zzyw | Love relationships gone bad


In this column: Dust my broom, mop the floor, moppers blues, help me, diggin my potatoes, cabbage sprouts, tattoos all red|
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 what was said and what the meaning is.


A sequel to the creeper story: let's look at meanings that are related to breaking a love.
In Dust My Broom Elmore James sings "I believe I"ll dust my broom". It means  to leave and not come back.  "I'm quittin' the best gal I'm lovin'. Now my friends can get in my room".
I believe I'll dust my broom is an original Robert Johnson tune, first recorded during his “San Antonio” session in the winter of 1936.


Moppers Blues (Big Bill Broonzy)
I've got to screw, I've got to roll,
I've got to sweep, 'n I've got to dust
Yes, I've got to mop, but I'm the happiest man in town

Help Me (Sonny Boy Williamson II)
I may have to wash, I may have to sew
I may have to cook, I might mop the floor
But you help me baby
You know if you don't help me darling
I'll find myself somebody else


Dig (one's) potatoes. Washboard Sam and later Memphis Minnie sang "Diggin my potatoes". I means, that they tried to swoop on somebody's lover: to get in a relationship with someone who is involved with someone else.

Baby, they diggin' my potatoes
Lord, they trampin' on my vine
vine = vine field, tramping = behaving like a tramp, fooling around
Now I've got a special plan now baby
Lord, that a-restin' on my mind

Minnie sings
Now, I don't want no cabbage sprouts = young men
Bring me a solid head = full growns
Suppose they call the wagon = wagon car that will take you into jail, it's thread
I catched him in my bed

You know they diggin' my potatoes
Lord, they trampin' on my vine
Now my vines is all green
'Tattoos they all red = ready to hook up with a woman

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,