Whippin' That Old T.B.
Jimmie Rodgers Lyrics


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De-yodel-ay-ee, oh-lay-ee, oh-de-lee-da-lay-dee

Listen all you rounders, you ought to be like me
Don't worry about consumption, even if they call it T.B.

De-yodel-ay-ee, a-lay-ee, oo-de-lee-da-lay-dee

T.B., T.B., some say tonic is fine
You take all your medicine you want, I'll take good liquor for mine

De-yodel-ay-ee, a-lay-ee, oo-de-lee-da-lay-ee

Oh, the hospital and the doctor, done everything they could (Lord, Lord)
Happiness and the sunshine, Lord, it's done me all the good

De-yodel-ay-ee, a-lay-ee, oo-de-lee-da-lay-ee

Don't let that old T.B ever get you down (don't let it get you down)
First they want your insurance, then they want to plant you in the ground

Oh-de-lee-eee-eee-eee (spoken: play it boy, play that thing)

Just in your mind your troubles you forgot
Because good old contentment, it's going to help you a lot

De-yodel-ay-ee, a-lay-ee, oo-de-lee-da-lay-ee

Ain't no use to worry, no use to lay down and die
Cause nine times out of ten ain't nobody will cry





De-yodel-ay-ee, a-lay-ee, oo-de-lee-da-lay-ee

Overall Meaning

In Jimmie Rodgers's song Whippin' That Old T.B., the singer encourages his listeners to not worry about tuberculosis, or T.B. as it was commonly known at the time. He suggests that they should follow his example and focus on enjoying life rather than getting bogged down by the disease. He argues that while some may say tonic or medicine is the answer, he prefers to take "good liquor" instead.


The singer reminisces about his time in the hospital, where the doctors did everything they could for him, but ultimately it was sunshine and happiness that made him feel better. He advises the listeners to not let T.B. get them down, as it will only lead to insurance companies taking advantage of them and ultimately, their demise. Instead, he urges them to find contentment and let go of their worries, as nobody will be there to cry for them when they're gone.


This song can be interpreted as both a cautionary tale and a celebration of life. On the one hand, the singer acknowledges the very real danger and tragedy of T.B., which was a major public health crisis at the time. On the other hand, he also celebrates the resilience and perseverance of those who were afflicted, and the importance of finding joy and contentment in the face of adversity.


Line by Line Meaning

De-yodel-ay-ee, oh-lay-ee, oh-de-lee-da-lay-dee
Starting the song with yodeling and humming, setting the mood for the rest of the song


Listen all you rounders, you ought to be like me
Addressing the listeners and advising them to follow his lead


Don't worry about consumption, even if they call it T.B.
Encouraging the listeners not to fret over Tuberculosis and its implications


T.B., T.B., some say tonic is fine
Sarcastically pointing out that some believe that tonic is a good remedy for TB


You take all your medicine you want, I'll take good liquor for mine
Preferring liquor over medicinal remedies for TB


Oh, the hospital and the doctor, done everything they could (Lord, Lord)
Expressing gratitude for the medical treatment received for TB


Happiness and the sunshine, Lord, it's done me all the good
Attributing happiness and sunshine to his recovery from TB


Don't let that old T.B ever get you down (don't let it get you down)
Advising the listeners to not let TB affect their morale


First they want your insurance, then they want to plant you in the ground
Criticizing the medical industry for prioritizing financial gain over patient well-being


Just in your mind your troubles you forgot
Encouraging the listeners to adopt a positive mindset and forget their troubles


Because good old contentment, it's going to help you a lot
Highlighting the importance of contentment for overall well-being


Ain't no use to worry, no use to lay down and die
Discouraging the listeners from worrying about TB and giving up


Cause nine times out of ten ain't nobody will cry
Suggesting that people usually don't grieve for TB patients who die


De-yodel-ay-ee, a-lay-ee, oo-de-lee-da-lay-ee
Ending the song with more yodeling and humming




Contributed by Isabella P. Suggest a correction in the comments below.
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Comments from YouTube:

@peggybrem2848

The bluesy fiddler is phenomenal 👍

@mt3311

My father had original albums when I was a child. I grew up on this music.

@jamescullen6570

A timeless musical treasure!

@karend4406

The greatest of all time

@LewisSkeeter

Wonderful music and the lyrics are brilliant.

@thraxman

Impressive track, enjoyed it much... Thank you for uploading!

@patry2670

art.

@idisagree61

I am going to update this in 2020 and say whippin that old CV(covid 19). You people can take all the medicine you want, I am taking good liquor for mine! Amen Jimmie.

@gammeltfossil

@@nova_raindrop1257 Hilarious a middle finger to all the people that died from Covid

@mt3311

@@gammeltfossil No, it is not letting that fucking disease take everything. To hell with the Covid, and the medicine, he will take good liquor for it, as that will soothe, and it will either cure him or kill him either he will get a good nights sleep. No disrespect.