COME ON INTO MY KITCHEN

“ You better come on in my kitchen, ’Cause it’s sure to be raining outdoors.”

Sounds like simple advice, but if you dig a little deeper it takes on a whole new meaning.

With only 29 songs to his credit, Robert Johnson may not be the most prolific musician but he is certainly thought of as one of the most influential. As the legend goes one night in Mississippi, where two roads crossed, Johnson entered a contract with the Devil, exchanging his soul for the sound of the Delta blues. Whether that crossroads lie at the intersection of US-61 and US-49 in Clarksdale, Mississippi or at the south end of Rosedale where Highway 8 intersects with Highway 1, the world will never know. Regardless, it is generally accepted that Robert Johnson left his home an average guitar player inspired by the likes of Son House and returned the next year with a talent and sound that continue to capture the hearts of listeners everywhere. There is no doubt that the name Robert Johnson will be tied to the blues forever.

“Come on In My Kitchen” is probably the least known of Robert Johnson’s well-known songs. There are only 41 known recordings of Robert Johnson, made up of 29 separate songs, with multiple takes recorded of some compositions. Some, like “Sweet Home Chicago” and “32-20 Blues,” are very famous, while many would not be known by the mainstream public - like “Terraplane Blues” and “Dead Shrimp Blues.” “Come on In My Kitchen” could be considered the dividing line between the two.

The song was recorded in week of November 23, 1936 in San Antonio, Texas. The lyrics are told from a man’s point of view as he talks about his relationship woes. It has been suggested that the singer is speaking to a pregnant woman who has been turned out of her home. The singer has lost his woman back to the best friend he stole her from, and may be offering the disenfranchised unmarried mother-to-be shelter from the storm in exchange for taking care of the household chores.

If you look at the lyric “Well that good girl’s leaving, She ain’t coming back, Took her last nickel from her nation sack” it may be argued that the singer’s woman may have had good reason to leave him. The following is cited from www.luckymojo.com which quotes from Hoodoo - Conjuration - Witchcraft – Rootwork, a 5-volume, 4766-page collection of folkloric material gathered by Harry Middleton Hyatt, primarily between 1935 and 1939.

“A nation sack is a mojo hand, conjure bag, toby, or root bag -- one that is only carried by women -- and it is worn hanging from a belt at the waist, not around the neck. Furthermore, during the 1930s its use, by that name at least, seems to have been restricted to the region immediately around Memphis, Tennessee. Its basic use is in spells of female domination over men.”

Check out www.luckymojo.com/nationsack.html for more information on this particular hoodoo magic charm. The song “Come on In My Kitchen” has been recorded by many groups, ranging from Simply Red to Eric Clapton and Keb’ Mo’. Check out Shades of Two Worlds for an acoustic studio version by the Allman Brothers Band. For live electric versions by the ABB, check out the Instant Live, Rosemont Theatre, Rosemont, IL, 9/1/04, and Instant Live, Verizon Amphitheatre, Virginia Beach, Va, 7/15/05


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