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Origins: Old Dog Blue

DigiTrad:
OLD BLUE
OLD BLUE
OLD DOG BLUE
OLD DOG TRAY


Related threads:
Why are dogs called Blue? (70)
Lyr/Chords Req: old dog songs (32)


Dan in Florida 16 Mar 99 - 09:57 AM
Felipa 16 Mar 99 - 01:36 PM
Felipa 16 Mar 99 - 02:21 PM
Margo 17 Mar 99 - 01:58 PM
Bill D 17 Mar 99 - 02:57 PM
catspaw49 17 Mar 99 - 03:16 PM
Lonesome EJ 17 Mar 99 - 05:34 PM
murray@mpce.mq.edu.au 18 Mar 99 - 05:25 AM
18 Mar 99 - 01:23 PM
tom-tom 18 Mar 99 - 01:28 PM
folk1234 18 Mar 99 - 02:57 PM
murray@mpce.mq.edu.au 18 Mar 99 - 08:57 PM
Roger in Baltimore 19 Mar 99 - 03:02 PM
Allan Samuels 20 Mar 99 - 03:03 AM
Dicho (Frank Staplin) 21 Dec 01 - 09:11 PM
Joe Offer 21 Dec 01 - 10:05 PM
Dicho (Frank Staplin) 21 Dec 01 - 10:36 PM
catspaw49 21 Dec 01 - 10:43 PM
Deckman 21 Dec 01 - 10:56 PM
Joe Offer 21 Dec 01 - 11:05 PM
catspaw49 21 Dec 01 - 11:09 PM
Bobert 21 Dec 01 - 11:12 PM
Amos 21 Dec 01 - 11:30 PM
Rick Fielding 21 Dec 01 - 11:40 PM
catspaw49 22 Dec 01 - 12:00 AM
catspaw49 22 Dec 01 - 12:10 AM
Louie Roy 22 Dec 01 - 12:16 AM
Giac 22 Dec 01 - 12:39 AM
Dicho (Frank Staplin) 22 Dec 01 - 12:55 AM
Dicho (Frank Staplin) 22 Dec 01 - 01:11 AM
Stewie 22 Dec 01 - 03:16 AM
Stewie 22 Dec 01 - 03:47 AM
Dicho (Frank Staplin) 22 Dec 01 - 11:34 AM
bob schwarer 22 Dec 01 - 01:11 PM
Dicho (Frank Staplin) 22 Dec 01 - 01:52 PM
Charley Noble 22 Dec 01 - 04:47 PM
Dicho (Frank Staplin) 22 Dec 01 - 07:51 PM
Stewie 22 Dec 01 - 08:40 PM
Charley Noble 23 Dec 01 - 02:15 PM
Dicho (Frank Staplin) 23 Dec 01 - 03:21 PM
Charley Noble 23 Dec 01 - 05:36 PM
GUEST,John Gray / Australia 23 Dec 01 - 05:54 PM
GUEST 24 Dec 01 - 06:28 AM
GUEST,paddymac 24 Dec 01 - 06:30 AM
Dicho (Frank Staplin) 24 Dec 01 - 03:06 PM
Cruiser 15 Jul 04 - 11:36 PM
Amos 15 Jul 04 - 11:40 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 16 Jul 04 - 12:23 AM
GUEST 18 Jul 04 - 04:40 PM
Stewie 18 Jul 04 - 08:02 PM
GUEST,Art Thieme 18 Jul 04 - 08:56 PM
GUEST,Alexis 28 Jul 04 - 03:25 AM
Q (Frank Staplin) 27 Dec 05 - 09:16 PM
GUEST,Joe_F 27 Dec 05 - 09:31 PM
Goose Gander 27 Dec 05 - 11:07 PM
Cruiser 22 Sep 06 - 05:05 PM
GUEST,dptymk 27 Nov 10 - 01:25 PM
GUEST,Morgana 28 Nov 10 - 10:48 AM
Cruiser 17 Jan 11 - 08:16 PM
GUEST 08 Mar 12 - 07:00 PM
Joe_F 09 Mar 12 - 06:04 PM
olddude 09 Mar 12 - 09:27 PM
Leadfingers 09 Mar 12 - 10:44 PM
GUEST,Jerry K Green 22 Jul 17 - 11:18 PM
GUEST,Rick Jackson 26 Sep 17 - 06:31 AM
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Subject: Old Dog Named Blue
From: Dan in Florida
Date: 16 Mar 99 - 09:57 AM

