Sayings and blues related words (4-6)

sayings_kwibus

In this column: Riding the blind, Armful of Greyhound, Shut your damper down |
This column is about sayings and words in blues lyrics. For a Dutchman it is sometimes hard to understand, what a singer is singing. In earlier days, we copied lyrics from vinyl records. If we didn't understand, we used "an English sounding word". Now with internet one can find out the meaning.

RIDING THE BLIND

Riding the blind

Meaning
It was common for musicians to jump onto freight trains to visit nearby towns and farms. Later they moved on to other states and metropolitan areas. If the crew didn't allow the bluesmen a free ride, they sought other ways to travel for free. As an empty wagon or "riding the blind end of a railcar."
An other, but uncomfortable and dangerous, way of a "free ride" was "Riding the axles". They placed a board on the axles of a wagon and lay under a wagon.

CATCH ME AN ARMFUL OF GREYHOUND

Sam Cooke could have taken a Greyhound Bus from this station in Minneapolis, Northland

Goin' down to the bus station
With a suitcase in my hand, yeah
Goin' down to the bus station
With a suitcase in my hand
I'm gonna catch me an armful of Greyhound
And travel as far as I can

Somebody have mercy (Sam Cooke)

Bus and Greyhound logo designed by Raymond Loewy ( a famous industrial designer).

Meaning
If someone is eager to leave, it doesn't matter which bus you take and where it goes, as long as you get away from the place where you are.
If you have no money and are embarrassed about, you could say: I'm riding the greyhound.

SHUT YOUR DAMPER DOWN / TURN YOUR LAMP DOWN LOW

In Jimmy Burns Red Hot Woman:
Pretty little thing, can't you see
What you doin' is killing poor me
Stop it baby, stop your fussing around
'cause if you don't stop it mama, have to shut your damper down

phoenix_black_wood_stove

Sound clip Greyhound Blues Band

Meaning
The damper (slider) on an oil heater and wood stove regulates the heat. A person is compared with a heater, which radiates heat too much . By closing the damper the stove goes off.

Compared with Turn your lamp down low.
For instance in; I want just a little bit
turn your lamp down low and honey slip my kiss...
I don't want much, just an ini wini bit of your love

Also is used; Turn your damper down

YouTube clip; Magic Sam (in the original song of Rosco Gordon)

Meaning
When a man asks a woman to turn her lamp down low, he aks her not to get involved with other men. Keep all her love just for him.

Sources: pancocojams.blogspot.nl, americanbluesscene.com, YouTube, Wikipedia, Hudson Motors Compagny, Archive Minneapolis, The Cruel Plains, M.H.Price a.o., truewestmagazine.com,