Thursday, March 09, 2006

Blues Terminology: John The Conquer

The roots Ipomoea jalapa, when dried, are carried as the John the Conquer root amulet.


In 1954 Muddy Waters had a hit with the Willie Dixion song "Hoochie Coochie Man" and ever since I first heard this song I wondered what Muddy meant when he sang that line "I got the John the Conqueroo." It is part of the verse that goes;

I got a black cat bone, I got a mojo too,
I got the John the Conqueroo, 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.


According to Answers.com

"John the Conquer root, refers to a number of roots to which magical powers are ascribed in American folklore, especially among the hoodoo tradition of folk magic among African Americans. The root, in turn, is named after a folk hero called High John the Conqueror."

Who was John the Conqueror?

"John the Conqueror was supposed to be an African prince who was sold as a slave in the Americas. Despite his enslavement, his spirit was never broken and he survived in folklore as a sort of a trickster figure, because of the tricks he played to evade his masters. Zora Neale Hurston wrote of his adventures ("High John de Conquer") in her collection of folklore, "The Sanctified Church."

What is John the Conqueror?

"The root known as High John the Conqueror is (supposed to be) the root of Ipomoea jalapa, an Ipomoea species related to the morning glory and the sweet potato."


John The Conqueror @ Answers.com

John The Conqueror @ LuckyMojo.com

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