Dust my Broom

Dust My BroomElmore James's Best Songs | This Is My Jam

Song by Elmore James

Songwriters: James Elmore / Robert Johnson
Dust My Broom lyrics © BMG Rights Management, Concord Music Publishing LLC

“Dust My Broom”—Elmore James (1951)
Added to the National Registry: 2013
Essay by Jas Obrecht (guest post)*
Elmore James Original label

The passionate blues song “Dust My Broom” has been filling dance floors and
exhilarating listeners for more than 60 years. The song’s been covered by a wide array of

Robert Johnson,

I Believe I’ll Dust My Broom
The song “I Believe I’ll Dust My Broom” was recorded by Robert Johnson during his first recording session on November 23, 1936 in San Antonio.

Robert Johnson was born on May 8, 1911 in Hazlehurst, Mississippi. He lived in Memphis until 1918 with his mom before to move to Robinsonville, Mississippi. He learned first the harmonica, then the guitar and play both simultaneously. Johnson met in the late 1920s Charley Patton and Willie Brown and then Son House in 1931. He got married a first time in 1929, but his first wife died during the childbirth. Robert Johnson married a second time in 1931 and fathered a child while living in Clarksdale, Mississippi. From that time he started a career of itinerant musician between Memphis and small towns of the Mississippi Delta. In 1936 Robert got an audition with H. C. Speir in order to record with ARC (American Records Company). The first recording session took place in San Antonio, Texas in November 1936, notably with “Cross Road Blues” or “Sweet Home Chicago”. One year after, Robert recorded another session in Dallas with 13 new songs, including “Love In Vain” and “Traveling Riverside Blues”. Johnson died on August 16, 1938 of unknown causes, probably of congenital syphilis.

Robert Leroy Johnson was an American blues musician and songwriter. His landmark recordings in 1936 and 1937 display a combination of singing, guitar skills, and songwriting talent that has influenced later generations of musicians. He is now recognized as a master of the blues, particularly the Delta blues style. Wikipedia  Born: May 8, 1911, Hazlehurst, MS Died: August 16, 1938, Greenwood, MS Albums: Martin Scorsese Presents The Blues: Robert JohnsonMORE Spouse: Caletta Craft (m. 1931–1938), Virginia Travis (m. 1929–1930) Children: Claud Johnson

10 Things You Didn't Know About Howlin' Wolf – American Blues SceneHowlin’ Wolf,


Howlin Wolf – Dust My Broom (Live 1966) RARE! Song:  Dust My Broom https://bluessoulfunk.com/
Son House in the background, a young Hubert Sumlin and Wolf
Artist: Forrest City Highway Band  Album: Highway Band Best and Favorite Southern BluesMay be a black-and-white image of 1 person
Howlin’ Wolf  Chester Arthur Burnett b. June 10, 1910 in White Station, Clay County, Mississippi (White Station being 12 miles southwest of Aberdeen and 4 miles north of West Point)
d. January 10, 1976 at Veterans Administration Hospital (“Hines complex”) in Hines, Illinois
buried at Oakridge-Glen Oak Cemetery in Hillside, Cook County, IL


Chester’s final, live performance was in November, 1975 at the Chicago Amphitheater. Sharing the bill with B.B. King, Albert King, O. V. Wright, and Luther Allison, Wolf performed as he always did, even crawling across the stage during the song, “Crawling King Snake.” The crowd gave him a five-minute standing ovation. When he got offstage, a team of paramedics were called in to revive him.

B.B. King,28,844 B.B. King Photos and Premium High Res Pictures - Getty Images

B.B. King - Emmy Awards, Nominations and Wins | Television Academy
Dust My Broom · B.B. King
The Best Of B.B. King
℗ 1991 Virgin Records America, Inc. Released on: 1991-01-01

Composer Lyricist: Elmore James

Composer Lyricist: Robert Leroy Johnson

The Yardbirds,

Dust My Broom · YardbirdsThe Yardbirds, 1966. From left: Jeff Beck, Jimmy Page, Chris Dreja, Keith Relf and Jim McCarty.

