Big Bill Broonzy [1893-1958],
was probably the most important Chicago blues artist
in the Thirties and early Forties (that's before the period
of "Chicago blues" represented by Muddy Waters, Willie Dixon,
Little Walter, Howlin' Wolf a.o.). Not only did he record
frequently under his own name, he also accompanied numerous
other artists on their recordings, and he acted as talent
scout for record companies. In the Fifties he was probably
the first to bring the blues to European audiences.


Back Water Blues
Big Bill Blues
Black, Brown And White
C C Rider C C Rider
Getting Older Every Day
Good Time Tonight
I Wonder When I'll Get To Be Called A Man
I'm Gonna Move To The Outskirts Of Town
In The Evening
Lonesome
Looking Up At Down
Merry Go Round Blues
Night Time Is The Right Time
Southern Flood Blues
Whiskey And Good Times Blues



Back Water Blues
A J. P. Johnson number (originally sung by Bessie Smith),
can be heard on the Vogue CD "Big Bill Blues".
It rained five days Lord 
and the clouds turned as dark as night
It rained five days 
and the clouds turned as dark as night
Lord that was really enough trouble 
to make a poor man wonder 
where in the world to go
I got up one morning, 
poor me I couldn't get 
even get out of my door
I got up one morning, 
poor me I couldn't get 
even get out of my door
Lord that was really enough trouble 
to make a poor man wonder 
where in the world to go
Now they rowed a little boat 
just about five miles across the farm
Yeah they rowed a little boat 
down about five miles across the farm
Lord I packed up all of my clothes 
and throwed them in 
and I declare they rowed 
poor old Bill along
Then I went and I stood up on a high, 
high old lonesome hill
Yes I went and I stood up on a high, 
high old lonesome hill
Lord and all I could do was look down 
on the house baby where I used to live
Now it thundered and it lightnin'd, 
Lord and the wind, wind began to blow
Now it thundered and it lightnin'd, 
Lord and the wind, wind began to blow
Lord there was thousands 
and thousands of poor people 
at that time didn't have 
no place to go
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Big Bill Blues
Big Bill's "signature tune", recorded in Chicago
on February 12, 1936 for Melotone. From the CBS
Realm Jazz Series LP "Big Bill's Blues".
I got up this mornin', 
feelin' sad and blue
I lost my baby now tell me, 
what I'm goin' to do
You know I'm so lonesome
Way these blues keep doggin' me
Yeah baby but that's all right
I will be up someday
When my baby left me, 
she left me broken down
She said Goodbye Big Bill, 
I will see you in another town
Now you know I'm lonesome
Way these blues keep doggin' me
I says that's all right
Big Bill will be up someday
Now I've got to walk by myself, 
and sleep by myself
On account the one I'm lovin', 
she keep on lovin' someone else
You know I'm lonesome
Way these blues keep doggin' me
Yeah but that's all right
Baby I will be up someday
If I'd had listened at what my mother said, 
and did what she said
I'd been home now, 
sleepin' in a great big bed
Cause I'm lonesome
Way these blues keep doggin' me
Yeah but that's all right
Baby I will be up someday
The men was put on earth to rule, 
but women are ruling too
Sometimes I wonder 
what a poor man gonna do
Cause I'm lonesome
Way these blues keep doggin' me
Yeah but that's all right
Way these blues is doggin' me
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Black, Brown And White
Written by Big Bill Broonzy.
This song can be found on the CD: "Big Bill Blues" (Vogue).
The recording date was September 20, 1951 in Paris.
This little song that I'm singin' about
People you know it's true
If you're black and gotta work for a living
This is what they will say to you
They says if you was white, 
should be all right
If you was brown, stick around
But as you's black, m-mm brother, 
git back git back git back
I was in a place one night
They was all having fun
They was all byin' beer and wine
But they would not sell me none
They said if you was white, 
should be all right
If you was brown, stick around
But if you black, m-mm brother, 
git back git back git back
Me and a man was workin' side by side
This is what it meant
They was paying him a dollar an hour
And they was paying me fifty cent
They said if you was white, 
't should be all right
If you was brown, could stick around
But as you black, m-mm boy, 
git back git back git back
I went to an employment office
Got a number 'n' I got in line
They called everybody's number
But they never did call mine
They said if you was white, 
should be all right
If you was brown, could stick around
But as you black, m-mm brother, 
git back git back git back
I hope when sweet victory
With my plough and hoe
Now I want you to tell me brother
What you gonna do 
