African American Poetry (1870-1928): A Digital Anthology

Langston Hughes, "Fine Clothes to the Jew" (1927) (Full Text)

This digital edition of Hughes' poetry derives from a version on HathiTrust. It was cleaned up from OCR page image scans and formatted by Kate Hennessey in spring 2024.  The original page images can be viewed here



Langston Hughes, "Fine Clothes to the Jew" (1927) (Full Text)

FINE CLOTHES TO THE JEW
BY
LANGSTON HUGHES
1927
ALFRED A KNOPF
NEW YORK

CONTENTS
A Note on Blues

BLUES
Hey!
Hard Luck
Misery
Suicide
Bad Man
Gypsy Man
Po’ Boy Blues
Homesick Blues

RAILROAD AVENUE
Railroad Avenue
Brass Spitoons
Ruby Brown
The New Cabaret Girl
Closing Time
Prize Fighter
Crap Game
Ballad of Gin Mary
Death of Do Dirty
Elevator Boy
Porter
Sport
Saturday Night

GLORY! HALLELUIAH!
Judgment Day
Prayer Meeting
Feet o' Jesus
Prayer
Shout
Fire
Moan
Angels Wings
Sinner

BEALE STREET LOVE
Beale Street Love
Cora
Workin' Man
Bad Luck Card
Baby
Evil Woman
A Ruined Gal
Minnie Sings Her Blues
Dressed Up
Black Gal

FROM THE GEORGIA ROADS
Sun Song
Magnolia Flowers
Mulatto
Red Silk Stockings
Jazz Band in a Parisian Cabaret
Song For a Dark Girl
Mammy
Laughers

AND BLUES
Lament Over Love
Gal's Cry For a Dying Lover
Young Gal's Blues
Midwinter Blues
Listen Here Blues
Hard Daddy
Bound No'th Blues
Ma Man
Hey! Hey!

A NOTE ON BLUES
The first eight and the last nine poems in this book are
written after the manner of the Negro folk-songs known
as Blues. The Blues, unlike the Spirituals, have a strict
poetic pattern: one long line repeated and a third line to
rhyme with the first two. Sometimes the second line in
repetition is slightly changed and sometimes, but very
seldom, it is omitted. The mood of the Blues is almost
always despondency, but when they are sung people laugh.


BLUES 

HEY!

Sun's a settin',
This is what I'm gonna sing.
Sun's a settin';
This is what I'm gonna sing:
I feels de blues a comin',
Wonder what de blues'll bring?


HARD LUCK

When hard luck overtakes you
Nothin' for you to do.
When hard luck overtakes you
Nothin' for you to do.
Gather up yo' fine clothes
An' sell 'em to de Jew.

Jew takes yo' fine clothes,
Gives you a dollar an' a half.
Jew takes yo' fine clothes,
Gives you a dollar an' a half.
Go to de bootleg's,
Git some gin to make you laugh.

If I was a mule I'd
Git me a waggon to haul.
If I was a mule I'd
Git a waggon to haul.
I'm so low-down I
Ain't even got a stall.


MISERY

Play de blues for me.
Play de blues for me.
No other music
'Ll ease ma misery.

Sing a soothin' song.
Said a soothin' song,
Cause de man I love's done
Done me wrong.

Can't you understand,
O, understand
A good woman's cryin'
For a no-good man?

Black gal like me,
Black gal like me
'S got to hear a blues
For her misery.


SUICIDE

Ma sweet good man has
Packed his trunk and left.
Ma sweet good man has
Packed his trunk and left.
Nobody to love me:
I'm gonna kill ma self.

I'm gonna buy me a knife with
A blade ten inches long.
Gonna buy a knife with
A blade ten inches long.
Shall I carve ma self or
That man that done me wrong?

'Lieve I'll jump in de river
Eighty-nine feet deep.
'Lieve I'll jump in de river
Eighty-nine feet deep.
Cause de river's quiet
An' a po', po' gal can sleep.


BAD MAN

I'm a bad, bad man
Cause everbody tells me so.
I'm a bad, bad man.
Everbody tells me so.
I takes ma meanness and ma licker
Everwhere I go.

I beats ma wife an'
I beats ma side gal too.
Beats ma wife an'
Beats ma side gal too.
Don't know why I do it but
It keeps me from feelin' blue.

