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Julius Lester came in with a music caravan. Bob Dylan was there, Pete Seeger, Theodore Bikel. But what they forgot about was that for about 100 miles around, [they] had some of the best traditional music ever. And we didn't have the consciousness then to pull that together, you know, to pull in those living legends of blues men and women who were right there - Worth Long, organizer for the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee, talking about a movement festival in Greenwood, Mississippi in 1960s

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Offline Chezztone

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boot it
« on: November 16, 2006, 04:50:55 PM »
OK, what exactly does "boot it" mean? Bo Carter sings a whole song advising men to "boot it" if you want to keep your gal, boasts that he "boots for these women both day and night," etc. Also "boot it, babe," is one of the things he directs his gal to do in "Twist It Babe" (in which he also tells her to wind it, stir it, love me). Clearly it is something sexual, but is it something specific? There is a Roosevelt Sykes song "Boot That Thing" that I have not heard -- maybe someone familiar with that can shed some light on the meaning and derivation of "booting it"? Thanks! SC

Offline Slack

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Re: boot it
« Reply #1 on: November 16, 2006, 04:59:32 PM »
Well, I've been wrong or too literal about sexual references before (re: hauling ashes) - but I've always thought the derivation/reference image was was putting a foot in a boot.

 :D

Offline Chezztone

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Re: boot it
« Reply #2 on: November 16, 2006, 05:01:35 PM »
OK, what do you know, I do have the Roosevelt Sykes song in my collection (on The Essential compilation). That piece is an instrumental with spoken directions to dancers, telling them to freeze and then to "boot that thing." Sometimes he also tells them to squat. So it seems that booting it is some kind of movement -- perhaps of the "booty"? Has that term been around awhile?

Offline uncle bud

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Re: boot it
« Reply #3 on: November 16, 2006, 08:25:31 PM »
Doesn't Frankie Jaxon sing a tune with the lyric "just boot it"? No, maybe that's "heat it". It's on one of the Tampa Red discs. Will check tomorrow.

As to its meaning, I'll be curious to know the answer myself...

Offline Bill Roggensack

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Re: boot it
« Reply #4 on: November 16, 2006, 09:22:01 PM »
You guys are looking for meaning in all the wrong places! Everyone knows that "boot it" means to go fast - but purposefully, not carelessly. So I guess under certain circumstances, it could have a sexual connotation.
 >:D
Alternatively, if used in a military context (and assuming you were wearing boots), the term "boot it" would mean to use "shanks ponies" in lieu of vehicular transportation.
Always keep a good slang decoder handy. Here are a couple that have served me well:
The Dictionary of American Slang (Robert L. Chapman)
Flappers 2 Rappers: American Youth Slang (Tom Dalzell)
Cheers,
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Offline Bunker Hill

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Re: boot it
« Reply #5 on: November 17, 2006, 01:05:49 AM »
Always keep a good slang decoder handy. Here are a couple that have served me well:
The Dictionary of American Slang (Robert L. Chapman)
Flappers 2 Rappers: American Youth Slang (Tom Dalzell)
Oh I always have and mine has been Wentworth & Flexner Dictionary of American Slang (Crowell Co., 1960) recently supplemented by Clarence Major's Juba To Jive: A Dictionary of African-American Slang (Penguin 1994) which gives the meaning of "used in the 30s to refer to the making of exiting music". Hmm

Offline Chezztone

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Re: boot it
« Reply #6 on: November 17, 2006, 11:16:30 AM »
You guys are looking for meaning in all the wrong places! Everyone knows that "boot it" means to go fast - but purposefully, not carelessly.
Front Page, tell me more! Not all of us are part of this "everyone" who knows that. Where have you heard/read that usage, and in what context? Thanks!

Offline uncle bud

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Re: boot it
« Reply #7 on: November 17, 2006, 12:01:52 PM »
FP, I wonder if that meaning is also the meaning from the 1920s and 30s. I've certainly used the phrase "boot it" that way and know others who do -- "I need to boot it across town, I'm late for a meeting", "So we booted it on over to Jim's house just in time to see the opening face-off". I didn't think it was the same phrase.

I need to track down that Tampa Red song.


