domain due to publishers' or composers' failures to properly renew the copyrights. Many have since been ripped off by unethical performers or music publishers who have pretended to be the composers for the purpose of securing a belated copyright or who have claimed "arranger's" credits on songs they falsely swore were "traditional" when in fact the songs were composed by the people who originally performed them on record. It is my sincere belief that the song transcribed on this page bears the implied moral copyright of its composer, whoever that may be. If you believe that you control the copyright by virtue of authorship or legal legerdemain, you may contact me in a civil and polite manner and i will attempt in good faith to satisfy your needs in the matter of obtaining formal permission to quote the lyrics in this scholarly publication.

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