I'm so badI
Don't even want to be good.
So bad, bad, badI
Don't even want to be good.
I'm goin' to de devil an'
I wouldn't go to heaben if I could.


GYPSY MAN

Ma man's a gypsy
Cause he never does come home.
Ma man's a gypsy, – 
He never does come home.
I'm gonna be a gypsy woman
Fer I can't stay here alone.

Once I was in Memphis,
I mean Tennessee.
Once I was in Memphis,
Said Tennessee.
But I had to leave cause
Nobody there was good to me.

I met a yellow papa,
He took ma last thin dime.
Met a yellow papa,
He took ma last thin dime.
I give it to him cause I loved him
But I'll have mo' sense next time.

Love, Oh, love is
Such a strange disease.
Love, Oh, love is
Such a strange disease.
When it hurts yo' heart you
Sho can't find no ease.


PO' BOY BLUES

When I was home de
Sunshine seemed like gold.
When I was home de
Sunshine seemed like gold.
Since I come up North de
Whole damn world's turned cold.

I was a good boy,
Never done no wrong.
Yes, I was a good boy,
Never done no wrong,
But this world is weary
An' de road is hard an' long.

I fell in love with
A gal I thought was kind.
Fell in love with
A gal I thought was kind.
She made me lose ma money
An' almost lose ma mind.

Weary, weary,
Weary early in de morn.
Weary, weary,
Early, early in de morn.
I's so weary
I wish I'd never been born.


HOMESICK BLUES

De railroad bridge's
A sad song in de air.
De railroad bridge's
A sad song in de air.
Ever time de trains pass
I wants to go somewhere.

I went down to de station.
Ma heart was in ma mouth.
Went down to de station,
Heart was in ma mouth.
Lookin' for a box car
To roll me to de South.

Homesick blues, Lawd,
'S a terrible thing to have.
Homesick blues is
A terrible thing to have.
To keep from cryin'
I opens ma mouth an' laughs.



RAILROAD AVENUE

RAILROAD AVENUE

Dusk dark
On Railroad Avenue.
Lights in the fish joints,
Lights in the pool rooms.
A box-car some train
Has forgotten
In the middle of the
Block.
A player piano,
A victrola.
   942
   Was the number.
A boy
Lounging on a corner.
A passing girl
With purple powdered skin.
   Laughter
   Suddenly
   Like a taut drum.
   Laughter
   Suddenly
   Neither truth nor lie.
   Laughter
Hardening the dusk dark evening.
   Laughter
Shaking the lights in the fish joints,
Rolling white balls in the pool rooms,
And leaving untouched the box-car
Some train has forgotten.


BRASS SPITOONS

Clean the spitoons, boy.
   Detroit,
   Chicago,
   Atlantic City,
   Palm Beach.
Clean the spitoons.
The steam in hotel kitchens,
And the smoke in hotel lobbies,
And the slime in hotel spitoons:
Part of my life.
   Hey, boy!
   A nickel,
   A dime,
   A dollar
Two dollars a day.
   Hey, boy!
   A nickel,
   A dime,
   A dollar,
   Two dollars
Buys shoes for the baby.
House rent to pay.
Gin on Saturday,
Church on Sunday.
   My God!
Babies and gin and church
and women and Sunday
all mixed up with dimes and
dollars and clean spitoons
and house rent to pay.
   Hey, boy!
A bright bowl of brass is beautiful to the Lord.
Bright polished brass like the cymbals
Of King David's dancers,
Like the wine cups of Solomon.
   Hey, boy!
A clean spitoon on the altar of the Lord.
A clean bright spitoon all newly polished, –
At least I can offer that.
Com’ mere, boy!


RUBY BROWN

She was young and beautiful
And golden like the sunshine
That warmed her body.
And because she was colored
Mayville had no place to offer her,
Nor fuel for the clean flame of joy
That tried to burn within her soul.

One day,
Sitting on old Mrs. Latham's back porch
Polishing the silver,
She asked herself two questions
And they ran something like this:
What can a colored girl do
On the money from a white woman's kitchen?
And ain't there any joy in this town?

Now the streets down by the river
Know more about this pretty Ruby Brown,
And the sinister shuttered houses of the bottoms
Hold a yellow girl
Seeking an answer to her questions.
The good church folk do not mention
Her name any more.

