“Better Cut That Out” lyrics

While the closer “Better Cut That Out” is a favorite on the “King King” record, one question remains: Just what is Lester Butler singing?

This song is a little rough — Butler sings the second verse twice — and even the album credits are confusing. On the first Def American pressings, the song is called “Cut That Out” and attributed to Junior Wells, whose version obviously inspired the Devils. Subsequent American Recordings versions call it “Better Cut That Out,” with credit going to Sonny Boy Williamson (likely No. 1, John Lee Williamson), which is a much more accurate designation.

The lyric that causes the most trouble is the second line in the first verse. Butler sings the cuplet,

Yeah when you get drunk you wanna fuss and cut
Sure to get drunk you know a rock and roll hearse

OK, that doesn’t make much sense. Junior Wells, on the Delmark record “Blues Hit Big Town,” sings (at 40 seconds),

Now when you get drunk you wanna fuss and cuss
When you get drunk you throw a rock in a hearse

It sounds mushy, almost like “throw a rock and roll hearse,” but then listen clearly to the John Lee Williamson version (at 38 seconds):

Now when you get high you know you will get worse
When you get drunk you throw a rock in a hearse

It’s easy to hear how this line could get further and further away from the source meaning; by the time Butler got to it, we’re just talking about rhyming sounds, essentially.

From the book “Mother Wit From the Laughing Barrel: Readings in the Interpretation of Afro-American Folklore,” Alan Dundes captures this blues line from Doc Clayton:

So doggone evil, you’d throw a rock in a hearse (2)
When you tell me those lies, that’s when it really hurts

The context of a woman so evil she’d “throw a rock in a hearse” makes much more sense in “Better Cut That Out” — someone that drunk probably would fuss, cuss, cut and throw something at a funeral procession!

We are presenting these lyrics as Butler sang them on the night the recording was made; it’s likely he sang that line differently at other times.

But, it’s the blues: There are different words to choose as the mood strikes the singer.

“Better Cut That Out” (Sonny Boy Williamson), from “King King”

(Spoken) All right, a little blues yeah!

Yeah when you get drunk you wanna fuss and cut
Sure to get drunk you know a rock and roll hearse

You throw a rock in a hearse

You got to cut that out
Yeah baby cut it out
You got to cut it out little woman
‘Fore it be too late

Yeah went away this morning
And you wouldn’t stay long
Next time I saw you in another man’s arm
You’ve gotta cut that out
Yeah baby cut it out
Cut it out little woman
‘Fore it be too late

(Harp solo)

Yeah went away this morning
And you wouldn’t stay long
Next time I saw you in another man’s arm
You’ve gotta cut that out
Yeah baby cut it out
Cut it out little woman
‘Fore it be too late

(Guitar solo)

Yeah you take my money
Now you wear my clothes
You better cut that out
I bust you in your nose
You’ve gotta cut that out
Yeah baby cut it out
You’ve got to cut it out little woman
‘Fore it be too late

(Harp solo out)

Transcribed by nofightin.com. More “King King” lyrics here.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: