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Origins: 'Ryder' or 'Rider' in blues songs

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EASY RIDER (C.C.RIDER)


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Drop_D 14 Feb 10 - 09:13 AM
Bobert 14 Feb 10 - 09:40 AM
Drop_D 14 Feb 10 - 10:06 AM
GUEST,Bob Coltman 14 Feb 10 - 10:50 AM
GUEST,Hootenanny 14 Feb 10 - 10:51 AM
Drop_D 14 Feb 10 - 04:13 PM
Mavis Enderby 14 Feb 10 - 05:18 PM
Bobert 14 Feb 10 - 07:59 PM
Amos 14 Feb 10 - 09:42 PM
Roger the Skiffler 15 Feb 10 - 06:14 AM
GUEST,Doc John 15 Feb 10 - 06:56 AM
Bobert 15 Feb 10 - 07:44 AM
GUEST,Carl Ewens 27 Feb 11 - 08:47 AM
GUEST,Llawela 01 Apr 11 - 03:01 AM
Azizi 01 Apr 11 - 10:11 AM
MGM·Lion 01 Apr 11 - 11:22 AM
GUEST,Doug Saum 01 Apr 11 - 01:48 PM
GUEST,'Law' she a good ri-dah' 05 Jul 18 - 09:48 PM
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Subject: Origins: 'Ryder' or 'Rider' in blues songs
From: Drop_D
Date: 14 Feb 10 - 09:13 AM

A lot of old country blues songs refer to a "rider" or "ryder", as in, "Let me be your 'rider' as long as I can stay".

Anybody know what a rider is?


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Subject: RE: Origins: 'Ryder' or 'Rider' in blues songs
From: Bobert
Date: 14 Feb 10 - 09:40 AM

I'll venture a guess...

Back in the 20's when alot of these preward songs were recorded transportation wasn't what it is today... Bummin' rides was a way of life for alot of folks, especially poor black folks and especially poor black musicans... There seems to be this connection between the folks who helped these folks get around and lyrics in blues songs... It's almost an "owin'" to those who helped with transporatation...

The best known line from those days was "ride the blinds" which meant that a railroad conductor would allow folks to ride behind those canvas curtains between the rail cars... They were called the blinds...

Oh, depot agaent
Please, please let me ride the blinds
I wouldn't mind, Son
Bu the New York Central, she ain't mine... (Son House)

But there were plenty of folks out there who must have let alot of folks on the trains, as long as these folks didn't sit in the rial cars, use trains for free transportaion... This, I think created this "owing" relationship btween the rider and the the person allowing the rider free transportation...

But alot of the blues stuff we really aren't all that sure of and this may fall into the category... Might of fact, alot of the blues stuff is just enuendo kinda stuff where words take on much differrnt meanin's when used in a song... I mean, just how something as common as "jelly roll", a pastry, ended up being used to refer to an anatomical part of a women is kinda funny... Kinda cute, too...

B~


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Subject: RE: Origins: 'Ryder' or 'Rider' in blues songs
From: Drop_D
Date: 14 Feb 10 - 10:06 AM

Interesting take B, thanks. So, following that logic, "let me be your rider long as I can stay" may mean let me hang around, stay with you for free until I'm ready to go...

Jelly roll - that's great! Reminds me of "cigarette blues" where the cigarette isn't what you'd think. :)


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Subject: RE: Origins: 'Ryder' or 'Rider' in blues songs
From: GUEST,Bob Coltman
Date: 14 Feb 10 - 10:50 AM

"Rider," as I believe it's fairly well agreed among blues scholars and, more importantly, blues singers, is a sexual partner, either male or female.

For example, the phrase "Easy Rider" (which appears in several songs, sometimes alternated by "See See Rider," maybe by singers who misunderstood the phrase) is a lover who takes love where he or she finds it and moves on, or, alternately, somebody who's just ready for it at the drop of a hat.

The word appears in that context in countless blues songs. "I Know You Rider" has the telling phrase:

I know you rider, gonna miss me when I'm gone,
Gonna miss your sweet papa [or mama], babe from rollin' in your arms.

