Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Got My MoJo Workin'

What Is the Meaning of Mojo in Blues Music?
By James Gilmore, eHow Contributor

"Mojo" has its origins in African-American hoodoo culture. Blues musicians have used the word mojo in many blues songs to symbolize a musician's sexual and musical power.


In African-American hoodoo culture, mojo is a spell or magical charm carried by a person that grants the owner good luck and great sexual power. Many blues songs deal with sex, so the word found its way into the music to describe one's sexual and musical prowess.

According to Reuben Philips, former music director of the Apollo Theater in New York City, mojo was a term used in daily conversation growing up in black, rural communities.

Many blues songs mention mojo. Some famous examples include Muddy Waters' "(I'm Your) Hoochie Coochie Man" and Blind Willie McTell's "Scary Day Blues."

Mojo's common appearance in blues music even sparked accusations of copyright infringement in the case of Strachborneo v. Arc Music. Ruth Stratchborneo claimed that "Got My Mojo Working" by McKinley Morganfield (aka Muddy Waters) was too similar to her "MOJO Workout" and sued. The court found no infringement since the term was so common, and no money was awarded to either party.

Rock 'n' roll groups, largely influenced by blues music, mentioned mojo in their songs as well. Some examples include The Doors' "L.A. Woman" and The Beatles' "Come Together," which also referenced a Chuck Berry lyric and became part of another copyright infringement case.

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