"Hellhound On My Trail" as written by and Robert L. Johnson....
I got to keep movin', I got to keep movin'
Blues fallin' down like hail, blues fallin' down like hail
Hmmm-mmm, blues fallin' down like hail, blues fallin' down like hail

And the days keeps on worryin' me
There's a hellhound on my trail, hellhound on my trail
Hellhound on my trail

If today was Christmas Eve, if today was Christmas Eve
And tomorrow was Christmas Day
If today was Christmas Eve, and tomorrow was Christmas Day
Aw, wouldn't we have a time, baby?

All I would need my little sweet rider just
To pass the time away, huh-huh
To pass the time away

You sprinkled hot foot powder, mmm
Mmm, around my door, all around my door
You sprinkled hot foot powder
All around your daddy's door, hmm-hmm-hmm

It keep me with ramblin' mind, rider
Every old place I go, every old place I go

I can tell the wind is risin', the leaves tremblin' on the tree
Tremblin' on the tree
I can tell the wind is risin', leaves tremblin' on the tree
Hmm-hmm hmm-mmm

All I need's my little sweet woman
And to keep my company, hey, hey, hey
My company

Lyrics submitted by evildead167

"Hellhound On My Trail" as written by Robert Johnson


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Hellhound On My Trail song meanings
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  • +2
    Song Meaning"gotta keep moving
    blues falling down like hail"
    It was said that Robert Johnson sold his soul to the devil at a crossroads, this line probably means that he's running from the devil.

    The "Christmas" lines mean that he wants to spend time with a special girl, perhaps?

    The "Hot Food Powder" could mean Salt around his door, preventing the Devil to enter the house. "It keep me with ramblin' mind, rider. Every old place I go" means that the devil is always around, waiting to kill him. It always keeps his mind "Ramblin'" because he can't always bring salt everywhere!

    "I can tell the wind is risin'. Leaves tremblin' on the tree." line means that the Devil is approaching, causing a stir outside!
    "All I need's my little sweet woman to keep my company." means that he wants the spend the final moments of his life, with his little sweet women.
    NoahRoseon August 09, 2012   Link
  • +1
    General Commentmeans he has to live his life to the fullest because when he dies it is all over. great song
    Skynyrd boyon June 10, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentWOOT! 1st post on one of my favrite blues songs!
    :)4thecameraon May 15, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General Commentamazing.
    the scenic worldon November 06, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentRobert Johnson allegedly sold his soul to the devil in exchange for the artistry of the guitar. He had a consistent fear of Satan coming to claim his eternal soul. fyi, Hot foot powder is some magical thing associated with Hoodoo. I'm not sure what tho exactly.
    StonesInMyPasswayon November 22, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General Commentall of his songs that he wrote and sang was related to that night when he made a deal with the devil
    bDavis6188on November 21, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentIs the theory that he sold his soul to the devil based on something other than an episode of Supernatural?
    soullessbunnyon April 21, 2011   Link
  • 0
    My InterpretationYou have to remember that Johnson never confirmed or denied the crossroads stories. Historian Leon Litwack says that the song "Crossroads" is about blacks fear of being out after dark.

    I believe this song addresses Johnson's weakness for "women and whiskey". From 1932 until his death he traveled from town to town, playing, singing and flirting. The "Hellhound" would have been these appetites.
    sirwolfon February 16, 2013   Link
  • 0
    My InterpretationThere is an old term "nv'r-do-well" that refered to men who for one reason or another alway find themselves in dire situations. They usually live transient lives, that often include past enemies or debts that could one day catch up to them.

    Often, others will recognize these traits in a person. Thus the saying "trouble follows him around". Some of these men at some point recognize the cycle in their lives. When they do they adopt a life-style where they don't try to plant roots or plan for the future. When they arrive at a new home it is not with the intention of it being temporary; but the suspect something will eventually cause them to have to leave. It doesn't have to be their fault; it could lost job; cultural bias; addiction, depressions, even being duped.

    These are the elements that would define a person as 'having a hellhound on their trail'. It is worse than just having a string of bad luck. General bad luck wounds the individual. Having a hellhound on ones trail ponders seemingly random string of life destroying events.

    The hellhound is a what some would call being cursed. This line of belief fits with the lore of Robert Johnson selling his soul to the devil (where fugitively or literally.)

    Given that Johnson, and many of his peers, traveled in circles that placed some weight in the powers of the occult; and that because of his lifestyle (described above) he was likely repeatedly told that he was going to hell; the meaning of his lyrics [for me] fall neatly into place.
    Erodoxon August 25, 2016   Link
  • -1
    General Commentrobert johnson made a deal with the devil in real life at a crossroads 61/49. it was said that night he walked out of the bar to the crossroads and through his guitar down in the middle of the crossroads. he heard howling from a demonic hound growing closer and closer. he turned around and came face to face with the devil himself. the devil told him he could make him into the best blues guitar player in the world and everyone who listens to his music will be possessed by it. he made the deal in return for his soul. the devil game him a certain amount of time to live and enjoy being the best at the blues. around the time where his deal was coming to an end he wrote this song because the demonic hound was coming after his soul to bring to hell. the hot foot powder is like salt demons and devil cant come in if every entrance of your house is guarded with salt. but in the end he couldn't run or hide anymore and he knew it and the devil eventually got him.
    bDavis6188on November 21, 2009   Link

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