Elmore James – Dust My Broom

I first heard about Elmore James from a Rolling Stones book…Brian Jones was a huge fan of the blues artist. The song also helped bring Keith Richards, Mick Jagger, and Brian Jones together to form the Stones.

On November 23, 1936, Robert Johnson was in San Antonio Texas for his debut recordings. The first song he did was “Kind Hearted Woman Blues” in two versions, his second song was “I Believe I’ll Dust My Broom” and his third was “Sweet Home Chicago.” Johnson is usually credited with writing all three songs. Elements of this song can be traced back to several other blues songs. In 1934 Kokomo Arnold was in the studio in Chicago. He recorded Sagefield Woman Blues at a session, which contains maybe the first mention of the phrase “Dust My Broom” in the lyrics.

Elmore recorded and released his version in 1951. On the single, the song was credited to Elmo James. The song peaked at #9 in the R&B Charts in 1952. Elmore James’s version is probably the most popular version of the song. James’ “Dust My Broom” was inducted into the Blues Foundation Blues Hall of Fame in 1983… it was stated that it received more votes than any other record in the first year of balloting for singles.

Artists who have covered this song include Johnny Winter, Derek Trucks, ZZ Top, Ike and Tina Turner,  Robert Jr. Lockwood, John Littlejohn, Hound Dog Taylor, Homesick James and Frank Zappa.

Bill Wyman (bass player for the Rolling Stones): “The very first time Brian heard it, he played Elmore James’ ‘Dust My Broom.’ And Brain said the earth shattered and seemed to go off its axis, it was such an important moment in his life. He just went away and just tried to learn to play like Elmore James. And he sat in with the band, the Alexis Korner band, and played ‘Dust My Broom.’

By pure chance, that day Mick and Keith and a couple of their mates who’d been trying to put a band together in Dartford – unsuccessfully – went to see the Alexis Korner show as well, after reading about it in the music press. And they saw Brian Jones sitting onstage, this little white cat, sitting onstage and doing Elmore James, and it blew them away! So that was the Stones. Elmore James was a very, very important part, and if that hadn’t happened – that moment – maybe the Rolling Stones wouldn’t be here.”

Derek Trucks: “You can remember almost every Elmore James solo by heart because he was playing songs. Nothing’s wasted. Nothing’s throwaway. It doesn’t feel like somebody’s practicing in front of you, or running scales; these are melodies that are pouring out, and those are the players that I listen to. They move me.

Dust My Broom

I’m gettin’ up soon in the mornin’
I believe I’ll dust my broom
I’m gettin’ up soon in the mornin’
I believe I’ll dust my broom
Out with the best gal I’m lovin’
Now my friends can get in my room

I’m gonna write a letter, telephone every town I know
I’m gonna write a letter, telephone every town I know
If I don’t find her in Mississippi
She be in East Monroe I know

And I don’t want no woman
Want every downtown man she meets
No I don’t want no woman
Want every downtown man she meets
Man, she’s a no good doney
They shouldn’t allow her on the street, yeah

I believe, I believe my time ain’t long
I believe, I believe my time ain’t long
I ain’t gonna leave my baby
And break up my happy home

Author: Badfinger (Max)

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

19 thoughts on “Elmore James – Dust My Broom”

  1. You won’t be surprised I love your post and song choice – a timeless classic.

    It is amazing to me there was a time in the U.S. when the likes of Elmore James, Muddy Waters and Howlin’ Wolf were largely unknown among white audiences. It was white British musicians like The Stones and Clapton who essentially introduced white audiences in America to the music of outstanding black blues artists by playing their songs.

    To this day, Buddy Guy during his shows talks about the significant impact this had for black blues artists to become known more broadly in the U.S.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. This is the one I held back for you lol. When I saw you were commenting I went ahead and ran it.
      In turn from what I read the blues artists really were grateful to the British artists who helped bring them forward.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. When the Stones were invited to perform on Shindig! in the ’60s, Mick Jagger agreed, but with the condition they’d also invite Muddy Waters. Reportedly, the show bookers asked him who Muddy Waters is!

        It’s kind of unreal, especially if you look at it from today’s perspective!

        Liked by 2 people

      2. LOL…that is SAD…. yea you just have to shake your head. I don’t know if itwas racial or just ignorance to this organic music…or a little of both.

        Liked by 2 people

    1. Speaking of the Dead…I’m halfway through the Steve Parish book…it’s a lot of fun…not a history by any stretch of the imagination but his memories which are very interesting.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Cool..I can’t wait to see if you like it or not.

        .I listen to my books. I joined audible…that is the only way I have time to read books. I have a 72 mile roundtrip to work…so I listen then.

        Liked by 2 people

  2. Nice to hear where a lot of 60s rock greats got their inspiration. I’m amazed it was the top initial vote-getter at that Blues Hall though…I’d never heard of him unlike BB King, Muddy Waters, Howling Wolf and others.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. What’s so odd about these guys… it took sixties British rock artists to show America what they were missing. From there you had the Allman Brothers and others carrying the music on.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. That shimmering riff. That HAS to be bedrock for when you look at where Rock sprung from. Or for the British blues fans, the Stones etc, the mother lode.
    Also Max- audiobooks? ain’t they a great way to take the chill out of a Hellish commute. Sat stuck in traffic? Sit back with a smile and let the words wash over you. No road rage, just time well spent.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Audiobooks saved me! Like I said earlier… 72 mile roundtrip to work. Now I look forward to driving those…the world is a good place with audio books!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yeah, good lord, 72 miles to Hel- work and back. I thought my old 25 kilometre round trip was rough… but back then the word of the King saved me- umm, ah, yeah, that’s Stephen Kings ‘The Stand,’ which lasts about as long as that other Big Guys all time best seller.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. One King book that I cannot get enough of… is IT…I started to read it around 2014 and I was hooked…the movie be damned….it didn’t capture much of that book.
        After I read it I feel like I know every nook and cranny of Derry.
        I’ve always wanted to read The Stand.

        Liked by 1 person

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