Offline Rivers

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Re: boot it
« Reply #8 on: November 18, 2006, 08:08:58 AM »
"Boot it" is a very common phrase in England and, in that context at least, it does mean to go fast. We used it on two wheels and on four, though "twist it" would have been more accurate on a bike I suppose. Thinks: I wonder when and where twist grip throttles came in, the older bikes had a lever lawn-mower type...

Offline dj

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Re: boot it
« Reply #9 on: November 18, 2006, 08:18:48 AM »
In a related question, how is "boodle it" related to "boot it"?

Offline waxwing

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Re: boot it
« Reply #10 on: November 18, 2006, 09:27:44 AM »
In one of the Hokum Boys' versions of Mama Don't Allow (No Easy Ridin') Frankie Jaxon sings:

Mama don't allow no easy ridin' 'round here
I said Mama don't allow no easy ridin' 'round here
Well we don't care what Mama don't 'low
We gonna boot that thing anyhow
Mama don't allow no easy ridin' 'round here

Whatever other connotations we may add to it (free with a prostitute or with someone other than one's spouse), I think we can agree that "easy ridin'" refers to copulation and not any other form of foreplay, etc., and therefore it would seem "boot it" would mean the same.

Pure speculation, but I have felt the imagery derived from the fact that you don't put your foot part way into a boot, you put it all the way in. I'm not aware of any early uses of the term "booty" and think it may have derived from "boot it".

Just my dirty mind at work.

All for now.
John C.
"People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it."
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Offline uncle bud

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Re: boot it
« Reply #11 on: November 18, 2006, 10:18:03 AM »
The Frankie Jaxon song I was thinking of is called "Boot It Boy", found on Tampa Red vol 2 DOCD-5074. The phrase "boot that thing" occurs frequently in this tune, and in the context of the song, it seems to be one of those phrases that could mean a kind of dance (were someone to object to the sexual innuendo) but more likely means, um,  bonking.

Frankie starts the song:

"Oh, there's some bootin' goin' on...
Here comes the jelly king
Light and easy man
Oh, he's shakin' his hips now
Oh look at him give it a [???]
 etc..."

(I was confusing this song in my memory with "It's Heated".)

One Arm Slim also does a tune called Bootin' That Thing. Then there's Kokomo Arnold's Busy Bootin' ("I'm busy bootin' and you can't come in...").


Offline Bunker Hill

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Re: boot it
« Reply #12 on: November 18, 2006, 11:49:30 AM »
The Frankie Jaxon song I was thinking of is called "Boot It Boy", found on Tampa Red vol 2 DOCD-5074. The phrase "boot that thing" occurs frequently in this tune, and in the context of the song, it seems to be one of those phrases that could mean a kind of dance (were someone to object to the sexual innuendo) but more likely means, um,  bonking.

(I was confusing this song in my memory with "It's Heated".)
You may not be the only one, me too. "Boot It Boy" as reissued on Collector's Item's LP 013 has a composer credit to George W Thomas.

I only have "It's Heated" on the 1973 Yazoo Tampa Red compilation (L-1039, notes by John Miller, familiar name can't quite place it). ;D Anyhow, have played it through several times there's not a "boot it" to be heard, in any context. Nice piece of hokumish jive all the same, takes one on a trip around the nightspot thoroughfares of Chicago ending up at the "good time flats"..."boy it's heated, let the good times roll on".

Offline uncle bud

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Re: boot it
« Reply #13 on: November 18, 2006, 12:09:14 PM »
Speaking of It's Heated, veering momentarily off-topic, I've always loved the spoken intro to this song, though can't quite figure out what he's saying:

"Aw, I?m tippin? like a Maltese kitten on a Brussel carpet. Ain?t got enough ??? sole on my shoe to ??? sand into a rathole."

It's not "pound sand", which seems to be the more standard expression...

Frankie Jaxon is a hoot.

Offline Bill Roggensack

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Re: boot it
« Reply #14 on: November 19, 2006, 08:36:01 PM »
Chezz - As you may have suspected, when I used the inclusive "everyone," I was just having a little fun. That said, the reference to speeding up is a commonly understood meaning, as Rivers' and Uncle Bud's posts corroborate.

