HESITATION BLUES

Posted on Posted in Breedloves's Folk Songs

HESITATION BLUES

“Hesitation Blues” is a popular Blues song written by Billy Smythe, Scott Middleton, and
Art Gillham. The three men were involved in the music publishing business in St. Louis,
Missouri. About 1914 they joined a band and went to Los Angeles. They passed their
traveling time making up verses to a traditional tune. When they returned to St. Louis the
trio went their separate ways. Art Gillham remained in St. Louis, Billy Smythe went to
Louisville, Smythe’s brother-in-law Scott Middleton went to Chicago. In 1915 Billy
Smythe published their musings as “Hesitation Blues” but not crediting Art Gillham. A
dispute over the credits was resolved a few years later when Art Gillham and Billy
Smythe began writing other songs as a team with the sheet music stating “by the writers
of Hesitation Blues”. The 1964 version by the Holy Modal Rounders featured the first use
of the term psychedelic” in popular music in the verse “Got my psycho-delic feet, in my
psycho-delic shoes, I believe lord and mama got the psycho-delic blues, tell me how long
do I have tell to wait, or can I get you now, or must I hesitay-ay-ay-ate”.
Well, a nickel is a nickel, a dime is a dime
I need a new man, Lord I know I won’t mind.
Tell me how long, dear, do I have to wait?
Can I get you now, dear, must I hesitate?
Well now, the eagle on the dollar says “In God we trust”
You say you won’t obey me, you wanna see that dollar first
How long, dear, do I have to wait ?
Can I get you now, dear, mm, must I hesitate?
Lord, if the river was made of whiskey an’ I was a duck,
I’d just swim to the bottom an’ I’d never come up.
How long, dear, mm, do I have to wait?
Why, can I get you now, dear, mm, must I hesitate?
Now there’s rocks down in the ocean and there’s fish in the sea,
I know you mean the whole world to me.
How long, dear, must I have to wait?
Can I get you now, dear, mm, must I hesitate?
I got them Hesitation Stockings, I got them Hesitation Shoes,
Lord knows I got them Hesitation Blues.
Tell me, how long do I have to wait?
Why, can I get you now, dear, mm, must I hesitate?