Author: Debra Devi

Debra Devi is a rock musician and the author of the award-winning blues glossary The Language of the Blues: From Alcorub to Zuzu (foreword by Dr. John). www.debradevi.com

This is the latest installment of our weekly series The Language of the Blues, in which author and rock musician Debra Devi explores the meaning of a word or phrase found in the blues. Grab a signed copy of Devi’s award-winning glossary The Language of the Blues: From Alcorub to Zuzu (Foreword by Dr. John) at Bluescentric.com. Also available as an eBook. Zuzu is southern slang for a cookie, as in “Can I have some more zuzus, Mama?” The original zuzus were ginger snaps made by Nabisco. The earliest mention of them in print is an A&P ad in The…

Read More

This is the latest installment of our weekly series The Language of the Blues, in which author and rock musician Debra Devi explores the meaning of a word or phrase found in the blues. Grab a signed copy of Devi’s award-winning glossary The Language of the Blues: From Alcorub to Zuzu (Foreword by Dr. John) at Bluescentric.com. Also available as an eBook. Horror flick zombies get their name from a holy West African religious experience that was misunderstood and misrepresented by European observers in Haiti, New Orleans and other strongholds of the Voodoo religion. In Voodoo – more properly spelled…

Read More

This is the latest installment of our weekly series The Language of the Blues, in which author and rock musician Debra Devi explores the meaning of a word or phrase found in the blues. Grab a signed copy of Devi’s award-winning glossary The Language of the Blues: From Alcorub to Zuzu (Foreword by Dr. John) at Bluescentric.com. Also available as an eBook. Used as a rhyming substitute for “ass,” yas yas and “yas yas yas” appear in hokum blues from the 1920s such as Tampa Red’s big hit, “The Duck Yas-Yas-Yas.” In “Get Yer Yas Yas Out,” Blind Boy Fuller…

Read More

This is the latest installment of our weekly series The Language of the Blues, in which author and rock musician Debra Devi explores the meaning of a word or phrase found in the blues. Grab a signed copy of Devi’s award-winning glossary The Language of the Blues: From Alcorub to Zuzu (Foreword by Dr. John) at Bluescentric.com. Also available as an eBook. Woofing is verbally nimble teasing and name-calling. Woofing is also a method for “calling someone out,” as in Bessie Smith’s sassy tune “Aggravatin’ Papa.” The lyrics tell the story of a lady named Mandy Brown who gets so…

Read More

This is the latest installment of our weekly series The Language of the Blues, in which author and rock musician Debra Devi explores the meaning of a word or phrase found in the blues. Grab a signed copy of Devi’s award-winning glossary The Language of the Blues: From Alcorub to Zuzu (Foreword by Dr. John) at Bluescentric.com. Also available as an eBook. Like “having a ball,” the phrase “making whoopee was originally a euphemism for having sex, before it crossed over into polite society as a term for general merriment and carousing. “Making whoopee” came from the word “whooping,” which…

Read More

This is the latest installment of our weekly series The Language of the Blues, in which author and rock musician Debra Devi explores the meaning of a word or phrase found in the blues. Grab a signed copy of Devi’s award-winning glossary The Language of the Blues: From Alcorub to Zuzu (Foreword by Dr. John) at Bluescentric.com. Also available as an eBook. A washboard is a wooden or metal board played as a percussion instrument with thimbles, spoons, knitting needles, or metal finger picks. Also called a rub board, it’s a staple of zydeco, the accordian-based dance music of southern…

Read More

This is the latest installment of our weekly series The Language of the Blues, in which author and rock musician Debra Devi explores the meaning of a word or phrase found in the blues. Grab a signed copy of Devi’s award-winning glossary The Language of the Blues: From Alcorub to Zuzu (Foreword by Dr. John) at Bluescentric.com. Also available as an eBook. Voodoo is a religion that evolved in the Americas from West African Vodun, one of the world’s most ancient religions.The defining Voodoo experience–possession–is the source for the idea in the blues (and later in rock ’n’ roll) that…

Read More

This is the latest installment of our weekly series The Language of the Blues, in which author and rock musician Debra Devi explores the meaning of a word or phrase found in the blues. Grab a signed copy of Devi’s award-winning glossary The Language of the Blues: From Alcorub to Zuzu (Foreword by Dr. John) at Bluescentric.com. Also available as an eBook. Texas blues guitarist Johnny Winter once said, “I can tell if I like a man’s style after listening to his vibrato for ten seconds.” Putting aside Winter’s inadvertent declaration that only men play electric guitar, he makes an…

Read More

This is the latest installment of our weekly series The Language of the Blues, in which author and rock musician Debra Devi explores the meaning of a word or phrase found in the blues. Grab a signed copy of Devi’s award-winning glossary The Language of the Blues: From Alcorub to Zuzu (Foreword by Dr. John) at Bluescentric.com. Also available as an eBook. Vestapol is an open D Major tuning for the guitar. This means that if a guitar tuned in Vestapol is strummed without fretting any notes, it will produce a D Major chord (D A D F# A D). Vestapol…

Read More

This is the latest installment of our weekly series The Language of the Blues, in which author and rock musician Debra Devi explores the meaning of a word or phrase found in the blues. Grab a signed copy of Devi’s award-winning glossary The Language of the Blues: From Alcorub to Zuzu (Foreword by Dr. John) at Bluescentric.com. Also available as an eBook. Trim is slang for female genitalia. In the blues, it’s usually used by a man to express a need or an intention, as in “I’m gonna get me some trim tonight.” This usage has been around since the…

Read More