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Origins: I Washed My Hands in Muddy Water

DigiTrad:
I WASHED MY HANDS IN MUDDY WATER


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Chords Req: I Washed My Hands in Muddy Water (5)


wilco 07 Jan 03 - 04:45 PM
Barry Finn 07 Jan 03 - 08:00 PM
mack/misophist 07 Jan 03 - 10:26 PM
GUEST,Q 07 Jan 03 - 10:46 PM
GUEST,Q 07 Jan 03 - 11:00 PM
wilco 08 Jan 03 - 10:59 AM
The Shambles 12 Dec 03 - 08:39 PM
GUEST,Tunesmith 13 Dec 03 - 01:34 PM
GUEST,kirishian 08 May 07 - 01:48 PM
Goose Gander 08 May 07 - 02:54 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 08 May 07 - 04:53 PM
GUEST,NIZER 04 Jun 07 - 12:18 PM
GUEST,Todd 25 Jul 07 - 03:24 PM
oldhippie 25 Jul 07 - 03:47 PM
GUEST,Todd 25 Jul 07 - 04:38 PM
GUEST,Lanfranc the Cookieless 26 Jul 07 - 08:25 AM
GUEST,David Neale 22 Jun 08 - 01:12 PM
GUEST,Uncle.brisel 27 Jun 08 - 12:39 AM
Barry Finn 27 Jun 08 - 12:48 AM
GUEST,uncle.brisel 27 Jun 08 - 12:56 AM
GUEST,David Neale 27 Jun 08 - 05:57 PM
GUEST,David Neale 17 Sep 10 - 09:13 AM
Q (Frank Staplin) 17 Sep 10 - 01:38 PM
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Subject: Origins: Wash My Hands in Muddy Water
From: wilco
Date: 07 Jan 03 - 04:45 PM

(D) I washed my hands in muddy(A) water.
(A7) I washed my hands, but they didn't come (D) clean.
Tries to do just like my daddy (G) told me,
but I musta (d) washed in a (A7) muddy (D) stream.

I was born in macon georgia,
kept my daddy out of the macon jail.
he said son, if ya keep your hands clean,
you won't hear no bloodhounds on your trail.

and three more verses......

I've found many versions of this song, and it is always cited as traditional, but I can't find where it was done prior to about 1962.
So, my guess is that it's really not hat old. Anyone know?


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Subject: Lyr Add: I WASHED MY HANDS IN MUDDY WATER (Babcock
From: Barry Finn
Date: 07 Jan 03 - 08:00 PM

Hi wilco48.


I WASHED MY HANDS IN MUDDY WATER
(words & music by Joe Babcock)

I was born in Macon Georgia
They kept my daddy over in Macon jail
He told me if you keep your hands clean
You won't hear them bloodhounds on your trail

Well I fell in with bad companions
Robbed a man, oh up in Tennessee
They caught me way up in Nashville
They locked me up and threw away the key

I washed my hands in muddy water
Washed my hands, but they didn't come clean
Tried to do what my daddy told me
But I must have washed my hands in a muddy stream

Well I asked the judge now when's my time up
He said son, oh you know we won't forget
If you try just to keep your hands clean
We might just make a good man of you yet

Oh I couldn't wait to get my time up
I broke out, broke out of Nashville jail
I just crossed the state-line of Georgia
Well I can hear those bloodhounds on my trail

I washed my hands in muddy water
Washed my hands, but they didn't come clean
Tried to do what my daddy told me
But I must have washed my hands in a muddy stream


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Subject: RE: Origins: Wash My Hands in Muddy Water
From: mack/misophist
Date: 07 Jan 03 - 10:26 PM

They let me out of high school in '63. That song was on the radio at least 3 or 4 years before that. Sorry I can't say for certain.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Wash My Hands in Muddy Water
From: GUEST,Q
Date: 07 Jan 03 - 10:46 PM

Recorded by Ernest Tubb in 1965. By Jack Greene? Also recorded by Marty Robbins. By Marty Robbins?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Wash My Hands in Muddy Water
From: GUEST,Q
Date: 07 Jan 03 - 11:00 PM

Barry Finn is correct; it is Joe Babcock. Also recorded by Stonewall Jackson in 1965. Chords have been posted in Cowpie. Max Hunter has it in audio, sung by Ollie Gilbert, who also sings Washed my face in the Morning Dew.
Even found a website that calls it traditional.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Wash My Hands in Muddy Water
From: wilco
Date: 08 Jan 03 - 10:59 AM

Thanks. I've found several versions, all cited above, and I copied the Max Hunter - Ollie Gilbert version. I asked a bunch of old-folkies last night, and they cited the definitive country version as Stonewall Jackson's. They guessed that it was a much oldre song. Still looking.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Wash My Hands in Muddy Water
From: The Shambles
Date: 12 Dec 03 - 08:39 PM

