• They're blues songs.
  • They're down home recipes.
  • This music cooks in more ways than one! Elliot Essman's

Blues Cookbook

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Main Blues Cookbook Page.

Blues Cookbook Lyrics and Song Notes
Copyright © Elliot Essman 2006
All Rights Reserved


You can hear excerpts from all 14 songs, and order the CD, from CD Baby

Full Ordering Options (from Amazon, through Apple iTunes, by check, credit card, or other means). Blues Cookbook on Apple iTunes.


Click on the song title for description and lyrics:
Chicken Fried Steak  Cook It With Smoke  Gumbo  Cast Iron Pans  Cornbread  Pralines  Sweet Potato Pie  Pan Fried Chicken  Whole Mess of Greens  Biscuit Heaven  Okra  Piggy Food  Rice And Beans  Southern Fried Catfish 

Chicken Fried Steak: Elliot gets into a James Brown type groove with horns in an attempt to elevate chicken fried steak to a quasi-religious experience.

Oh - Chicken Fried Steak
It's the finest thing I make
Oh - Chicken Fried Steak
Fry it up for goodness sake
It keeps me wide awake - thinking about it
In country gravy

Oh - Chicken Fried Steak
You pound it thin before you throw it in
Oh - Chicken Fried Steak
To get your power, coat it in flour
Don't have to beg - do it right
You've got to use some egg
Pepper and spice
To make it nice

Oh - Chicken Fried Steak
I know every step to take
Oh - Chicken Fried Steak
You see me quake for chicken fried steak
Cooking up piles
Of country gravy

   Song List.  Top of this page.  Main Blues Cookbook Page.


Cook It With Smoke: For barbecue purists, only smoke will do. Elliot's lead guitar and harmonica play off each other.

Well you can give me a grill - Or a broiler too
But if you want a genuine - Barbecue
You've got to cook it with smoke
Cook it with smoke
You may go broke but if you don't want a joke
You've got to cook it with smoke

You've got to fire it up - Get the heat just right
Let it sizzle and simmer - Cook it half the night
You've got to cook it with smoke
Cook it with smoke
You may take a poke at using hickory or oak
You've got to cook it with smoke

You're the chef you're the boss
You concoct your own sauce
Then you brush on your particular brew
Put it all on a spit
And the meat it won't quit
It takes plenty of love just to see it all through

It may be chicken or ribs
Beef or fresh caught fish
You need your head screwed on right
When you cook up this dish
You've got to cook it with smoke
Cook it with smoke
Though you listen to folk, rock or even baroque
You've got to cook it with smoke

Give it your total concern
You'd better turn off your phone
When it's done to a turn
The meat will fall off the bone
You've got to cook it with smoke
Cook it with smoke
Cook it all in one stroke, hand rub it or soak
You've got to cook it with smoke

   Song List.  Top of this page.  Main Blues Cookbook Page.


Gumbo: Nothing satisfies like gumbo, except maybe slide guitar.

I take a stick of momma's butter
Cup of flour too
Mix them both together
Gonna cook up a roux
Just for my gumbo
Onions and celery in my gumbo
Bell peppers and bay leaves don't stop
And then comes the garlic that I chop chop chop
Just for my gumbo

I add the okra whole
A recipe I stole
From my granny when she wasn't looking
But the rest is up for grabs
Chicken, sausage or crabs
I'm never too busy for slow cooking

I chop up spices and herbs
And then I season to taste
If you don't add something hot
Well, it's a terrible waste
When you make gumbo
And then to serve it won't you take my advice
Scoop it out over a pile of dirty rice
The perfect gumbo

   Song List.  Top of this page.  Main Blues Cookbook Page.


Cast Iron Pans: Somebody had to write the definitive love song to cookware. Cast iron has a real mystique. You hand it down to future generations. Elliot plays various keyboards and lilting guitar.

Cast iron pans
I hold on to my cast iron pans
I take care of my cast iron pans
And they take care of me
Use them for gravy, steaming up corn
Been in the family before I was born
Got my cast iron pans, my cast iron pans

Cast iron pans
Keep them in season, my cast iron pans
I clean them gently, my cast iron pans
Will last the life of me
Count every time to hold in the heat
My country kitchen would not be complete
Without cast iron pans, my cast iron pans

Cast iron pans
Cooking my breakfast in cast iron pans
I'm holding on to my cast iron pans
And they hold on to me
Bake up a chicken, do up a roast
Got to forgive me if I start to boast
Of my cast iron pans, my cast iron pans

Cast iron pans
Worth more than money my cast iron pans
Gold on my stove are my cast iron pans
Become a part of me
Life may be changing, but don't have to look
Don't need inventions when I start to cook
With my cast iron pans, my cast iron pans

   Song List.  Top of this page.  Main Blues Cookbook Page.


