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DTStudy: Old Blue

DigiTrad:
OLD BLUE
OLD BLUE
OLD DOG BLUE


Joe Offer 09 Mar 17 - 12:32 AM
Joe Offer 09 Mar 17 - 12:34 AM
Joe Offer 09 Mar 17 - 12:52 AM
Joe Offer 09 Mar 17 - 01:09 AM
Joe Offer 09 Mar 17 - 01:19 AM
GUEST,TrueNorthfolkie 14 Mar 17 - 04:51 PM
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Subject: DTStudy: Old Blue
From: Joe Offer
Date: 09 Mar 17 - 12:32 AM

This is an edited DTStudy thread, and all messages posted here are subject to editing and deletion.
This thread is intended to serve as a forum for corrections and annotations for the Digital Tradition song named in the title of this thread.

Search for other DTStudy threads


The Digital Tradition has two songs titled "Old Blue," and they're very different from each other. Here's the first one:

OLD BLUE

I had a dog and his name was Blue
I had a dog and his name was Blue
I had a dog and his name was Blue
Betcha five dollars he's a good 'un too

Here Blue, you good dog you

Shouldered my gun and i tooted my horn
Gonna find a possum in the new ground corn
Old Blue barked and I went to see
Cornered a possum up in a tree

Old Blue died and he died so hard
Shook the ground in my backyard
Dug his grave with a silver spade
Lowered him down with links of chain

Every link I did call his name
Here Blue, you good dog you
Here Blue, I'm a-coming there too

@animal
recorded by Joan Baez
filename[ OLDBLUE
TUNE FILE: OLDBLUE
CLICK TO PLAY
SOF

There's not much in the Traditional Ballad Index about these songs:

Old Blue

DESCRIPTION: "I had a dog and his name was Blue...." The singer tells how Blue aided him in 'possum hunting, then goes on to describe Blue's death and burial.
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: 1913
KEYWORDS: dog death burial hunting
FOUND IN: US(SE,So)
REFERENCES (9 citations):
Randolph 295, "Old Blue" (1 text plus a fragment, 1 tune)
BrownIII 220, "Old Blue" (1 text)
Hudson 74, pp. 201-202, "Old Blue" (1 text)
Lomax-FSUSA 7, "Old Blue" (1 text, 1 tune)
Lomax-Singing, pp. 111-112, "Old Blue" (1 text, 1 tune)
Lomax-FSNA 157, "Blue" (1 text, 1 tune)
Botkin-SoFolklr, p. 738, "Old Blue" (1 text, 1 tune)
Silber-FSWB, p. 396, "Old Blue" (1 text)
DT, OLDBLUE

Roud #4313
RECORDINGS:
Jim Jackson, "Old Dog Blue" (Victor 21387B, 1928; on AAFM2) (Vocalion 1146, 1928)
Pete Seeger, "Old Blue" (on PeteSeeger09, PeteSeegerCD02)
Art Thieme, "The Split Dog" [combines song and tall-tale] (on Thieme01)

CROSS-REFERENCES:
cf. "Deep Blue Sea (II)" (floating lyrics)
File: R295

Go to the Ballad Search form
Go to the Ballad Index Song List

Go to the Ballad Index Instructions
Go to the Ballad Index Bibliography or Discography

The Ballad Index Copyright 2016 by Robert B. Waltz and David G. Engle.



Baez singing "Old Blue": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ojDQ3DwJ7lY. This recording shows the Baez soprano voice when she was at her peak. Wow!

Dave Van Ronk: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LC6KQ8n-JlM

The Byrds: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jbuQDqnMebk

The Dillards: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RMw2Fdylb4E (very different from Baez, but still more-or-less the same version)

Here's a talented young woman named Caroline Jones. Some may not like the reverb, but I think I do: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GscJeXvGobk

Here's Caroline Jones, with harmonica and without reverb. I like this better: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ccKIeeN6CLA - she has a beautiful voice, and doesn't need reverb.