Uncle Bud - Despite my graying locks and creaking joints, I wasn't around in the 20's and 30's, so the language of that era remains a subject of arcane mystery and intrigue. Truth be known, I can't say with any certainty what Mr. Bo had in mind when he sang "boot it!" But based on his body of work, he was in a world of his own, lyrically speaking - and carnal themes were his favorite. While it may not be the same phrase (in Bo's context), the meaning "to speed up" (purposefully, i.e. with organized intent) overlays nicely with the suspected sexual connotation proposed by several of our learned colleagues.

Bunker Hill - Thanks for the slang dictionary recommendations. I'm always looking for an excuse to add a book or two to the library!

Waxy - Dirty mind? You? I remain in a state of suspended disbelief.
Cheers,
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Offline blueshome

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Re: boot it
« Reply #15 on: November 20, 2006, 12:20:42 AM »
Don't forget "Busy Bootin'" by Kokomo Arnold and others.
It's certainly clear from the lyrics here that there is a sexual reference, but I suspect that, as with many of these phrases, it also related to some kind of dance of the day, no doubt named after the brisk movement implied by "bootin.

rbuniv

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Re: boot it
« Reply #16 on: November 20, 2006, 03:07:23 PM »
Hello;

I think that if "boot it" meant to speed up, Bo Carter might have said "baby don't boot it so fast" instead of "baby don't boot it so hard". Could be like in the old days when we would kick or hit an object with our fist (such as the old TV set) just to make it go or make it work better. This technology has been around a long time; after all the stirring,twisting,winding,loving, it may need just a little "boot" to keep this thing (referred only to as "it") functioning properly.

RB

rbuniv

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Re: boot it
« Reply #17 on: November 21, 2006, 05:09:36 AM »
Hello;

"Boot it" is not a slang term at all, has been around and in wide use for a long time and still in common use by all of us to this day. I found a definition for "boot" which is short for bootstrap, which is what enables one to put their boots on. When you start your computer, you boot it by means of a bootstrap utility which enables it to start. In the 1960s, I remember the term in association with intravenous drug users "booting up" also in early space missions, "Booting the system", etc. I'm sure with a little searching, we could find more reference to this common phrase which without a doubt is a utility to start or enable something.

RB

Offline Johnm

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Re: boot it
« Reply #18 on: November 21, 2006, 11:05:48 PM »
RB, I'm curious as to why your interpretation of the meaning of "boot" in this context is any more definitive than any of the other hunches that have been posted here thus far.  Answer:  It isn't, it's just another hunch, but stated as though it were a fact.  It's pretty clear from everything posted on this topic so far that no one here, at least, knows definitively what the phrase "boot it" means in the context in which Chezz initially posed the question, and that applies to both "boot" and "it".  Since there is not even a consensus on what the pronoun reference is for "it" in the context of the phrase, figuring out the meaning of the phrase is not exactly a slam dunk.  The number of plausible different interpretations that has been suggested is a strong indication that the meaning of the phrase is not obviously apparent.  The tone of your post implied that you had the answer to the first part of the question and that the remaining portion of the answer should be fairly easily arrived at, when neither may be the case.
Johnm 
« Last Edit: November 21, 2006, 11:07:01 PM by Johnm »

rbuniv

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Re: boot it
« Reply #19 on: November 22, 2006, 05:47:45 AM »
Johnm;

Sorry for coming off so strong! My statements are based on useage of the phrase both as I remember and as it is used today. However I must admit that my interpretation of its intended meaning as per its use in these songs may be pure conjecture. If you search boot or bootstrap, you will find mostly reference to starting a computer also starting a business with limited means or pulling ones self up by the bootstraps. I am certain that this term was not invented for the computer age but rather borrowed from the past, unfortunately earlier useages of this phrase have probably become obliterated by its current definition. Many old Phrases are in use today for which we all have some kind of understanding of what they mean to but sometimes we may not know it origin. One that comes to mind is "lock , stock and barrel" to say that something is complete or the total of a lot lumped together however many do not know that these are the vital parts of a gun.