I think that the Spencer Davis Group (with Stevie Winwood) recorded a UK version in or around 1965. Not sure who they attributed it to.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Wash My Hands in Muddy Water
From: GUEST,Tunesmith
Date: 13 Dec 03 - 01:34 PM

The great Charlie Rich did a fabulous version of this song.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Wash My Hands in Muddy Water
From: GUEST,kirishian
Date: 08 May 07 - 01:48 PM

There definitely is a traditional origin for this song. With some very minor melodic changes, you have an old spiritual first published in the early nineteenth century called variously "Lonesome Valley," or "That Lonesome Valley." Search hard enough and you'll find that most folk, country, blues, and, by redaction, even pop and classical music, has some original folk tradition behind it. Clever writers and publishers are aware, of course, that copyright law does not cover what is called public domain material, and often delve into the past to find inspiration, even wealth and fame, by taking some old song, and copyrighting their own version. For example, Huddie Ledbetter, a.k.a. "Leadbelly," after his release from prison, had a wealth of material he'd learned working the chain gangs, and many of the songs that bare his name as the song writer are actually public domain in origin. The classic example is "Midnight Special." When Creedence Clearwater Revival recorded this song, they credited Leadbelly as the original writer, which they were required to do under law because they recorded his version. There are many more verses of this song that Leadbelly's handlers did not copyright, and John Fogerty and company could have saved themselves a few bucks copyrighting a different version, had they even been aware of this possibility. The number of old folk melodies that Bob Dylan wrote new lyrics to is, of course, legion, and legendary. 'Nuff said. If you need a good source for origins, look up the works of Alan Lomax and son, in the music section of a good library, and check out Woody Guthrie, too, who covered most of the bases in the field of traditional American music.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Wash My Hands in Muddy Water
From: Goose Gander
Date: 08 May 07 - 02:54 PM

Wash My Hands in Muddy Water as sung by Ollie Gilbert, Mountain View, Arkansas on June 25, 1969, from the Max Hunter collection.

Washed my hands in muddy water
Well, I washed my hands but they didn't come clean
I tried to do like Daddy told me
But I must'a washed my hands in a muddy stream

I was borned in Macon, Georgie
Kept my Daddy in th Macon jail
He said, Son, if ya keep your hands clean
You won't hear no bloodhounds on your trail

So I washed my hands in muddy water
Well, I washed my hands but they didn't come clean
I tried to do like Daddy told me
But I must'a washed my hands in a muddy stream

I fell in bad companions
Killed a man in Tennessee
Th sherrif he caught me, way down in Nashville
Locked me up an' threw away th key

So I washed my hands in muddy water
Well, I washed my hands but they didn't come clean
I tried to do like Daddy told me
But I must'a washed my hands in a muddy stream


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Subject: RE: Origins: Wash My Hands in Muddy Water
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 08 May 07 - 04:53 PM

There are several "Lonesome Valley" songs-
I presume that Guest kirishian means the "You gotta walk (... cross)..." song in the DT, sung by the Jenkins Family in 1925, The Carters and many others.
In no way do the lyrics correspond to Babcock's, although there is some similarity to the tune, and the gospel song differs from the old song in Ditson and in Allen.

"Down in de Lonesome Valley," shout song of the Freedmen of Port Royal, pub 1864 by Ditson and 1867 by Allen et al. (shortened version), thread 68814, is a different song.
Down in de Lonesome Valley

"Way Down in de Lonesome Valley," thread 76736, also is different.

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Subject: RE: Origins: Wash My Hands in Muddy Water
From: GUEST,NIZER
Date: 04 Jun 07 - 12:18 PM

Wash My Hands in Muddy Water - great tune. I play it all the time at gigs. It's a song that works both as acoustic and electric. I can't shed any light on its provenance, but it shows virtually no resemblance to Lonesome Valley (You've got to walk that lonesome valley, you got to walk it by yourself...)

Aside from completely different theme and lyrics, it is also totally different musically. LV's structure is simply IV-I-V-I repeated. WMHIMW is I-V-I-I7-IV-I-V-I.

Wash My Hands in Muddy Water may well have a traditional origin, but Lonesome Valley isn't it.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Wash My Hands in Muddy Water
From: GUEST,Todd
Date: 25 Jul 07 - 03:24 PM

I am looking for the name and artist that sang a song that I thought was called Muddy Water, or maybe Muddy River. I thought this may have been the song but the version I'm thinking of is about a guy and his girlfriend and she dies (I think) in the muddy water (river). Anyone know what song I'm thinking of? Its quite old.
Thanks


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Subject: RE: Origins: Wash My Hands in Muddy Water
From: oldhippie
Date: 25 Jul 07 - 03:47 PM

Moody River - Pat Boone


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Subject: RE: Origins: Wash My Hands in Muddy Water
From: GUEST,Todd
Date: 25 Jul 07 - 04:38 PM

Thats it. Thank you so much.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Wash My Hands in Muddy Water
From: GUEST,Lanfranc the Cookieless
Date: 26 Jul 07 - 08:25 AM

Best version I remember was by Jim McCann!

