Blue Yodel #8
Jimmie Rodgers Lyrics


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T for Texas, T for Tennessee
T for Texas, T for Tennessee
T for Thelma
That gal that made a wreck out of me

O-de-lay-ee-a-lay-ee-o-ly-ee

If you don't want me mama
You sure don't have to stall, Lawd Lawd
If you don't want me mama
You sure don't have to stall
'Cause I can get more women
Than a passenger train can haul

O-de-lay-ee-a-lay-ee-o-ly-ee

I'm gonna buy me a pistol
Just as long as I'm tall, Lawd, Lawd
I'm gonna buy me a pistol
Just as long as I'm tall
I'm gonna shoot poor Thelma
Just to see her jump and fall

O-de-lay-ee-a-lay-ee-o-ly-ee

I'm goin' where the water
Drinks like cherry wine, ding on boys, ding 'em
Lord I'm goin' where the water
Drinks like cherry wine
'Cause the Georgia water
Tastes like turpentine

O-de-lay-ee-a-lay-ee-o-ly-ee

I'm gonna buy me a shotgun
With a great long shiny barrel
I'm gonna buy me a shotgun
With a great long shiny barrel
I'm gonna shoot that rounder
That stole away my gal

O-de-lay-ee-a-lay-ee-o-ly-ee

Rather drink muddy water
Sleep in a hollow log
Rather drink muddy water
And sleep in a hollow log
Than to be in Atlanta
Treated like a dirty dog





O-de-lay-ee-a-lay-ee-o-ly-ee

Overall Meaning

The song "T For Texas" by Jimmie Rodgers is a classic country-blues tune that showcases the heartache, frustration, and longing for revenge that can come from a tumultuous relationship. The song is divided into several parts, each of which adds to the overall narrative of the song. The opening lines draw attention to the two states in which the singer has had experiences that have affected him deeply: Texas and Tennessee. The repetition of the state names drives home the idea that these places hold a lot of meaning for him. However, he quickly shifts his focus to Thelma, the woman who has caused him so much pain. He refers to her as a "wreck," suggesting that she has taken a toll on him physically and emotionally.


The singer expresses his frustration with Thelma in several ways throughout the song. He makes it clear that he doesn't want to be strung along by her; he would rather know where he stands so that he can pursue other women. He also expresses a desire for revenge, stating that he will "shoot poor Thelma just to see her jump and fall." The final lines of the song reveal that the singer has decided to leave the area entirely, seeking refuge in a place where the water is better and he won't be treated poorly. Overall, "T For Texas" is a song that speaks to the complicated emotions that can arise in a tumultuous relationship, and the desire for revenge that can sometimes follow.


Line by Line Meaning

T for Texas, T for Tennessee
Texas and Tennessee are represented by the letter T indicating the singer's love for these states.


T for Thelma
Thelma is the singer's lover, who he thinks of fondly despite the trouble she has caused him.


That gal that made a wreck out of me
Thelma has caused the singer a great deal of pain and trouble, but he still loves her.


If you don't want me mama You sure don't have to stall, Lawd Lawd If you don't want me mama You sure don't have to stall 'Cause I can get more women Than a passenger train can haul
The singer is telling his lover that if she doesn't want him anymore, she doesn't have to delay breaking up with him because he knows he can find other women easily.


I'm gonna buy me a pistol Just as long as I'm tall, Lawd Lawd I'm gonna buy me a pistol Just as long as I'm tall I'm gonna shoot poor Thelma Just to see her jump and fall
The singer is expressing his anger towards Thelma and his desire to harm her by buying a gun and using it against her.


I'm goin' where the water Drinks like cherry wine, ding on boys, ding 'em Lord I'm goin' where the water Drinks like cherry wine 'Cause the Georgia water Tastes like turpentine
The singer is going to a place where the water is pure and enjoyable to drink because he doesn't like the taste of the water in Georgia.


I'm gonna buy me a shotgun With a great long shiny barrel I'm gonna buy me a shotgun With a great long shiny barrel I'm gonna shoot that rounder That stole away my gal
The singer is expressing his intention to purchase a shotgun in order to hurt the person who stole Thelma from him.


Rather drink muddy water Sleep in a hollow log Rather drink muddy water And sleep in a hollow log Than to be in Atlanta Treated like a dirty dog
The singer would prefer to endure difficult circumstances such as drinking dirty water and sleeping in uncomfortable places than to be mistreated in Atlanta.




Lyrics © Peermusic Publishing
Written by: JIMMIE RODGERS

Lyrics Licensed & Provided by LyricFind
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Comments from YouTube:

Salt Rock Shakers

I’ve listened to Jimmie’s music most of my life, and I can easily hear his influence on the music I play today.
A little history, if I may:
Rodger’s Dad was a foreman with the Railroad which caused Jimmie to grow up around trains and train yards, where he learned to sing and play the guitar. Being taught by white and black railroad workers, he merged Country music and the Blues. And by adding his distinctive yodel to the sound, he made it his own.
By the time he was 14, he was a full-fledged brakeman and was riding trains all over the country. He incorporated his train knowledge and railroad travels to different states into the songs he wrote. For instance, in “T for Texas,” he sings about Texas, Tennessee, Georgia and Atlanta, and in many of his other songs, he sings about several other states and cities that he visited.
By adding his train travels, happy-go-lucky confidence, love travails in various cities and his sassy sense of humor to his Bluesy Country music, he endeared himself to millions of people all over the country during the hard times of the depression. He was the Elvis Presley or Beatles of his day and remains to be the greatest, single influence on American music.
But let's not forget Rodger's sister-in-law, Elsie McWilliams of Meridian, MS, who wrote the majority of Jimmie's songs. Even though Rodger's eight years of popularity was during the depth of the Depression, Jimmie's simple man's songs, being highly influenced by Elsie's lyrics of faith, family, home and sweethearts, made their songs of hard times and heartaches treasured by the American public.
Sorry for being so long winded …

ITILII

Jimmie Rodgers the Father of Country music....and along with Hank Williams and Fred Rose, the first 3 inductees into the Country Music Hall of Fame....cha cha cha !

Salt Rock Shakers

@Toby Latino Yeah, a sad song with a sad yodel. :-)

Toby Latino

@Salt Rock Shakers that makes sense. I was referring to gambling bar room blues. I suppose he was referencing a train he'd hop on to escape the life he'd made for himself.

Salt Rock Shakers

@Toby Latino Being that trains were the mass transit method of Rodgers' time, I have to think an "eight wheeler" would be a freight car or a passenger train car. Both have eight wheels. If you were a hobo, you hopped on a freight train. If you had money, you rode on a passenger train. Speaking of his odd lyrics, in another song (Frankie & Johnny), Rodgers sang about a "rubber-tired hack" or hearse. In Blue Yodel #10, he sang, "Something about you mama, sho' gives me the Blues. It ain't your drop stitch stockings. It ain't your blue buckle shoes."

Toby Latino

Do you happen to know what he means when he says "eight-wheeler?"

1 More Replies...

Ursula Rissmann-Telle

I could listen to all of Jimmie Rodgers' Blue Yodel songs all day long. It fascinates me that they sound so sad although his voice is so high and light. Tragically he died so early.

blake1771

I don’t know the name of the technique but I love the high little flourish he does on the last word, of the second line, of each stanza.

KingPetra

Some classify his Blue Yodel series as their own separate genre of country music.

Jeff Scott

In my opinion Merle Haggard s album. Same Train Different time. Was the best tribute. To Jimmie.

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