Pages

Monday, May 23, 2011

10 Cool, Old-Timey Songs About Marijuana

Weed and music belong together and they always have, but songs specifically about marijuana weren't popularized until the beginning of the 20th century. With the prevalence of Jazz and Blues music around the turn of the century, many artists, mostly black, began to share their love of weed through music.

Here are The Chronicle's Top 10 selections from the era of 'Teapad' Jazz and beyond:

*Note: Yes, I do realize that the last song on this list, 'Champagne and Reefer' by Muddy Waters is from 1981 and doesn't technically qualify as 'Old-Timey', but it sure does sound old.

Jack I'm Mellow (1922)
Performed by Trixie Smith


Lyrics:
I’m so high and so dry,
I’m sailin’ in the sky,
Just smoke some gage,
Come around babe,
Jack, I’m mellow.

I’m so high and so dry,
I’m way up in the sky,
The world seems light
And I’m so right,
Jack, I’m mellow.

I’m going to put my nickel in a slot machine
And play my solid sender,
I’m going to strut, peck and Suzie-Q,
Have alone a bender,

I’m so high and so dry,
I’m sailin’ in the sky,
I got my roach around
And I can’t come down,
Jack, I’m mellow.

I’m so high and so dry,
I’m sailin’ in the sky,
Just smoke some gage,
Come around babe,
Jack, I’m mellow.

I’m so high and so dry,
I’m way up in the sky,
The world seems light
And I’m so right,
Jack, I’m mellow.

The Man from Harlem (1932)
Performed by Cab Calloway


Lyrics:
It was up at Mike's the other night,
There was really quite a sight,
Gather round, folks, while I give you all the lowdown.

Tables were filled with bloody frails,
Chewing on their fingernails;
They were waiting for the man from Harlem.

Drinks were served six bits a throw,
Things were moving kind of slow,
Everybody's nerves were getting jumpy.

All at once the room was still,
Men forgot all about their bill,
Who should enter but the man from Harlem.

Everybody rolled their eyes,
Women starting heaving sighs,
Someone hollered, "Music, lights and gin,"

Everybody cleared a space,
They had big, broad smiles on every face,
How they all loved to see the man from Harlem.

When he started in to step
He filled everyone with plenty pep,
He twitched and squirmed; it just was a dirty shame.

Everyone was in a daze,
Women watched him with amaze,
Each one said she'd have the man from Harlem.

He looked over in the corner,
And saw a couple of frails and they sure did look kinda low.
Another cat walked up, and said to the man from Harlem,
"Go over there and see what's the matter with them girls."
And they said, "I'm kinda low."
And he said, "I've got just what you need:
Come on, sisters, light up on these weeds and get high and forget about everything."

Reefer Man (1932)
Performed by Baron Lee and the Blue Rhythm Band


Lyrics:
Oh, have you ever met that funny reefer man?
Oh, have you ever met that funny reefer man?
If he says he'll swam to China
And he'll sell you South Carolina
Then you know you're talking to that reefer man.
Have you ever met that funny reefer man?
Have you ever met that funny reefer man?
If he says he walks the ocean
Every time he takes the notion
Then you know you're talking to that reefer man.

Have you ever met a funny reefer man?
Have you ever met a funny reefer man?
If he takes a sudden mania
Wants to give you Pennsylvania
Then you know you're talking to that reefer man.

All the Jive is Gone (1936)


Lyrics:
The latest crave, the country's rave is jive, jive, jive,
This modern treat makes life complete: jive, jive, jive!

All the jive is gone!
All the jive is gone!
I'm sorry, gate, but you got here late,
All the jive is gone!

All the jive is gone!
All the jive is gone!
So come on in and drink some gin,
All the jive is gone!

All the jive is gone!
All the jive is gone!
Things won't be quiet, don't brag tonight;
All the jive is gone!

All the jive is gone!
All the jive is gone!
What an awful fix, can't get my kicks,
'Cause all the jive is gone!

The jive's gone, the jive's gone;
The jive's gone, the jive's gone;
Rarin' to go to Mexico,
All the jive is gone.

When I Get Low, I Get High (1936)
Performed by Ella Fitzgerald



Lyrics:
My fur got stole
but, lord ain't it cold
But I'm not gonna holler
'cause I still got a dollar
And when I get low
Oooo I get high

My man walked out
Now you know that ain’t right
but He better watch out
If I see him tonight
and when I get low
Oooo I get high

All the bad luck in this town surrounds me (maybe you have this bit right)
Nobody knows how troubles all crowd around me

I’m all alone
With no-one to pet me
But that old rocking chair
Ain’t never gonna get me
‘cause when I get low
Oooo I get high

All the bad luck in this town surrounds me
Nobody knows how troubles all crowd around me

I’m all alone
With no-one to pet me
with the old rocking chair
Ain’t gonna get me
‘cause when I get low
Oooo I get high

I'm Gonna Get High (1937)
Performed by Tampa Red


Lyrics:
I'm gonna get high
And it ain't no lie
And swing alone and have a ball
I'm gonna get high