RB

Offline Chezztone

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Re: boot it
« Reply #20 on: November 22, 2006, 01:40:25 PM »
Thanks, John, for trying to bring people back to my original question, and for reminding them that it has not yet been answered here! Yes. What exactly is Bo Carter asking his gal to do when he says "I want you to boot it, babe"? I'd like to hear ideas supported by evidence, which could come from other songs; other reference materials; your own deductive or inductive processes. Thanks all! SC

rbuniv

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Re: boot it
« Reply #21 on: November 22, 2006, 06:01:33 PM »
Hello; SG

Sorry again if I have taken this thing over the edge, I truly don't mean to upset anyone but am merely stirring the pot. I do enjoy what everyone has had to offer on this subject, be it with or without strong conviction we are all just booting it around. I doubt if there will be any resolution to these questions but there have been many good ideas brought to the table. As far as evidence, I don't think we will find any in other songs or reference pertaining to the music, as it pertains to individual interpretation. Fortunately no one has written the "Bible to the Blues" and we are all entitled to voice own opinions and responsible to defend them as well.

RB

Offline Johnm

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Re: boot it
« Reply #22 on: November 22, 2006, 06:27:03 PM »
Hi all,
I agree, RB, we're all going to come up with our own interpretations, and that's half the fun of not knowing for sure what Bo meant when he said it in "Twist It, Baby".  For what it's worth, here's my own 2 cents on what the phrase might mean in Bo's song.  If the performance of "Twist It, Baby" consisted solely of Bo's guitar-playing and singing, I'd say it would be about a toss-up as to whether the "it" in the phrase "boot it, babe" was Bo's sexual equipment or the shakin' hips of the woman he's singing the song to.  When you add the spoken asides (and who made them? It's not Bo), though, it becomes pretty clear that the "it" in question is Bo's equipment.  Taken with that meaning, I would say "boot it, babe" is a request for a "foot job", expecially when the spoken aside following the request stipulates, "Baby, don't boot it so hard."  As Phil suggested, I believe Bootin' was also a dance, but in this particular song, in the context of the other actions that are being requested for "it", I don't think we're talking about dancing.  Or maybe it involves simulating the movements employed in the booting dance, but in another environment.  Just a theory. 
And by the way, Happy Thanksgiving, everybody!
All best,
Johnm   

Offline waxwing

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Re: boot it
« Reply #23 on: November 22, 2006, 06:54:21 PM »
OK, I'll be a little more explicit than I was in my first post, which I guess didn't have enough footnotes or something, eh, Chezz?-G- It is my firm belief that "Boot it" means to f**k it, not suck it, not twist it with your hands, not diddle around with it, but f**k it, all the way in.

Quote from: Chezztone
Bo Carter sings a whole song advising men to "boot it" if you want to keep your gal

Well, I think you can get away with not doin' the dishes, or not buyin' her flowers, or not givin' her all your money, but if you don't f**k regularly I think you're gonna lose her, as Bo clearly states, if you ask me.

In Busy Bootin' by Kokomo Arnold he sings, "I'm busy bootin' and you can't come in." Well, I don't think he's starting up his computer or accelerating whatever he is doing. He's f**king. Come back when he's done and I'm sure you can come in.

Read my previous post re the parallel between "easy ridin' and "bootin' it" in one of the  numbers we do in the Hohoppas.-G-

In Twist It Babe, the verses go "stir it," "work it," wind it," twist it," "boot it" and finally "love me". I think the first four instructions can be thought of as manual or oral types of foreplay, followed by the real thing, booting it, and then, the happily married BC adds some romantic emotion to the list. As Bo is singing while this is going on, I think we can imagine that his girl is on top when Bo, or whoever, asks her not to boot it too hard.

Ok, just my opinion, but I really can't see anything else fitting these various circumstances, unless anyone can come up with any strong reference that would imply anal copulation, which I doubt. And, if one or another of these artists thought they were actually saying something else, I'm sure 90% of their audience would be in disagreement with them and would hear it as f**k it anyway.

All for now.
John C.
« Last Edit: November 22, 2006, 11:55:28 PM by waxwing »
"People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it."
George Bernard Shaw

“Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they aren't after you.”
Joseph Heller, Catch-22

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Offline Rivers

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Re: boot it
« Reply #24 on: November 22, 2006, 06:56:02 PM »
Here's my theory. Every generation or two personkind invents a new slang term to describe an otherwise inexpressible compound experience fueled by the drugs, music and dance crazes of the time. Often it's delivered in the continuous tense or as a gerund (has an "-ing" on the end). Sorry, I used to teach English.

