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Saturday, 08 August 2020


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Narcotics mentioned in vintage music lyrics and used in household productsSwing Music Lyrics and Narcotics

Opium | Cocaine | Marijuana | Reefer

Narcotics references and music lyrics 

Fats Waller | Cab Callaway | Trixie Smith | The Ink Spots

As we listened to vintage music lyrics, it became alarmingly apparent how many recordings made casual references to what is now deemed an illegal substance.

These references were made, not just by unknown bands, but also by some of the swing periods most prominent artists including Fats Waller and Cab Callaway.

Many narcotic substances were illegal at the time in America after the passing of the Harrison Narcotics tax act in 1914.

This regulated the distribution of opiates and coca products, along with importation and manufacturing restrictions.

Music lyrics broadcast on  wireless Old Time Radio

Some artists were more subtle than others with references made in the music lyrics, with others being more blatant, going straight for the jugular saying, "Just what’s on the tin", and used them in the song title.

We will leave it for you to decide if this practice was a deliberate poke at the authorities or a public relations stunt to promote record sales.

Regardless, I am sure we can still all agree the music remains timeless, and little has changed regarding substance abuse. 

The Vintage Dirty Dozen in Alphabetical Order

Video footage is available in our Movie Archives Section

Barney Bigard Sextet  ft  Joe Thomas & Art Tatum

Sweet Marijuana Brown | Barney Bigard is an example of the narcotic influence on 40s music

Track: Sweet Marijuana Brown
Year: 1945
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
The seeds grow all around
She plants, you dig
She's flipped her wig
Sweet Marijuana Brown

She don't know where she's

Cab Calloway

Cab Calloway - Minnie The Moocher (1931)

Track: Minnie The Moocher
Year: 1931
Lyrics:

Folks, here's a story 'bout Minnie the Moocher
She was a red-hot hoochie-coocher.
She was the roughest, toughest frail
But Minnie had a heart as big as a whale.
Hi-dee hi-dee hi-dee hi (hi-dee hi-dee hi-dee hi)
Whoa-a-a-a-ah (whoa-a-a-a-ah).
Hee-dee-hee-dee-hee-dee-hee (hee-dee-hee-dee-hee-dee-hee)
He-e-e-e-e-e-e-y (he-e-e-e-e-e-e-y).

She messed around with a bloke named Smokey
She loved him though was cokey.
He took her down to Chinatown
And he showed her how to kick the gong around.
Hi-dee hi-dee hi-dee hi (hi-dee hi-dee hi-dee hi)
Whoa-a-a-a-ah (whoa-a-a-a-ah).
He-e-e-e-e-e-e-y (he-e-e-e-e-e-e-y)
Oh-oh-oh-oh (oh-oh-oh-oh).

She had a dream about the King of Sweden.
He gave her things that she was needin'.
He gave her a home built of gold and steel.

A diamond car with.

Champion Jack Dupree

Champion Jack Dupree  - Junkers Blues (1940)

Track: Junkers Blues
Year: 1940
Lyrics:

Some people call me a junker
Say I'm loaded out of my mind
But I just feel happy
I feel good all the time.

Some say I use a needle
and some say I sniff cocaine
that's the best damn feeling
that I've ever seen.

So its goodbye, goodbye to Whisky
And so long to Gin
Just give me my reefer
I wanna get high again
Well, some they grave for chicken
some fellas grave for stake.

But.

Dick Justice

Artist: Dick Justice - Cocaine (1928)

Track: Cocaine
Year: 1928
Lyrics:

Go on gal, don't take me for no fool
I ain't gonna quit you, pretty mama, while the weather's cool.
Around your back door, honey, I'm gonna creep
Just as long as you bring me two-and-a-half a week.

I've got a girl, she works in the white folks yard
She bring me meal, I swear she brings me lard.
She brings me meal, honey she brings me lard
She bring me everything honey that a girl can steal.

Lord a vaudeville circus rider came to town
They got a dancer lookin' nice and brown.
They didn't know it was against the law
For the monkey's to stop at a five cent store.
Well, just around the corner, just a minute too late
Another one standin' at the big back gate
I'm simply wild about my good cocaine.

I stood my corner, hey hey!
Here come Sal with a nose all so'.
Doctors.

Fats Waller

Artist: Fats Waller - The Reefer Song (1943)

Track: The Reefer Song
Year: 1943
Lyrics:

I dreamed about a reefer of five feet long
A mighty men and not too strong
You'd be high, but not for long
If you're a viper.

I'm the king of everything
I got to get high before I swing
Let the bells ring ding-dong-ding
If you're a viper.

Say you know you're high when your coke gets dry
Mmm, Everything's dandy
Oh yes, you run down to the candy store
Bust your konk on some peppermint candy.

Then you know your little brown bodies dance
Don't give a damn if you don't pay the rent
The sky is high and so am I
If you're a viper.

Say you know you're high
Everything is hip and dandy
Yes, Go on down to the candy store
Get my wrigglies on some peppermint candy
I love, I love it.