But the white men,
Habitués of the high shuttered houses,
Pay more money to her now
Than they ever did before,
When she worked in their kitchens.


THE NEW CABARET GIRL

That little yaller gal
Wid blue-green eyes:
If her daddy ain't white
Would be a surprise.

She don't drink gin
An' she don't like corn.
I asked her one night
Where she was born.

An' she say, Honey,
I don't know
Where I come from
Or where I go.

That crazy little yaller gal
Wid blue-green eyes:
If her daddy ain't 'fay
Would be a surprise.

An' there she sets a cryin'
In de cabaret
A lookin' all sad
When she ought to play.

My God, I says,
You can't live that way!
Babe, you can't
Live that way!


CLOSING TIME

Starter!

   Her face is pale
   In the doorway light.
   Her lips blood red
   And her skin blue white.

Taxi!

   I'm tired.

Deep ... River… 
   O, God, please!

The river and the moon hold memories.

   Cornets play.
   Dancers whirl.
   Death, be kind

   What was the cover charge, kid?

To a little drowned girl.


PRIZE FIGHTER

Only dumb guys fight.
   If I wasn't dumb
   I wouldn't be fightin'.
   I could make six dollars a day
   On the docks
   And I'd save more than I do now.
Only dumb guys fight.


CRAP GAME

Lemme roll 'em, boy.
I got ma tail curled!
If a seven don't come
'Leven ain't far away.
An' if I craps,
Dark baby,
Trouble
Don't last all de time.
Hit 'em, bones!


BALLAD OF GIN MARY

Carried me to de court,
Judge was settin' there.
Looked all around me,
Didn't have a friend nowhere.

Judge Pierce he says, Mary.
Old Judge says, Mary Jane,
Ever time I mounts this bench
I sees yo' face again.

O, Lawd!     O, Lawd!
O, Lawd ... Lawdee!
Seems like bad licker,
Judge, won't let me be.

Old Judge says you's a drunkard.
Fact is you worries me.
Gwine give you eighteen months
So licker'll let you be.

Eighteen months in jail !
O, eighteen months locked in!
Won't be so bad in jail.
But I'll' miss ma gin.

O, please sir, Judge, have mercy!
Have mercy, please, on me!
Old hard-faced Judge says eighteen months
Till licker'll let you be.


DEATH OF DO DIRTY: A ROUNDER'S SONG

O, you can't find a buddy
Any old time
'Ll help you out
When you ain't got a dime.

He was a friend o'mine.

They called him Do Dirty,
Cause he was black
An' had cut his gal
An' shot a man in de back.

Ma friend o' mine.

But when I was hungry,
Had nothin' to eat,
He bought me corn bread
An' a stew o' meat.

Good friend o' mine.

An' when de cops got me
An' put me in jail
If Dirty had de money,
He'd go ma bail.

O, friend o'mine.

That night he got kilt
I was standin' in de street.
Somebody comes by
An' says yo' boy is gettin' beat.

Ma friend o mine.

But when I got there
An' seen de ambulance
A guy was sayin'
He ain't got a chance.

Best friend o mine.

An' de ones that kilt him, –
Damn their souls, – 
I'm gonna fill 'em up full o'
Bullet holes.

Ma friend o mine.


ELEVATOR BOY

I got a job now
Runnin' an elevator
In the Dennison Hotel in Jersey.
Job ain't no good though.
No money around.
   Jobs are just chances
   Like everthing else.
   Maybe a little luck now,
   Maybe not.
   Maybe a good job sometimes:
   Step out o' the barrel, boy.
Two new suits an'
A woman to sleep with.
   Maybe no luck for a long time.
   Only the elevators
   Goin' up an' down,
   Up an' down,
   Or somebody elses' shoes
   To shine,
   Or greasy pots in a dirty kitchen.
I been runnin' this
Elevator too long
Guess I'll quit now.


PORTER

I must say
Yes, sir,
To you all the time, .
Yes, sir!
Yes, sir!
All my days
Climbing up a great big mountain
Of yes, sirs!

Rich old white man
Owns the world.
Gimme yo' shoes
To shine.

Yes, sir!


