Ninety Nine Years Blues
Jimmie Rodgers Lyrics


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Lord, these ninety-nine blues ain't
No fancy dream if you had two lives to live
You'd know just what I mean
When the judge read the verdict
It nearly knocked me down
Said, "Boy, you got two sixes
They're all upside down"
They carried me to the jailhouse
I fell down 'cross my bed (Lord, lord)
I couldn't sleep for crying
I wished to God I was dead
(Lord, I wish I was dead)
It ain't the days I've been here
It's the days I've got to stay
All the old friends I ever had
Done shook hands and gone away

My good gal told me the day I hit this can
(Hey, honey) you've made your bed in sorrow
Now sleep on it like a man (Hey, hey honey)
Ninety-nine and ninety-nine makes one
Hundred and ninety-eight
That's more years, pretty mama
Than you can figure up on your slate

All these old bootleggers come here
And done their time
And left me here grinding on
The same old ninety-nine (Have mercy, Lord)
I don't know what else is
In the world to lose




Cause I've lost everything
Except these ninety-nine blues

Overall Meaning

In Jimmie Rodgers's song "Ninety-Nine Year Blues," the lyrics depict a sense of hopelessness and despair. The singer of the song has been sentenced to a long prison term, metaphorically referred to as the "ninety-nine blues." The lyrics suggest that this situation is not some abstract concept or a passing dream but a harsh reality that the person singing has to endure. If one had two lives to live, they would understand the depth of despair expressed in the song.


When the judge reads the verdict, it brings the singer to his knees, as he learns that he has received an incredibly long sentence. The line "Boy, you got two sixes, they're all upside down" symbolizes the character's misfortune and bad luck. The weight of the sentence is heavy, and it leaves the singer feeling defeated and disheartened.


The song continues to express the pain and agony of being in jail. The singer reveals that he couldn't sleep and wished he were dead. It's not just the time he has already spent in jail that troubles him, but the years he has yet to serve. The character laments the loss of his friends who have moved on, leaving him behind in his lonely predicament.


The lyrics also touch upon the support of a loved one, who remains by the character's side even in his darkest times. The singer's good gal reminds him that he has brought this sorrow upon himself and advises him to face the consequences like a man. The math reference of "Ninety-nine and ninety-nine makes one hundred and ninety-eight" highlights the sheer magnitude of the sentence the singer is facing, far beyond what he can comprehend or imagine.


Overall, "Ninety-Nine Year Blues" is a poignant song that explores themes of regret, loss, and the consequences of one's actions. Through these lyrics, Jimmie Rodgers captures the raw emotions and despair of being caught in a seemingly never-ending cycle of hopelessness and longing for freedom.


Line by Line Meaning

Lord, these ninety-nine blues ain't
These blues I'm experiencing, which seem endless and unbearable, are not a fleeting illusion


No fancy dream if you had two lives to live
Even if you had the opportunity to live two lifetimes, you would still understand the depth of my suffering


You'd know just what I mean
You would comprehend the true essence of my words


When the judge read the verdict
Upon hearing the judge's pronouncement


It nearly knocked me down
I was emotionally devastated by the outcome


Said, "Boy, you got two sixes
The judge declared that I have received a double six


They're all upside down"
But they're completely opposite to what I had hoped for or expected


They carried me to the jailhouse
I was escorted to the place of incarceration


I fell down 'cross my bed (Lord, lord)
Overwhelmed with despair, I collapsed onto my bed


I couldn't sleep for crying
My intense sorrow prevented me from finding any rest


I wished to God I was dead
I pleaded with a higher power to end my life


(Lord, I wish I was dead)
(Oh Lord, I fervently desire to be deceased)


It ain't the days I've been here
It is not the duration of my presence in this place


It's the days I've got to stay
It's the additional days I am compelled to endure


All the old friends I ever had
Every single one of my past companions


Done shook hands and gone away
Have bid farewell and departed from my life


My good gal told me the day I hit this can
My beloved woman conveyed to me when I entered this prison


(Hey, honey) you've made your bed in sorrow
(Hey, honey) you have brought about your own misfortune


Now sleep on it like a man (Hey, hey honey)
Now accept the consequences stoically and bear them with dignity


Ninety-nine and ninety-nine makes one
Adding ninety-nine to another ninety-nine equals a sum


Hundred and ninety-eight
Specifically, one hundred and ninety-eight


That's more years, pretty mama
These years amount to a substantial period, my dear


Than you can figure up on your slate
Greater than you can calculate or comprehend


All these old bootleggers come here
Numerous individuals involved in illegal alcohol sales have arrived at this place


And done their time
And served their respective sentences


And left me here grinding on
Yet, they have departed while I remain here toiled and burdened


The same old ninety-nine (Have mercy, Lord)
Persistently grappling with these enduring blues (Show me mercy, Oh Lord)


I don't know what else is
I am unaware of anything else that


In the world to lose
I have not already lost in this world


Cause I've lost everything
Since I have lost all material possessions and hope


Except these ninety-nine blues
Apart from these profound and unrelenting blue emotions




Lyrics © O/B/O APRA AMCOS

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Comments from YouTube:

Clint Walls

Hank Williams..
Jimmie Rodgers🥃💯

SilvioManfredDante85

:)

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