about the old Jim Crow?
Now if you was white, 
should be all right
If you was brown, 
could stick around
But if you black, whoa brother, 
git back git back git back
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C C Rider
The "easy rider", also known as "See See Rider"
or "C C Rider", is a blues cliché for the sexual partner,
although originally it referred to the guitar
hung on the back of the traveling bluesman.
You C C Rider, 
see what you done done
C C Rider, 
you see what you done done
You C C Rider, 
you see what you done done
You done made me love you 
and now your man done come
My home is on the water, 
I don't like no land at all
Home's on the water 
and I don't like no land at all
My home's on the water 
and I don't like no land at all
I'd rather be dead than to stay here 
and be your dog
So you C C Rider, 
see what you done done
C C Rider, 
you see what you done done
You C C Rider, 
you see what you done done
You done made me love you 
and now your man done come
I'm goin' away babe, 
sure don't wanna go
Goin' away babe, 
but I sure don't wanna go
I'm goin' away babe, 
but I sure don't wanna go
When I'm leaving this town 
you will never see me no more
So you C C Rider, 
see what you done done
C C Rider, 
you see what you done done
You C C Rider, 
you see what you done done
You done made me love you 
and now your man done come
My home's on the water 
and I don't like no land at all
Home's on the water 
and I don't like no land at all
My home's on the water 
and I don't like no land at all
So goodbye baby 
I'm tired of being your dog
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Getting Older Every Day
Recorded in Chicago on 17 December 1940;
to be found on the CD "String Dazzlers:
Great Blues Guitarists" (Columbia Roots 'n' Blues Series)
You say you're gettin' old, 
Lord older every day
You say you're gettin' old, 
yeah you say you're gettin' older every day
Now you ain't but fifty, 
ooh Lord boy you shouldn't feel that way
Now when you get so old, 
you can't work at no mill
Yeah when you get so old, 
Lord boy you can't work at no mill
Now don't you make no date, 
ooh Lord buddy that you can't fill
Now if your luck don't change, 
boy don't you be sad
Yeah if your luck don't change, 
now buddy don't you be sad
Now you really gotta learn Lord 
to take the good now with the bad
Now when you get old, 
and your good girl don't want you around
Ooh Lord when you get old, 
and your good girl don't want you around
Now you know you done run out of commission, 
ooh boy I declare you are poorhouse bound
Now don't laugh buddy, 
Lord it nobody's downfall
Ooh Lord don't laugh buddy, 
I mean it nobody's downfall
Because if your woman would check up on you, 
ooh Lord she put another mule in your stall
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Good Time Tonight
Written by Big Bill and recorded in 1938.
Go down sun, 
we don't care
We don't like sunshine, 
we drink moonshine here
Chorus:
Ain't we, baby, 
ain't we gonna have a time?
Now ain't we baby, 
we gonna have a good time tonight?
We've got whiskey, 
wine and gin
We've got hot dogs, 
ain't got no skin, now
(Chorus)
We've got folks, 
black and brown
We've got everything, 
will you stick around
(Chorus)
When you get high, 
you want something sweet
We've got something 
that will knock you off your feet, now
(Chorus)
Come up to my house, 
wanna have some fun
Bring your money gal, 
it is easy done
(Chorus)
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I Wonder When I'll Get To Be Called A Man
Big Bill was aged 58 when he recorded this blues
about race discrimination, not 53 as he sings.
When I was born into this world, 
this is what happened to me
I was never called a man, 
and now I'm fifty-three
I wonder when
I wonder when
I wonder when will I get 
to be called a man
Do I have to wait till 
I get ninety-three?
When Uncle Sam called me, 
I knowed I'd be called a real McCoy
But I got none of this, 
they just called me soldier boy
I wonder when
I wonder when
I wonder when will I get 
to be called a man
Do I have to wait till 
I get ninety-three?
When I got back from overseas, 
that night we had a ball
Next day I met the old boss, 
he said "Boy get you some overalls"
I wonder when
I wonder when
I wonder when will I get 
to be called a man
Do I have to wait till 
I get ninety-three?
I've worked on the levee camps, 
and axer gangs too
Black man's a boy, 
don't care what he can do
I wonder when
I wonder when
I wonder when will I get 
to be called a man
Do I have to wait till 
I get ninety-three?
They aid I was uneducated, 
my clothes were dirty and torn
Now I've got a little education, 
but I'm still a boy right on
I wonder when
I wonder when
I wonder when will I get 
to be called a man
Do I have to wait till 
I get ninety-three?
Top of Page

