You should know
how I feel.
I cant do nothin wrong.
They call me the she-wolf
I prowl all night long.
Music is my life. Im a Blues
woman. A miracle child.
A miracle child from two years old.
Mama prayed so hard for me
that night she got lost in the bed.
Woke up. Didnt know where she was.
Doctor said Id never get fourteen.
Ten years old I heard my mama say that.
Hurt me so bad I ran out the house
a shotgun house down in Alabama.
I hid and cried my little eyes out.
Lord, dont let me die. Let me live.
He heard my call cause here I am.
And I do thank God.
By me having a
I prayed as a little
child to spare my life.
If the Lord let me live I would like
to be a writer. A big singer.
If you dont tell mama that I beat on her water buckets
Im gonna give you some of my supper.
Thats how I learned to play drums.
Music is my life.
The one and only best drummer
on radio off radio.
I dont back down.
Im the one brought Jimmy Reed
back to the people.
Me and the good Lord Jesus.
I was there when he played
The Burning Spear
The High Chaparral
Ethy's in Detroit
The Nutcracker in New Orleans.
I was all up in there. I played with all the guys.
Little Willie Foster
I am a legend.
Everyday I write a song.
Lazy Bill Lucas asked me
one time why you looking like this?
Im evil. Dont mess with me.
You cant do nothin to me with that
johnnys conqueror root cause
I got the devils shoestring.
If you only knew whats rollin
around in this big head.
Inside me is a ball of fire.
You know what Im sayin?
In 1988 I couldnt walk.
I kept praying. I kept voting.
And I prayed hard. My only company
a doll I keep right by my bed.
I would talk to that doll and cry.
Seemed like that doll was just comin alive
like everything was gonna be alright.
Here alone at times probably I would
kinda go out of my mind.
But as you can know and see Im
in my sound mind. I want everybody
to know they dont have to give up.
Made it through to seventy-seven
and I thank God.
I had a rough
time but see God know
when you done had enough. And then
He make it easy for ya.
So thats what happened.
Im at peace now. Im just enjoying life.
I like pretty things. I like fancy things.
Even to now I like to be dap all the time.
Purple is my favorite color. Green too.
I like silk and satin. Because youre in
the kitchen that dont mean you have
to be in there lookin any kinda way.
I sit up at night and write songs
sing songs and be all by myself.
Close the door and just start singing.
I know God gave me the talent to do somethin.
When I was born He had my life
all laid out. Let me sing and shout.
After the madness come the gladness.
The words of Johnnie Mae Dunson Smith,
as told to Jim Fraher, edited by Connie Scanlon
November 12, 1998