If you’re a blues fan, this song needs no introduction. If you’ve been living under a rock your whole life (that is, under a lifelong diet of rock ’n’ roll) you’ll still know this song. “Hoochie Coochie Man” is one of the most played songs on blues radio, and every blues band in every corner of the world from concert halls to dingy garages knows the riff: Da-dum-dee-da-dum, “Gypsy woman told my mother.”
The hoochie coochie was a form of “dirty dancing” that was popular in the 1890s. The song was written, like so many classic Chess Records sides, by bassist Willie Dixon.
It’s the ultimate statement of being a ladies’ man; Dixon’s rhythm and lyrics would have earned a parental advisory if there were such a thing in the 1950s.
It became one of Muddy Waters’ signature songs, recorded in 1954. It was a smash on black radio and on jukeboxes, earning a Grammy Hall of Fame Award in 1998, and is included on every legitimate list of all-time greatest blues songs.
This is Muddy Waters, recorded at the Newport Jazz Festival in 1960.
“Hoochie Coochie Man” was also a pivotal song in the career of a young Jeff Healey. Music fans and critics had already embraced the immensely talented artist by the time he was signed to a major record label in 1988. That debut album, See the Light, sold over a million records and garnered Healey an international following. But his exposure to the pop culture masses came about by he and his band being cast in the 1989 movie Road House.
Though the movie was generally panned, Healey’s performances of “Hoochie Coochie Man” and other songs brought him worldwide awareness. The song was also on the soundtrack album, and was covered again on his 2009 posthumous release, Songs from the Road.
Check out this slow burn-to-inferno version of “Hoochie Coochie Man” performed at the 1999 Montreaux Jazz Festival.
‘I Just Want to Make Love to You,’ from Waters to Adele
Treasure blues on 78 if you have them
Saturday Night Blues
on Jun 06, 2012