by catherine yronwode

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TITLE: Hoodoo Women
MATRIX NO.: 62654-A
SINGER: Johnnie Temple (with the Harlem Hamfats)
DATE OF REC.: 6 Oct 1937
REISSUE(S): Document DOCD-5238
Johnnie Temple

Well, I went out on the mountain,
        looked over in Jerusalem
Well, I went out on the mountain,
        looked over in Jerusalem
Well, I'd see them hoodoo women, hooo, Lord,
        makin' up their lowdown plan

Well, I'm going to Newport,
        just to see Aunt Caroline Dye
Well, I'm going to Newport,
        just to see Aunt Caroline Dye
She's a fortune teller, hooo, Lord,
        she sure don't tell no lie

And she told my fortune,
        as I walked through her door
And she told my fortune,
        as I walked through her door
Said, "I'm sorry for you, buddy, hooo, Lord,
        the woman don't want you no more"

Yes, I turned around,
        said, "I believe I'll go downtown"
Yes, I turned around,
        said, "I believe I'll go downtown
"To Chicago River, hooo, Lord,
        and jump overboard and drown"

The hoodoo said, "Son,
        please, don't act no clown"
The hoodoo said, "Son,
        please, don't act no clown,
"Because it's a many more women, hooo, Lord,
        layin' around in this no-good town"

The hoodoo is all right,
        in they lowdown plan
The hoodoo is all right,
        in they lowdown plan
But they will take your woman, hooo, Lord,
        and put her with another man.
TRANSCRIBED BY: Gorgen Antonsson (, 13 Sep 1997
with very minor changes by cat yronwode 23 oct 2000

DISCOGRAPHY BY: Gorgen Antonsson (, 13 Sep 1997

RELATED LYRICS: "Aunt Caroline Dyer Blues" by the Memphis Jug Band (Will Shade), 1930
("I'm going to Newport News, just to see Aunt Caroline Dye")

LITERATURE: Paul Oliver, "Conversation with the Blues"; Harry M. Hyatt, "Hoodoo - Conjuration - Witchcraft - Rootwork."

WEB PAGE CITATION: Catherine Yronwode: Hoodoo in Theory and Practice:
Aunt Caroline Dye

COMMENTS BY CAT YRONWODE: This song is about a real woman, Aunt Caroline Dye of Newport, Arkansas. In an interview with Paul Oliver, Will Shade (see below) implicitely criticized Johnnie Temple for stealing some of the lyrics for "Hoodoo Women" from Shade's "Aunt Caroline Dyer Blues" of seven years earlier.

COMMENTS BY WILL SHADE: "Aunt Caroline Dye was a
fortune-tellin' woman. See, 'Aunt Caroline Dye, she's a fortune-tellin' woman, never tol' no lie' -- I made that up, my own right, my own song; nobody knowed it but me.

COMMENTS BY CAT YRONWODE: Regarding the geography of this song, Newport and Jerusalem are both towns in Arkansas, and Caroline Dye did indeed live in Newport. Johnnie Temple was living in Chacago at the time he recorded this song, and his mention of jumping into the Chicago River would seemingly refer to that city.

FURTHER INFORMATION: The following web pages can be consulted for more details about the topics referenced in this song:
V.1 hoodoo women (meaning practitioners)
V.2 Aunt Caroline Dye
V.2 fortune-telling woman

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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