Ramblin' Jack Elliott: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h7n1m3oq7uk


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: Old Blue
From: Joe Offer
Date: 09 Mar 17 - 12:34 AM

...and the second version in the DT:

OLD BLUE

My old dog Blue
'll make a 'possum walk a log,
Make a 'possum clim' a tree,
Then set down and bark for me.
G'on! Blue, you rascal you,
Ketch another 'possum for me and you.

He'll make a 'possum walk a lim',
Then set down and laugh at him;
I'd get the 'possum and carry him home,
Blue'd get nothin' but the bones.
G'on! Blue you rascal you,
Ketch another 'possum for me and you.

My old blue dog is dead and gone,
Left this nigger here to moan;
I went to the barn one sunny day,
Blue! Blue! Blue! Blue! You rascal you,
I wish it was me instead of you.

I buried him in a beautiful shade,
Dug his grave with a silver spade;
Let him down on a golden chain;
At every link I'd call his name:
Blue! Blue! Blue! Blue! You rascal you,
I wish it was me instead of you.

Going to heaven some Sunday morn,
Going to tell you what I'll do:
Get St. Peter's golden horn,
Then go out and blow for Blue;
Blue! Blue! Blue! Blue! You rascal you,
Ketch another 'possum for me and you.

Sung by Negro construction gang, 1915-1916. Origin in minstrel songs and spiritu
als. Perrow collected a version in 1909. On old records of the 1920s and taken u
p by Joan Baez and other folk singers.
White, N. I., American Negro Folk Songs, 1928 (1965), p. 207-207.


@animal @dog @work @Negro
filename[ OLDBLUE2
FS


I can't find a YouTube recording of this version, and I can't imagine what it sounds like. Can anybody find it? I confess that the version I learned was from Peter Paul and Mary.

Oh, here's a version from Grandpa Jones that's similar: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fJFeJRBmD_A


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: Old Blue
From: Joe Offer
Date: 09 Mar 17 - 12:52 AM

And our third version from the Digital Tradition.

OLD DOG BLUE

I'm goin' back to whar I'm from,
I'm goin' back to whar I'm from,
I'm goin' back to Giles County.
My wife died and left me a bounty.
We done pretty good, jacked around,
That's the reason why I'm goin' back to Giles County.

I had an old dog whose name was Blue,
You know that Blue was mighty true.
You know that Blue was a good old dog,
Blue treed a 'possum in a hollow log.
You know from that he's a good old dog.

Blue treed a 'possum out on a limb,
Blue looked at me and I looked at him,
Rapped that 'possum and put him in a sack,
"Do fer me, Blue, 'til I get back."

"Hey, Ring! Yeah, Ring Here! (1)
Hey Ring! Hey, Ring here!"
Who's been here since I been gone,
Little baby girl with the red dress on
Who's been here since I been gone,
Little baby girl with the red dress on.

Old Blue's feet was big and round,
Old Blue's feet was big and round,
Never 'lowed a 'possum to tech the ground.
Me and Blue went out on a hunt.
Blue treed a 'possum in a hollow stump.
You know that Blue was a good old dog.
Blue treed a 'possum in a hollow log,
You know from that he's a good old dog.

Old Blue died and I dug his grave, (2)
I dug his grave with a silver spade,
I let him down with a golden chain,
With every link I called his name.

Oh Blue, you good dog you,
Ol' Blue you good dog you,
Blue laid down and died like a man,
Blue laid down and died like a man.
Now he's treein' 'possums in the promised land.

I'm goin' to tell you this jes' to let you know,
Old Blue's gone where the good dogs go.
When I hear old Blue's bark,
When I hear old Blue bark,
Blue's treed a 'possum in Noah's ark.
Blue's treed a 'possum in Noah's ark.

transcription of Jim Jackson, with guitar, recorded for Vocalion in Chicago on 2
2 January 1928 - Vo 1146.
(1) Typical holler when coming to a cabin; hard to decipher. (2) Similar words i
n spirituals and hymns, and in "Deep Blue Sea."