Recent examples include "rocking", "grooving", "freaking", "smokin'", you get the idea. Each of these incredibly vague terms originated from or had close ties with music, drugs and dancing. "Booting" we already know was used to describe a rockin' good band (cf BH's post quoting a slang dictionary definition). Back then, so my theory goes, since "booting" was the thing it drifted into wider use to describe, in the vaguest way, having a very good time.

Edited to add: Another wild stab in dark I would bet that musicians drinking bootleg booze coined it originally. Chezz knows more about that subject than me.

That Kokomo Arnold track is really good btw, I'd forgotten that one!
« Last Edit: November 22, 2006, 07:10:23 PM by Rivers »

Offline Slack

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Re: boot it
« Reply #25 on: November 22, 2006, 07:54:50 PM »
Wax, even though I'd use far fewer words...  :P  my opinion agrees with yours... how 'bout that?  ;)

Maybe we can segue this into the meaning of "Black and Tan" re: BBF.  :D


Offline waxwing

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Re: boot it
« Reply #26 on: November 22, 2006, 08:14:28 PM »
Far more interesting would be to pick up the thread over on the PWBL about what Lemon means when he sings, "She crochets all the time," now that they are kinda in agreement that that's what he says, in two different songs. They got there from a discussion of what "Crow Jane" means. Someone thought Lemon was singing, "crow janes all the time." In regards to Crow Jane, I don't think anyone has mentioned the alliterative relationship to Jim Crow in the context of singing a song about abusing your woman when perhaps your audience knows you are talking about abusing "The Man". But there are some interesting speculations as to the "meaning" of crocheting, similar to what we have hear, of course.

All for now.
John C.
« Last Edit: November 22, 2006, 11:58:16 PM by waxwing »
"People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it."
George Bernard Shaw

“Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they aren't after you.”
Joseph Heller, Catch-22

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rbuniv

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Re: boot it
« Reply #27 on: November 23, 2006, 06:48:30 AM »
Good morning;

Regardless of what this means, it is all about imagery. When we look at the total body of Bo Carter's work we find (in simple terms and language) descriptions of activities which form simple visual imagery. Like smoking a cigarette, sticking a pin in a cussion, banana in the fruit basket, warming a wiener, ramrod in the gun, "pussycat buried her cork deep down in the sand", etc. In his song about broadcasting, I would be curious to see what other "weenies' come up with for the definition of broadcaster, "when I use my broadcaster it goes 'round and 'round", not what it represents in the song but actually what a broadcaster is.

Happy Thanksgiving; RB

Offline waxwing

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Re: boot it
« Reply #28 on: November 23, 2006, 09:00:08 AM »
I have always assumed he was talking about a seed broadcaster, a small hopper, hand held, with a crank that spins a sort of fan on the bottom that throws the seed in a broad pattern. A very apt apparatus for his innuendo.

All for now.
John C.
"People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it."
George Bernard Shaw

“Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they aren't after you.”
Joseph Heller, Catch-22

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Offline Bunker Hill

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Re: boot it
« Reply #29 on: November 23, 2006, 09:38:13 AM »
Maybe we can segue this into the meaning of "Black and Tan" re: BBF.  :D
In the context in which Fuller uses it ("she wanna do that old black and and tan", "woman that learnt me the black and and tan" etc) I dunno but I can can up with the historical base. It was the name given to the faction of the Republican Party who favoured proportional representation for blacks and whites in the Party after the Civil War. Those absolutely in favour were termed blacks whilst those only midly in favour were termed tans. This faction thus gained the nickname, "black and tans". Mullattos were also called this.

rbuniv

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Re: boot it
« Reply #30 on: November 23, 2006, 10:23:49 AM »
Hi John;

That's my thought also; a seed broadcaster.

Thanks; RB

Offline Stuart

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Re: boot it
« Reply #31 on: November 23, 2006, 01:12:54 PM »
As we're on the subject of Bo's "delicate love poetry set to music" in general, and "broadcasting" specifically, I just listened to "Bo Carter Special." He does reference the radio and by extension the associated sense of "broadcasting." Bo is well known from going from the non-entendre to the multiple-entendre, so IMHO we shouldn't be projecting any artificial limitations onto the man's artistic genius.

