This is the latest installment of our weekly series, The Language of the Blues, in which author/rocker Debra Devi explores the meaning of a word or phrase found in the blues.
Grab a signed copy of Devi’s award-winning blues glossary The Language of the Blues: From Alcorub to ZuZu (Foreword by Dr. John) at Bluescentric.com. Also available as an eBook from Amazon Kindle.
When a woman is in a marriage or committed relationship with a good man, but she keeps fooling around with someone else, that someone else is called her monkey man.
Country blues singer Charley Lincoln (also known as Laughing Charley and Charley Hicks) made his feelings about this situation clear in “Hard Luck Blues”:
Two kind of people in this world, mama, that I can’t stand
That’s a two-faced woman, baby, and a monkey-man
Then there’s the haunting, driving Rolling Stones song “Monkey Man,” which has been covered by Phish and Gov’t Mule. Jagger sings that he’s looking for a “lemon squeezer” and adds:
Well, I am just a monkey man
I’m glad you are a monkey woman, too
Some critics have said the Stones song is about drug addicts, but given what blues fanatics the Stones were, I’ll bet they knew what a monkey man really was. What do you think?
To learn a lot more, pick up a copy of The Language of the Blues today!
Pick up a copy of Language of the Blues
“Chicago Monkey Man”- Ida Cox
“Wild Women Don’t Have the Blues”- Ida Cox
“Big Feeling Blues”- Ma Rainey (Gertrude Pridgett Rainey)
“I’m a Steady Rollin’ Man”- Robert Johnson
Charley Lincoln – “Hard Luck Blues”
Rolling Stones – “Monkey Man”