zzzd | Animals (2)


In this column: Symbolic meaning of animals in blues lyrics, chicken, rooster, PART2


In Bessie Tucker's Katy Blues you read the following stanza:

"Well, I ain't no pullet, I'm a real young hen;
If you come by here once, you'll come back again."

A pullet is a female chicken younger than one year of age. On her first birthday, she becomes a hen. The equivalent term for males is a cockerel. He becomes a cock (also known as a rooster) on his first birthday.

Young women, girls and gay men are sometimes presented in lyrics like "chickens". "Chick" likely originates from the Spanish word "chica" meaning, of all things, girl. 

"Ain't Nobody Here But Us Chickens" is a 1946 song (Alex Kramer, Joan Whitney). It was recorded by Louis Jordan and his Tympany Five.
B.B.King recorded it for his Louis Jordan album.

"Tomorrow is a busy day
We got things to do, we got eggs to lay
We got ground to dig and worms to scratch
It takes a lot of sittin', gettin' chicks to hatch
Oh, there ain't nobody here but us chickens
There ain't nobody here at all
So quiet yourself and stop that fuss
There ain't nobody here but us
Kindly point the gun the other way
And hobble, hobble, hobble, hobble, off and hit the hay."

"Hey, hey bossman, what do you say?
It's easy, pickins, there ain't nobody here but us chickens"


T-Model Ford with Chicken Head Man. If you always have chicken in mind.

Mississippi John Hurt's C-H-I-C-K-E-N Blues.

"Oh, Chicken, Chicken, you can't roost too high for me.
Chicken, Chicken, come on outta' that tree.
Chicken, Chicken, Chicken, You can't roost too high for me.
C is the way we begin.
H to make the letter hen.
I am the way.
C when the seasons are grey.
K is to fill him in.
E I'm near the end.

That's the way to spell chicken."

Chicken Blues - Mississippi John Hurt


The Red Rooster (Recorded by, amongst others, Griffing Brothers, Howling Wolf, Sam Cooke, Rolling Stones)
Sam Cooke put it very clear in the verse:

"I got a little red rooster, Too lazy to crow for day"
"I tell you he keeps all the hens, fighting among themselves...
He don't want no hen in the barnyard latin' eggs for nobody else."

Cooke is the Little Red Rooster and he's the one crowing all night long.
Sam Cooke, Little Red Rooster; listen to the Hammond!

Little Red Rooster - Sam Cooke, Billy Preston organ and Ray Johnson piano

Sources: pancocojams.blogspot.nl, americanbluesscene.com, YouTube, Wikipedia, Hudson Motors Compagny, Archive Minneapolis, The Cruel Plains, M.H.Price a.o., truewestmagazine.com, The Austin Chronicle, Cambridge Free English Dictionary, Oxford Dictionary, TheSaurus.com, dragonjazz.com/grablue/blues_travel, Encyclopedia of African American Popular Culture, Blues by Paul Breman, Blues by David Harrison, Quora.com, urbandictionary.com, Blogs.loc.gov, The Ballad Hunter by Alan Lomax, Black Pearls: Blues Queens of the 1920th by Daphne Duval Harrison, jopiepopie.blogspot.nl, redhotjazz.com, The Blues Lyrics Formula by Michael Taft, American Ballads and Folk Songs by Alan Lomax and John Avery Lomax, The Past Is Not Dead: Essays from the  Southern Quarterly by Douglas B. Chambers, EarlyBlues.com, railroad-line.com,  Jason Lee Davis' RailFan Pages , centertruthjustice.org, genius.com, Africa-American Proverbs In Context by Sw Anand Prahlad, Görgen Antonsson,