I am looking for an album; probably recorded in the 60's or possibly the 70's, with a song about a guy who sings of his dog named 'ol Blue'.. One of the lines is... "I had an ol' dog and his name was Blue.... Bet'cha five dollars he's a good dog too..." Other songs on the album, which were performed by a male vocalist and guitarist (name unknown) included a song referring to the 'Natchez Trace' and the 'Stars that fell on Alabam'...along with a recitation of an old Indian chief on how he views the white man. To the best of my memory, the artist performing on the album traveled mostly in the Southeast U.S. Any assistance you may offer me in finding this album is greatly appreciated. Thank you Dan


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Subject: RE: Old Dog Named Blue
From: Felipa
Date: 16 Mar 99 - 01:36 PM

According to the DT database, Joan Baez recorded the song. I think Peter, Paul and Mary did too. But that doesn't answer Dan's question, except to say that he can get the words and tune from the DT at Mudcat.


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Subject: RE: Old Dog Named Blue
From: Felipa
Date: 16 Mar 99 - 02:21 PM

Brooks Williams - "Back to Mercy" Green Linnet 2108, 1992
songs include: All That is Gold, Mason-Dixon Line, Dancer's Delight, Old Blue
but this recording is too recent to answer Dan's query, and I haven't heard the recording to say whether it's the same song - there are also songs of horses and cars called "Old Blue"


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Subject: RE: Old Dog Named Blue
From: Margo
Date: 17 Mar 99 - 01:58 PM

Believe it or not, you can find a recording of this song on a Disney CD of children's music. It is one of the CD's with traditional children's songs. The singer is Larry Groce who has a wonderfully clear voice. It wouldn't be hard to find.

Margarita


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Subject: RE: Old Dog Named Blue
From: Bill D
Date: 17 Mar 99 - 02:57 PM

I would not doubt that "Old Blue" has been recorded a hundred times!! Why must a wonderful song like that be connected with any one artist? I just added one more item to my list of "things that make it **folk** music"

"It 'tends' to be folk if the artist is less important than the song"

(yes, I am aware that sometimes you want to recapture some particular version that moved you...out of dozens you have heard...still.. ;-)..)


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Subject: RE: Old Dog Named Blue
From: catspaw49
Date: 17 Mar 99 - 03:16 PM

Thank you Bill...I believe that here we wre in total agreement!!!

catspaw


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Subject: RE: Old Dog Named Blue
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 17 Mar 99 - 05:34 PM

My favorite version is the Dillards', complete with one of the brothers talking about some old blue-tick hound layin up in your outhouse to get shelter from a snow storm so that you can't get in.They had an outhouse that was 50 feet from the main house "Which was about 50 feet too far in the winter. Course in the summer, it was about 50 feet too close."

I had a Lab puppy who grew to be a big-hearted strong-as-a-bull 140 lbs with a brain the size of a walnut.I named him Blue, after the song. He was 14 when he died, after stickin with me through thick and thin. Like the song says "when I get to Heaven, first thing I'll do... Take out my horn and call for Blue"


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Subject: RE: Old Dog Named Blue
From: murray@mpce.mq.edu.au
Date: 18 Mar 99 - 05:25 AM

There is a recording from the 20s by Jim Jackson with a resonator guitar. It is called "Old Dog Blue" and it appears in the Anthology of American Folk Music Vol II.

I will probably make a lot of enemies, but I don't like dogs, and I can sort-of smell Ol' blue whenever I hear this song. But the picking of Jackson makes up for a lot.

Murray


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Subject: RE: Old Dog Named Blue
From:
Date: 18 Mar 99 - 01:23 PM


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Subject: RE: Old Dog Named Blue
From: tom-tom
Date: 18 Mar 99 - 01:28 PM

Sorry about that last empty entry.

Jim Jackson's version of Old Dog Blue from the Anthology is really great. In that version, when Blue dies, he digs a grave with a silver spade and lowers Blue down with a golden chain. And whenever he imagines hearing Old Blue bark, he know's Blue has just "treed a possum on Noah's ark." Good stuff, I think.

