Nobody's Business

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NOBODY'S BUSINESS. AKA and see "Ain't Nobody's Business," "Ain't Nobody's Business but My Own," "Ain't Nobody's Business if I Do." Old-Time, Country Blues. The song "Ain't Nobody's Business" was composed in 1911, according to The Traditional Ballad Index, by pianists Porter Grainger and Everett Robbins, and was first recorded in 1922 by Anna Meyer with the Original Memphis Five. The song proved popular and was recorded by Bessie Smith (1923) and other blues greats in the 78 RPM, but also was a crossover hit when recorded by various early country music groups, who sometimes turned it into a raggy song-breakdown. It was, for example, recorded in 1928 for Brunswick/Vocalion by West Virginia string band duo the Cumberland Mountain Entertainers (Sam Caplinger and fiddler Andy Patterson {1893-1950}). Later the duo moved to Akron, Ohio, and formed the Dixie Harmonizers, who recorded for Gennett. Uncle Dave Macon (1929, as part of "Tenessee Jubilee"), Riley Puckett (1935) and Earl Johnson [1] (1927) all recorded versions; Riley Puckett three times.

Earl Johnson and his Dixie Clodhoppers

Metis fiddler Andy DeJarlis published a tune called "Nobody's Business" in his volume Canadian fiddle tunes from the Red River Valley, vol. 1 (1958).



Earl Johnson's lyric goes:

Sometimes I ramble, get drunk and gamble,
Nobody's business if I do;
It's nobody's business, nobody's business,
Nobody's business if I do.

Some of these mornings, I wake up crazy, kill my wife and save my baby,
It's nobody's business if I do;
It's nobody's business, nobody's business,
Nobody's business if I do.

Morphine's gonna run me crazy, cocaine's gonna kill my baby,
Pretty girls gonna cause me to lose my mind;
It's nobody's business, nobody's business,
Nobody's business if I do.

When she rides in a Ford machine, I buy the gasoline,
Nobody's business if I do;
It's nobody's business, nobody's business,
Nobody's business if I do.

That's where my money goes, to buy my baby clothes,
Nobody's business if I do;

She runs a weenie stand, way down in no man's land,
Nobody's business if I do;
That's where my money goes, to buy my baby clothes,
Nobody's business if I do.

She rides in a Cadillac, oh boy she makes the jack,
Nobody's business if I do;
That's where my money goes, to buy my baby clothes,
Nobody's business if I do.

It's nobody's business, nobody's business.
Nobody's business if I do.

Source for notated version:

Printed sources:

Recorded sources: Bluebird B-6103 (78 RPM), Riley Puckett (1935). Brunswick 294 (78 RPM), Warren Caplinger's Cumberland Mountain Entertainers (1928). Carryon Records 002, "Ace Weems & the Fat Meat Boys." OKeh 8560 (78 RPM), Mississippi John Hurt (1928). OKeh 45092A (78 RPM), Earl Johnson and His Dixie Entertainers (1927). Vocalion 01648 (78 RPM), Walker's Corbin Ramblers (1934).

See also listing at:
Jane Keefer's Folk Music Index: An Index to Recorded Sources [2]
Hear Earl Johnson's 1927 recording on youtube.com [3], at Honking Duck [4], and at the Internet Archive [5]




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