by catherine yronwode

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TITLE: Hoodoo Blues
SINGER: Chicago String Band (Carl Martin, Johnny Young, John Lee Granderson, John Wrencher)
DATE OF REC.: 18 June 1966, Chicago
ORIGINAL ISSUE(S): Testament LP 2220
by The Chicago String Band

I believe, somebody's done hoodoo'd poor me
I believe, somebody's done hoodoo'd poor me
Every card I pick's the first one that falls,
dice won't do nothing but two, twelves, and three

When you've got a good woman, you can get every no-good babe in town
When you've got a good woman, you can get every no-good babe in town
And when you lose that good woman,
all those no-good dames, they'll throw you down

Yes, she's not good looking, I swear, but she's got such affectionate ways
Yes, she's not so good looking, yes, but she's got such affectionate ways
Good looks don't mean a thing,
kind treatment is only what counts these days

Lord, did you ever get the blues, steal away from your friends and cry?
Yes, did you ever get the blues, steal away from your friends and cry?
That's a bitter pill to swallow,
just as sure as you are born to die
TRANSCRIBED BY: Chris Smith ( Sep 18 2000, Thanks to Alan Balfour ( for a tape; slight orthographical changes to transcription made by cat yronwode 30 Sep 2000.

DISCOGRAPHY BY: Alan Balfour (

COMMENTS BY CAT: This is an unusually specific use of the word "hoodoo" in a blues song; the singer is complaining that someone has "cut off his luck" or jinxed him at gambling.

FURTHER INFORMATION: The following web pages can be consulted for more details about the topics referenced in this song:
V.1 hoodoo (meaning to jinx)
V.1 crossing or jinxing
V.1 gambler's luck

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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