Monday, December 3, 2012

Zydeco Songs - "Sugar Bee" & "Johnny Billy Goat" (Lyrics)

Edited by Azizi Powell

This post provides a sound file of & lyrics for the Zydeco song "Sugar Bee" and a video of & lyrics for to the Zydeco song "Johnny Billy Goat".

The content of this post is presented for folkloric, entertainment, and aesthetic purposes.

The transcriptions of these two songs are posted not as definitive lyrics, but to foster discussion of those lyrics.

All copyrights remain with their owners.


Sugar Bee - Cleveland Crochet (For My Surguuur Bee)

Circumpunk, Uploaded on Jul 30, 2010

This zydeco swamp classic reached #80 on Billboard's hot 100 (the year of my birth, he he he), and has been covered several times by blues and R&B artists. from the compilation album Alligator stomp, Rhino Recors, 1990
(as sung by Cleveland Crochet)*

* transcribed by Jim Dixon (on 12 Jun 07) Lyr Req Sugar Bee

CHORUS: Sugar Bee, Sugar Bee, (5x)
Look what you done to me.

1. Well, you said you'd be my honey all night long.
When I found you, baby, you were doing' wrong.

2. Well, you came home this morning 'bout a quarter to four.
Found you, little woman,* sitting at my door.

[*"Found you, little woman" - That's what it sounds like to me, but says it's "Found another woman."]

According to, Canned Heat sings these verses:

1. I told you, baby, on the day we wed,
I told you, darling, don't you lose your head.

2. I told you, babe, I'm gonna love you long.
I never, never, never gonna do you wrong.
*"BMI has it written by Eddie Shuler in late [19]50's or early [19]60's."
comment by Tweed on that same Mudcat discussion thread

Johnny Billy Goat - Boozoo Chavis (Live)

ERICAJUNDELYON, Uploaded on Aug 23, 2011

Live version of "Johnny Billy Goat" or "Johnny Ma Cabrille" in Louisiana French Cajun/Creole language with the long time Boozoo Bass player, Classie Ballou Jr... ...Wilson Anthony "Boozoo" Chavis from Lake Charles, LA .(1930-2001) was a zydeco musician - music created by French speaking Creoles of South-West Louisiana. He was active from 1954 until his death during which time he largely sang and played the accordion. Chavis was also a prolific writer of zydeco songs. Many of his songs have become standards of the zydeco repertoire, in spite of, or perhaps because of, their generally idiosyncratic and quirky construction and subject matter. "If it's wrong, do it wrong, with me," he would tell his band. "If I'm wrong, you wrong, too!" Boozoo was crowned "The King of Zydeco" in New Orleans in the 1990s. His son Charles was a member of his band at the time.
(Boozoo Chavis)

*transcribed & translated by dsousa_56 (Feb 10, 2011) on

Oh bye, bye bye nègre
Fus pas mal, oh Johnnie male cabris
Fus pas mal, oh bye catin
Fus pas mal, oh bye mon nègre
Fus pas mal, oh Johnnie male cabris
Fus pas mal

(Translation - sort of)
Oh bye, bye bye neg
I don't care, oh Johnnie billy goat
I don't care, oh bye doll
I don't care, oh bye my neg
I don't care, Johnnie billy goat

The main difference from the other transcription is that I think it is "male cabris", not "ma cabris".
Here are three comments about this song's lyrics from that video's viewer comment thread:
"The people who wrote the titles on the rec were usually English and wrote phonetically. Look on old 78s, sometimes no one word is correct ! One of the most beautiful exemple for me is : "Tu pen pa ma retter de revere" for "Tu Peux pas m'arrêter de Rêver" (You can't stop me from Dreaming) By The Thibodeaux Boys."
"I believe that the french version of the title is "Johnnie Mal Cabris". Cabris means goat, and mal cabris means male goat AKA billie goat.
-dsousa56, 2011
"it's not really exactly that ! Still the same problem in the old days with the translation of the lyrics by English and Cajun ! In the real French of France, title would be "Johnny, mon Cabris" ("Mon" is the masculine or "Ma" for the feminine)"

Click and for information about the history of Zydeco music.
My thanks to the composer/s of this song. My thanks also to the vocalists, and musicians featured in these sound files and this video. Thanks also to the uploaders of these sound files & video, to the transcribers of these songs and to those whose comments are quoted in this post.

Finally, thank you for visiting pancocojams.

Visitor comments are welcome.

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