by catherine yronwode

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TITLE: I Ain't Superstitious
SINGER: Willie Dixon
COMPOSER(S): possibly Washboard Sam
DATE OF REC.: 1962
by Willie Dixon

Well, I ain't superstitious, black cat just cross my trail
Well, I ain't superstitious, oh the black cat just cross my trail
Don't sweep me with no broom, I might get put in jail

When my right hand itches, I gets money for sure
When my right hand itches, I gets money for sure
But, when my left eye jumps, somebody's got to go

Well, I ain't superstitious, black cat just cross my trail
Well, I ain't superstitious, black cat just cross my trail
Don't sweep me with no broom, I just might get put in jail

Well, the dogs are howlin', all over the neighborhood
Whoa, the dogs are howlin', all over the neighborhood
That is true sign of death, baby, that ain't no good

Well, I'm not superstitious, but that black cat cross my trail
Well, I'm not superstitious, a black cat cross my trail
Don't sweep me with no broom, I just might get put in jail
TRANSCRIBED by catherine yronwode ( 30 Sep 2006

COMMENTS BY CAT: This well-known compilation of bad omen beliefs was first sung by Washboard Sam in 1938 as "Suspicious Blues," then covered by Jazz Gillum in 1947 as "The Blues What Am." In 1962 Willie Dixon slightly rewrote the lyrics and recorded it under the title "I Ain't Superstitious." On the re-make, Dixon credited himself as the composer, which is not strictly true, as a comparison among the three versions will reveal. The unfortunate omens themselves (in both versions) are a mixture of Anglo-Irish and African American beliefs, and are more or less self-explanatory. Dixon's version was later covered by the Rolling Stones, with lyrics that strayed a great deal from Gillum's and Dixon's catalogue of bad signs and attempted to portray a narrative about an extramarital love affair.

FURTHER INFORMATION: The following web pages can be consulted for more details about the topics referenced in this song:
V.1, V.3, V.5 black cat

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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