Cornbread: A hard-driving jitterbug beat brings this dish to its guitar-driven conclusion.

If you want your cornbread to rock and roll
Start with cornmeal, sugar and flour in a bowl
When you make your cornbread - the kind that wins first prize
You need salt and you need baking powder to rise

If you want your cornbread to have that magic touch
Mix in butter and milk and eggs but don't mix it too much
Don't mix that cornbread with too heavy a hand
Before you pour that batter into your favorite pan

Then you put that cornbread in the oven all right
Pull it out when it's golden and light
And when you take your cornbread right out of the pan
Serve up that cornbread with some butter and jam
Serve up that cornbread with some honey and jam

   Song List.  Top of this page.  Main Blues Cookbook Page.


Pralines: Elliot digs deep with his piano and harmonica in this slow blues inspired by John Lee Hooker.

Pralines, sticky sweet, pralines
Pralines, stick to your teeth, pralines
Got to cook up sugar for my pralines

Pralines, chop pecans, pralines
Pralines, heavy cream, pralines
Got to melt up butter for my pralines

Pralines, watch the heat, pralines
Pralines, stick to your teeth, pralines
Got to cook up sugar for my pralines

   Song List.  Top of this page.  Main Blues Cookbook Page.


Sweet Potato Pie: Piano, organ and guitars highlight this swing blues, an homage to Count Basie.

Nothing from the kitchen like a sweet potato pie
There's nothing from the kitchen like a sweet potato pie
Melting in your mouth can nearly make you cry

Peel the sweet potatoes, boil your water up hot
Peel those sweet potatoes and boil your water up hot
Cut them into chunks and throw them into the pot

Sweet potato pie
Almost makes me cry
Sweet potato pie
Telling you no lie
Love it till I die that
Sweet potato pie

Drain it, mix it with butter, eggs, sugar and spice
You drain it all and mix it with butter, eggs, sugar and spice
Bake it in a pan then you cool it off and cut out a slice

Sweet potato pie
Almost makes me cry
Sweet potato pie
Never will deny
Keep up the supply of that
Sweet potato pie

Nothing from the kitchen like a sweet potato pie
There's nothing from the kitchen like a sweet potato pie
Melting in your mouth can nearly make you cry

   Song List.  Top of this page.  Main Blues Cookbook Page.


Pan Fried Chicken: If it has to do with chicken, it has a real spiritual element. Elliot plays a number of keyboard voices and adds harmonica wails.

Pan fried chicken takes a real plan
First thing you've got to do is put shortening in a cast iron pan
Then you spice up that chicken, shake a little bit of cayenne
Add some pepper, salt and anything you happen to have at hand
Pan fried chicken puts all of your senses out of control
Pan fried chicken is made to elevate the soul

Then you coat it all with flour and put the pieces in skin-side down
Do ten minutes for each side to get those pieces golden and brown
Pan fried chicken makes you feel contented and whole
Pan fried chicken is made to elevate the soul

Then you drain it on a rack and wait until the oil drips down
Pan fried chicken is perfect when it's golden and brown
Oh you know that it's perfect when it's golden and brown
Pan fried chicken is perfect when it's golden and brown

   Song List.  Top of this page.  Main Blues Cookbook Page.


Whole Mess Of Greens: Forget restrained guitar work. Not here. Chuck Berry type rocker with Elliot also doing harmonica and piano to prove that you really should eat your vegetables.

Cook it. Cook up a whole mess of greens.
I'd rather have greens than ride around in limousines.
Throw in a ham hock and cook me up a whole mess of greens.

Cook it. Cook up a whole mess of greens.
I'd rather have greens than fool around with princes and queens.
Onions and pork butt can cook me up a whole mess of greens.

Cook it. Cook up a whole mess of greens.
I'd rather have greens than twenty-five sweet sixteens.
Collards or turnips now cook me up a whole mess of greens.

Cook it. Cook up a whole mess of greens.
I'd rather have greens than the latest computer machines.
Sugar and pepper time to cook me up a whole mess of greens.
Cook it. Cook it. Cook up a whole mess of greens.

   Song List.  Top of this page.  Main Blues Cookbook Page.


