Bertha Idaho “Down On Pennsylvania Avenue”


“Bertha Idaho only recorded four songs in her professional career that started in 1919 as a traveling act singing and dancing along side her husband, John. Unfortunately she did not get into the recording studio until 1929 catching the tail end of the female blues popularity. This track “Down On Pennsylvania Avenue” features Clarence Williams on piano (though it was rumored that she accompanied herself) and is a great description of Baltimore’s seedy side.” —

A great old Baltimore tune care of Erin Demetria Cassavaugh’s Down to the Crossroads.

Down On Pennsylvania Avenue

I want to tell you about a street I know,
In the city of Baltimore,
And every night about half past eight,
The broads that strollin’ just won’t wait,
You’ll find ’em every night on Pennsylvania Avenue.

Let’s take a trip down to that cabaret,
Where they turn night into day,
Some freakish sights you’ll surely see,
You can’t tell the he’s from the she’s,
You’ll find ’em every night on Pennsylvania Avenue.

Now if you want good lovin’, and want it cheap,
Just drop around about the middle of the week,
When the broads is broke and can’t pay rent,
Get good lovin’ boys for fifteen cents,
You can get it every night on Pennsylvania Avenue.


Down to the Crossroads: A monthly segment on the 9sense podcast. Down to the Crossroads, where Faustian bargains are made, spirits are consumed, blues are discussed, and the Devil gets his due.

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