Though the Byrds give me the heebie-jeebies, I know they do a version of Old Dog Blue.


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Subject: RE: Old Dog Named Blue
From: folk1234
Date: 18 Mar 99 - 02:57 PM

"Ole Blue" was done very well on a late '60s album by Ian & Silvia


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Subject: RE: Old Dog Named Blue
From: murray@mpce.mq.edu.au
Date: 18 Mar 99 - 08:57 PM

The notes that accompany the new CD version "Anthology of American Folk Music" has a list of quite a number of versions of the song. It makes interesting reading they are online. Start here and follow the relevant links. The original notes by Harry Smith imply that it is a dance tune that has been adapted. Does anyone know what the dance tune is? There is a resemblance to Leadbelly's "Poor Howard"; but that probably means he used the same dance tune.


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Subject: RE: Old Dog Named Blue
From: Roger in Baltimore
Date: 19 Mar 99 - 03:02 PM

Lonesome EJ,

Sure do love that Dillard's LIVE! album. I remember that it was snowin' so that it was "slicker than deer guts on a door knob." And Blue is sittin' there in the outhouse like it's his house and nobody else is welcome in. I have sick sense of humor.

They said, "if you've ever had this experience, you'll never sing 'Old Blue' the way Peter, Paul, and Mary do."

Roger in Baltimore


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Subject: RE: Old Dog Named Blue
From: Allan Samuels
Date: 20 Mar 99 - 03:03 AM

Great song.....done many times....I have never heard a version I didn't like. But no one has mentioned the recording by Bob Gibson and Hamilton Camp- Live at the Gate Of Horn.

Interesting that versions of folk songs are just "versions"......not "covers" as they are called in the pops field. Seems to have less stigma attached in folkmusic.

Allan


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Subject: ADD: Old Blue^^
From: Dicho (Frank Staplin)
Date: 21 Dec 01 - 09:11 PM

Lyr Add: 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 spirituals. Perrow collected a version in 1909. On old records of the 1920s and taken up by Joan Baez (see DT) and other folk singers.
White, N. I., American Negro Folk Songs, 1928 (1965), p. 207-207.
Here Posted by Annamill; a shortened version.
@animals @dogs @work @Negro
^^


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Subject: Origins; Old Blue / Old Dog Blue
From: Joe Offer
Date: 21 Dec 01 - 10:05 PM

I can't believe the Digital Tradition has only three verses for this song. I harvested this sucker in a hurry. Have there been other versions posted? Anybody have a version they'd like to post in this thread?
I realize Rick Fielding posted his own version here (click), but I couldn't bring myself to harvest it. Sorry, Rick, I know you tried.
-Joe Offer-

Here's the Traditional Ballad Index entry on this song:

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 2017 by Robert B. Waltz and David G. Engle.


And the Digital Tradition lyrics:

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


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 (taken from Dicho's post above)




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 (taken from Dicho's post below)


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Subject: RE: Old Dog Named Blue
From: Dicho (Frank Staplin)
Date: 21 Dec 01 - 10:36 PM

Joe, I will transcribe from a 1928 Jim Jackson recording of Old Dog Blue. It is everything you could want in an old Georgia recording from the time of the Skillit Lickers.


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Subject: RE: Old Dog Named Blue
From: catspaw49
Date: 21 Dec 01 - 10:43 PM

Well Joe, I can see why you didn't harvest Rick's verse as there are a number of errors in it.

First, he can't spell Rottweiler, an obvious problem, Then there's is the idea of naming a Rottweiler "Blue." Anyone with a lick of sense knows that Rottweilers are black and rust and unknown in any other color, least of all blue.

As you're aware, "Blue" refers to the classic Blue Ticked Coon Hound whose hairs are multi-colored, each tipped with blue. blue is also known on other hounds, often in it's pure variety as opposed to ticked. This can be found on Great Danes and also on Weimaraners, although the AKC will not recognize the color or a longhair coat on a Weim even though it's been around for a long time, just rare. You met a "blue" doggie right here at my place as I recall he spent a lot of time laying on your foot. Blue Longhair Weimaraner......not named Blue though!

I also feel Rick was in error praising the behavior of the dog he mentions by calling him a good dog. I back your decision not to take such a poorly written verse to the DT.

