Lightnin' Hopkins
 
 
| Bald Headed WomanBlack Ghost Blues | California Mudslide | Catfish Blues | Cemetery Blues |
| Contrary Mary | Darling, Do You Remember Me? | Death Bells |
|Goin' To Dallas To See My Pony Run | Happy Blues For John Glenn  | Home In The Woods |
| Jailhouse Blues  | Lonesome Graveyard | My Black Name  |My Grandpa Is Old Too |
| Never Miss Your Water | No Education  | Sail On Little Girl  | Smokes Like Lightnin' |
    | The Howling Wolf  | Too Many Drivers  | Trouble Blues  |Vietnam War   | Wonder Why |
     |Your Own Fault Baby, To Treat Me The Way You Do |
 
 
Bald Headed Woman
Recorded for the "Sittin' In" label of Bob Shad, at the start of the 1950s. It can be found on the
CD "Sittin' In With" (Sony Legacy / Mainstream). All songs on that CD are credited to "R. Ellen"
BALD HEADED WOMAN
Give me - I'm gonna take it - back that wig I bought you woman,
oh Lord let your doggone head go bald
Give me back that wig I bought you woman
- I'm mad at you as I can be -
let your doggone head go bald
You know the special del'vry brought me a letter this mornin',
cryin', woman you don't need no hair at all
Special delivery man said he seed you on the corner last night -
You was talking with another man -
He said you was tagging all around with a -
Whiskey bottle in your hand -
I say give me back that wig I bought you, oh Lord let your doggone head go bald
Yes you know the news I got from downtown,
woman you don't need no hair at all
(what you want with a woman who ain't got no hair?
What's the matter with you girl?)
I'm just gonna tell you -
Po' Lightnin' is fair -
I'm just gonna cut out one of these -
Little locks of my hair
Cause don't be bothered with you no more
Yes I want you to have pretty hair here, hair every place we go.
 
 
  Black Ghost Blues
Recorded in 1964.
Black Ghost Blues (Hopkins)
Black ghost, black ghost, please stay away from my door
Black ghost, black ghost, will you please stay away from my door
Yeah you know you worry po' Lightnin' so now, I just can't sleep no more
Yeah you know I go to dreaming first night, black ghost is all po' Lightnin' can see
I go to dreaming first night, black ghost is all po' Lightnin' can see
You know that's why I begin to wonder why you keeps on worryin' me
Black ghost is a picture, and the black ghost is a shadow too
Whoa black ghost is a picture, and the black ghost is a shadow too
You just can see him, but you can't hear him talkin'
Ain't nothin' else that a black ghost can do
Black Ghost Blues!
 
 
  California Mudslide
From the Rhino CD "Los Angeles Blues", a reissue of a Vault LP recorded in LA in 1969.
California Mudslide (Lightnin' Hopkins)
 
Take me out this bottom, take me out this bottom baby,
        Little girl 'fore this water rise
Take me out this bottom, take me out this bottom,
        Little girl 'fore this water rise
Why you know I must be born by the devil
        Po' Lightnin' don't wanna be baptised
(You see it's raining in all California when I said -
The hide is sliding down off the hills -
Many, many, many friends have lost their home -
Just because the water was falling so hard
and the mudslide had taken their home -
And I said -)
[guitar chorus, over which:]
Then you know how it's happening now
Take me out this bottom, take me out this bottom baby
        Po' Lightnin' can't feel satisfied
Take me out this bottom, take me out this bottom
        Po' Lightnin' just can't feel satisfied
Did you know how many friends of mine lost their home
        By that old mudslide?
Don't take me to be wrong people,
        Forgive me for my mistakes
You know, please, please, please,
        Forgive me for my mistake
But after all that flood come in California, do you know
        The good Lord's ground begin to shake
(They said an earthquake it was comin')
[guitar chorus, over which:]
Have mercy
 
