WALKING BLUES

Posted on Posted in Breedloves's Folk Songs

 

WALKING BLUES
“Walking Blues” is a song that was recorded by legendary bluesman Robert Johnson. I
first heard this song at a Grateful Dead concert in the mid-seventies. There is an early
version of WB by Son House called “My Black Mama” (sometimes labeled as “Walking
Blues”) from 1930. There are all kinds of additional verses to the basic matrix in versions
both by him and others, including Johnson’s classic. I don’t know what “breaking in on a
dollar” means (if that is right); but I have read that Elgin refers to Elgin “watches”. In the
Clack’s store session in 1941, recorded by Alan Lomax, House has a lot of other verses —
one of which is appropriately punctuated by the nearby passing of a railroad train. There
are many spiritual references about dying found throughout the blues; this is one of the
earliest examples.
Woke up this morning, felt around for my shoes
That’s when I knew I had them old walking blues
I woke up this morning, felt around, felt around for my shoes
That’s when I knew I had them old, mean old walking blues
Leaving in the morning if I have to, ride the blind
I’ve been mistreated and I don’t mind dying
I’m leaving in the morning if I have to, ride the blind
I’ve been mistreated and I just don’t mind dying
She got elgin movement from her head down to her toes
Break in on a dollar ‘most anywhere she goes
Well I got a good woman coming my way
Tried to try, some electric pantin’, some electric chillin’ cryin’
But, ooh, mistook, misgiven
Got me up and walking Baby, but I’m walking blue, walking blue
Well some people say boy, the walking blues ain’t bad
It’s the worst old feelin’ I ‘most ever had