Oh me, oh my
Nobody know why
Oh m'baby, don't you cry
I'm gonna get high

It ain't no need of no one
Tryin' to shame me
But what a state I've got in
Who could blame me?
Oh, yes

I'm gonna get high
I'll do it or die
And swing alone and have a ball
I'm gonna get high

Ah-ha
I'm gonna get high
And it ain't no lie
And swing alone and have a ball
I'm gonna get high

Oh me, oh my
Nobody know why
Oh m'baby, don't you cry
I'm gonna get high

It ain't no need of no one
Tryin' to shame me, yeah-yeah
But what a state I've got in
Who could blame me?
Oh, yeah

Oh, I'm gonna get high
I'll do it or die
And swing alone and have a ball
I'm gonna get high


Well, I'm gonna get high
I'll do it or die
Swing alone and have a ball
I'm gonna get high, yas.

Knocking Myself Out (1941)
Performed By Lil Green 


Lyrics:
Listen girls and boys I got one stick
Give me a match and let me take a whiff quick
I'm gonna knock myself out, I'm gonna kill myself
I'm gonna knock myself out, gradually by degrees.
I started blowing my gage, and I was havin' my fun
I spied the police and I started to run
I was knocking myself out, I was killing myself
I'm knockin' myself out, gradually by degrees.

But the very moment I looked around
My mind said 'Yack throw that gage on the ground'
The police captain said 'Kill yourself'!
The police captain said 'Kill yourself'!
He said 'Knock yourself out, yeah, gradually by degrees.'

I used ta didn't blow gage, drink nothin' of the kind
But my man quit me and that changed my mind
That's why I'm knockin' myself out,
Yes I'm get killin' myself
I'm knocking myself out, gradually by degrees.

I'm gonna blow this jive, it's a sin and a shame
But it's the only thing that ease my heart about my man
When I knock myself out. Lord, when I kill myself
I just knock myself smack out gradually by degrees.


The Reefer Song (1943)
Performed by Fats Waller


Lyrics:
Dream about a reefer five feet long
A mighty immense but not to strong
You'll be high, but not for long
If you're a viper

I'm the king if everything
Well I gotta be high before I can sing
Light a tee and let it be
If you're a viper

Now when your throat get dry
And you know you're high
Everything is dandy
Truck on down to your candy store
Get you kicks off peppermint candy

Then you'll know your bodies set
You don't give a damn about payin' no rent
The sky is high and so am I
Whoa ho, if you's a viper

Now when your throat get dry
And you know you're high
Everything is dandy
Truck on down to your candy store
Get you kicks off peppermint candy

Then you'll know your bodies set
You don't give a damn about payin' no rent
Well if you hear the bells ring, ding dong ding
If you're a viper

Sweet Marijuana Brown (1945)
Performed by The Barney Bigard Sextet



Lyrics:
Boy, shes really frantic, the wildest chick in town
She blows her gauge, flies in a rage, Sweet Marijuana Brown
In her victory garden, seeds grow all around
She plants, ya dig, she's flipped her wig, Sweet Marijuana Brown
She don't know where she's going, She don't care where she's been
And every time you take her out, she bound to take you in
Boy, that gal means trouble, you oughta put her down
Get hip, take care, look out, beware of Sweet Marijuana Brown


I get no kick from cocaine
Mere alcohol doesn't thrill me at all
But, I get a kick out of smoking doobs, yes I do



Champaign and Reefer (1981)
Performed By Muddy Waters 


Lyrics:
Yeah bring me champagne when I'm thirsty.
Bring me reefer when I want to get high.
Yeah bring me champagne when I'm thirsty.
Bring me reefer when I want to get high.
Well you know when I'm lonely
Bring my woman set her right down here by my side.
Well you know there should be no law
on people that want to smoke a little dope.
Well you know there should be no law
on people that want to smoke a little dope.
Well you know it's good for your head
And it relax your body don't you know.

Everytime I get high
I lay my head down on my baby's breast.
Well you know I lay down be quiet
Tryin' to take my rest.
Well you know she done hug and kiss me
Says Muddy your one man that I love the best.

I'm gonna get high
Gonna get high just as sure as you know my name.
Y'know I'm gonna get so high this morning
It's going to be a cryin' shame.
Well you know I'm gonna stick with my reefer
Ain't gonna be messin' round with no cocaine.

Want to hear more vintage songs about marijuana? Check out Reefer Blues, a really cool compilation available at Amazon for just $10!

5 comments:

  1. I LOVE THE BLUES, MUDDY WATERS IS ONE OF THE BEST. MAKES ME MISS THE DELTA WHERE I,M FROM.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Very cool! Hope it's ok that I tweeted it!

    ReplyDelete
  3. @Stacy, glad you liked the post! Feel free to tweet any of my stories! I really appreciate it. That's what the share buttons at the bottom of the posts are for!
    Have a great day!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Where can you buy new legal cannabanoids in the us without being scammed?

    ReplyDelete