Biscuit Heaven: Arpeggiated Solomon Burke-like paean to biscuits, hot out of the oven.

Biscuit Heaven - Keep it simple and sublime
Biscuit Heaven - They're so lovely I could climb (up to)
Biscuit Heaven - Steaming warm in winter time

Biscuit Heaven - Find a baking powder brand
Biscuit Heaven - Not too much you understand (if you want)
Biscuit Heaven - Mix it gently all by hand

Cut them dry or drop them wet
Bake them hot but don't forget
Take them out ... when they're tender and done
And save a few for everyone (in)

Biscuit Heaven - You can keep your fine cuisine
Biscuit Heaven - For the best you've ever seen (to get to)
Biscuit Heaven - You can't make them by machine
Biscuit Heaven - For the best you've ever seen

   Song List.  Top of this page.  Main Blues Cookbook Page.


Okra: Elliot's harmonica accents this quick-tempo tribute to one of his favorite vegetables. Some of you might find this song a little "Muddy" around the edges.

I use my okra any way it's fit to use
I use my okra any way it's fit to use
I use my okra in my gumbos and my stews

They call it sticky, but it feels all right to me
They call it sticky, but it feels all right to me
If you want flavor, then you know my nominee

I like it pickled, mix it up with black eyed peas
I like to pickle my okra, or mix it up with black eyed peas
I use my okra in all my favorite recipes

   Song List.  Top of this page.  Main Blues Cookbook Page.


Piggy Food: You can dance to this one. If it's pork, it's in there. And yes, we know there is no December delivery for frozen pork belly futures. You vegetarians might want to sit this one out.

Find me takin' all the bacon with that guilty grin on my face - Piggy food
Find me shoppin' for a chop in the supermarket ice box case - Piggy food
When I want the finest kitchen appeal
I use it all except for the squeal - Piggy food

Give me ham that comes with a wham on my dinner plate - Piggy food
I won't Bork when you nominate pork, but don't make me wait - Piggy food
When the subject comes to barbecue
Pulling pork is all I want to do - Piggy food - oink oink - Piggy food

This little piggy had cole slaw
And this little piggy had none
This little piggy went to Memphis, Tennessee
On a date with a barbecue bun
Piggy food - oink oink oink - Piggy food

Got to join with a tenderloin done tender and right - Piggy food
Got a mind for some fried up rind, make it crunchy and light - Piggy food
When the dinner has to please all around
You know I just go for the sound - oink oink - Piggy food

This little piggy had French fries
This little piggy had none
This little piggy goes with turnip greens
And this little piggy is done
Piggy food

(spoken) Hey Mr. Broker
Sell me five contracts of pork bellies, December delivery
We're going to make a million bucks
You know it's all numbers on the screen to you
But to me, you know what it stands for, you know what it means
Piggy food

   Song List.  Top of this page.  Main Blues Cookbook Page.


Rice And Beans: The perfect food, as the lyrics indicate. It's actually because each food provides amino acids the other lacks, resulting in an ideal, inexpensive protein source. But, oh, yes, this is music, not science. A slow field blues, in which Elliot resisted the urge to put in guitars.

Rice and beans make the perfect food.
Rice and beans make the perfect food.
Fill me up until I'm bursting, when I'm in an eating mood.

Add some hot sauce for breakfast, gravy for lunch.
Serve it with my Sunday dinner. Let me feel that chicken crunch.
Rice and beans make the perfect food.
Fill me up until I'm bursting, when I'm in an eating mood.

You know from time to time, they serve me fish and meat.
But when I'm feeling evil I just throw it on the street.
Rice and beans make the perfect food.
Fill me up until I'm bursting, when I'm in an eating mood.

   Song List.  Top of this page.  Main Blues Cookbook Page.


Southern Fried Catfish: Elliot wanted to do a complete recipe in less than 60 seconds. It's gospel.

Southern fried catfish
Serve it up with grits
Southern fried catfish
Love those crunchy bits

Start with 5 or 6 ounce
Skinless, boneless fish
Salt and seafood seasoning
Add them to the dish

Mix up flour and cornmeal
Dredge just like you please
Heat your pot of oil
350 degrees

Place them in the deep fry
Seven minutes or so
Spoon them out and drain them
See the golden glow

Southern fried catfish
Mix it up with spice
Southern fried catfish
Serve it up with rice

   Song List.  Top of this page.  Main Blues Cookbook Page.


Top of this page.  Main Blues Cookbook Page.

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