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They're Red Hot

by

Robert Johnson



Songfacts®:  You can leave comments about the song at the bottom of the page.

This song is about hot tamales, which are a spicy Mexican food very popular in some parts of the American south, where they are often sold by roadsides. Tamales contain spicy mean wrapped in cornmeal.
While Johnson is a legendary Blues artist, this song is an example of Hokum music, which was popular in the 1920s and 1930s and is generally played at a faster pace than Blues, similar to Ragtime.
The Red Hot Chili Peppers covered this on their 1991 album Blood Sugar Sex Magik. The Peppers recorded their version on a hill at 2 in the morning - if you listen closely you can hear cars go by. Their drummer Chad Smith copied John Bonham's technique that he used in the Led Zeppelin song "Moby Dick" of drumming without drumsticks. (thanks, Bert - Pueblo, NM)
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Comments (6):

Actually they found another RJ song in Buddy Holly's guitar case lining.
- Timothy, Lockport, NY
I recently purchased the complete Robert Johnson, and I was really suprised as to how many popular 60s and 70s blues songs were actually written by him. And am I the only one disappointed that this is the only song here by Mr. J?
- DavĂ­d, Woburn, MA
Very weird that the one song that Robert Johnson recorded that was not a blues piece was this hokum song, and that this is the one RJ song listed on SongFacts.
One would have expected at least ONE of his masterpieces, such as "Come On In My Kitchen," "Cross Road Blues," "Walkin' Blues," "Hell Hound On My Trail," "Preachin' Blues," or "Love In Vain."
- oldpink, New Castle, IN
Robert Johnson rocks and by the way Mark of Byrdstown, Eric Clapton Can't play like him because each guitarist is unique. Eri Clapton is still awesome though
- Chase, Miami, FL
I totally agree with mark, people dont realize in the covers of his songs who even wrote it. There isnt a person i have heard yet that has put as much emotion into his songs as him.
- wayne, petersburg, VA
On the surface it would seem a song about tamales but like many blues songs its most likely a well hidden reference to sex.Robert Johnson only recorded 29 songs but copycats all down thru the ages ,including Eric Clapton,have been trying to capture that old rough unpolished greatness that Johnson showed on this song and the others.None have even come close.
- Mark, byrdstown, TN
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