Alibi V.22 No.37 • Sept 12-18, 2013 

Aural Fixation

Soundtracking the Heebie-jeebies

A Voodoo ritual mixtape

I was born in a swamp. OK, I was actually born in a well-appointed hospital in Alexandria, La. But I did grow up in Cloutierville, a 500-person village, until I was 13. The population there was largely Louisiana Creole, but I would almost never overhear adults talking about Louisiana Voodoo, Haitian Vodou or southern hoodoo aka conjure/folk magic. Undeterred by that unfortunate situation, I've always been enthralled by the ritual. Musing about the two Catholic-syncretist religions and the folk spirituality of hoodoo evokes gooseflesh-raising blues songs about ritual and superstition. Celebrate Friday the 13th with guess-how-many tracks, each including spooky tagline. Draw the shades, light a candle and drop the virtual needle on 13 below.

Ida Cox - “Fogyism” [black cat]

Porter Grainger and Dolly Ross - “Hootin’ Owl Blues” [13]

Robert Johnson - “Stones in My Passway” [foot-track magic]

Arnold and Ilene Wiley - “Spider in Your Dumpling” [spider dumpling]

Peetie Wheatstraw - “Cut Out Blues” [policy wheel]

Washboard Sam - “Suspicious Blues” [superstitions aplenty]

Hattie Hudson - “Doggone My Good Luck Soul” [black cat, horseshoe, rabbit’s foot]

Memphis Jug Band - “Spider’s Nest Blues” [toby aka gris-gris/conjure bag]

Doctor Clayton - “Root Doctor Blues” [root work]

Blind Lemon Jefferson - “Dry Southern Blues” [blood magic]

Blind Blake - “Panther Squall Blues” [jinx]

John D. Twitty and Little Bill - “Sold It to the Devil” [crossroads]

Oscar “Papa” Celestin and his New Orleans Band - “Marie LaVeau” [New Orleans voodoo queen]