It’s Saturday, and the question you have to ask yourself is “do I have my mojo working?”
Webster’s Dictionary defines mojo as “a magic spell, hex, or charm; broadly : magical power ; works his mojo on the tennis court“. Webster’s had to throw in the thoroughly white-bread sentence example, didn’t they?
The Wikipedia definition is a little more detailed: “a term commonly encountered in the African-American folk belief called hoodoo. A mojo is a small bag, a type of magic charm, often of red flannel cloth and tied with a drawstring, containing botanical, zoological, and/or mineral curios, petition papers, and the like. It is typically worn under clothing.”
Other names for a mojo?
gree-gree (a Bantu word typically spelled gris-gris by people in Louisiana because of the state’s francophone origins), mojo hand, conjure bag, conjure hand, toby, jomo, and nation sack. In Haiti, the usual name for this sort of charm bag among those of African descent is a wanga, oanga, or wanger.
As for the song “Got My Mojo Working”, it was written in the 50’s by Preston Foster. Many people think he wrote it for Muddy Waters, who popularized the tune, but it was actually Ann Cole who released it first. Cole was an R&B / gospel singer from the 50’s and 60’s. Since then it’s been recorded by a ton of musicians, blues and otherwise… Jimmy Smith, Conway Twitty, Pinetop Perkins, Manfred Mann, Chuck Berry, Canned Heat, and a host of others.
Here’s a few that I like….
Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown:
Got My Mojo Working (mp3) – from Standing My Ground
Got My Mojo Working (mp3) – live, unkown location, date. Listen for Elvis’ F-Bomb (the MF-Bomb to be precise).
Got My Mojo Working (mp3) – from Go to the Mardi Gras
- Here’s a cool resource for all things mojo: http://www.luckymojo.com/mojo.html
- Mojo Trivia of the Day: “Mr. Mojo Risin” is an anagram of Jim Morrison. Never knew ‘dat.