 
  Catfish Blues
Recorded in 1961.
Catfish Blues (Trad.)
You know I wished I was a catfish
Swimming in that deep blue sea
I'd have all the good looking women there boy
Fishing after me
Fishing after me
Ooh ooh...
I went down to my baby's house
She said, Lightnin', come on in
Ain't nobody here with me good Lord
You know I'm your friend
You know I went down to my baby's house
Lord I sat down on them steps
She said, Come on in this house Lightnin',
Husband just now left
My husband just now left
Sho nuff I'm by myself
He just now left
You know I went down to the river
Started jump overboard and drown
I thought about that little mama, turned around
I went walking back to town
Back to town
Back to town
Sho nuff, back to town
You know I wish I was a catfish
Swimming, Lord in that deep blue sea
I'd have all the good looking womens
Fishing after me
Fishing after me
Sho nuff
Ain't lying
Mmm mmmm
 
 
   Cemetery Blues
Like Bald Headed Woman, this song is also taken from the CD "Sittin' In With"
CEMETERY BLUES
Poor grandpa, he died but that's the debt we all got to pay
Yeah, we livin' now but every livin' people done, whoa Lord, he gotta died one day
Lord I followed the hearse down to the burial ground,
see four men when they let poor grandpa down
Yes I followed the hearse down to the burial ground,
see four men when they let poor grandpa down
- couldn't stand it, mercy, Lord -
Yes you know it hurtin' me so bad, till I almost had a nervous breakdown
Yes she know it was sad when we got back home, po' Grandma
That's who I felt sorry for, and myself too in a way
When we got back home, this is what Grandma say
She: "Son, where's my bonnet" and she had it on her head
You know it was sad time, sad time when grandpa died
Whoa, we didn't have no place to go
Grandma said "your good times is over, Grandpa is gone
You'll never have no good times no more."
 
 
 Contrary Mary
This song also comes from the CD "Sittin' In With"
CONTRARY MARY
Contrary, she contrary, she won't do nothing she say
She contrary, she contrary, she won't do nothing in the world she say
She done been married twice and her first husband, man he just let her have her way
But you know I won't do that!
You better change your way woman, little girl, Johnny tells you again
- good advice! -
You better change your way, little girl, Johnny tells you again
Then you'll have better times, little girl and you'll have much o'friend
One more, one more time'll do
One more, one more time'll do
Yes I'm gonna get me somebody else darling, then I'll be through with you
 
 
  Darling, Do You Remember Me?
Recorded in 1964.
Darling, Do You Remember Me? (Hopkins)
Just to say hello, my little darling
Do you remember me?
Now it's been a great long time, I just wanna let you see.
Hello, speak to me
I been wondering, where can my little darling be?
But it's been such a great long time,
Darling do you remember me?
I've been places, way over sea
That's why I know you done forgotten all about poor me
But just to say hello,
Darling do you remember me?
Your face, somethin' I wanna see
Just to know darling, you used to enjoy with me
But hello, hello darling, baby, do you remember me?
 