I'm Gonna Move To The Outskirts Of Town
This song was originally made popular
by Casey Bill Weldon. This is from a version
that was recorded in 1957.
I'm gonna move way out 
on the outskirts of town
I'm gonna move way out 
on the outskirts of town
Now that's why I don't want nobody, 
ooh Lord baby always hingin' around
I'm gonna tell you baby, 
we gonna move away from here
I don't want no ice man, 
I'm gon' buy me a frigidaire
When I move way out 
on the outskirts of town
Now that's why I don't want nobody, 
ooh Lord baby always hingin' around
I'm gon' bring my own groceries, 
bring them every day
That's gonna stop that grocery boy, 
I mean it keep him away
When I move way out 
on the outskirts of town
Now that's why I don't want nobody, 
ooh Lord baby always hingin' around
It may seem funny, 
funny as it can be
But if my wife havin' a baby, 
I want 'em all to look just like me
We move way out 
on the outskirts of town
Now that's why I don't want nobody, 
ooh Lord baby always hingin' around
Top of Page

In The Evening
This version of Leroy Carr's classic was recorded
by Big Bill Broonzy in 1951, and can be found
on the Vogue CD "Big Bill Blues".
In the evening
In the evening
Mama when the sun go down
In the evening darling
I declare when the sun go down
Yeah it's so lonesome it's so lonesome
I declare when the one 
you love is not around
When the sun go down
Last night I were layin' sleepin'
And I declare I was sleepin' all by myself
Last night I were layin' sleepin' darling
And I declare I was sleepin' all by myself
Yeah but the one, 
the one that I was really in love with
I declare she was sleepin' someplace else
When the sun go down
Yeah, ooh ooh ooh wee
Yeah, ooh ooh ooh wee
Yes the one that I was in love with
I declare she was sleepin' someplace else
When the sun go down
The sun rises in the East
And I declare it sets way over in the West
Sun rises in the East darling
And I declare it sets way over in the West
Yes it's so hard, it's so hard to tell
I declare which one that'll treat you the best
When the sun go down
Now goodbye, old sweethearts and pals
Yes I declare I'm goin' away
I may be back to see you again
Little girl some old rainy day
Yes in the evening in the evening
I declare when the sun go down
When the sun go down
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Lonesome
Written by Big Bill Broonzy.
I got a letter this morning
Made me sad and blue
Said my woman's in trouble
You know I'm in trouble too
That's why I'm so lonesome
Lord and I stay blue all the time
Ah but that's all right
I will overcome some day
I couldn't do nothing
'Cause I was sad and blue
I know there's some' wrong with my baby
And it hurts me too
That's why I'm so lonesome
And I stay blue all the time
Yeah but that's all right
I will overcome some day
Nights are so lonesome
Days are so blue
Just sittin' here rubbin' my hands baby
Wonderin' what happened to you
That's why I'm so lonesome
Lord and I stay blue all the time
Yeah but that's all right
I will overcome some day
Top of Page

