Who is the Hoochie Coochie Man?

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Who is the Hoochie Coochie Man?

   Who is the Hoochie Coochie Man?

"I am your Hoochie Coochie man," cries Muddy Waters in his song by the same title. But who is a Hoochie Coochie man anyway? Or what is it?

Back in the late 19th century, hoochie coochie was a muscle dance which became very popular after the Chicago World's Fair in 1893, where it was introduced to the public. A decade later, the hoochie coochie shows were immensely popular and, judging from contemporary accounts, these were clearly not something approved by law enforcement and the high society. At the same time, the dance seemed to have been one of the high points of the Chicago World's Fair.

One news report from 1903, for example, talks of J.S. Starr who "proceeded to organize a crusade against the carnival selecting, out of the whole unlawful bunch of things, the hoochie coochie and gambling devices." Or elsewhere they talk about going "into the disreputable hoochie coochie shows to see what vile things were on exhibition; some of them went themselves and some of them became so interested in the vile shows that they went several times, perhaps to refresh their memories."

An another article proposes: "Now if the state salons will get busy and cut out the hoochie-coochie muscle dancers that with the snake eaters give the street and county fairs their hard name, they will be furthering the good work."

The term hoochie coochie also appears in the form of a noun, sometimes used in plural as "hoochie coochies" referring to an establishment where a hoochie coochie show is run. Thus we read that "every husband who visits a hoochie coochie ought to be fined $2.75, and if he goes a second time he ought to be fined $2.99." Elsewhere, talking about "indecent dances or other improper exhibits," the hoochie-coochie dance is singled out as an example.

In a newspaper from 1908, we read that "A young woman of Philadelphia has offered to bring twenty good looking shapely girls and exhibit them in the latest style directoire gowns. This would draw about as well as a 'hoochie coochie' performance it is believed, especially since the Philadelphia woman says she will have the girls with slit skirts and silk drop stitch stockings."

And then the hoochie coochie dance disappears from the news. It surfaces again in the 1930-40's, but it is clear that the good old days are over. There is a report saying that "congress members endorsed fan dancing and gave the Chicago World's Fair $200,000 to help keep alive the hoochie-coochie." In other words, the dance has almost disappeared by this time.

The growing popularity of motion pictures, however, gave the dance an additional impetus. Actresses are being admired or judged, depending on the audience, for doing the hoochie-coochie dance on the screen. For example, we read that in 1942, the producers of the movie "Wine, Women and Song" were convicted by presenting an immoral performance when a jury held that the fan dance and the hoochie-coochie were indecent.

Then term "Hoochie Coochie Man" is unprecedented. In 1942, Paul Whiteman and Gracie Allen have written a boogie-woogie song about Mussolini titled "Hoochie-Coochie-Duce," obviously making fun of the Fascist dictator. But it was not until 1954, when Muddy Waters recorded Willie Dixon's "I'm Your Hoochie Coochie Man" that the term was born. (Dixon, as always, played the bass on this recording.) The song was a hit the instant it hit the record stores.

So, coming back to the question, "How is the Hoochie Coochie Man?" The hoochie-coochie was always been a female dance. So in our case, does the man dance it? Or does he watch it? Or does he run the girls who dance it? I think it is a bit of all of these. It is someone with a strong sexual presence who is showing off to his woman in this sense.

The above article is written by Steve Bekes. All rights reserved.

The original lyrics of "I'm Your Hoochie Coochie Man"
Words and music by Willie Dixon

The gypsy woman told my mother
Before I was born
I got a boy child's comin'
He's gonna be a son of a gun
He gonna make pretty womens
Jump and shout
Then the world wanna know
What this all about
But you know I'm him
Everybody knows I'm him
Well you know I'm the hoochie coochie man
Everybody knows I'm him

I got a black cat bone
I got a mojo too
I got the Johnny conkeroo
I'm gonna mess with you
I'm gonna make you girls
Lead me by my hand
Then the world will know
The hoochie coochie man
But you know I'm him
Everybody knows I'm him
Oh you know I'm the hoochie coochie man
Everybody knows I'm him

On the seventh hours
On the seventh day
On the seventh month
The seven doctors say
He was born for good luck
And that you'll see
I got seven hundred dollars
Don't you mess with me
But you know I'm him
Everybody knows I'm him
Well you know I'm the hoochie coochie man
Everybody knows I'm him

Muddy Waters - (I'm Your) Hoochie Coochie Man
Hoochie Coochie Man

   Who is the Hoochie Coochie Man?

Who is the Hoochie Coochie Man?