Hoochie Coochie Man
“Hoochie Coochie Man” or “(I’m Your) Hoochie Coochie Man” was written by Willie Dixon but made timeless by the great Muddy Waters on the 1954 recording. It is one of the all-time classic Chicago-style blues songs, an essential link between the Mississippi Delta and rock and roll. It would go on to become one of Muddy’s most popular and identifiable songs and would solidify Dixon’s place as the head songwriter at Chess Records. “Hoochie Coochie Man” would go on to be Muddy’s best-selling single ever and he would go on to record numerous versions of it during his career, including a psychedelic rock version for the 1968 album Electric Mud, and an updated version on the Grammy® winning album I’m Ready from 1977, that reunited Muddy with original guitarist Jimmy Rodgers.
Recorded in January of 1954 in Chicago, and released on both 10” 78 rpm and newer 7” 45 rpm format. The song features the classic line up of harmonica virtuoso Little Walter, guitarist Jimmy Rogers, Otis Spann on piano, drummer Elgin Evans, and Dixon on bass, all of whom had been playing with Muddy since 1951. The songs lyrics in the first section references Muddy’s 1947 track “Gypsy Woman” and takes place before the narrator is even born:
The gypsy woman told my mother, before I was born
I got a boy child's comin', gonna be a son of a gun
He gonna make pretty womens, jump an' shout
And then the world wanna know, what this all about
Switching to the present tense in the second section, the song mentions several charms that would’ve been used by gypsies and seers:
I got the black cat bone and I got a mojo, too
I got the John the Conqueror Root, gonna mess with you
The final section of the song forecasts good luck in the future, with the number seven playing a prominent role as a good omen.
On the seventh hour, on the seventh day
On the seventh month, seven doctors say
"He was born for good luck, that you'll see."
I got seven hundred dollars; don't you mess with me
The song marks one of Muddy’s first recordings with a full backing band, creating a template for the rock bands of the 1960s to emulate. The stop-time rhythm of the song would also be hugely influential, and would be famously lifted by Bo Diddley on his “I’m A Man” single. Composed while rock and roll was in its infancy Robert Gordon, Muddy’s biographer and musicologist, would hypothesize, "I would think that 'Hoochie Coochie Man' is a keystone in the architecture of rock 'n' roll, because it was a song that could be covered by rock bands and sound like a rock 'n' roll song and be done by blues bands and sound like a blues song, and basically they're all playing the same thing." “Hoochie Coochie Man” would go on to be covered by everyone from Chuck Berry to jazz organist Jimmy Smith to proto-punk rockers the New York Dolls.
“Hoochie Coochie Man” would be inducted into the Blues Foundation Hall Of Fame in 1984 and bestowed with a Grammy Hall Of Fame Award in 1998 which "honor[s] recordings of lasting qualitative or historical significance". It would be included in the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame’s list of the “500 Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll” and rank 226 on Rolling Stone magazines list of the “500 Greatest Songs of All Time”. In 2004 it was selected for preservation in the National Recording Registry by advisors to the US Library Of Congress.