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The Hoodoo Of Black Cat Bone

Masahiro Sumori
Creative Commons
Albert Collins at the Long Beach Blues Festival, September 16th 1990

Ever wonder what they mean by the line “black cat bone?” Well wonder no more, because it is exactly that, a bone from a black cat...

That was a bit anti-climatic right? Well, those are just the facts. The story, as they say, gets better.

The magic bone is believed to bring good fortune, vex one’s enemies, and ward off evil for the possessor. Often the bone will be carried in a Mojo bag; a magical charm also known as a Mojo Hand or Gris-Gris bag. But you can’t use just any bone, a Hoodoo practitioner or Mojo bag maker will use their own secret method of divining which bone has the power.

One way I’ve heard of finding it is by throwing a black cat’s skeleton in a river or creek and the magic bone will float.

So what you may ask, is a Hoodoo practitioner?


Hoodoo is a distinctly American folk magic that developed from a wide variety of sources, traditions, practices and religions including African, Christian, Native American and European. Though the names are similar and certain ideas exist in each, Hoodoo should not be confused with Voodoo. Voodoo is more of a religion with a theology while Hoodoo is more of an art for influencing fortune, both for good and bad.

When Albert Collins says he believes his “…woman has a black cat bone” it’s because she has put a sort of hex on him.


This week on The Nine O’clock Blues we’ll hear an Albert Collins rendition of Black Cat Bone preformed at the On the Waterfront Festival in Rockford, Illinois on September 5, 1993, less than 2 months before Albert’s death. Despite being in a losing fight with cancer, this performance clearly shows why Albert Collins was one of the most powerful of the so called ‘Texas guitar slingers’ and truly a ‘Master of the Telecaster’ (Fender’s Telecaster is revered by many Blues guitarists and was the favorite of Collins).

Also on this week’s show we’ll hear from an artist best known for Country music who, I guarantee, will convince you he should have concentrated on the Blues. It’s the diminutive super guitarist, Junior Brown. Brown plays a double neck guitar of his own invention that combines a six-string with a steel guitar - the Guit-Steel.


His career has included stints with Dusty Drapes and the Dusters and Asleep at the Wheel, plus recordings with many greats both in and out of Country music including George Jones, Bob Dylan (with whom he toured in 2006) and The Beach Boys.

He's been an actor and has also had his music featured on TV shows and movie soundtracks, including Me, Myself and Irene, SpongeBob SquarePants and the 2005 Dukes of Hazzard remake, for which he also acted as 'The Balladeer' (narrator).

When you hear Junior Brown perform “Monkey Wrench Blues” this week on The Nine O’clock Blues” I’m sure that you’ll agree Brown is the Blues Master that got away.

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