Meet Me with Your Black Drawers On: My Life in Music

Meet Me with Your Black Drawers On: My Life in Music

by Jeannie Cheatham

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Jeannie Cheatham is a living legend in jazz and blues. A pianist, singer, songwriter, and co-leader of the Sweet Baby Blues Band, she has played and sung with many of the greats in blues and jazz—T-Bone Walker, Dinah Washington, Cab Callaway, Joe Williams, Al Hibbler, Odetta, and Jimmy Witherspoon. Cheatham toured with Big Mama Thornton off and on for ten years and was featured with Thornton and Sippie Wallace in the award-winning PBS documentary Three Generations of the Blues. Her music, which has garnered national and international acclaim, has been described as unrestrained, exuberant, soulful, rollicking, wicked, virtuous, wild, and truthful. Cheatham's signature song, “Meet Me with Your Black Drawers On” is a staple in jazz and blues clubs across America and in Europe, Africa, and Japan. In this delightfully frank autobiography, Jeannie Cheatham recalls a life that has been as exuberant, virtuous, wild, and truthful as her music. She begins in Akron, Ohio, where she grew up in a vibrant multiethnic neighborhood surrounded by a family of strong women. From those roots, she launched a musical career that took her from the Midwest to California, doing time along the way everywhere from a jail cell in Dayton, Ohio, where she was innocently caught in a police raid, to the University of Wisconsin-Madison—where she and Jimmy Cheatham taught music. Cheatham writes of a life spent fighting racism and sexism, of rage and resolve, misery and miracles, betrayals and triumphs, of faith almost lost in dark places, but mysteriously regained in a flash of light. Cheatham's autobiography is also the story of her fifty-years-and-counting love affair and musical collaboration with her husband and band partner, Jimmy Cheatham.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780292782686
Publisher: University of Texas Press
Publication date: 01/01/2010
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 436
File size: 4 MB

About the Author

JEANNIE CHEATHAM, now a proud septuagenarian, is still actively creating and performing the music she loves. Her albums include Good Nuz Bluz, Blues & the Boogie Masters, Basket Full of Blues, Luv in the Afternoon, Back to the Neighborhood, Homeward Bound, Midnight Mama, and Sweet Baby Blues. She and Jimmy Cheatham live in San Diego, California.

Table of Contents

AcknowledgmentsPrologue. Brand-New Blues1. Back to the 'Hood2. The Piano3. Three Visitors4. Mr. Arthur Reginald Riley5. Funerals6. The Reverend Uncle Frank, Lessons on Men, and Finding Jesus7. The Coming of the Cold8. Summer Heat9. Wrong Direction10. The New House11. It's an Ill Wind That Don't Blow Somebody Some Good12. Yellow Cab to the Red-Light District13. Junkies and Jazz14. World War II: Let the Good Times Roll15. Just Get On the Greyhound, Girl16. The Evans Exodus17. Jailhouse Blues18. From Hell to Heaven Blues19. Snowbound20. The Song of the Colvinaires21. New Baby Blues22. A Blizzard of Birdshit23. The Colors of Many Changes24. Triumph, Tragedy, Turmoil, and Tenor Players25. A Little Love Song26. Little Mattie, Big Mama, and the Beautiful Miss M27. The Blues and the Buffalo Scuffle28. Escape from Buffalo29. New York City, Ditty-Wah-Ditty30. Fatback31. Bronx Gulag and Agoraphobia32. The Light Shineth in the Darkness33. From Hell to Academia34. Welcome to Wisconsin35. On the Move in Madison36. Movin' an' Moanin', Groovin' an' Groanin' in Madison37. The Way West38. Pipe Dreamin' in the Valley of Smoke39. A Standing O in San Diego40. Take It!41. Beelzebub and the Mad Mexican42. Make a Joyful Noise!43. New Mule Kickin' in Our Stall44. Blues on the Omnibus45. Blow Out at the Belly Up Tavern and the Birth of Three Generations of the Blues46. Mr. Jefferson Comes to Town47. The Birth of the Sweet Baby Blues Band48. Hot Bulbs and Hot Flashes49. Sturm und Drang Blues: Vienne, France50. Shoofly Pie with Shafafa in The Hague51. Chickenshit or Chicken Salad?52. How Long?53. Effluvia and Euphoria54. From Slavery to the White House55. Tears of Sorrow56. Blues like Jay McShann57. ABC: Around the World, Beyond Betrayal, Celebrations58. Livin' in the Nineties59. Making History in a Small Hotel60. Back to Bina Avenue

What People are Saying About This

Marian McPartland

Here's a breezy, light, and utterly charming tale of a musician's life with all the ups-and-downs and turns-and-twists that are a part of those of us in jazz. Jeannie Cheatham knows everybody, and she has much to say about her fellow musicians. Her descriptive style paints an unforgettable picture as she covers the last fifty years of being on the scene with her husband Jimmy and the Sweet Baby Blues Band.
Marian McPartland, jazz legend and host of the award-winning Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz, National Public Radio's longest-running and most widely carried jazz program

Debby Hastings

The truth is alive and well in Meet Me with Your Black Drawers On! I know, because I've been the legendary Bo Diddley's band leader and bass player for twenty years. Prior to that, I got to spend two incredible years playing with Jeannie Cheatham. She taught me where 'the pocket' is. This book is right in 'the pocket.'
Debby Hastings, highly acclaimed bass player for Bo Diddley and many other artists

Fred Wesley

Being an admitted, although recovering, racist and sexist when it comes to playing blues and jazz, I have been further educated and much less prejudiced after reading Jeannie Cheatham's book Meet Me with Your Black Drawers On. Jeannie's book drives home the fact that we who embrace music as a profession share common joys and common miseries. Having played with Jeannie I will never again say "plays good for a woman." I can't say she's "one of the boys," but she is definitely one of the musicians. Thanks, Jeannie, for a wonderful book from another point of view.
Fred Wesley, James Brown's former music director and author of Hit Me, Fred: Recollections of a Sideman

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