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Old Dog Named Blue
From: Deckman
Date: 21 Dec 01 - 10:56 PM

My most favorite recording was done by Guy Carawan back in the late fifties.


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Subject: RE: Old Dog Named Blue
From: Joe Offer
Date: 21 Dec 01 - 11:05 PM

Hey, Spaw, that was almost erudite. Is this (click) the variety of dog referred to in "old blue"?
-Joe-


I suppose we'd better post these lyrics by Rick Fielding, so he doesn't feel left out:
Had a rotwieler, and his name was Blue.
Betcha five dollars he could eat you too.
Chew up your carcass, spit out the bones.
He's a whole lotta muscle and dog hormones.

Yo Blue, yer a good dog you.


©Rick Fielding, 2001


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Subject: RE: Old Dog Named Blue
From: catspaw49
Date: 21 Dec 01 - 11:09 PM

That'd be it Joe!

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Old Dog Named Blue
From: Bobert
Date: 21 Dec 01 - 11:12 PM

Well, the bobert will throw his two cents in. Right around that time, the Byrds recorded the song on the "Dr Byrds and Mr Hyde" album. Though I've heard the Dillards version, I persoanlly like the Byrds better...


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Subject: RE: Old Dog Named Blue
From: Amos
Date: 21 Dec 01 - 11:30 PM

I actually believe Burl Ives also recorded Old Blue. But I have heard it from a dozen artists a lot older that the Byrds. I suspect that chain gang origin to be the earliest we're gonna find.

A


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Subject: RE: Old Dog Named Blue
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 21 Dec 01 - 11:40 PM

Who's been usng my name?!! I demand to know!

Stop HOUNDING me!

Pure DOGGEREL!

You BITCH!

By the way, "Harvesting" still sounds to me like a term used in a sperm bank!

That whole introduction that Mitch Jayne does on the Dillard's "Live" (almost) album, is hilarious. Holds up really well (as they do). He continues: "Down south, we treat dogs a little different than you folks in L.A. do. Well, first of all, we don't trim 'em up into little white balls like you do....and we definitely don't put rhinestone collars on 'em......if there was a rhinestone collar to spare, it went to GRANDMA!"

Newly discovered verse to "Old Blue"

"Had a Dog and his name was Blue,

'loved all the gals on the avenue

They'd say "THAT'S CUTE", when he'd sit and beg

and "Holy Shit" when he'd hump their leg".

yer a revoltin' dog Blue.

Down, big fella!

Cheers

Al Saeshon


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Subject: RE: Old Dog Named Blue
From: catspaw49
Date: 22 Dec 01 - 12:00 AM

Dear Al Saeshon,

I would like to meet this leg humper you mention as a hard man is good to find.

Sincerely,

Sal Lukey


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Subject: RE: Old Dog Named Blue
From: catspaw49
Date: 22 Dec 01 - 12:10 AM

Mr. Saeshon,

Pay no attention to that big nosed bitch! What Blue needs is a classy lady of high standards to put him right.

Most Cordially,

Pembroke Corgi


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Subject: RE: Old Dog Named Blue
From: Louie Roy
Date: 22 Dec 01 - 12:16 AM

I have this song on a 78 that I purchased in the 1940s Louie Roy


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Subject: RE: Old Dog Named Blue
From: Giac
Date: 22 Dec 01 - 12:39 AM

You naw-tha-nahs jest ain't cooth.

Pomi Ray Nian


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Subject: Lyr Add: OLD DOG BLUE (from Jim Jackson)^^
From: Dicho (Frank Staplin)
Date: 22 Dec 01 - 12:55 AM

Lyr Add: 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 (resins?) on. (2)
Who's been here since I been gone,
Little baby girl with the (resins?) 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, (3)
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.

Jim Jackson, with guitar. Recorded about 1928 (Must find the note). (1) Typical holler when coming to a cabin; hard to decipher. (2) Word not understood. Red things? (3) Similar words in spirituals and hymns.
@animal @dog @blues^^


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Subject: RE: Old Dog Named Blue
From: Dicho (Frank Staplin)
Date: 22 Dec 01 - 01:11 AM

Can anyone help with the missing word? I seem to recall this 2-line interjection from another song.


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Subject: RE: Old Dog Named Blue
From: Stewie
Date: 22 Dec 01 - 03:16 AM

Dicho, it is the familiar line: 'with the red dress on'. It is just that Jackson slurs 'dress' a bit. He recorded it for Vocalion in Chicago on 22 January 1928 - Vo 1146.

