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Johnny Temple Lyrics

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Hi all,
Johnny Temple was a Mississippi musician who first recorded in the 1930s.  He doesn't attract a lot of attention nowadays, probably because most of his recordings featured small combos rather than solo guitar accompaniments, but he was a terrific singer, and was popular enough to have recorded a lot of titles in his day.  Several years ago I picked up a 2-CD set, "The Essential Johnny Temple" from Document, in a series that has since been discontinued.  There is a lot of really strong material and some surprises, e.g. Johnny Temple being one of the relatively few musicians to cover Skip James' songs, with "The Evil Devil Blues", an eccentric cover of "Devil Got My Woman" and "Cherry Ball"
"Good Suzie" is probably my favorite cut on the set, mostly because Johnny Temple sings it so wonderfully well.  I'm attaching an .mp3 of the song to this post because I very much doubt that the song is up on YouTube.  I originally thought Johnny Temple was singing "good-haired Suzie" in the first verse, but I think, after more listening that it is "good Aunt Suzie".  In this context, "aunt" would refer, not to a family member, but to any older woman.  I'd appreciate correction or corroboration of that from any of you who listen to the track. 
Johnny Temple had a way of going to a head tone and cracking his voice at the end of his phrases that really sends me.  I don't know if anyone else will have that response to it.  His accompanying small combo includes piano and clarinet, played really expertly.

Good Aunt Suzie, now, she got rusty knees, good Aunt Sally, she won't rob and steal, nnnnh
Good Aunt Suzie, uhhhh, she got rusty knees
Ahhhh, good Aunt Sally, she won't rob and steal

I don't likes no woman that's, mm, got rusty knees, she can't do nothin' but cook black-eyed peas, nnnh
Don't like no woman, ahhh, she got rusty knees
Ahhh, she can't do nothin' but cook those black-eyed peas

If you get a woman now she got, rusty knees, she bake her biscuits just as brown as she please, nnnh
You get a woman, ahh, she got rusty knees
Ahhh, she bakes her biscuit just as brown as she please

When she bake her biscuit now she, bakes them brown, suit most any man's appetite in town, nnnhh
She bakes her biscuit, nnnh, now she bakes them brown
Ahh, it suit most any man's appetite in town

Suzie cook me somethin' they call the Dudlow Joe, ev'y time I taste it, well, I want some more, nnnh
She cook me somethin', uhh, she calls the Dudlow Joe
Ev'y time I taste it, I swear and I want some more

All best,


Wow, John that's a really good track. At first I thought the song must have really influenced Bukka White's version of Shake 'Em On Down but now realize that Shake 'Em On Down was recorded in 1937 and Good Suzie was recorded in 1939. Shake 'Em On Down was supposed to have been a sizable hit record so I guess Johnny got his melody for Good Suzie from Bukka in this case.

Here are several links:

Thanks for the mp3, John. Like Lightnin', the first thing that struck me was its strong resemblance to "Shake Em' On Down."

I can't really disagree with your transcription. I think "Aunt" is correct, but it's hardly clear.

Document used "Johnnie" for their "Complete Recorded Works in Chronological Order" series (which appear to be available), but "Johnny" for their "The Essential" series. I picked up more than a few of Document's "Essential" series "Twofer's" when they were available, but unfortunately this one wasn't among them.

I used both spellings of his first name when doing a search to see what's out there.

Allmusic has sample of all the songs on "The Essential"

And I think "Dudlow Joe" merits some discussion.

Thanks again, John

I thought Dudlow or Dudlow Joe was an old term for boogie woogie.

Does rusty knees have any significance other than as a silly phrase that will accept a lot of rhymes?

Gosh I love Johnny Temple's voice. 


--- Quote from: dj on June 19, 2015, 02:18:04 PM ---I thought Dudlow or Dudlow Joe was an old term for boogie woogie.
--- End quote ---

From what I can gather from the ol' Interweb, it has its origins with a pianist named Joe Dudlow, who was one of the first to play in the style known as boogie woogie. I couldn't locate anything beyond that on the web. There is a 1929 song by Lee Green titled "Dud Low Joe."

Maybe Joe Dudlow's name and its variants just became a kind of generic term for boogie woogie, somewhat like "Xerox" is used interchangeably for "photocopy." 


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