 
Death Bells
Recorded in 1961.
Death Bells (Hopkins)
Sound like I'm hearing moaning, death bell ringing all in my head
Sound like I can hear moaning, death bell ringing all in my head
Yeah I know that I was gonna leave on a chariot but I didn't know
What kind of chariot gonna take me away from here
I want you to remember every living people, every living people bound to die
I want you to remember every living people, every living people bound to die
Yeah you know when that chariot come at you, they'll break running, try to hide
You all know my mama told me, you know my papa told me too
You know my mama told me, oh papa told me too
He said you know one day son, that chariot, oh Lord, coming after you
Yeah you know the life I'm living, I've been living it for a many year
You know the life I'm living, I've been living it for a many year
I know the chariot was coming for me but I didn't know
What kind of chariot gonna take me away from here
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Goin' To Dallas To See My Pony Run
Recorded in 1961.
Goin' To Dallas To See My Pony Run (Trad.)
I'm goin' to Dallas, see my pony run
Goin' to Dallas, just to see my pony run
I'm goin' to Dallas, just to see my pony run
If I win any money, gonna bring my baby some
She's a cold black mare, put on a racetrack anywhere
She's a cold black mare, put on a racetrack anywhere
If I get to the place and it's crowded, I'll say have you got any room to spare?
I'm going to Dallas, see my pony run
Going to Dallas, see my pony run
I'm going to Dallas, just to see my pony run
She wins every race and I can't see how it's done
She got a long life to live, cold black way remains
Long life to live, cold black way remains
When that horse wins that race she don't look like she's ashamed
I'm going to Dallas, see her run one more time
Going to Dallas, see her run one more time
If she wins this race for Lightnin', I'm gonna tell her she can retire
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 Happy Blues For John Glenn
This song was recorded in 1963, right after John Glenn made his three orbits in space, the first
American to do so.
This transcription is rather tentative, mainly because Lightnin' frequently had to hurry to fit his lines
to the meter!
People I was sittin' this mornin' with this on my mind
Said there ain't no livin' man who gone around the world three time
But John Glenn did
Yes he did
He did it, I'm talkin' about him
Only did it for fun
Half a million dollars made him feel so well
He got to eatin' his lunch and couldn't hardly tell
He said I feel all right
John Glenn said it
Everybody was laughin'
And dipped in the gritty
It was a million prayer went up
Prayin' that he would land
I looked at a schoolhouse full of men and they didn't know what to say
But they said "Let him come back, God
Please let him land
You know that's the onliest man ever did it
And you're the helpin' hand"
I see'd him when he left but I didn't see him when he land
But I knowed he was doin' all right when they said it is OK to give him a great big hand
He'll be in on the ship
They say he's on deck
His mother say I know my son gonna make it, it ain't never been no mistake
You know I wanna tell you somethin', this ain't lyin'
You know that man must had on his mind flyin'
It ain't nobody will take that for his tryin',
     unless they gonna build him his own self airplane and they gonna go flyin'
They told him "Don't worry, this is true
You may miss me for a few minutes but I'll be back to see about you" - He did!
Yes he did
Yes when he done it, didn't know what had happened the helicopter say -
You know they tested that boy's body, even test his heart
They knowed he was all right when he was gettin' to start
I mean he's made it!
He went around the world three times
You know he went and got him an airplane,
     and he made up and had it on his mind
That's what he had on his mind
He didn't have no kid and he didn't have no digs [?]
He just had it in his mind flyin'
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Home In The Woods
Another song from the CD "Sittin' In With"
HOME IN THE WOODS
I'm gonna find me another home, I'm gonna find it way out in the woods
I'm gonna find me another home, find it way out in the woods
So I can let all them no good women know, whoa, I don't mean them no good
Yes everybody tells me-
in my neighborhood-
You mess with a woman she don't mean you no good-
I'm gonna find me a home, way out in the woods
So I can let all these old no-good women know, I don't mean them no good
She used to be a good woman but she didn't do what she should
And that's the reason I'm gonna find me a home out in the woods
I don't mean them no good
Still I want you to know
I did the best I could.
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  Jailhouse Blues
Lightnin' Hopkins did serve some time on the chain gang; he carried the scars on his leg the rest
of his life. This recording is from 1946. He later recorded other blues on this theme, such as
Penitentiary Blues in 1959, with more personal lyrics than here.
Well I wouldn't mind staying in jail, but I've gotta stay there so long
Well I wouldn't mind staying in jail, but I've gotta stay there so long
You know it seem like all my friends, you know they done shook hands and gone
Thirty days in jail, with my back turned to the wall
Thirty days in jail, with my back turned to the wall
Yes you know some other skinner (?) must be kickin' in my stall
Hey mister jailer please, will you please bring me the key
Hey mister jailer, will you please sir bring me the key
I just want you to open the door, cause this ain't no place for me
 