SPORT

Life
For him
Must be
The shivering of
A great drum
Beaten with swift sticks
Then at the closing hour
The lights go out
And there is no music at all
And death becomes
An empty cabaret
And eternity an unblown saxophone
And yesterday
A glass of gin
Drunk long
Ago.


SATURDAY NIGHT

Play it once.
O, play some more.
Charlie is a gambler
An' Sadie is a whore.
   A glass o' whiskey
   An' a glass o’ gin:
   Strut, Mr. Charlie,
   Till de dawn comes in.
Pawn yo' gold watch
An' diamond ring.
Git a quart o' licker,
Let's shake dat thing!
   Skee-de-dad!    De-dad!
   Doo-doo-doo!
   Won't be nothin' left
   When de worms git through
   An' you's a long time
   Dead
   When you is
   Dead, too.
So beat dat drum, boy!
Shout dat song:
Shake 'em up an' shake 'em up
All night long
   Hey!    Hey!
   Ho …  Hum!
   Do, it, Mr. Charlie,
   Till de red dawn come.



GLORY! HALLELUIAH!


JUDGMENT DAY

They put ma body in de ground,
Ma soul went flyin' o' de town.

Lord Jesus!

Went flyin' to de stars an' moon
A shoutin' God, I's comin' soon.

O Jesus!

Lord in heaben,
Crown on His head,
Says don't be 'fraid
Cause you ain't dead.

Kind Jesus!

An' now I'm settin' clean an' bright
In de sweet o' ma Lord's sight, – 
   Clean an' bright,
      Clean an' bright.


PRAYER MEETING

Glory!    Halleluiah!
De dawn's a-comin'!
Glory!    Halleluiah!
De dawn's a-comin'!
A black old woman croons
In the amen-corner of the
Ebecanezer Baptist Church.
A black old woman croons, – 
De dawn's a-comin'!


FEET O' JESUS

At de feet o' Jesus,
Sorrow like a sea.
Lordy, let yo' mercy
Come driftin' down on me.

At de feet o' Jesus,
At yo' feet I stand.
O, ma little Jesus,
Please reach out yo' hand.


PRAYER

I ask you this:
Which way to go?
I ask you this:
Which sin to bear?
Which crown to put
Upon my hair?
I do not know,
Lord God,
I do not know,


SHOUT

Listen to yo' prophets,
   Little Jesus!
Listen to yo' saints!


FIRE

Fire,
Fire, Lord!
Fire gonna burn ma soul!

I ain't been good,
I ain't been clean, – 
I been stinkin', low-down, mean.

Fire,
Fire, Lord!
Fire gonna burn ma soul!

Tell me, brother,
Do you believe
If you wanta go to heaben
Got to moan an' ġrieve?

Fire,
Fire, Lord!
Fire gonna burn ma soul!

I been stealin',
Been tellin' lies,
Had more women
Than Pharaoh had wives.

Fire,
Fire, Lord!
Fire gonna burn ma soul!
I means Fire, Lord!
Fire gonna burn ma soul!


MOAN

I'm deep in trouble,
Nobody to understand,
   Lord, Lord!

Deep in trouble,
Nobody to understand,
   O, Lord!

Gonna pray to ma Jesus,
Ask him to gimme His hand.
   Ma Lord!

I'm moanin', moanin',
Nobody cares just why.
   No, Lord!

Moanin', moanin',
Feels like I could die.
   O, Lord!

Sho, there must be peace,
   Ma Jesus,
Somewhere in yo' sky.
   Yes, Lord!


ANGELS WINGS

De angels wings is white as snow,
   O, white as snow,
      White
           as
                snow.
De angels wings is white as snow,
   But I drug ma wings
   In de dirty mire.
   O, I drug ma wings
   All through de fire.
But de angels wings is white as snow,
   White
        as
            snow.


SINNER

Have mercy, Lord!

Po' an' black
An' humble an' lonesome
An' a sinner in yo' sight.

Have mercy, Lord!



BEALE STREET LOVE

BEALE STREET LOVE

Love
Is a brown man's fist
With hard knuckles
Crushing the lips,
Blackening the eyes, – 
Hit me again,
Says Clorinda.


CORA

I broke ma heart this mornin'.
Ain't got no heart no mo'.
Next time a man comes near me
Gonna shut an' lock ma door
Cause they treats em mean, – 
The ones I loves.
They always treats me mean. 