The Yardbirds are an English rock band, formed in London in 1963. The band’s core lineup featured vocalist and harmonica player Keith Relf, drummer Jim McCarty, rhythm guitarist/bassist Chris Dreja and bassist/producer Paul Samwell-Smith.  Original lead guitarist Topham left and was replaced by Eric Clapton in October 1963. Yardbirds toured Britain as the back-up band for blues legend Sonny Boy Williamson II in December 1963 and early 1964. The recordings would be released two years later during the height of the Yardbirds popularity on the album Sonny Boy Williamson and the Yardbirds.

The Clapton line-up recorded two singles, the blues “I Wish You Would” and “Good Morning, School Girl“, before the band scored its first major hit with “For Your Love“, a Graham Gouldman composition with a prominent harpsichord part by Brian Auger. “For Your Love” hit the top of the charts in the UK and Canada and reached number six in the United States. Clapton abruptly left the band on 25 March 1965, the day the single was released. Soon Clapton joined John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers, but not before he recommended Jimmy Page, a prominent young session guitarist, to replace him. Page in turn recommended his friend Jeff Beck.[16] Beck played his first gig with the Yardbirds only two days after Clapton’s departure.

Fleetwood Mac,

https://youtu.be/T_2CPywLInc?list=RDT_2CPywLIncFleetwood Mac | Ebet Roberts

Fleetwood Mac / Peter Green – Dust My Broom
– Please Find My Baby – 1968/12/31 – Paris

Peter Green : guitar, vocals

Jeremy Spencer : slide guitar, piano, vocals

Danny Kirwan : guitar John McVie : bass

Mick Fleetwood : drums

Johnny Winter,

John Dawson Winter III was an American singer and guitarist. Winter was known for his high-Brother Johnnyenergy blues rock albums and live performances in the late 1960s and 1970s. He also produced three Grammy Award-winning albums for blues singer and guitarist Muddy Waters. Wikipedia
Born: February 23, 1944, Beaumont, TX  Died: July 16, 2014, Bülach District
Spouse: Susie Winter (m. 1992–2014)  Siblings: Edgar Winter  Parents: Edith WinterJohn Winter II



Born legally blind Johnny was one of the greatest players

Dust my broom was also recorded by ZZ Top,  Freddy King, R.L. Burnside, Joe Lewis Walker, Mick Jagger, Taj Mahal, James Cotton and dozens more. Even bad actor/cop Steven Seagal recorded a version with Louisiana Red!  “Dust My Broom” has been adapted to piano, accordion, acoustic and electric guitar.

The best-known version of “Dust My Broom,” by Elmore James, begins with the world’s
most recognizable slide guitar riff. Performed with the guitar tuned to an open-D or
open-E chord, this riff delivers propulsive full-octave glides to the guitar’s 12th fret.
Since the mid 1960s, mastering this lick and the song’s subsequent solo as played by
Elmore James has been a rite of passage for up-and-coming blues guitarists. Sonically,
it’s the perfect accompaniment for the song’s lyrical message, which in its later
incarnations concerns a man’s dissatisfaction with his woman. Perfect fodder for the

What exactly does “dust my broom” mean? In the 1800s, the expression “get up and
dust” meant to leave in a hurry. In the Depression-era South, where the song likely
originated, “dust my broom” meant to get out of town in a hurry. Big Joe Williams, who
grew up in the Mississippi Delta, explained it as “leaving for good,” as in “I’m putting
you down. I won’t be back no more.”

The earliest known version of the song that evolved into Elmore James’ “Dust MySundance 2021 Review: 'The Sparks Brothers' Is a Daffy Dive Into Edgar  Wright's Favorite Band | We Live Entertainment
Broom” is Aaron and Milton Sparks’ 1932 piano-based recording of “I Believe I’ll Make
a Change,” which came out on 78 credited to Pinetop and Lindberg.


Pinetop & Lindberg
– I Believe I’ll Make A Change – 1932

Six years later, Jack Kelly and His South Memphis Jug Band recorded the plaintive “Believe I’ll GoBDCD Back Home.” In these early versions, the singer accepts blame for being unfaithful and longsBelieve I'll Go Back Home (Jack Kelly & His South Memphis Jug Band) (1932 -  1939) - YouTube
for home, a lyrical sentiment that would continue for a few years, and then disappear with the Robert Johnson and Elmore James recordings.