P.S. It is available over at Juneberry78s.com in their "The Vintage Blues & Gospel Music Listening Room" (http://juneberry78s.com/sounds/index.htm) if you don't have a copy at hand.

Offline Chezztone

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Re: boot it
« Reply #32 on: November 24, 2006, 12:50:02 PM »
Johnm and Wax, thanks for getting specific with your thoughts on "boot it" meaning! And yes, I agree that it is not Bo doing the spoken asides, although I have no theory on who that is. He has a very nice mellow, older-sounding, suggestive voice. Getting back to "boot it," yes, it does seem that he is directing her through various foreplays in the early verses, working his way up to the main event. However, I have interpreted the "love me, babe" in final verse as the direction to copulate (not to fall in love). Therefore I thought "boot it" was still some other sex act he wanted as a preliminary. But yeah, going by Carter's other "Boot It" song, and Kokomo's "Busy Bootin'," that would seem to favor Waxwing's idea. And "booting it" may have also been a dance step, and be used in that sense in Roosevelt Sykes' number, although of course with a wink from Roosevelt, who also had a great way with suggestive words and images. Taizz and I have been listening a lot lately to his "Hard Lead Pencil," which includes these verses:

I'm just like a squirrel, leaping from limb to limb (2x)
I got a brand new pencil, ain't never been trimmed.

I ain't gon' let these women use my hard lead pencil night and day (2x)
'Cause my lead is too valuable just to be trimmed away.

You got to love it, huh? A literate squirrel leaping around with a pencil.

Offline Chezztone

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Re: boot it
« Reply #33 on: November 24, 2006, 12:51:31 PM »
Oh, and maybe we should start a separate thread for Lemon's "crocheting all the time" woman. I tend to read that one literally. She crochets all the time, ignoring him.

Offline blueshome

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Re: boot it
« Reply #34 on: November 24, 2006, 02:01:52 PM »
I don't know what it means in the US, but crocheting over here is a form of knitting involving only one implement.

However, I suspect the BLJ verse refers to his girl self-pleasuring.

Offline Dr. G

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Re: boot it
« Reply #35 on: November 25, 2006, 10:27:57 PM »
Waxwing's got my vote on this "bootin'" thing. (BTW, doesn't Georgia Tom howl, "Oh, you're bootin' that thing!" in a raucous rendition of "Tight Like That"? -- if memory serves me.)

And Blueshome's got my vote on the "crocheting" thing (-- never occurred to me before, but the "lose her mind" worry is major (historically relevant) circumstancial evidence....

BTW, speaking of early-century dance crazes -- and suggestive metaphors -- has anyone ever heard of a dance, or dance step, referred to as "Lightnin' strike"...or have a clue as to any other meaning of same? I am convinced that Cryin' Sam Collins sings "I can lightnin' strike, I can ball the jack...." in his wonderful (and wonderfully garbled) rendition of "Hesitation Blues". (I have intended to devote a thread to Collins' barely-scrutable lyrics -- but thought I might get a jump start on it here because it seems related to all these other colorful and insinuating metaphors.) Appreciate any thoughts.

Dr. G

Offline Bunker Hill

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Re: boot it
« Reply #36 on: November 26, 2006, 12:42:50 AM »
BTW, speaking of early-century dance crazes -- and suggestive metaphors -- has anyone ever heard of a dance, or dance step, referred to as "Lightnin' strike"...or have a clue as to any other meaning of same? I am convinced that Cryin' Sam Collins sings "I can lightnin' strike, I can ball the jack...." in his wonderful (and wonderfully garbled) rendition of "Hesitation Blues".
It's been years since I've listened to it but can hear in my head something like "I can line the track and I can ball the jack". If that's so can't say I've ever heard of a dance craze of that name!

Offline Johnm

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Re: boot it
« Reply #37 on: November 26, 2006, 03:10:05 PM »
Hi all,
I'm slow to get back on this one because I've been away over Thanksgiving.  I think your interpretation of "Boot It" wins the prize, John C.  The sense of "I'm Busy Bootin' And You Can't Come In" clinched it for me.  It seems far more convincing than mine, which strikes me as too literal and too obscure at the same time.  Good work!  These related questions probably each deserve individual threads.
All best,
Johnm

 


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