Looking Up At Down
How low can you be? When you have to
"look up at down", you're about as low as
you can get. Big Bill wrote this and recorded it
in Chicago on 10 June, 1940 for Okeh. This is
from the CBS Realm Jazz Series LP "Big Bill's Blues".
I'm just like an old rooster, 
out way out here on a hill
I'm just like an old rooster, 
out way out here on a hill
People I'm done scratchin', 
ooh Lord Big Bill is just tryin' to live
I'm just like Joe's turkey, 
I can't do nothing but bauble(?)
I'm so poor baby, 
I have to lean up against the fence to garble(?)
Yeah now baby, gal, 
I believe I change town
Yeah I'm down so low baby, ooh Lord girl
I declare I'm lookin' up at down
The men in the mine baby
They all lookin' down at me
Gal I'm down so low baby
I'm low as I can be
Yeah now baby
Girl I'm down as I can be
Gal I'm down so low baby
Ooh Lord everybody's lookin' down 
on poor me
Everything I get a hold of baby
It goes away like snow in June
If I get a chance now baby again
I'm goin' up to the moon
Yeah now baby
Yeah I believe I change town
Yeah poor me down so low baby
Big Bill is lookin' up at down
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Merry Go Round Blues
Written by Big Bill and recorded in 1940.
I've got a merry go round, 
little girl don't you want to ride?
I've got a merry go round, 
now little girl, now don't you want to ride?
Now don't be scared woman, 
oh Lord Big Bill is by your side
Ain't you tired of see-sawing? 
Baby jump on my merry go round
Ain't you tired of see-sawing? 
Baby jump on my merry go round
Now you ride with me one time, 
ooh Lord and I declare you'll say 
you're heaven bound
(play it, boy!)
Catch a good hold with your hand, 
baby, set your feet just right
Catch a good hold with your hand, 
darling, set your feet just right
I'm gonna give you a good ride baby, 
ooh Lord I'm gonna try to dog my mind
You want to ride easy, 
baby jump on my merry go round
You want to ride easy, 
now jump on my merry go round
Lord I declare it's made out 
of hickory wood woman, 
ooh Lord you sure can't break her down
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Night Time Is The Right Time
This classic blues by Leroy Carr
was recorded by Big Bill Broonzy on May 5,
1938 in Chicago for Vocalion. It is from
the CBS Realm Jazz Series LP "Big Bill's Blues".
I'm gonna tell you baby 
something I want you to do
Don't stay out all night baby, 
and I want your little heart to be true
Yeah because night time is the right time
To be with the one you love
With the one you love
Now don't forget baby, 
I love you with all my might
If you get home before midnight baby, 
I declare everything will be all right
Yeah because night time is the right time
To be in the bed with the one you love
With the one you love
I ain't gonna beat you baby, 
I declare I ain't gonna dog you around
Gal I'm just gonna warn you baby 
before the news gets all over town
Gal that night time is the right time
To be in the bed with the one you love
With the one you love
Play it mister man! 
Night time is the right time!
Listen to me baby, 
I mean with your whole heart and mind
I just want to hold you baby 
in my arms and hold you for a long long time
Yeah because night time is the right time
Baby to be with the one you love
Oh with the one you love
Top of Page

Southern Flood Blues
Written by Big Bill and recorded in Chicago
on January 29, 1937 for Melotone.
From the CBS Realm Jazz Series LP "Big Bill's Blues".
Early early one morning, 
water was comin' in my door
Early one morning, 
water was comin' in my door
It was the old high(?) river, 
tellin' us to get ready and go
It was dark and it was rainin', 
you could hear that howlin' wind
It was dark and it was rainin', 
baby you could hear that howlin' wind
If I get away this time, 
I will never come here again
Hey my baby was cryin', 
I didn't have a thing to eat
Hey hey hey, 
I didn't have a thing to eat
Hey the water had come in, 
wash everything I had down the street
I was hollerin' for mercy, 
and it weren't no boats around
Hey I was hollerin' for mercy, 
and it weren't no boats around
Hey that looks like people, 
I've gotta stay right here and drown
Hey my house started shakin', 
started floatin' on down the stream
Hey my house started shakin', 
went on floatin' on down the stream
It was dark as midnight, 
people began to holler and scream
Top of Page

Whiskey And Good Times Blues
Written by Big Bill and recorded in 1939.
I believe, I believe, 
I believe I'll change my way
I believe, I believe, 
I believe I'll change my way
There is three things, 
cross me down today
There is three things in life 
just won't let me rest
There is three things in life 
just won't let me rest
There's whiskey and good time, 
and a good woman can do the rest
One drink will make you want more, 
and more will make your love come down
Yeah, more'll make your love come down
Boy you should go home 
'cause you can't do a thing but clown
Yeah, look how three things 
brought me down
Yeah, look how three things 
brought me down
Now don't fly high, 
'cause it hurts when you hit the ground
I don't wanna be rich, 
I don't care for fancy clothes
Now I don't wanna be rich, 
I don't care for fancy clothes
Yes give me a pretty woman 
and an automobile, I will be a happy soul
Top of Page


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