--Stewie.


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Subject: RE: Old Dog Named Blue
From: Stewie
Date: 22 Dec 01 - 03:47 AM

For those interested, there was a fascinating discussion of 'red dresses', 'dressing in red' etc in folksong and folklore at the BALLAD-L site some time ago. Click on the 'dressing-in-red' entries on this page:

Click Here

--Stewie.


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Subject: RE: Old Dog Named Blue
From: Dicho (Frank Staplin)
Date: 22 Dec 01 - 11:34 AM

Thanks, Stewie. I knew it was familiar, but couldn't remember. I know nothing about Jackson other than the song, which someone put on a tape for me.


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Subject: RE: Old Dog Named Blue
From: bob schwarer
Date: 22 Dec 01 - 01:11 PM

I have a version by Cisco Houston from long ago

Bob S.


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Subject: RE: Old Dog Named Blue
From: Dicho (Frank Staplin)
Date: 22 Dec 01 - 01:52 PM

Joe asked for other versions. Please add to the string. My favorite dog song.


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Subject: RE: Old Dog Named Blue
From: Charley Noble
Date: 22 Dec 01 - 04:47 PM

Don't believe anyone has mentioned Tom Rush's rendition, back in the 1960's on his At The Unicorn album. I still prefer his rewording of one of the traditional verses; at least I think it's his rewording:

I dug his grave with a RUSTY spade,
And lowered him down in the DRIVING RAIN.

Silver spades and golden chains are a little pricey for a backwoods hound.


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Subject: RE: Old Dog Named Blue
From: Dicho (Frank Staplin)
Date: 22 Dec 01 - 07:51 PM

The verse refers to the old spirituals and hymns with the image of links of chain; ""Ev'ry link bearing Jesus' name," to take a line from one of them. Images of gold and silver abound in these religious songs of the poor and the downtrodden; the images are a part of the life of blacks and whites alike in rural areas of the south. The singer is showing his love for, and mourning the loss of, his closest companion. The song reflects the beliefs of these people and loses both feeling and authenticity in the hands of a folk singer who does not understand his material, as is obviously the case with Tom Rush.


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Subject: RE: Old Dog Named Blue
From: Stewie
Date: 22 Dec 01 - 08:40 PM

I do not have access to the book, but Paul Oliver, in his ''Songsters & Saints', refers the curious to Odum and Johnson 'Negro Workaday Songs' for 'silver spade' motif, pp 129, 198.

--Stewie.


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Subject: RE: Old Dog Named Blue
From: Charley Noble
Date: 23 Dec 01 - 02:15 PM

Dicho - you're undoubtably right on the origin of the terms "silver spade" and "golden chain" which also probably explains why Peabody Coal named one of its giant earth rippers "The Silver Spade." I still think Tom Rush nailed it but sing what you feel fits.


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Subject: RE: Old Dog Named Blue
From: Dicho (Frank Staplin)
Date: 23 Dec 01 - 03:21 PM

Charley, I wrote a little bit with tongue in cheek. Please post Rush's version, the more the merrier, and the prospective user will have more material from which to get ideas.
We also need more "Rattler" songs. He varied all the way from a huntin' dog to a chase dog to catch escapees. I can't post any because of dim memories.


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Subject: RE: Old Dog Named Blue
From: Charley Noble
Date: 23 Dec 01 - 05:36 PM

Dicho - I remember hearing the country western version of "Ol' Rattler" on the radio back in the 1940's but I doubt if I can dredge up the verses: "Here, Rattler, here!" My favorite dog song is "Dead Dog Cider" with a "Rise Again" break before the last verse.;-)


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Subject: RE: Old Dog Named Blue
From: GUEST,John Gray / Australia
Date: 23 Dec 01 - 05:54 PM

Catspaw49
Not to forget our Queensland Blue Heeler. Wonderful working cattle & sheep dog.

JG / FME


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Subject: RE: Old Dog Named Blue
From: GUEST
Date: 24 Dec 01 - 06:28 AM

I suppose that some things (dogs included) might be called "blue" in reference to their perceived color, but in back country Florida, color is irrelevant. Folks lovingly refer to dogs, horses, rifles, shotguns, trucks, friends, even spouses, as "Ol' Blue." The usage usually implies a long-standing relationship with the thing or person, and a substantial sense of reliability and constancy, or perhaps just familiar predictability. I'd say the term is mostly one of respectful endearment.


