Hoodoo voodoo, seven twenty one two
Haystacka hotstacka A B C
High poker, low joker one two three four
Sidewalk streetcar, dance a goofy dance

Blackbirdy, bluejay one two three four
Trash sack, jump back E F G
Biggie hat, little hat, fattyman, skinnyman
Grasshopper, greensnake, hold my hand

Hoodoo voodoo, chooka chooky choochoo,
True blue, how true, kissle me now

Momma cat, tommy cat, diaper on my clothes line
Two four six eight, I run and hide
Pretty girl, pretty boy, pony on a tin can,
I'll be yours and you'll be mine

Jinga jangler, tingalingle,
picture on a bricky wall
Hot and scamper, foamy lather, huggle me close
Hot breeze, old cheese, slicky slacky fishy tails
Brush my hair and kissle me some more

Hoodoo voodoo, chooka chooky choochoo,
True blue, how true, kissle me now

written by Woodie Guthrie

Sounds like nonsense, doesn't it? Well it should. It was a song Woody wrote for his children. Billy Bragg and the band Wilco collaborated on making the music around lyrics that were penned almost 50 years before by Woody Guthrie when he was living on Mermaid Avenue in Coney Island, Brooklyn.

It's almost hard to remember that musicians often have children and families behind them as they become famous, that lives and love are woven into each performer and that the choice of his/her craft is often what distances those lives. I appreciated the fact that Woody (who is pictured on the back of the collaborative album title Mermaid Avenue, with an acoustic guitar strapped in front of hin which has the words "This Machine Kills Fascists" painted on it) wrote songs like this with his own family in mind. It's pleasing to imagine him playing them in his home with his children dancing around, knowing that the song was made for them.

Nora Guthrie, Woody's daughter, runs an archive in New York for her father's music, which consists of over a thousand pages of type or handwritten lyrics. Very few of us have the advantage of a written history of our parents, famous or not, so I consider Nora very lucky, as she is able to see her father's influence as a musician and songwriter continue on in his absence. To quote the liner notes to Mermaid Avenue, which were written by Billy Bragg in 1998: They offer us a broader picture of a man who over the past sixty years has been vilified by the American right whilst simultaneously canonized by the American left.

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