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  Lonesome Graveyard
Recorded in 1964.
Lonesome Graveyard (Hopkins)
Sleep on, sleep on, sleep on
Little girl, sleep on, just sleep on
Sleep on, sleep on,
Little girl, just sleep on, sleep on
Well I know you're dead and resting darling, but one day
I know the graveyard's gonna be my home
(every living people got to die, human beings)
Mama was rocking by the window,
Howling: my poor child is dead, yes she's dead
Yeah you know my poor child is dead and gone
(What made me feel so good, she said this:)
Sleep on, sleep on son,
Do you know your mother is coming on?
Whoa the graveyard ain't too beautiful,
But it will give you a home so long.
I wouldn't mind dying,
Po' Lightnin' would just have to lay dead so long
Wouldn't mind dying,
but I'd have to lay dead so long
That I wouldn't have a chance to come back here and tell my friends,
No nobody, what is going on.
Told my baby, don't worry if I die, darling,
I know I'm gonna leave your little bed warm
Don't worry if po' Lightnin' lay down and die,
'Cause I'm gonna leave your little bed very warm
Whoa you know, I can't worry when I'm dead and gone, but one thing,
Little girl, I know you is coming home.
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   My Black Name
Recorded in 1962.
My Black Name (Hopkins)
I can hear my black name ringing, oh hurryin' down the line
I can hear my black name ringing, oh hurryin' down the line
Whoa she got another man now, little girl won't pay me no mind
You know that woman said that she loved me, but now I believe she was lyin'
Yes she said that she loved me, but now I believe she was lyin'
Whoa, I don't believe she love me no more Spider*,
        I believe I'm driving away my turn
Whoa, that woman done quit me, and I'm just about to lose my mind
That black woman done quit me, and I'm just about to lose my mind
Whoa yeah, my black name was ringing, oh hurrying down the line
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 My Grandpa Is Old Too
Recorded in 1961.
My Grandpa Is Old Too (Hopkins)
I want all you young people to know what to do
Leave my grandpa alone 'cause he done got old too
That's my grandpa, that's my grandpa
That's my grandpa, sweetest man I ever saw
Mama told me, oh, day of old
Your grandpa stood by, tell this is told
Now don't bother my grandpa 'cause he done got old too
I ain't jivin', I ain't jokin'
Ain't gonna never bother you
My grandpa he shouts for joy
Been takin' care of me ever since I was a boy
He getting old now
And he really is
Really I know it 'cause I'm old myself
My grandpa says son, take me a walkin'
Say I wanna go where's the coolest place you know
I say why, grandpa?
'Cause grandpa's getting old
Tell all you people, done want you to understand
Grandpa once have been a young man
He getting old now
He's getting to be an old man
He can't remember 'morrow, but he still understands
He look at me and he say, what's this all about?
Give me my pipe son, and he had it in his mouth
He's an old man, you know he don't got the mind,
You see he don't hardly know what he's doing
But he's still my grandpa
But he ain't nothin' else to turn
Tell all you young people, I don't mean no harm
I just want you to leave my grandpa alone
He says I've got old now, have pity on me
If you bother my grandpa,
I'm the one you gotta see
My dear old dad.
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  Never Miss Your Water
Recorded in 1962.
Never Miss Your Water (Hopkins)
Never miss your water till your well run dry
Never miss your water till your well run dry
You know you never miss your little woman until she says goodbye
Whoa you know, I'm my papa's baby, I'm my mama's baby child
You know I'm my papa's baby, oh mama's baby child
Whoa you know you never miss your water, Lord until your well go dry
You know I've been wonderin', what makes a well run dry?
Whoa you know, I've been wonderin', wonderin', oh boy what makes a well run dry?
You know that's when the earth done settle down on the water,
        Ain't no more water passing by.
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    No Education
From the Rhino CD "Los Angeles Blues", a reissue of a Vault LP recorded in LA in 1969.
No Education (Lightnin' Hopkins)
Got not education, I'm just a fool in your town
No education, I'm just another fool in town
Yes first day I went to school, yes that sucker burn it down
I can't read, can't even write my name
I can't read, can't even write my name
Yes but that ain't none o' your fault, Po' Lightnin' is to blame
Mama done all she could, yes she did boy, yes to send this black man to school
Yes she done all she could, send this black boy to school
Yeah the first day I went there do you know, boy I broke my teacher's rule
Yes... I broke it
Ain't it a shame, ain't it a shame, way things happened to me
Ain't it a shame, way things happened to me
I went to school only one day and I didn't, learn my ABC's
Bad luck happened to me!
 