WORKIN' MAN

I works all day
Wid a pick an' a shovel.
Comes home at night, – 
It ain't nothin' but a hovel.

I calls for ma woman
When I opens de door.
She's out in de street, –
Ain't nothin' but a 'hore.

I does her good
An' I treats her fine,
But she don't gimme lovin'
Cause she ain't de right kind.

I'm a hard workin' man
An' I sho pays double
Cause I tries to be good
An' gits nothin' but trouble.


BAD LUCK CARD

Cause you don't love me
Is awful, awful hard.
Gypsy done showed me
Ma bad luck card.

There ain't no good left
In this world for me.
Gypsy done tole me, —
Unlucky as can be.

I don't know what
Po’ weary me can do.
Gypsy says I'd kill ma self
If I was you.


BABY

Albert!
Hey, Albert!
Don't you play in dat road.
   You see dem trucks
   A goin' by.
   One run ovah you
   An' you die.
Albert, don't you play in dat road.


EVIL WOMAN

I ain't gonna mistreat ma
Good gal any more.
I'm just gonna kill her
Next time she makes me sore.

I treats her kind but
She don't do me right.
She fights an' quarrels most
Ever night.

I can't have no woman's
Got such low-down ways,
Cause a blue-gummed woman
Ain't de style now days.

I brought her from de South
An' she's goin' on back
Else I'll use her head
For a carpet tack.


A RUINED GAL

Standin' by de lonesome riverside
After de boat's done gone,
   Po' weary me
   Won't be nobody's bride
   Cause I is long gone wrong.

Standin' by de weary riverside
When de boat comes in,
   Po' lonesome me
   Won't meet nobody
   Cause I ain't got no friend.

By de edge o' de weary riverside
Night-time's comin' down.
   Ain't nothin' for a ruined gal
   But jump overboard an' drown.

O, de lonesome riverside,
O, de wicked water.
   Damn ma black old mammy's soul
   For ever havin' a daughter.


MINNIE SINGS HER BLUES

Cabaret, cabaret!
That's where ma man an' me go.
Cabaret, cabaret!
That's where we go, –
Leaves de snow outside
An' our troubles at de door.

Jazz band, jazz band!
Ma man an' me dance.
When I cuddles up to him
No other gal's got a chance.

Baby, O, Baby,
I'm midnight mad.
If ma daddy didn't love me
It sho would be sad.
If he didn't love me
I'd go away
An' dig me a grave this very day.

Blues  …     blues !
Blue, blue, blues !
I'd sho have them blues.


DRESSED UP

I had ma clothes cleaned
Just like new.
I put 'em on but
I still feels blue.

I bought a new hat,
Sho is fine,
But I wish I had back that
Old gal o’ mine.

I got new shoes, – 
They don't hurt ma feet,
But I ain't got nobody
For to call me sweet.


BLACK GAL

I's always been a workin' girl.
I treated Albert fine.
Ain't cut him wid no razor,
Ain't never been unkind.

Yet it seems like always
Men takes all they can from me
Then they goes an' finds a yaller gal
An' lets me be.

I dressed up Albert Johnson.
I bought him suits o'clothes,
An' soon as he got out de barrel
Then out ma door he goes.

Yet I ain't never been no bad one.
Can't help it cause I'm black.
I hates them rinney yaller gals
An' I wants ma Albert back.
Ma little, short, sweet, brownskin boy, – 
Oh, God, I wants him back!



FROM THE GEORGIA ROADS

SUN SONG

Sun and softness,
Sun and the beaten hardness of the earth,
Sun and the song of all the sun-stars
Gathered together, —
Dark ones of Africa,
bring you my songs
To sing on the Georgia roads.


MAGNOLIA FLOWERS

The quiet fading out of life
In a corner full of ugliness.

I went lookin' for magnolia flowers
But I didn't find 'em.
I went lookin' for magnolia flowers in the dusk
And there was only this corner
Full of ugliness.

'Scuse me,
I didn't mean to stump ma toe on you, lady.
There ought to be magnolias
Somewhere in this dusk.

'Scuse me,
I didn't mean to stump ma toe on you.


MULATTO

I am your son, 'white man!

Georgia dusk
And the turpentine woods.
One of the pillars of the temple fell.

