Willie Dixon’s “Hoochie Coochie Man” Big John

Willie Dixon’s “Hoochie Coochie Man” Big JohnAccording to Erik Davis, in his essay “Led Zepplin IV” Willie Dixon “won after suing Zepplin in the 1980’s for swiping his lyrics “Whole Lotta Love.” (p158). In her article “The Write to Rock” Daphne A Brooks discusses these kinds of appropriation in “rock genealogies” to suggest that “we need to think really hard about how to forge new methodologies, newly uncovered genealogies and legacies”… (p62).

One of Willie Dixon’s legacy is his song (I’m Your) Hoochie Coochie Man,

which was appropriated by Jimmy Page & Robert Plant on the album “hoochie coochie man,”


came out of a history of African American Culture and the African diaspora. Sharon L. Jones in her “Critical Companion to Zora Neale Hurston” (1999) uncovers genealogies of the blues in “Go Gator and Muddy the Water: Writings by Zora Neale Hurston from the Federal Writers Project” (1999). In this anthropological work Hurston reveals the significance of African American folklore. As an anthropologist she is observer and participant to the spoken word in song,

[Zora Neale Hurston, Rochelle French, and Gabriel Brown, Eatonville, Florida]

particularly in ballads and blues such as “Big John de Conquer”, who she says, represents the underdogs in society who triumph against adversity. In her essay “High John de Conquer” she discusses the stories she gathered about the mythical figure of Big John. She writes that

“High John de Conquer went back to Africa, but he left his power here and placed his American dwelling in the root of a certain plant. Only posses that root, and he can be summoned at any time.”

Willie Dixon’s lyrics reflects the folklore figure

“Got a John the conquer root and got some mojo too We got a black cat born, we’re gonna slip it to you Hey, move over people just as fast as you can Said I know you’re waitin’ for me ’cause I’m the hoochie coochie man I’m gonna get you, one by one I got set on that old hoochie coochie man And I’m yo’ son of a gun.”

Dixon becomes that mythic “Big John The Hoochie Coochie Man” with ‘root’ and ‘mojo’ in his Scholarship Foundation at http://bluesheaven.com/