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  Sail On Little Girl
Recorded in 1961.
Sail On Little Girl (Trad.)
Sail on, sail on, little girl, sail on
Well you know you gonna keep on a sailing,
Till you lose your happy home
You know I can remember
First day she sail away
Cryin', I gotta go now, Lightnin'
I ain't got no place to stay
Sail on, sail on, little girl, sail on
Well you gonna keep on a sailing
Till you lose your happy home
Sail on, sail on, little girl, sail on
Sail on, sail on, little girl, sail on
Well you know when you sail away
Po' Lightnin' ain't gonna stay here long
Sail on...
I remember last word she had to say
I remember last word she had to say
She said, Lightnin', I'm figurin' to sail
I'm sailing on today
Sail on.
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Smokes Like Lightnin'
Recorded in 1962.
Smokes Like Lightnin' (Hopkins)
Whoa it smoke like lightnin', yeah but shine like gold
Don't you hear me talking pretty baby,
Smoke like lightnin', yeah but shine like gold
Yeah you know I see my little fair one
Lying there on a cooling bowl
Yes I see the hearse one morning backed up to our door
Don't you hear me talking?
Soon one morning, backed up to our door
Well you know I could see my little baby
Lying there on a cooling bowl
Well my baby died and left me,
Laid her on a cooling bowl
Yes she died and she left me,
They laid her on a cooling bowl
Well they said, Lightnin' she's gone and left you now boy,
You will never see her smiling face no more
Well it was sad...
Well I followed my baby, followed my baby
Down to her burying ground
Well I followed my baby, followed her
Down to her burying ground
Yeah it didn't hurt me so bad till I'd seen
Poor miss when they let her down
You know I done lost my little fair one
I guess the next thing will be me
I done lost my little fair one
I guess the next thing will be me
Whoa I ain't dead, no boys,
But Po' Lightnin' sinking by degree
By degree
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 The Howling Wolf
Recorded in 1964.
The Howling Wolf (Hopkins)
(Sound like I hear that wolf howlin'...)
Yeah I'm the wolf and everybody in the world,
Trying to find out who I prowl
I'm the wolf and everybody in the world,
They're trying to find out who I hound
Well you know they can't see me at night,
But they can hear me when I howl
(Howl, wolf... I said howl... Now you're howlin'!...)
I take time when I'm prowlin',
Wipe my tracks out with my tail
(A lot of people wonder why I do this but I wanna tell you)
I take time when I come prowlin',
Wipe my tracks out with my tail
That's in order that no one discover,
Whoa Lord he can't cross my trail
I'm that wolf, dig a hole,
Stick my nose down in the ground (hound)
I'm that wolf, dig a hole,
Stick my nose deep down in the ground
Yeah you know I'll be hiding right at you baby,
You'll think I'm way out on the outskirts of town
(That's that wolf)
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 Too Many Drivers
Recorded in 1964.
Too Many Drivers (Hopkins)
Baby you got too many drivers, Lord when you ain't got but just one wheel
Baby you got too many drivers, oh Lord when you ain't got but just one wheel
Yeah you know thinks look mighty funny when two mens, oh Lord,
        driving your little automobile
Yeah you know I'd rather be rolling down, I'd be rolling down off a sandy hill
Yeah you know I'd rather be rolling down, I'd rather be rolling down a sandy hill
Yeah I know you got so many drivers,
        and you ain't got but one little wheel
Baby you oughta go ahead on, I said and sell your little automobile
Yes you oughta go ahead on, woman and sell your little automobile
Yes you know out of all them drivers you've gotten,
        you're lucky if you don't get someone killed
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    Trouble Blues
From the LP "Lightnin' In New York" (recorded Nov. 15, 1960) - Candid LP 9010.
TROUBLE BLUES (Hopkins)
This is the trouble blues, that Lightnin' Hopkins is havin' at the present, which I hope it don't last all week.
Trouble, trouble, trouble,
Trouble is all in the world I see
Trouble, trouble, trouble,
Trouble is all in the world I see
Yeah you know I often wonder
What in the world gonna become of me
Now when I wake up in the mornin'
Blues and trouble all 'round my bed
When I wake up in the mornin'
Blues and trouble all 'round my bed
Yeah you know I never will forget
Last what I heard my baby said
What did she say boy?
She said "Lightnin' I'm leavin' you in the mornin'
And you cryin' won't make me stay"
She said "I'm leavin' you in the mornin'
Lightnin' your cryin' won't make me stay"
I just said "I hope, little girl,
Po' Lightnin'll meet you again some day"
And she got sad and I did too, we had to moan a little
Well I had to tell 'r:
"If you just gotta go
Hope I'll meet you again some day
If you just gotta go
Hope I'll meet you again some day
Yes when I do little girl
You'll be done changed your evil way"
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Vietnam War
Mama said Son, how can you be happy when your brother way over in Vietnam?
How can you be happy when your brother way over in Vietnam?
I told her -
I said Mama he may got lucky and win some money
Oh he got to may bring some money back home
Mama looked at me
She said that ain't no way to talk about your brother
But he's my child too
She said Mister Johnson is tellin' everybody
Exactly what he want them to do
All right my child
What if Uncle Sam was to call you boy? (I would be so lonesome)
Oh I would miss you so much I may die
Yes if Uncle Sam should call you, Oh Lord I miss you so much I may die
Yeah you know when you get over yon' and get to fightin' them soldiers,
Yeah you know you're gonna be fightin' way upon my heart.
 
