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In the folk tradition, there are many traditional blues verses that have been sung over and over by many artists. Blues singers, who include many country and folk artists as well as those commonly identified with blues singers, use these traditional lyrics to fill out their blues performances. Artists like Jimmie Rodgers, the "blue yodeler", and Big Joe Turner, "the Boss of the Blues" compiled virtual encyclopedias of lyrics. Turner reputedly could sing the blues for hours without repeating himself.
Traditional blues verses in folk-music tradition have also been called floating lyrics or maverick stanzas. Floating lyrics have been described as "lines that have circulated so long in folk communities that tradition-steeped singers call them instantly to mind and rearrange them constantly, and often unconsciously, to suit their personal and community aesthetics".
Although many blues songs, such as "Jelly Jelly" or "St. Louis Blues" are composed in the usual fashion with lyrics focusing on a single theme and telling a story, many others, like "Roll 'Em Pete" or "T for Texas" combine one or two new verses with a flock of traditional ones.
Traditional blues verses are most common in twelve bar blues with the characteristic repeated first line (indicated here by x2).
Some lyrics crop up in song after song, such as:
From "Yo-Yo Blues No. 2" by Barbecue Bob