Someone, somewhere probably thinks it's Irish

Alan


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Subject: RE: Origins: Wash My Hands in Muddy Water
From: GUEST,David Neale
Date: 22 Jun 08 - 01:12 PM

Bur did the writer Joe Babcock actually record "i Washed My Hands In Muddy Water"?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Wash My Hands in Muddy Water
From: GUEST,Uncle.brisel
Date: 27 Jun 08 - 12:39 AM

I learned it from Johnny Rivers "Best of" I bought as a teen in the '60s to get "Secret Agent Man". I think it was all live cuts - he's a great live act. Arrangements are spare - drums, bass, and Johnny's hollow-body electric - They translated well for a kid learning to play the guitar. I do it now in a bluegrass style at Jams - works very well - enough verses for everyone to get in a break and no hard chord changes.


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Subject: Lyr Add: MOODY RIVER (Gary D. Bruce)
From: Barry Finn
Date: 27 Jun 08 - 12:48 AM

Moddy River (Written by: Gary D. Bruce 1957)
            (Performed by: Pat Boone 1957)


Moody River more deadly than the vainest knife.
Moody River your muddy water took my baby's life.

Last Saturday evening,
Came to the old oak tree,
That stands beside the river,
Where you were to meet me.
On the ground your glove I found,
With a note addressed to me.
It read, "Dear Love, I've done you wrong,
Now I must set you free.
No longer can I live,
With this hurt and this sin.
I just couldn't tell you,
That guy was just a friend."

Moody River more deadly than the vainest knife.
Moody River your muddy water took my baby's life.

I looked into the muddy waters,
And what could I see?
I saw a lonely, lonely face,
Just looking back at me.
Tears in his eyes,
And a prayer on his lips.
And the glove of his lost love,
At his fingertips.

Moody River more deadly than the vainest knife.
Moody River your muddy water took my baby's life.

Barry


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Subject: RE: Origins: Wash My Hands in Muddy Water
From: GUEST,uncle.brisel
Date: 27 Jun 08 - 12:56 AM

Did Joe Babcock ever record ...Muddy Water? Yes, but long after it charted for others...

1981-Independent Artists Record Co. Joe Babcock-"Montage" 1. Your Love Means Everything To Me 2. Ballad of Lee Ann. 3. I Washed My Hands in Muddy Water. 4. My Kinda Gal. 5. This Rolling Stone is Rolling Home. 6. My Love For You. 7. Ballad of The Broken Arrow. 8. I Want To Love You. 9. How Can You Sing So Good (and Live So Bad) 10. God Does Not Change.

All you old Hee-Haw fans saw Joe as a member of the Gospel and Cowboy quartets.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Wash My Hands in Muddy Water
From: GUEST,David Neale
Date: 27 Jun 08 - 05:57 PM

Thank you, GUEST,uncle.brisel.

Do you know who made the first commercial recording?


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Subject: RE: Origins: I Washed My Hands in Muddy Water
From: GUEST,David Neale
Date: 17 Sep 10 - 09:13 AM

Still trying to find the artist responsible for the original commercial recording of "I Washed My Hands In Muddy Water," here's an email received from Joe Babcock himself:

"I don't know exactly when Okie Jones and I cut our demo on "Muddy Water" but it would have been 1965. However you know that this was not a commercial recording, just a little demo that we cut in Marty's studio to give to Vic McAlpine to plug the song. He took it over to one of the record companies but later found out Stonewall was cutting that week so went back, got it and took it over to Columbia. They wanted it and Stonewall cut it right away. Stonewall told me lately that he ends every show with it now. Joe"

So it looks as if Stonewall Jackson was the culprit.


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Subject: RE: Origins: I Washed My Hands in Muddy Water
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 17 Sep 10 - 01:38 PM

Lyrics at cowboylyrics .com have the heading:
"I Washed My Hands in Muddy Water"
Recorded by Stonewall Jackson 1965
Recorded by Johnny Rivers 1966
Lyrics and music by Joseph T. Babcock.

Chords given.
http://www.cowboylyrics.com/abs/jackson-stonewall/washed-my-hands-in-muddy-5251.html

Elvis Pressley- one of his covers credits Joe Babcock. Hear Pressley on youtube. A hard-driving version.
Pressley site-
http://wn.com/Elvis_Pressley__Wash_My_Hands_In_Muddy_Water


The Toronto-based band Scotty Campbell and his Wardenaires credit Joseph T. Babcock.
All country tabs also credits Babcock.


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