I ain't worried 'bout no rent, get away you hussy
Oh, dear viper.

Harry “The Hipster” Gibson

Harry “The Hipster” Gibson - Who put the Benzedrine in Mrs Murphy's Ovaltine (1947)

Track: Who put the Benzedrine in Mrs. Murphy's Ovaltine
Year: 1947
Lyrics:

Mrs. Murphy couldn't sleep
Her nerves were slightly off the beat.
Until she solved her problem
With a can of Ovaltine.
She drank a cupful most every night
And oooo how she would dream.
Until something rough got in the stuff
And made her neighbors scream. OW!

Who put the Benzedrine, in Mrs. Murphy's Ovaltine
Sure was a shame, don't know who's to blame.
Cause the old lady didn't even get his name
Where did she get that stuff?
Now she just can't get enough
It might have been the man who wasn't there.
Now Jack, that guy's a square
She never ever wants to go to sleep.
She says that everything is solid all reet
Now Mr. Murphy don't know what it's all about.
Cause she went and threw the old man out. Clout
Who put the Benzedrine, in Mrs. Murphy's Ovaltine
Now she wants to…

Jazz Gillum and his Jazz Boys

Jazz Gillum and his Jazz Boys - Reefer Head Woman (1938)

Track: Reefer Head Woman
Year: 1938
Lyrics:

I can't see why my baby sleeps so sound.
Well I can't see why my baby sleeps so sound.
She musta have smoked that reefer and it's bound to carry her down.

When I left her this mornin', I left her sleepin' sound.
When I left her this mornin', I left her sleepin' sound.
The only way she could catch me is to run like a full bloodhound.

She said she was gonna leave me, goin' to some no-good town.
She said she was gonna leave me, goin' to some no-good town.
She was a rough cuttin' woman, she.

Memphis Jug Band

Memphis Jug Band - Cocaine Habit Blues (1930)

Track: Cocaine Habit Blues
Year: 1930
Lyrics:

Cocaine habit mighty bad.
It's the worst old habit that I ever had.
Hey, hey, Honey take a whiff on me.

I went to Mr Beaman's in a lope.
Saw a sign on the window said no more dope.
Hey, hey, Honey take a whiff on me.

If you don't believe cocaine is good.
Ask Alma Rose at Minglewood.
Hey, hey, Honey take a whiff on me.

I love my whiskey, and I love my gin.
But the way I love my coke is a doggone sin.
Hey, hey, Honey take a whiff on me.

Since cocaine went out of style.
You…

Stuff Smith and His Onyx

Stuff Smith and his Onyx Club Boys - Here Comes The Man With the Jive (1936)

Track: Here Comes The Man With the Jive
Year:
Lyrics:

Awaiting Lyrics

Trixie Smith

Jack I Am Mellow performed by Trixie Smith 40s singer

Track: Jack I Am Mellow
Year: 1938
Lyrics:

I'm so high and so dry.
I'm sailin' in the sky.
Just blow some gage.
I'm on a rampage.
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.
'Cause I'm on a bender.

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

I'm so high and so dry.
I'm sailin' in the sky.
Just blow some gage.
I'm on a rampage.
Jack, I'm mellow.

I'm so high and so dry.
I'm way up in the sky.
The world seems light.
And.

The Ink Spots

The Ink Spots - That Cat Is High (1938)

Track: That Cat Is High
Year: 1938
Lyrics:

Boys, I'm mellow as a honeydew, yeah

That cat is high.
Look at that look in his eye.
Oh man, he's high.
Yes, higher than a kite.

That cat is high.
Look at that look in his eye.
Man, I wouldn't lie.
The cat's higher than a kite.

Now when you see him stumblin'.
Bubbed in and down the street.
You know that cat's been drinkin'.
Got no shoes upon his feet.

Man he's high.
I said that cat is high.
Yes, he's high.
Man, he's higher than a kite.

That cat is high.
Look at that look in his eye.
Man, I wouldn't lie.
That cat's higher than a kite.

Boys, he's high.
Just look at them two black eyes.
You know I wouldn't lie.
He's higher than the sky.

When you see him tippin'.
Round and round the block.
Know that cat he's very beat.
Hip clean down to his socks.

That cat is high.
Boys.

Victoria Spivey

Victoria Spivey - Dope Head Blues (1927)

Track: Dope Head Blues
Year: 1927
Lyrics:

Just give me one more sniff of, another sniff of that dope.
Just give me one more sniff of, another sniff of that dope.
I'll catch a cow like a cowboy, and throw a bull without a rope.

Doggone, I've got more money than Henry Ford or John D. ever had.
Doggone, got more money than Henry Ford or John D. ever had.
I bit a dog last Monday and forty doggone dogs went mad.

Feel like a fighting rooster, feel better than I ever felt.
Feel like a fighting rooster, feel better than I ever felt.
Got double pneumonia and still I think I got the best health.

Say, Sam.
Go get my airplane and drive it up to my door.
Aw, Sam, go get my airplane and drive.

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