Tell Me Mama
Little Walter Lyrics


Jump to: Overall Meaning ↴  Line by Line Meaning ↴

Oh, tell me mama
Who's that while ago?
Oh, tell me mama
Who's that while ago?
Yes, when I come in
Who went out that back door?

Now don't come here mama
I'm gonna start a ragin' stand
You been out boogie-woogie'n
There's somethin' I don't understand

I want you to tell me mama
Who's that while ago?
Yes, when I come in
Who went out that back door?

Now this is somethin'
I never seen before
A man is gettin' my money
Always slammin' my back door

I want you to tell me mama
Who's that while ago?
Yes, when I came in
Who went out that back door?

Oh, I had to wanna kneel down
You couldn't give the truth
His hat in his hand
And his overcoat too

I want you to tell me mama
Why can't you be true?
Yes, when I came in
Who went out that back door?

He came by me runnin'
Smellin' like a whiskey can
My hat in his hand
And my overcoat too

I want you to tell me mama
Who's that while ago?




Yes, when I came in
Who went out that back door?

Overall Meaning

The song "Tell Me Mama" by Little Walter appears to be a conversation between two people, one of whom is asking the other about who has been coming and going through the back door. The singer seems to suspect that his partner has been unfaithful, and is trying to get some answers. There is a sense of urgency and frustration in the lyrics, as the singer wants to know the truth but is unsure if he can handle it. The repeated line "who's that while ago?" suggests that the singer is fixated on this question and cannot move on until he finds out who has been leaving through the back door.


The second speaker seems defensive, telling the first that he shouldn't be angry and that he doesn't understand what's going on. He accuses the first speaker of going out and "boogie-woogie'n," implying that he too might be guilty of infidelity. Throughout the song, there is a sense of tension and mistrust between the two speakers, with the first trying to get answers and the second trying to deflect the conversation.


Overall, the lyrics of "Tell Me Mama" are a poignant exploration of the complexities of human relationships and the quest for honesty and trust. The song's use of repetition and imagery helps to convey the emotional intensity of the situation, and its bluesy sound and instrumentation add an additional layer of depth and feeling to the lyrics.


Line by Line Meaning

Oh, tell me mama
The singer is asking his mother a question


Who's that while ago?
The singer is asking about someone who was there earlier


Yes, when I come in
The singer is clarifying the time he came home


Who went out that back door?
The artist is asking about someone who left through the back door


Now don't come here mama
The artist is warning his mother not to interfere


I'm gonna start a ragin' stand
The singer is going to get angry


You been out boogie-woogie'n
The singer accuses his mother of dancing to popular music


There's somethin' I don't understand
The artist is confused about an event


I want you to tell me mama
The artist is asking his mother to explain


Now this is somethin'
The artist is surprised by something


I never seen before
The singer has not witnessed this before


A man is gettin' my money
Someone is taking the artist's money


Always slammin' my back door
Someone is leaving through the singer's back door


Oh, I had to wanna kneel down
The singer is angry and wants to kneel down in frustration


You couldn't give the truth
The singer accuses his mother of lying to him


His hat in his hand
The person who left had the artist's hat


And his overcoat too
The person who left had the artist's overcoat as well


Why can't you be true?
The singer is asking his mother to be honest


He came by me runnin'
The person who left was in a hurry


Smellin' like a whiskey can
The person who left smelled like alcohol


My hat in his hand
The person who left had the artist's hat


And my overcoat too
The person who left had the artist's overcoat as well


Who's that while ago?
The singer is asking about someone who was there earlier


Yes, when I came in
The artist is clarifying the time he came home


Who went out that back door?
The singer is asking about someone who left through the back door




Lyrics © Kanjian Music, Universal Music Publishing Group
Written by: WALTER JACOBS

Lyrics Licensed & Provided by LyricFind
To comment on or correct specific content, highlight it

Genre not found
Artist not found
Album not found
Song not found
Comments from YouTube:

@Andreaswahllof

For those who didn't know that white AND black folks both played country, blues & bluegrass back in the day!

@GregParker

Thanks for mighty fine Little Walter blues !

@keesvanbaaren1048

Little Walter at his best!!!

@keesvanbaaren1048

Super Man Blues
Always Keep The Blues Alive👍

@BobVop

I believe Little Walter was the first to use that distorted harp sound through a guitar amp which, is common place now. Too bad he had a gambling (and drinking) issue, he might have been around a lot longer. The Meyer brothers were amazing guitarists too. Their licks were so cool for the time...still are. Big Boss Blues Harmonica (CD) is a must for Walter fans; it has just about everything he ever recorded. The movie Cadillac Records gives a little insight into the life and times of LW.

@guitarded71

Snooky Pryor came first

@keithrandall1492

Boss Blues Harmonica was marred by the use of fake stereo masters on one of the two discs; and it's quite a long way from containing EVERYTHING...

@terrysteffen

Great song! Why can't we hear anything like this on the radio?

@DurandMj

Rockabilly!..

@vladbuldyrev8241

We can, if you tune in to Blues Before Sunrise (look it up :))

More Comments

More Versions