[Dixielandjazz] Janis Joplin Sings Whinin Boy & 2:19 Blues

Steve barbone barbonestreet at earthlink.net
Sun Dec 18 16:23:49 PST 2005

For a 60 second sound clip of Janis Joplin singing "Winin Boy", go to the
below site: Steve Mann is on guitar.

Steve Barbone


Q: What does Winin' (Winding) Boy mean? In the same song, what is a Staving
Chain? Pick it up and shake it?

A Both Win(d)ing Boy and Staving Chain were nicknames suggesting sexual
prowess. ³Winin' Boy,² the song, comes again from Jelly Roll Morton, the
same session at which he recorded Mamie's Blues. (³Two Nineteen Train²).
"Stavin' Chain" (or more properly "Stave 'n' Chain") was a legendary
(possibly real) late 19th century strong man who worked on the railroad and
was known for his large "stave."(A long straight piece of solid material
such as wood used as support, especially for walking).

A ³winding² boy who can ³pick it up and shake it² is a man who can move
himself around in a sexy way that supposedly pleases all the ladies,
according to the web site below, This would seem like a man¹s song, but
Janis Joplin had no problem singing it as well. This is just a great
bragging, humorous, bluesy tune.

(Graphic language on this site. Be careful)

At any rate, Morton, in bragging about his sexual prowess may have wanted to
assure his female audience that he was no ³sissy² just because he played the
piano, an instrument commonly associated with women players in those days.
Since he seems to have been rather touchy about this subject, he was
naturally nicknamed ³Jelly Roll² by his colleagues and had to live with it.
Janis Joplin sings the song with great bravado, and adds her own bluesy

For Janis and Steve on 2:19 Blues go to:


This song (2:19 Blues) was a New Orleans standard, recorded by Louis
Armstrong and Jelly Roll Morton among many others. Morton called it "Mamie's
Blues," and explained that it was the theme song of a singer named Mamie
Desdumes in the 1890s.

Janis Joplin¹s singing of this song is simply heart-rending, with the image
of a distraught woman standing on a corner, trying to sell herself to feed
her man.

Something about her feet being soaking wet while she does this is
indescribably poignant. This image and the phrase ³If you can¹t give me a
dollar, give me one lousy dime...² are echoed by Steve¹s guitar
accompaniment in a way that cuts right down to the bone of the human
condition, the way only the blues can do.

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