by catherine yronwode

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TITLE: Hootin' Owl Blues
MATRIX NO.: E-22064
SINGER: Dolly Ross V; unk as; Porter Grainger, p; unk chimes.
DATE OF REC.: c. 22 March 1927, New York City
ORIGINAL ISSUE(S): Brunswick 7005
by Dolly Ross:

Midnight on a Sunday, and the clock struck thirteen times,
It was midnight on a Sunday, and the clock struck thirteen times;
I was scared and I was frightened, 'cause I sure believe them signs.

Lord, I heard the owl a-hootin', I knowed somebody was 'bout to die,
Said, I heard the owl a-hootin', I knowed somebody was 'bout to die;
Put my head down 'neath the covers, started in to moan and cry.

Then early in the morning, the picture on the wall fell down,
It was early in the morning, the picture on the wall fell down;
And 'tain't no use in talkin', somebody sure is graveyard bound.

Hound dogs started howlin', somebody's sure to leave this land,
Hound dogs started howlin', somebody's sure to leave this land;
Take who you want to, Lordy, but please don't take away my man.

Lord, I knows I'm black and ugly, but he's so doggone good and fine,
I knows I'm black and ugly, but he's so doggone good and fine;
Lord, take 'most anybody, but please don't take this man of mine.
TRANSCRIBED BY Chris Smith ( Sep 21 2000

DISCOGRAPHY BY Chris Smith ( Sep 21 2000

COMMENTS BY CAT YRONWODE: This is one of several similar "bad luck omen list" songs, most sung by women. See also "Black Cat Hoot Owl Blues" by Ma Rainey, "Screech Owl Blues" by Ma Rainey, and "Spider's Nest Blues" by Hattie Hart and The Memphis Jug Band. For a song of this type by a man, see "The Blues What Am" by Jazz Gillum.

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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