There are lots more examples, but the bulk of them pretty much agree in connotation. "Rider" as a hopper of trains is a possible secondary meaning in a few cases, but the sexual connotation is so widespread there's little alternative but to understand it primarily as sexual unless the context makes a different meaning clear.

(Obviously, "rider" in cowboy songs is another matter. Although the song sometimes attributed to Belle Starr, My Love Is a Rider, plays with the pun between a lover and a rider of horses.)

Bob


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Subject: RE: Origins: 'Ryder' or 'Rider' in blues songs
From: GUEST,Hootenanny
Date: 14 Feb 10 - 10:51 AM

I believe that you will find that in general it refers to someone who in todays (?)parlance would be referred to as your main squeeze.

Hoot


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Subject: RE: Origins: 'Ryder' or 'Rider' in blues songs
From: Drop_D
Date: 14 Feb 10 - 04:13 PM

Great information y'all! Thanks!!


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Subject: RE: Origins: 'Ryder' or 'Rider' in blues songs
From: Mavis Enderby
Date: 14 Feb 10 - 05:18 PM

Fairly unambiguous meaning in Robert Johnson's Traveling Riverside Blues:

I got womens in Vicksburg, clean on into Tennessee
I got womens in Vicksburg, clean on into Tennessee
But my Friars Point rider, now, hops all over me

and

Lord, I'm goin' to Rosedale, gon' take my rider by my side
Lord, I'm goin' to Rosedale, gon' take my rider by my side
We can still barrelhouse baby, on the riverside

Pete.


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Subject: RE: Origins: 'Ryder' or 'Rider' in blues songs
From: Bobert
Date: 14 Feb 10 - 07:59 PM

I like the sexual partner better than my guess...

Hey, it is the blues...

B;~)


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Subject: RE: Origins: 'Ryder' or 'Rider' in blues songs
From: Amos
Date: 14 Feb 10 - 09:42 PM

A rider is a sexual partner in most of the songs we're talking about. "Riding the blinds" not included, which is a hobo's choice when hopping freights rather than riding the rods.


A discussion on another forum had this entry:

"From conversations I have had with real hobos, I believe the one you have that is most correct is this:

"A walk way between two passenger cars covered with either canvas or leather in an accordion shape. From the outside of the blinds to the outer edge of the cars there was a space about 24 inches wide. There was a ladder running up to the top of the car in this space and the bums would grap hold of the ladder and hold on to it. That was riding the blinds"

Riding the blinds is NOT riding inside a boxcar.

An alternative is "riding the rods", which is like riding UNDER the cars.
Very dangerous especially when it got too cold to hold on good.
The idea is to remain out of sight of the "bulls" (railroad security staff)."


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Subject: RE: Origins: 'Ryder' or 'Rider' in blues songs
From: Roger the Skiffler
Date: 15 Feb 10 - 06:14 AM

Back to Jelly Roll Morton. When he sang "The whores go crazy 'bout the way I ride" (usually Bowdlerized to "girls"), he wasn't talkin' equestrianism, or train journeys, know what I mean, nudge, nudge!

RtS
"There are no sexual double meanings in the blues, just audiences with dirty minds" Tonedeaf Lime Clinton.


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Subject: RE: Origins: 'Ryder' or 'Rider' in blues songs
From: GUEST,Doc John
Date: 15 Feb 10 - 06:56 AM

Sometimes later or other singers who were, what we might call, on the edge of the tradition and not really familiar with the words, picked them up and used them without knowing their meaning. For example we have the Carter Family singing in Dixie Darling about, 'to where the jelly roll growing'.
Similarly the BBC, who were very strict on censorship, and banned all kinds of fairly innocent stuff, allowed Little Richard's 'Good Golly Miss Molly' through, not knowing a miss molly was a male prostitute.


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Subject: RE: Origins: 'Ryder' or 'Rider' in blues songs
From: Bobert
Date: 15 Feb 10 - 07:44 AM

Gol danged it, Amos... That's exactly what I just said "ridin' the blinds" was...

Funny think... I was at Blues Week about ten years ago an' havin' a nice talk with my buddy, Sparly Rucker, and asked him what ridin' the blinds was and I don't think he really knew what part of the train the blinds was so he told me to research it... That's what I found out, too...

