Hoochie Coochie Man (Slight Return)

Here is my cover of “Hoochie Coochie Man”. This tune was written by the preeminent Godfather of the Blues, Muddy Waters.

Muddy Waters, The Godfather of the Blues
Muddy Waters, The Godfather of the Blues

The lyrics are heavily laced with references to the Hoodoo conjure tradition of the American South. One commonly misunderstood line is:

I got the John the Conqueror Root

I’m gonna mess with you

To mess with someone was to put roots on them, meaning to cast spells on that person.

The root known as John the Conqueror (Ipomoea jalapa) is widely regarded as one of the most powerful roots or Plant Spirits; if not the most powerful.

The root, all by itself, was potent and to possess it was to hold power to exert one’s will. However, to possess a mojo hand (aka, mojo bag), made and empowered by a knowledgeable rootworker, was an awe-inspiring thing.

It was not a simple matter to travel to Louisiana and get a mojo, especially for a Black person, who had less opportunities and greater obstacles. If you wanted the magick, the only way to get it was to find a skilled doctor.

This was a man or woman who knew how to coerce the Spirits to work on their behalf. First, you had to find a rootworker and then you had to convince them to make a hand for you and pay them whatever their fee was, no questions asked.

Any rituals they prescribed you or tasks assigned must be followed scrupulously. But once you had a mojo hand, especially one containing John the Conqueror, it meant that you were a force to be reckoned with.


I’m doing all the guitar, bass and vocal parts on this track. I added Slight Return to the title as a little tip of the hat to another major influence of mine, the immortal Jimi Hendrix. Hendrix was well aware of the lore mentioned here and his song “Voodoo Child (Slight Return)” references similar themes.

During the last verse, you’ll see a quote, placed over a pic of Muddy Waters. It comes from the movie Crossroads, starring Ralph Machio; not to be confused with the movie Crossroads, starring Britney Spears.

It’s the story of a young, classical guitarist who dreams of nothing but playing the Mississippi Delta Blues. He’s a classical music major at The Juilliard School of Music but is mostly obsessed with Robert Johnson, arguably the greatest blues man ever.

Robert Johnson, King of the Mississippi Delta Blues
Robert Johnson

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Magus72 on Patreon; music, poetry and assorted madness

The images in this video are

1) historic pictures of famous, Hoodoo rootworkers and practitioners of Voodoo (or Voudon, Voodou, etc) and a few that just look the part.

2) pictures of myself playing guitar

3) personal photos and video of workings I’ve done

4) random, “bluesy” stuff that gives the appropriate, Mississippi Blues vibe or the Hoodoo/Voodoo, sorcery vibe

5) images from The Key of Solomon, a European magickal grimoire (which became highly important in Hoodoo.

6) stock footage, provided by:

Thanks to the following, for some of the images in the video.

cottonbro 

Artem Podrez 

ANTHONY SHKRABA

Mick Haupt 

https://commons.m.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Voodoo_Altar_New_Orleans.jpg

The Weight

This is my cover of the song “The Weight” by that excellent group known simply as The Band.

“It consisted of four Canadians and one American: Rick Danko (bass guitar, vocals, fiddle), Garth Hudson (keyboards, accordion, saxophone), Richard Manuel (keyboards, drums, vocals), Robbie Robertson (guitar, vocals), and Levon Helm (drums, vocals, mandolin, guitar).”

Source: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Band

I’ve had a deep love of this song for as long as I can remember. It’s got a fun, upbeat vibe to the music but the lyrics (as the title suggests) are very heavy.

It’s a song about loneliness, disappointment and suffering. It’s about asking where you turn when all your best laid plans have fallen apart.

When I do a cover song, I usually try to reinvent it to some degree. I try to put something of my own mark on it. In this case, it didn’t feel right to completely reshape the song. There are really only two ways that I’ve wandered away from the original.

One is that I had to somehow fill up the empty space left by Garth’s piano playing. I chose to do that with harmony guitar parts, because guitar is my instrument and I gave them a simple and slightly somber quality, to accent the lyrics.

The other is that I shortened the chorus and used heavy effects on the vocal harmonies. I’m doing all the vocal, guitar and bass parts on this. The drums are by Stinky the Robot, my computer-based drummer, who is even more difficult to work with than a real drummer, if that’s even possible.

Gratitude

Special thanks to the following people for providing the evocative video footage that helps bring to light our social problem of the lost and disenfranchised. Homelessness and mental illness are entirely too prevalent and much more needs to be done.

We can’t be a healthy society unless we take care of our own and that means everyone, however unpleasant it might be to look into that chasm and think “There, but for the grace of God, go I.” We must do more… much more.

If you have the means to do so, please donate your money and your volunteer time to one or more of the many quality organizations that offer help to the homeless, the mentally challenged and to stray animals. Most of the people and animals on the street got there by bad luck and they deserve a second chance.

MART PRODUCTION

RODNAE Productions

Mental Health America (MHA)

Anastasia Shuraeva

Support the creation of more music, poetry and madness by Trent Boswell, at:

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Perception

A new music video for the song “Perception” from the full-length, studio album, Flagship by Trent Boswell.

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