@animal @dog @blues
filename[ OLDBLUE3
FS

YouTube has it listed as "Old Dog Blues" by Jim Jackson (1884-1937): https://mojim.com/usy106711x38x86.htm


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Subject: ADD Version: Old Blue (sung by Willie Nelson)
From: Joe Offer
Date: 09 Mar 17 - 01:09 AM

It's great fun to listen through all the different versions of this song. Here's Willie Nelson's version, which is vastly different from the others. Is it his composition, or is it traditional? Here's a source that attributes it to John Cale: https://mojim.com/usy106711x38x86.htm
Chorus is: Yeah, Blue; Yeah, Blue, Yeah, Blue.


OL' BLUE (as sung by Willie Nelson) Lyricist:John Cale

I had a dog and his name was Blue
I'll tell you what ol' Blue would do
Yeah, Blue, yeah, Blue, yeah, Blue

He'd go out every night about dark
And it wouldn't be long till you'd hear him bark
Yeah, Blue, yeah, Blue, yeah, Blue

And I'd go out to see what he had
It'd be a great big possum up a black jack tree
Yeah, Blue, yeah, Blue, yeah, Blue

I'd get a stick and I'd knock him down
I'm gonna bake that possum good and brown
Yeah, Blue, yeah, Blue, yeah, Blue


Ol' Blue, he died and he died so hard
That he graveled little holes all over the yard
Yeah, Blue, yeah, Blue, yeah, Blue

I dug his grave with a silver spade
And I lowered him down with a golden chain
Yeah, Blue, yeah, Blue, yeah, Blue

And when I get to heaven, I'll tell you what I'll do
I'm gonna get my horn and call ol' Blue
Yeah, Blue, yeah, Blue, yeah, Blue

Yeah, Blue, yeah, Blue, yeah, Blue
Yeah, Blue, yeah, Blue, yeah, Blue



source: ※ Mojim.com


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Subject: ADD Version: Old Blue (Ian & Sylvia)
From: Joe Offer
Date: 09 Mar 17 - 01:19 AM

OLD BLUE (Ian & Sylvia version)

I had an old dog and his name was Blue
Bettin' your life he's a rounder too
Blue
Oh Blue

Every night just about good dark,
Old Blue went out and began to bark
Blue
Oh Blue

Everything was just in a rush,
Old Blue tree'd a possum up the white oak bush
Blue
Oh Blue

He chased him out on the end of a limb.
And Old Blue sat down and he talked to him.
Blue
Oh Blue

Blue got sick, sick and very sick.
We called for the doctor to come right quick
Blue
Oh Blue

Doctor come, and he come in a run.
He says, "Old Blue, your huntin's done."
Blue
Oh Blue

Old Blue died and he died mighty hard.
He dug little holes all around the yard
Blue
Oh Blue

When I get to heaven, I know what I'll do
I'll take my horn, and I'll blow for Blue
Blue
Oh Blue

Blue
Oh Blue

source: http://lyricstranslate.com/en/Ian-Sylvia-Old-Blue-lyrics.html (corrected)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z7JCD3FAW7o


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: Old Blue Good Dog You
From: GUEST,TrueNorthfolkie
Date: 14 Mar 17 - 04:51 PM

I heard the Modern Folk Quartet sing "Old Blue" in Winnipeg, Manitoba in September of 1965 at the Civic Auditorium. Unforgettable, even after all these years. MFQ only recorded two albums and that song wasn't one of them. The Brothers Four and Ian & Sylvia were on the same bill so it was one fantastic evening. I would love to know if anyone can point me in the right direction to get the words, chords and sheet music of the song (and strum style) as performed by MFQ. If not, if I could get the chords of the song, the key and the strum style as performed by Ian and Sylvia that would be fine too. If there is anyone who can tell me how to contact any of the MFQ members, that would be fantastic.

Any help will be very much appreciated.


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