Grinnin' in Your Face
By: Son House
Original Performance: Son House
Written by: Son House

Alternate Titles:

a.k.a. Don't You Mind People Grinnin' in Your Face
a.k.a. Fuck-Up Session #1

Live Versions:
  1. Grinnin' in Your Face
  2.  
 
Lyrics:
Grinnin' in Your Face [Live version (a)]:

[From Radio 1 London session]

Don't you mind people grinnin' in your face?
Don't you mind people grinnin' in your face?
Just you bear this mind, a true friend is. . .

Don't you mind people grinnin' in your face? Hard to find!
Don't you mind people grinnin' in your face?
You Mama don't even talk about you and your Dad ??? too
Don't matter how you try ??, your Mama don't even talk about you

Don't you mind people grinnin' in your face?
Don't you mind people grinnin' in your face?
Don't you mind people grinnin' in your face?
 
The Song:

"Grinnin' In Your Face" is a classic blues song by Son House. House was a slide guitar player and blues singer. He was a huge influence on Muddy Waters and Robert Johnson, who are, in turn, huge influences on everyone else! House was a pioneer of the Delta blues, Beck's favorite style. The recordings House made are raw, scratchy, but above all emotional and intense (often called 'demonic'!).

Beck recorded the song during the One Foot in the Grave sessions, but it was left off and has not been released.  He has though played it live a number of times, in a number of different arrangements—Beck has played it on piano, as a folk song on acoustic guitar and harmonica, and has even sung these words during his "One Foot in the Grave" harmonica jam a few times. The best and most interesting is from Radio 1 in London, where Beck turned it into a crazy studio jam. It's commonly referred to as "Fuck Up Session #1" on the Quodlibet bootleg, if that title tells you anything about what it's like. It's wild, with harmonica, piano, electric guitar. Beck shouts the lyrics. It's pretty great.
 
Live:

Played live 9 times:
Earliest known live version: November 28, 1994
Latest known live version: May 25, 2006

On November 28 1994, Beck sings the lyrics to "Grinnin' In Your Face" during his harmonica showcase (usually "One Foot in the Grave," of course). Actually, this is probably my favorite harmonica performance of Beck's early years. The different lyrics also help make it stand out, but he's on fire also. He did this "Grinnin' / One Foot" arrangement again a few days later on December 1.

The version played on January 6 1995, during an appearance on KCRW, is interesting. You don't often get to hear Beck just sitting playing the piano and singing (pre-2002 anyway), but that is what he does here. He sort of laughs at his indulgence—"I was kinda gonna do that piano thing." Of course, you don't really get to hear it all, because they ran out of time on the radio show. Before starting, Beck graciously says that they can fade him out if they have to. The first verse went off ok, but then the DJ starts talking, as Beck sings on in the background.

A few years later, in the beginning of 1997, Beck took to playing "Grinnin' In Your Face" occasionally. These times, instead of taking "One Foots" lyrics, it was done as a folk tune in acoustic sets. The first was at a radio show on January 20, where Beck played it bluesy with his acoustic slide guitar. The February 14 version is the most complete version, with excellent acoustic guitar, lots of harmonica and a few more verses:
Don't you mind people grinnin' in your face?
Don't you mind people grinnin' in your face?
Just bear this in mind, a true friend is hard to find
Don't you mind people grinnin' in your face?

You know they'll talk about you, their brothers and their sisters too
Don't matter how you're trying to live, gonna talk about you still
Just bear this in mind, a true friend is hard to find
Don't you mind people grinnin' in your face?

Well they'll jump you up and down and they'll carry you round and round
And as soon as your back is turns, they'll try to curse you underground
Just bear this in mind, a true friend is hard to find
Ah don't you mind people grinnin' in your face?