Believe I’ll Go Back Home (Jack Kelly & His South Memphis Jug Band) (1932 – 1939)

Little is known of Jack Kelly. It is thought that he was born in northern Mississippi at the turn of the century, moving to Memphis in the twenties where he remained until his death around 1960. He is remembered as a street musician who worked with guitarist Frank Stokes, Dan Sane and fiddle player, Will Batts. Later Kelly, Sane and Batts augmented their sound with a jug player, DM Higgs, forming a group called the South Memphis Jug Band. Their repertoire tended to favour blues based material and the combination of two guitars, violin and jug produced a decidedly “country blues”.  https://thedocumentrecordsstore.com/product/bdcd-6005/

Another ancestor, Carl Rafferty’s “Mr. Carl’s Blues,” from 1933, contained the familiar lyrics: “I’mMr. Carl's Blues - song by Roosevelt Sykes with Carl Rafferty | Spotify going call up in to China, just to see if my babe’s over there” and “I do believe, I believe I’ll dust my broom.”

Mr. Carl’s Blues · Roosevelt Sykes with Carl Rafferty Roosevelt Sykes Vol. 3 (1931-1933)  Carl Rafferty  Profile:  Blues singer, who recorded two titles in 1933.  “Composer credits on this artist’s recordings are to C. Fletcher, which may be the artist’s real name.”

(Blues and gospel records 1890-1943, Oxford University Press, 1997, p. 737)

Illustrated Josh White discographyOther notable pre-war versions were recorded by Josh White,  How Long, How Long Blues - YouTube
(a sample of his work)


Josh White, 1958: Boll Weevil; Water Cress; I’m A Mean Mistreater    Also by Leroy Carr

Kokomo Arnold, a slide guitarist whose “Sagefield Woman Blues” echoed the “I believe,
I believe I’ll dust my broom” line from the Rafferty record.


Kokomo Arnold – Sagefield Woman Blues {1930}  Kokomo Arnold (James Arnold, Lovejoy’s Station,Kokomo Arnold | Discography | Discogs Georgia, February 15, 1901 – Chicago, Illinois, November 8, 1968) was an American blues musician. A left-handed slide guitarist, his intense slide style of playing and rapid-fire vocal style set him apart from his contemporaries. He got his nickname in 1934 after releasing “Old Original Kokomo Blues” for the Decca label; it was a cover of the Scrapper Blackwell blues song about the city of Kokomo, Indiana.

On another 78, “Sissy Man Blues,” Arnold resurrected the China reference.
Sissy Man Blues (1935 Version) · Kokomo Arnold

Robert Johnson, arguably the Mississippi Delta’s most skilled blues performer of theRobert Johnson | iHeart
1930s, recycled portions of Arnold’s “Sagefield Woman Blues” and “Sissy Man Blues” in his 1936 recording “I Believe I’ll Dust My Broom.” Johnson played his version in open-E tuning. While he did not use a slide, his high-pitched triplets set the template for
future slide versions, and his shuffle bass pattern anticipated how electrified blues bands would arrange the song.


Robert Johnson – Essential Mississippi Delta Blues

At the time of Robert Johnson’s death in 1938, his contemporary, Elmore James, was
already moving toward adapting traditional Delta blues music to a blues band setting. A
rhythmic, rollicking slide guitarist and superb vocalist, James was born in rural
Mississippi on January 27, 1918. He plucked his first notes on a diddley bow, and then
fashioned a one-string guitar from a can, board, and wire. By his late teens, Elmore had
acquired a National Reso-Phonic guitar and was playing at Delta juke joints and
Illustrated Elmore James discography
After serving in the Naval Reserves during World War II, James settled in Canton, Mississippi, where he worked in a radio repair shop and appeared on the radio with
master harmonica player Aleck “Rice” Miller,
who performed under the name Sonny
Boy Williamson II.

