Blue Yodel No.8
Jimmie Rodgers Lyrics


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Good mornin' captain, good mornin' shine
Good mornin' captain, good mornin' shine
Do you need another mule skinner
Workin' on your new road line?

My line's been rollin'
I'm rollin' all the time
My line is work
I'm rollin' all the time
I can carve my initials (ha)
On an old mule's behind

I said hey, little waterboy (hey)
Bring that water bucket 'round
(Bring it 'round, bring it 'round, bring it 'round, bring it 'round)
I said hey, little waterboy
Bring that water bucket 'round
And if you don't like your job
Shut that water bucket down

Good morning captain, good mornin' shine
Good morning captain, good mornin' shine
Do you need another mule skinner
Workin' on your new road line?

Well I like to work,
I'm rollin' all the time
Well I like to work,
I'm rollin' all the time
I can carve my initials
On an old mule's behind

I said, good mornin' captain
Good mornin' captain
I said good mornin' captain
Mornin' captain
Said good mornin'captain
Mornin' captain
I said good mornin' captain
Mornin' captain
Mornin' captain




Mornin' captain
Working on your new road line

Overall Meaning

The lyrics to Jimmie Rodgers's song "Mule Skinner Blues" depict the story of a hardworking mule driver who is seeking employment on a new road line. He greets the captain and the shine in the morning and inquires if they need another mule skinner on their team. The mule skinner takes pride in his line of work, stating that he's always rolling and can even carve his initials on an old mule's behind. He then calls out to the waterboy, asking him to bring around the water bucket, but warns him to shut it down if he doesn't like his job. The song ends as he repeats his original question, asking the captain once again if they need a mule skinner on their team.


The lyrics of "Mule Skinner Blues" have been interpreted in many ways. One interpretation is that the song is a story of a man's dedication to his work even in less glamorous jobs like mule driving. Others believe that it's a protest song about the working conditions of laborers in the early 20th century. The line "if you don't like your job, shut that water bucket down" is seen as a call to arms to workers who feel oppressed and want to fight back. Regardless of the interpretation, the song has stood the test of time and is considered a classic in the country and blues music genre.


Line by Line Meaning

Good mornin' captain, good mornin' shine
Greeting the boss and supervisor respectfully in the morning.


Do you need another mule skinner Workin' on your new road line?
Asking if there's any vacancy for a mule skinner on the construction site.


My line's been rollin' I'm rollin' all the time My line is work I'm rollin' all the time I can carve my initials (ha) On an old mule's behind
Proudly stating that he is skilled in his job, and can even mark his work on a mule's skin.


I said hey, little waterboy (hey) Bring that water bucket 'round (Bring it 'round, bring it 'round, bring it 'round, bring it 'round) I said hey, little waterboy Bring that water bucket 'round And if you don't like your job Shut that water bucket down
Requesting the waterboy to bring him water, and asserting that if someone dislikes their job, they should stop doing it.


Well I like to work, I'm rollin' all the time Well I like to work, I'm rollin' all the time I can carve my initials On an old mule's behind
Reiterating his love for his job and ability to mark his work on an animal.


I said, good mornin' captain Good mornin' captain I said good mornin' captain Mornin' captain Said good mornin'captain Mornin' captain I said good mornin' captain Mornin' captain Mornin' captain Mornin' captain Working on your new road line
Repeatedly greeting the captain and acknowledging his work on the new road line.




Lyrics © Peermusic Publishing
Written by: Jimmie Rodgers, George Vaughn

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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