B~


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Subject: RE: Origins: 'Ryder' or 'Rider' in blues songs
From: GUEST,Carl Ewens
Date: 27 Feb 11 - 08:47 AM

Just to throw a spanner in the works, a 'rider' could also be a possessing spirit (god or goddess) in traditional African Voodoo (Vodun, Vodoun) ceremonies.


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Subject: RE: Origins: 'Ryder' or 'Rider' in blues songs
From: GUEST,Llawela
Date: 01 Apr 11 - 03:01 AM

Carl, I would have to agree with your spanner variant, particularly noticeable in Charlie Patton's songs. It's like something he wants but at the same time can't shake. I don't know much about Voodoo, but perhaps it's where he gets his incredible (unmatched) talent from. I am not saying he sold his soul or anything (actually, if there was a devil at the crossroads tuning guitars it was probably him, lol), but you can sense a sort of malevolence in his music which i reckon can definitely be attributed to some kind of "possessive spirit".


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Subject: RE: Origins: 'Ryder' or 'Rider' in blues songs
From: Azizi
Date: 01 Apr 11 - 10:11 AM

I choose to respond to GUEST,Llawela's post that ties "Voodoo" with "selling one's soul", the "devil at the crossroads", and "malevolence in his music which...can be attributed to some kind of "possessive spirit".

Those descriptions are gross distortions of the traditional religion of Vodoun, and other traditional African religions and related "New World" religions such as Candomble, Lucumi, and Macumba.

"An inaccurate and sensational book (S. St. John, "Haiti or the Black Republic") was written in 1884. It described Vodun as a profoundly evil religion, and included lurid descriptions of human sacrifice, cannibalism, etc., some of which had been extracted from Vodun priests by torture. This book caught the imagination of people outside the West Indies, and was responsible for much of the misunderstanding and fear that is present today. Hollywood found this a rich source for Voodoo screen plays. Horror movies began in the 1930's and continue today to misrepresent Vodun. It is only since the late 1950's that accurate studies by anthropologists have been published."

http://www.religioustolerance.org/voodoo.htm

-snip-

The "devil at the crossroads" who gives extraordinary musical ability to those who "sell their souls" for that ability has become part of that myth, and is its own myth. The West African orisa (oh-ree-sha) Eshu is a traditional god of the crossroad. Eshu (Elegba) is a divine messenger and trickster god who is very much like the European gods Mercury, Hermes, and Loki.

"He [Eshu] has a wide range of responsibilities: the protector of travelers, deity of roads, particularly crossroads, the deity with the power over fortune and misfortune...

Eshu is a spirit of Chaos and Trickery, and plays frequently by leading mortals to temptation and possible tribulation in the hopes that the experience will lead ultimately to their maturation. In this way he is certainly a difficult teacher, but in the end is usually found to be a good one."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eshu

-snip-

That said, I would like to thank posters to this thread for sharing information about the vernacular meanings of the term "rider" in Blues music.


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Subject: RE: Origins: 'Ryder' or 'Rider' in blues songs
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 01 Apr 11 - 11:22 AM

Waal, now ~~ speakin' as a long-since member of the Easy Riders Skiffle Group ~~

I do not have the remotest idea!

& a Happy April Fool's Day to all my readers!!!

~Michael~


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Subject: RE: Origins: 'Ryder' or 'Rider' in blues songs
From: GUEST,Doug Saum
Date: 01 Apr 11 - 01:48 PM

Also, I once read that C C Rider referred to a "Circuit Rider." These were judges, salesmen, peachers, etc. whose jobs required that they travel from town to town to perform their duties. Thus they would be well-suited for the double entendre explanations above ala traveling salesman jokes. That is as interlopers they might find themselves in compromising situations as they travel about.


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Subject: RE: Origins: 'Ryder' or 'Rider' in blues songs
From: GUEST,'Law' she a good ri-dah'
Date: 05 Jul 18 - 09:48 PM

As we all know, Page and Plant of Mighty Zeppelin love to throw the term in. Contextually blues singers refer to far less threatening younger or underage consorts.


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