Josephine "Josie" Miles was born ca. 1900 in Summerville, South Carolina. She moved to New York in 1920 and became a vaudeville artist, appearing in musical comedies, touring shows - and the popular blues, as they were sung then, were just one part of her repertoire. She recorded more than 50 sides, using nine names, for sixteen different labels, between about 1923 and 1928.
This page contains lyrics to the following song(s):
This was a duet with Billy Higgins, recorded in New York in November 1924 or thereabouts. Actually Billy Higgins took the leading role and sang the main lyrics; Josie only gave him reply in the spoken intro dialogue. The musical accompaniment was provided by the Choo Choo Jazzers. From Document CD DOCD5467.
The remarkable lyrics are, in the words of the CD booklet (where most of the lyrics are given), "a violently bizarre, sadistic tour de force of psychological, and economic domination". It's certainly an original way to learn the alphabet. They don't teach it like this anymore.
Josie's lines are preceded by "J", Billy's by "B".
J: Yes looka here, every night, when you come home from work, you don't do nothin' but stomp and fight B: Is that so? Now you left last night at half past eight J: Yes and I come home this mornin' at four B: And you had the nerve to bring another man Right smack up to my door J: Don't let that worry you old gal(?) Now man, I'm through with you B: Through with me? J: Yessir B: Before you go, here's what I'm goin' to do J: What you gonna do, boy? B: I'm gonna cut your nappy head four diff'rent ways Long, short, deep and wide When I get through usin' my black-handled razor You know you're gonna take a ride J: If you can catch me! B: I'm gonna cut A B C D In the top of your head That's gonna be treatin' you nice And you ain't gonna be dead I'm gonna cut E F G Right across your face H I J K That where runnin' takes place I'm gonna cut L M N 'Cross both of your arms You gonna sell shoestrings and pencils Your whole life long I'm gonna cut O P Q That means trouble to you I'm gonna grab you too and turn you Ev'ry way but loose I'm gonna cut R S T Just to hear you cry That's the last time tears Are gonna run from both of your eyes I'm gonna cut U V W On the bottom of your feet And that's the last time you'll walk down Thirty-fifth Street I'm gonna mark you 'cross your bosom With X Y Z When I get through with alphabet You'll stop messin' with me
It probably is a sign of madness if you want to kill the whole world. Now "graphical" violence is not rare in the blues; see e.g. "A to Z blues" on this page, or some lyrics on Lonnie Johnson's page. But it's normally directed at a particular person, usually that mean mistreatin' doublecrossin' two-timin' dirty no-good partner. Here however we have a case of non-directional, senseless, blind violence . Bizarre. Mad.
She recorded it in New York around November 1924 with the Kansas City Five. From Document CD DOCD-5467 (the booklet provides most of the lyrics)
Wanna set the world on fire That is my one mad desire I'm a devil in disguise Got murder in my eyes Now I could see blood runnin' Through the streets Now I could see blood runnin' Through the streets Could be everybody Layin' dead right at my feet Now man who invented war Sure is my friend The man invented war Sure is my friend Don't believe that I'm sinkin' Just look what a hole I am in Give me gunpowder Give me dynamite Give me gunpowder Give me dynamite Yes I'd wreck the city Wanna blow it up tonight I took my big Winchester Down off the shelf I took my big Winchester Down off the shelf When I get through shootin' There won't be nobody left
Blues Lyrics On Line by . Please read the small print.