Muddy Waters – Hoochie Coochie Man

What a great song by the one and only Muddy Waters.

The song was written by the great blues writer Willie Dixon. Muddy Waters recorded this song in 1954. Before Waters recorded it, he tested it out at the Chicago blues club Zanzibar. Willie Dixon gave Waters some advice before the band hit it: “Well, just get a little rhythm pattern, do the same thing over again, and keep the words in your mind.”Muddy recorded it a few weeks later with Dixon on bass.

Record label head Leonard Chess went south to bolster sales, and
partner Phil Chess told the magazine that the record had sold an astounding 4,000 copies in a single week. It became Muddy’s top selling single, and spent three months in the national charts, where it peaked at #3 in the R&B charts in 1954.

Willie Dixon would bring Muddy other songs that solidified his hoochie
coochie image: “Just Make Love To Me,” “I’m Ready,” and “Natural Born Lover.”

What a band backing Muddy! The musicans on the recording were Muddy Waters on lead vocals, guitar, Little Walter on harmonica, Otis Spann on piano, Jimmy Rogers on guitar, Willie Dixon on bass and Fred Below on drums.

British blues musician Long John Baldry named his 1964 band Long John Baldry And His Hoochie Coochie Men in honor of this song.

Willie Dixon: “People believe in mystic things. Like people today believe in astrology. That’s been going on for generations, since biblical days. People all over the world believe in it. Even before Jesus was born, according to the Bible. The wise men saw the stars in the East and were able to predict about things. All of these things are mystic. They say, ‘Hoochie coochie people are telling fortunes.’ You know, like the wise men of the East. They call them ‘voodoo men’ or ‘hoochie coochie men.’ They used to call them ‘hoodoo folk’ and ‘two-head people.’ They got many names for everybody.” (this appears in Zollo’s book Songwriters On Songwriting)

Wilie Dixon: “There was quite a few people around singing the blues,” 
“But most of ’em was singing all sad blues. Muddy was giving his blues a little pep, and I began trying to think of things in a peppier form.”

Author/musician Roger Reale: “The stark realism, the drama, and especially the vocal delivery are what do it for me on ‘Hoochie Coochie Man.’ It’s half conversational; Muddy gets your attention without overdoing it. And those lyrics about ‘a gypsy woman’ always felt kind of fascinating.”

Hoochie Coochie Man

Gypsy woman told my momma, before I was born
You got a boy-child comin’, gonna be a son-of-a-gun
Gonna make these pretty women, jump and shout
And the world will only know, a-what it’s all about

Why’know I’m here
Everybody knows I’m here
And I’m the hoochie-coochie man
Everybody knows I’m here

On the seventh hour, of the seventh day,
On the seventh month, the seventh doctor said:
“He’s born for good luck, and I know you see;
Got seven hundred dollars, and don’t you mess with me

Why’know I’m here
Everybody knows I’m here
And I’m the hoochie-coochie man
Everybody knows I’m here

Gypsy woman told my momma
Said “Ooh, what a boy,
He gonna make so many women,
Jump and shout for joy”

Why’know I’m here
Everybody knows I’m here
And I’m the hoochie-coochie man
Everybody knows I’m here

Gypsy woman told my momma, before I was born
You got a boy-child comin’, gonna be a son-of-a-gun
Gonna make these pretty women, jump and shout
And the world will only know, a-what it’s all about

Why’know I’m here
Everybody knows I’m here
And I’m the hoochie-coochie man
Everybody knows I’m here

I got a black cat bone, I got a mojo too
I got John the Conqueror, I’m gonna mess with you
I’m gonna make you, pretty girl, lead me by the hand
Then the world will know, the Hoochie-Coochie Man

Author: Badfinger (Max)

Power Pop fan, Baseball fan, old movie and tv show fan... and a songwriter, bass and guitar player.

23 thoughts on “Muddy Waters – Hoochie Coochie Man”

  1. That made me smile, Max. When it comes to the blues, I think you just can’t beat this classic. In my book, it’s definitely a contender for blues song with the coolest beginning.

    Also, how about these first two lines of the lyrics:

    Gypsy woman told my momma, before I was born
    You got a boy-child comin’, gonna be a son-of-a-gun

    Hoochie Coochie Man is probably going to be stuck in my brain for the rest of the day, but, hey, it could be a lot worse! 🙂

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Glad you liked it Christian! Whenever I post blues artists like this… you and CB come to mind first thing. Willie Dixon could turn a phrase couldn’t he? And Muddy brought it to life.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Much better listening to it! No doubt. Funny thing with me….I always liked listening to it more than playing it…but I always just played the 3-4 chord patterns.

        Liked by 2 people

  2. John the Conqueror is also known as High John and he is believed to be the captured son of an African King. As a slave he was an inspiration to other slaves because he was never subservient. He was exceptionally skilled at making a fool of his owner. He used a powerful spell for magical protection against being “hoodooed”!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. a classic. Long John Baldry did a cover version of it once and apparently found Rod stewart and brought him into the band when he happened upon Rod singing a Muddy waters song as a busker on the street.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. That is really cool about Rod. I heard Rod was so shy in the Jeff Beck days he would hide behind the amps…he sure got use to it quickly!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. he sure did. It often seems the way though, those who start out really shy and meek somehow end up the most flamboyant and outgoing showmen (or women), like they somehow overcompensate and skip right over being “normal” if you will.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I guess it’s a matter of confidence…and boy did it kick in! Plus it helps that he has a voice that only comes along once in a while.

        Like

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