In early 1951, Sonny Boy asked Elmore James to accompany him on some recordings he’d agreed to make for Trumpet Records, an independent label owned by Lillian McMurry in Jackson, Mississippi. James initially recorded as a sideman for Willie Love and Sonny Boy Williamson II.
Then, in early August 1951, he and Sonny Boy demoed “Dust My Broom” for Mrs. McMurry, who immediately signed Elmore to an artist contract. The following day, Elmore James recorded his first song as a leader, “Dust My Broom,” laying down 2:43 of pure dynamite. His backing band consisted of Sonny Boy Williamson II, bassist Leonard Ware, and drummer Frock O’Dell. This performance was among the very best James would ever give. He based his lyrics on Robert Johnson’s version, with some variations:


“I’m gon’ get up in the morning, I believe I’ll dust my broom,
I’m gon’ get up in the mornin’, I believe I’ll dust my broom,
I quit the best girl I’m lovin’, now my friends can get my roomElmore James
I’m gonna write a letter, telephone every town I know,
I’m gonna write a letter, I’ll telephone every town I know,
If I don’t find her in West Helena, she’s in East Monroe, I know
And I don’t want no woman wants every downtown man she meets,
I don’t want no woman want every downtown man she meets,
Man, she’s a no good doney, they shouldn’t allow her on the street
I believe, I believe my time ain’t long,
I believe, I believe my time ain’t long,
I’ve got to leave my baby and break up my happy home”

Aural evidence suggests that Elmore played on an acoustic guitar outfitted with a
soundhole pickup, using his bare right-hand fingers rather than a guitar pick. James had
no other songs ready to record, so Mrs. McMurry released “Dust My Broom” paired with
Bobo Thomas’ “Catfish Blues.” The 78, Trumpet’s biggest hit, reached No. 9 on the
“Billboard” national R&B chart in March 1952 and placed high on local surveys from
January through April. James began dividing his time between Mississippi and Chicago,
where he fronted one of the era’s best blues bands, the incandescent Broomdusters.
Dust My Broom by Elmore James

Due to the single’s success, James was asked by producers to re-record the song or recast its famous slide riff several times over the next decade. His “Dust My Blues,” for example, was virtually the same song, with the word “blues” substituted for “broom.”
But it’s a mistake to brand him a one-lick wonder or Robert Johnson imitator, as many have done. Elmore James played in a variety of styles, almost always with unstoppable body rhythm. His ferocious, anguished vocals were as fearless as his solos. While “Dust My Broom” remained James’ signature song on stage and record, he also composed and/or popularized the enduring blues songs

“The Sky Is Crying,” “The Sun Is Shining,” “Madison Blues,” and “Done Somebody Wrong.”

Jas Obrecht is a longtime editor for “Guitar Player” magazine and is the author of
“Rollin’ & Tumblin’: The Postwar Blues Guitarists” (Miller Freeman, 2000), “Early
Blues: The First Stars of Blues Guitar” (University of Minnesota Press, 2015), and
“Talking Guitar: Conversations with Musicians Who Shaped Twentieth-Century
American Music” (University of North Carolina Press, April 2017).

* The views expressed in this essay are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the Library of Congress.


Dust My Broom – Elmore James –

Dust My Broom – Elmore James, the King of the Slide Guitar.

Elmore James – The Sky Is Crying –Pin on Elmore James

Elmore James – “It hurts Me Too” | Remastered –

Elmore James versions   Several versions of “It Hurts Me Too” were recorded in the 1940s and 1950s, including those by Stick McGhee and Big Bill Broonzy. When Elmore James recorded it in 1957, he (or Chief’s owner, Mel London, who is credited on the release) supplied some of the lyrics that are most familiar today:

“You say you hurting,Elmore James - Rollin' and Tumblin' - YouTube
you almost lost your mind
The man you love,
he hurts you all the time
When things go wrong,
go wrong with you
It hurts me too”

James’ 1957 Chief version did not appear in the charts, but after he recorded the song again in late 1962 or early 1963 for the Fire/Fury/Enjoy group of labels, it became a hit. The song used the same lyrics as his earlier version, but featured more prominent slide guitar work. When it was released in 1965, two years after James’ death, “It Hurts Me Too” spent eight weeks in the R&B chart.

Dust My Broom – Sonny Boy Williamson
  https://youtu.be/5i8Lo3mJ7Ek?list=RD5i8Lo3mJ7Ek                                                                       Dust My Broom · Sonny Boy Williamson II · Sonny Boy

Elmore James-Every Day I Have the Blues – 

Elmore James-Every Day I Have the Blues.· Traveler Into The Blue

Elmore James – Rollin’ and Tumblin’ –

Elmore James – To Know A Man – 

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