by catherine yronwode

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Note: I have placed the trasncriptions for two versions of this song
(recorded at the same session in 1942) on one page as they vary in lyrical content.

TITLE: The Jinx Blues [No. 1]
SINGER: Son House
DATE OF REC.: 17 July 1942
by Son House

Mmmm-mmmm-mmmm, mmm-mmmm-mmmm-mmmm
Mmmm-mmmm-mmmm, mmm-mmmm-mmmm-mmmm

Well, I got up this mornin', jinx all 'round
          jinx all 'round, 'round my bed,
I said, I got up this mornin' with the jinx all round my bed
Know I thought about you and, honey, and it like to kill me dead

Mmmm, look a here now, baby, what you want me,
          what you want me, me to do?
Look a here, honey, I say, what do you want poor me to do?
You know i done all the co'rtin' just tryin' to get along with you

You know the blues ain't nothing but a low down shaking,
          low down shakin', achin' chill
I said the blues is a low down ol' aching chill
Well, if you ain't had 'em, honey, I hope you never will

Well, blues, blues, is a worried heart,
          is a worried heart, heart disease
Oh, the blues is a worried ol' heart disease
Know, 'clare the woman you be lovin', man, is so doggone hard to please

Mmm, I rather be outdoors, walkin' up,
          walkin' up, and down the road
I said, I'd rather be outdoors, I said, walkin' up and down the road
Than to be layin' 'round here workin' just for my boa'd and clothes

Mmm, look a here, little girl, don't you cry,
          don't you cry, cry no more
I said, look a here, darlin', honey, don't you try to cry no more,
Well, when I leave this time, I'm gonna hang crepe on your door

TITLE: The Jinx Blues [No. 2]
SINGER: Son House
DATE OF REC.: 17 July 1942
REISSUE(S): Roots RSE 1 = Folklyric 9002, Roots RL 302
by Son House

Mm, now, baby, I sure won't be a burden.

Well, I got up this mornin' with the jinx all 'round,
          jinx all 'round, 'round my bed
I said I woke up this mornin' with the, with the jinx all round my bed
You know I thought about you now, baby, and it would like to kill me dead

You know, I woke up this mornin' just at the break,
          just at the break, break of day
I said, soon this mornin', I said just about the break of day
You know I was huggin' the pillow where my good gal used to lay

You know, ain't it terrible layin' down,
          layin' down, by yourself
Now, ain't terrible, I said, layin' down by yourself
Now, said the blues got you, whoo, and your woman got somebody else

You know, the sun's goin' down behind the western,
          behind the western, western hill
I said, hey, the sun is goin' down, I said, behind that old western hill
You know, I don't practice nothing, not against my baby's will

It looked like you wanted me, while I was lovin',
          while I was lovin' and, lovin' and kind
I said, it looked like you wanted me, I said, while I was lovin' and kind
But someday you gonna want me, whoo, baby,
          and I'll be done changed my mind

You know I went in my room, sat down,
          sat down, and I cried
I said I went in my room, I sat down, and then I cried
Well, I didn't have no blues, I just wasn't satisfied

Mm, minutes seem like hours, hours seem,
          hours seem like, seem like days
I said the minutes seem like hours, and the hours, they seem like days
Well, it seems like my baby oughta stop her lowdown ways

Mm, I believe I'll go to the Gypsy, have my fortune,
          have my fortune, fortune told
I believe I'll go to the Gypsy, I said I'm gonna have my fortune told
You know, I kinda believe somebody is tryin' to steal my jelly roll
TRANSCRIBED by catherine yronwode ( 30 Sep 2000 (1930s? version)
David Colebeck (1942 version) // From: Blues world. No 19 (1968), p. 31-32; only orthographical changes by Gorgen Antonsson (

DISCOGRAPHY BY: Alan Balfour ( 4 Nov 2000

COMMENTS BY CAT YRONWODE: In some ways this "Jinx Blues" lyric is fairly standard, with its reliance on two floating verses ("I woke up this mornin' with the jinx all round my bed" and going "to the Gypsy to have my fortune told") -- but it is also unique in that PArt 2 marks the earliest and only song reference in my collection to hoodoo root work as "practicing" -- in verse 4: "You know, I don't practice nothing, not against my baby's will."
This is a usage that was common in the 1960s, when i first heard it ("She's practicing that stuff, i know that for a fact"), and it is still common among my African-American clientele ("My Grandmother used to practice, and my Mama too, so i came by it naturally"), but so far i have not run across it in a blues song other than this one by Son House.

FURTHER INFORMATION: The following web pages can be consulted for more details about the topics referenced in this song:
V.1 (both versions) jinx (crossing and jinxing)
V.8 (1942 version) Gypsy

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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