You are my son!
like hell!

The moon over the turpentine woods.
The Southern night
Full of stars,
Great big yellow stars.
Juicy bodies
Of n***** wenches
Blue black
Against black fences.
O, you little bastard boy,
What's a body but a toy?
The scent of pine wood stings the soft night air.
     What's the body of your mother?
Silver moonlight everywhere.
     What's the body of your mother?
Sharp pine scent in the evening air.
A n***** night,
A n***** joy,
A little yellow
Bastard boy.

Naw, you ain't my brother .
N*****s ain't my brother.
Not ever.
N***** ain't my brother.

The Southern night is full of stars,
Great big yellow stars.
     O, sweet as earth,
     Dusk dark bodies
     Give sweet birth
To little yellow bastard boys.

Git on back there in the night,
You ain't white.

The bright stars scatter everywhere.
Pine wood scent in the evening air.
     A n***** night,
     A n***** joy.

I am your son, white man!

A little yellow
Bastard boy.


RED SILK STOCKINGS

Put on yo' red silk stockings,
Black gal.
Go out an' let de white boys
Look at yo' legs.

Ain't nothin' to do for you, nohow,
Round this town, —
You's too pretty.
Put on yo' red silk stockings, gal,
An' tomorrow's chile'll
Be a high yaller.

Go out an' let de white boys
Look at yo' legs.


JAZZ BAND IN A PARISIAN CABARET

Play that thing,
Jazz band!
Play it for the lords and ladies,
For the dukes and counts,
For the whores and gigolos,
For the American millionaires,
And the school teachers
Out for a spree.
Play it,
Jazz band!
You know that tune
That laughs and cries at the same time.
You know it
    May I?
    Mais oui.
    Mien Gott!
    Parece una rumba.
Play it, jazz band!
You've got seven languages to speak in
And then some,
Even if you do come from Georgia.
    Can I go home wid yuh, sweetie?
    Sure.


SONG FOR A DÁRK GIRL

Way Down South in Dixie
    (Break the heart of me)
They hung my black young lover
To a cross roads tree.

Way Down South in Dixie
    (Bruised body high in air)
I asked the white Lord Jesus
    What was the use of prayer.

Way Down South in Dixie
    (Break the heart of me)
Love is a naked shadow
    On a gnarled and naked tree.


MAMMY

I'ın waiting for ma mammy, —
    She is Death.

Say it very softly.
Say it very slowly if you choose.

I'm waiting for ma mammy, —
Death.


LAUGHERS

Dream singers,
Story tellers,
Dancers,
Loud laughers in the hands of Fate —
    My people.
Dish-washers,
Elevator-boys,
Ladies' maids,
Crap-shooters,
Cooks,
Waiters,
Jazzers,
Nurses of babies,
Loaders of ships,
Rounders,
Number writers,
Comedians in vaudeville
And band-men in circuses —
Dream-singers all, —
My people.
Story-tellers all, —
    My people.
    Dancers —
God! What dancers!
    Singers —
God!   What singers!
Singers and dancers,
Dancers and laughers.

   Laughers?
Yes, laughers . . . laughers . . . laughers —
Loud-mouthed laughers in the hands
   Of Fate.



AND BLUES

LAMENT OVER LOVE

I hope ma chile'll
Never love a man.
I say I hope ma chile'll
Never love a man.
Cause love can hurt you
Mo'n anything else can.

I'm goin' down to de river
An' I ain't goin' there to swim.
Goin' down to de river,
Ain't goin' there to swim.
Ma true love's left me, an’
I'm goin' there to think about him.

Love is like whiskey,
Love is like red, red wine.
Love is like whiskey,
O, like sweet red wine.
If you wants to be happy
You got to love all de time.

I'm goin' up in a tower
Tall as a tree is tall.
Say up in a tower
Tall as a tree is tall.
Gonna think about ma man an'
Let ma fool-self fall.


GAL'S CRY FOR A DYING LOVER

Heard de owl a hootin',
Knowed somebody's 'bout to die.
Heard de owl a hootin',
Knowed somebody's 'bout to die.
Put ma head un'neath de kiver,
Started in to moan an' cry.

Hound dawg's barkin'
Means he's gonna leave this world.
Hound dawg's barkin'
Means he's gonna leave this world.
O, Lawd have mercy
On a po' black girl.

