by catherine yronwode

Return to BLUES LYRICS and HOODOO Index

Return to HOODOO IN THEORY AND PRACTICE Table of Contents

TITLE: Jim Tampa Blues
MATRIX NO.: 4672-2
SINGER: Lucille Bogan, spoken comments by Papa Charlie Jackson
DATE OF REC.: c. June 1927, Chicago, IL
ORIGINAL ISSUE(S): Paramount 12504
REISSUE(S): Yazoo L 1017 ...
by Lucille Bogan

Hey, Jim Tampa, hey, Jim Tampa
Hey, Jim Tampa, you treat your woman so mean
You treat your tommies like a woman you ain't never seen.

Womens all know my man, call him Mister Tampa Long
(spoken)        Why shouldn't they call me? They know my name.
Womens all know my man, call him Mister Tampa Long
He made so much money, women, when the weather was warm
(spoken)        Ah no, I ain't made no money in my life.

My man's got five womens, I can call 'em by their natural names
He's got five womens, call them by their natural names
(spoken)        Lord, I don't know how they do it.
And all them repeaters sound just the same
(spoken)        I ain't just the same, though, no, no.

It must be a black cat bone, jomo can't work that hard
(spoken)        Oh, what is a jomo anyhow? Tell me.
It must be a black cat bone, jomo can't work that hard
(spoken)        What kind of a thing is it?
Every time I wake up, Jim Tampa's in my yard.

I can stand right here, five miles down the road
I can stand right here, five miles down the road
Yeah, to get in the way Jim Tampa used to go.

TRANSCRIBED BY: Chris Smith ( 18 Sep 2000
and Gorgen Antonsson ( 10 Sep 1994

PRINTED TRANSCRIPTIONS: R.R. Macleod, in Macleod, R.R.: Yazoo 1-20. Edinburgh: PAT Publications, 1988, p. 240

DISCOGRAPHY BY: Gorgen Antonsson ( 10 Sep 1994

COMMENTS BY CAT YRONWODE: This song has proven difficult to transcribe, due to Lucille Bogan's slurring of the lyrics. It also contains some words unfamiliar to listeners who don't regularly listen with pre-War rural blues. "Jomo" is covered below, but "tommies" in V.1 may need explanation: it is a regional Southern American variant of doanies, and it is also encountered in other blues lyrics as "tonies" or, if spelled "tommies," is often pronounced toe-meez. Doany is an Elizabethan English word meaning "streetwalker" or "whore." (Robert Johnson uses the phrase "you're a no-good doany; they shouldn't 'llow you on the street" in his famous song, "Dust My Broom," and it is frequently changed into another word by singers who don't recognize it as English.)

It is my belief that the Chris Smith transcription given above is the best possible version, but to be fair to others who have attempted the task, here is a brief log of variant readings. It is also worth noting that Bob Macleod freely concedes that some of his early transcriptions were not altogether accurate, so although this one did appear in print, he may no longer endorse it as the best possible interpretation.


v. 3:1: ... womens, I can call 'em ... (GA and CS)
v. 3:1: ... women and he calls 'em ... (RRM)

v. 3 sp 1: Lord, I don't know how they do it (CS)
v. 3 sp 1: No, I don't know [?] these women (GA)
v. 3 sp 1: No, Lord, I don't know five of these women (RRM)

v. 3 sp 2: ... same, though, no, no (CS)
v. 3 sp 2: ... same, no, no, no (GA)
v. 3 sp 2: ... same, good Lord, no (RRM)

v. 4 sp 1: Oh, what is a jomo anyhow? Tell me. (GA and CS)
v. 4 sp 1: Woman, what did you spell me for anyhow? tell me. (RRM)

v. 4 sp 2: What kind of a thing is it? (CS)
v. 4 sp 2: What kind of a thing is this thing? (GA)
v. 4 sp 2: What kind of thing are you accusin' me of? (RRM)

v. 5:1: I can stand right here ... (GA and CS)
v. 5:1: I can stay on right here... (RRM)

v. 5:2: Yeah, to get in the way ... (CS)
v. 5:2: Eh, look in the way ... (GA)
v. 5:2: Earn again the way ... (RRM)

FURTHER INFORMATION: The following web pages can be consulted for more details about the topics referenced in this song:
V.4 jomo
V.4 black cat bone forcing lover to return
V.4 jomo as a variant of mojo

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.

SEARCH THIS SITE: a local search engine and a named link to each Lucky Mojo page
Lucky Mojo Site Map: a descriptive entry-level index to the whole Lucky Mojo pile
Lucky W Amulet Archive Home Page: an online museum of folk-magic charms
Sacred Sex Home Page: essays on tantra yoga, karezza, sex magic, and sex worship
The Sacred Landscape Home Page: essays on archaeoastronomy and sacred geometry
Freemasonry for Women Home Page: a history of mixed-gender Freemasonic lodges
The Lucky Mojo Curio Co.: manufacturers of spiritual supplies for hoodoo and conjure
The Comics Warehouse: a source for back-issues of comic books and trading cards
catherine yronwode, the eclectic and eccentric author of all the above web pages
nagasiva yronwode: tyaginator, nigris (333), nocTifer, lorax666, boboroshi, !
The Lucky Mojo Esoteric Archive: captured internet files on occult and spiritual topics

copyright © 1995-2003 catherine yronwode. All rights reserved.
Send your comments to: cat yronwode.