by catherine yronwode

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TITLE: The Duck Yas-Yas-Yas
MATRIX NO.: C-3485-
SINGER: Tampa Red [with Georgia Tom Dorsey]
DATE OF REC.: 13 May 1929
ORIGINAL ISSUE(S): Vocalion 1277
REISSUE(S): Yazoo L-1039
by Tampa Red and Georgia Tom Dorsey

Mama bought a rooster, she thought it was a duck.
She brought him to the table with his legs straight up.
In came the children with the cup and a glass,
To catch the liquor from his yas yas yas.

Babe, oh, babe, have you ever been to Spain?
See those hoodoo women, shakin' that thing.
They got rings on their fingers, bells on their toes.
What they've got good, babe, nobody knows.

I'm goin' down Market Street,
Where the men and women all do meet.
That's where the men do the Georgia Rub,
Women fall in line with a big washtub.

Me and my gal walkin' down the street.
She caught the rheumatism in her feet.
She stooped over to pick some grass,
And the same thing struck her in the yas yas yas.

You catch the train you call Forty-Nine,
carries you down to Caroline.
You catch the train you call Forty-Eight,
Takes you right in to the Golden Gate.

You shake your shoulders, you shake 'em fast.
You can't your shoulders, shake your yas yas yas.
Drink some rooster soup before going to bed.
Wake up in the mornin', find your own self dead.

Down on Morgan there's a good location,
Right there next to a gasoline station.
That's where you'll get your car's oil and grease.
Women cryin', "Honey, won't you come in, please."

I'm gonna sing this verse, ain't gonna sing no more.
Somebody's knockin' on my door.
The people upstairs have gone to bed.
I'd better stop that noise 'fore they crack my head.
TRANSCRIBED BY: Gorgen Antonsson (, 6 Feb 1995

DISCOGRAPHY BY: Gorgen Antonsson (, 6 Feb 1995

PRINTED TRANSCRIPTIONS: R.R. Macleod. // In: Macleod, R.R.: Yazoo 21-83, Edinburgh : PAT Publications, 1992, p. 183-184

EARLIER RECORDINGS: James Stump Johnson: "The Duck-Yas-Yas-Yas" (c. Jan 1929)

LATER RECORDINGS: James "Stump" Johnson: "The Duck's Yas-Yas-Yas (16 Nov 1929)

RELATED LYRICS: V. 2: "rings on their fingers..." (from a nursery rhyme)

COMMENTS BY CAT YRONWODE: There's only a peripheral mention of "hoodoo women" here, and why they are in Spain, i really don't know! Also, i have no idea what is going on with those twin James "Stump" Johnson entries with different dates (supplied by Gorgen), so until some discography buff comments, i'll just leave them as-is.

FURTHER INFORMATION: The following web pages can be consulted for more details about the topics referenced in this song:
V.2 hoodoo women

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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