by catherine yronwode

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TITLE: Policy Blues
SINGER: Blind (Arthur) Blake
COMPOSER(S): Blind (Arthur) Blake
DATE OF REC.: December, 1930 Grafton, Wisconsin
TRANSCRIPTION: catherine yronwode, Tony Whetstone, Alan Balfour
by Blind Blake

Numbers, numbers 'bout to drive me mad
Numbers, numbers 'bout to drive me mad
Thinkin' about the money that i should have had

I dreamed last night the woman i loved was dead
I dreamed last night the woman i loved was dead
If i'd have played the Dead Row i'd have come out ahead

I acted the fool and played on 3, 6, 9
I act' the fool and played on 3, 6, 9
Lost my money and that gal of mine

I played on Clearing-House, couldn't make the grade
I played on Clearing-House, couldn't make the grade
Lord, think of the money that i should have made

I begged my baby to let me in her door
I begged my baby let me in her door
Wanted to put my 25, 50, 75 in her 7, 17, 24

I want 15, 50, and 51
I want 15, 50, and 51
I'm gon' keep playin' policy 'til some good luck come
TRANSCRIBED BY: catherine yronwode, with help from Tony Whetstone ( and Alan Balfour (


FURTHER INFORMATION: The following web pages can be consulted for more details about the topics referenced in this song:
v.1 - v.6 Policy numbers dream books

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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