Black an' ugly
But he sho do treat me kind.
I'm black an' ugly
But he sho do treat me kind.
High-in-heaben Jesus,
Please don't take this man o' mine.


YOUNG GAL'S BLUES

I'm gonna walk to de graveyard
'Hind ma friend Miss Cora Lee.
Gonna walk to de graveyard
'Hind ma dear friend Cora Lee
Cause when I'm dead some
Body'll have to walk behind me.

I'm goin' to de po' house
To see ma old Aunt Clew.
Goin' to de po' house
To see ma old Aunt Clew.
When I'm old an' ugly
I'll want to see somebody, too.

De po' house is lonely
An' de grave is cold.
O, de po' house is lonely,
De graveyard grave is cold.
But I'd rather be dead than
To be ugly an' old.

When love is gone what
Can a young gal do?
When love is gone, O,
What can a young gal do?
Keep on a-lovin' me, daddy,
Cause I don't want to be blue.


MIDWINTER BLUES

In de middle of de winter,
Snow all over de ground.
In de middle of de winter,
Snow all over de ground, —
'Twas de night befo' Christmas
Ma good man turned me down.

Don' know's I'd mind his goin'
But he left me when de coal was low.
Don’ know's I'd mind his goin'
But he left when de coal was low.
Now, if a man loves a woman
That ain't no time to go.

He told me that he loved me
But he must a been tellin' a lie.
He told me that he loved me.
He must a been tellin' a lie.
But he's the only man I'll
Love till de day I die.

I'm gonna buy me a rose bud
An' plant it at ma back door.
Gonna buy me a rose bud
And plant it at ma back door,
So when I'm dead they
Won't need no flowers from de store.


LISTEN HERE BLUES

Sweet girls, sweet girls,
Listen here to me.
All you sweet girls,
Listen here to me:
Gin an' whiskey
Kin make you lose yo' 'ginity.

I used to be a good chile,
Lawd, in Sunday School.
Used to be a good chile, —
Always in Sunday School,
Till these licker-headed rounders
Made me everbody's fool.

Good girls, good girls,
Listen here to me.
Oh, you good girls,
Better listen to me:
Don't you fool wid no men cause
They'll bring you misery.


HARD DADDY

I went to ma daddy,
Says Daddy I have got de blues.
Went to ma daddy,
Says Daddy I have got de blues.
Ma daddy says Honey
Can't you bring no better news?

I cried on his shoulder but
He turned his back on me.
Cried on his shoulder but
He turned his back on me.
He said a woman's cryin's
Never gonna bother me.

I wish I had wings to
Fly like de eagle flies.
Wish I had wings to
Fly like de eagle flies.
I'd fly on ma man an'
I'd scratch out both his eyes.


BOUND NO'TH BLUES

Goin' down de road, Lawd,
Goin' down de road.
Down de road, Lawd,
Way, way down de road.
Got to find somebody
To help me carry dis load.

Road's in front o' me,
Nothin' to do but walk.
Road's in front o me,
Walk ... and walk ... and walk.
I'd like to meet a good friend
To come along an' talk.

Hates to be lonely,
Lawd, I hates to be sad.
Says I hates to be lonely,
Hates to be lonely an' sad,
But ever friend you finds seems
Like they try to do you bad.

Road, road, road, O!
Road, road ... road .. . . road, road!
Road, road, road, O!
On de No'thern road.
These Mississippi towns ain't
Fit fer a hoppin' toad.


MA MAN

When ma man looks at me
He knocks me off ma feet.
When ma man looks at me
He knocks me off ma feet.
He's got those 'lectric-shockin' eyes an'
De way he shocks me sho is sweet.

He kin play a banjo.
Lordy, he kin plunk, plunk, plunk.
He kin play a banjo.
I mean plunk, plunk ... plunk, plunk.
He plays good when he's sober
An' better, better, better when he's drunk.

Eagle-rockin',
Daddy, eagle-rock with me.
Eagle rockin',
Come an eagle-rock with me.
Honey baby,
Eagle-rockish as I kin be!


HEY! HEY!

Sun's a risin',
This is gonna be ma song.
Sun's a risin',
This is gonna be ma song.
I could be blue but
I been blue all night long.

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