 
   Wonder Why
Another song from the LP "Lightnin' In New York"
WONDER WHY (Hopkins)
Wonder why!
You said you leavin', I couldn't see the reason why
Baby you know you is in my life
Yes you leavin', gonna leave Po' Lightnin'
And I can't see the reason why
But just as sure as heaven hand like hell above
Baby I want you to remember little girl
You're the one I love
And you leavin', ain't tellin' me nothin'
You won't say what for,
You won't say what for
You said you loved me, find out you were lyin'
But it's gonna come a day, you gonna love me in your time
You're gonna think about Po' Lightnin'
In your lonesome time
A many night, sit in my home alone
Thinkin' about you woman, knowed you was gone
That's all right, I'll sit here and moan
I'll sit here and moan
Look like the sun ain't gonna shine no more
Darkness done caught me, no light in my door
But that's all right, I'll forever worryin'
Until I see you again tonight
Again tonight
A many day, I sit down and cry
Thinkin' about you left me dissatisfied
But that's all right, that's all right baby,
Mmm that's all right, baby that's all right
But that's all right.
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Your Own Fault Baby, To Treat Me The
Way You Do
From the LP "Lightnin' In New York" (recorded Nov. 15, 1960) - Candid LP 9010. On this
song Lightnin' plays the piano.
YOUR OWN FAULT BABY, TO TREAT ME THE WAY YOU DO
(Hopkins)
Your own fault, baby, treat me the way you do
It's your own fault baby, treatin' me the way you do
It's your own fault baby, darlin' in treatin' me the way you do
You know I did everything for right, I did everything I could to help you
Whoa you once said that you loved me, yes but I found out you were lyin'
Yes you once said that you loved me, found out you were lyin'
Well you know you can't quit me black woman, and there ain't no need in you tryin'
Whoa but still you my baby, don't make no difference what you may do
Yes you still my baby, don't make no difference what you may do
Yes I know you know little woman, how long I been in love with you
 
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