Cocaine Habit Blues

Lyrics: Traditional
Music: Traditional

Sung by Jerry Garcia with Mother McCree's Uptown Jug Champions in 1964. Their version is based closely on the Memphis Jug Band's 1930 version.

Not to be confused with the song Tell It To Me, performed by the Grateful Dead and often wrongly listed as "Cocaine Habit Blues."

Oh cocaine habit mighty bad
It's the worst old habit I ever had
Hey, hey, honey take a whiff on me

I went to Mr Beaman's in a lope
Saw a sign on the window said no more dope
Hey, hey, honey take a whiff on me

Since cocaine went out of style
You can catch them shooting needles all the while
Hey, hey, honey take a whiff on me

If you don't think coke is mighty good
Ask Alma Rose at Minglewood (note 1)
Hey, hey, honey take a whiff on me

I love my whiskey, I love my gin
But the way I love my coke is a doggone sin
Hey, hey, honey take a whiff on me

I strut my stuff long as you please (note 2)
But it takes a little coke to give me ease
Hey, hey, honey take a whiff on me
Notes
(1) on the Mother McCree's recording, it sound as if Jerry sings "Just have a rose in Minglewood", which makes less sense than "Ask Alma Rose ..." which is what the Memphis Jug Band sing. Sam Koessel suggested to me that what Jerry sang might be a reference to the practice of selling roses in glass tubes which are really intended for smoking crack cocaine. But, without knowing much about this, I doubt whether that dates back as far as 1964 when Mother McCree's sang this.
(2) Jerry mumbles this line on the Mother McCree's version, possibly because he gets the two lines of the verse in the wrong order, at least compared to the Memphis Jug Band version.

Grateful Dead and Related Recordings
     Date Album
     Jul 1964 Mother Mcree's Uptown Jug Champions

Origins
Thanks to Anita Cantor for the transcription of the Memphis Jug Band's 1930 recording:
Cocaine habit's mighty bad
It's the worst old habit that I ever had
(Hey, hey, baby (honey) take a wiff on me)

I went to Mr. Lehman's in a lope
Saw a sign on the window
Says 'No More Dope'
(Hey, hey, honey take a wiff on me)

If ya don't believe cocaine is good
Ask Alma Rose down in Minglewood
(Hey, hey, baby (honey) take a wiff on me)

I love my whiskey an I love my gin
But the way I love my coke is a doggone sin
(Hey, hey, honey take a whiff on me)

Since cocaine went out of style
You can catch 'em shootin' needles all the while
(Hey, hey, honey take a whiff on me)

Well, it takes a little coke to give me ease
Strut yo' stuff long as you please
(Hey, hey, honey take a whiff on me)

'Let's all take a wiff on Hattie now' (note 3)
Notes
(3) a reference to Hattie Hart, who sang vocals on this track. (thanks to Adam for pointing this out)


Futher Information
For more information on recordings see Matt Schofield's Grateful Dead Family Discography

 


Home | Find words/phrases| Find Song lyrics| Dead originals| Dead covers|