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Subject: RE: Old Dog Named Blue
From: GUEST,paddymac
Date: 24 Dec 01 - 06:30 AM

Sorry, Folks, I just realized my cookie has apparently crumbled again. Got to get it fixed before I get the blues, in another use of the color reference.


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Subject: RE: Old Dog Named Blue
From: Dicho (Frank Staplin)
Date: 24 Dec 01 - 03:06 PM

Old Blue was applied to horses, even in the west. American Memory has a bio. about a man who had a horse, Old Blue, in the 1870s in New Mexico and Texas. I think you may be right, Paddymac. There are other references as well.
Giles County in the Jackson song is in Virginia (I thought it was on a Georgia tape of mine, but I "disremembered."


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Subject: RE: Old Dog Named Blue
From: Cruiser
Date: 15 Jul 04 - 11:36 PM

The best version of 'Ole Blue' I have ever heard was by Paul Ott on a late 1960's episode of The Wilburns Brothers Show.

This version is available from Paul on his website "Listen to the Eagle"

A song sample can be heard by:
Clicking on the link below, click on Paul Ott Music on the top of the page, then scroll down to the 'Ole Blue' sample.

http://www.listentotheeagle.com/

I plan on ordering the 13 track CD. ($15.00 plus $5.00 shipping) This song by Paul it not available on any other CD that I know of.

Cruiser


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Subject: RE: Old Dog Named Blue
From: Amos
Date: 15 Jul 04 - 11:40 PM

Well, it's purdy, but not the most genuine recording of Blue that I have heard. He had a fine voice, that Paul Ott, I swan.

A


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Subject: RE: Old Dog Named Blue
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 16 Jul 04 - 12:23 AM

Still prefer the old Jackson. Sniff, sniff, sob.


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Subject: RE: Old Dog Named Blue
From: GUEST
Date: 18 Jul 04 - 04:40 PM

Cisco Houston did an album with "Old Blue" on it. Unfortunately I have forgotten the title. Also on it were: Big Rock Candy Mountain, ? Hard Travelling (or possibly "I've been doing some Hard Travelling"), and a talking blues (with the inimitable line "If that there stew had been a little bit thinner, some of these here politicians could have seen through it"), among others.

If anyone knows the name of this album, do let me know.


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Subject: RE: Old Dog Named Blue
From: Stewie
Date: 18 Jul 04 - 08:02 PM

Recordings of the songs you mention - 'Old Blue', 'Big Rock Candy Mt', 'Hard Traveling' and 'Talking Dust Bowl' which has the 'stew/politicians' line - have been reissued on Cisco Houston 'Best of the Vanguard Years' Vanguard CD 79574-2. I have no idea whether they are from the LP which you are seeking, but they all came from a single LP - 'The Cisco Special' VRS 9057.

--Stewie.


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Subject: RE: Old Dog Named Blue
From: GUEST,Art Thieme
Date: 18 Jul 04 - 08:56 PM

I did "Ol' Blue" on my first LP about 1975 --- as a vehicle in which to insert my version of Richard Chase's "THE SPLIT DOG" --a very tall tale. And Guy Carawan had a fine version of it out in the 1960s.

Art Thieme


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Subject: RE: Old Dog Named Blue
From: GUEST,Alexis
Date: 28 Jul 04 - 03:25 AM

Tennessee Ernie Ford did a nice version of "Ol' Blue". I had the Lp til I wore it out. It's out of print now - but was from the late 1950s. Other songs on that record included "Pretty Little Pink" and "Barbara Allen".


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Subject: Lyr Add: COME ON, BLUE!
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 27 Dec 05 - 09:16 PM

Lyr. Add: COME ON, BLUE !

Come on, Blue! Come on, Blue!
Dere's a 'possum in Heabn fer me an' you!
So come on, Blue! Come on, Blue!

Soon old Blue died; I dug his grave
With a --- and a silver spade.
Come on, Blue! Come on, Blue!

I let him down with a golden chain,
And every link I called his name.
Come on, Blue! Come on, Blue!

Now since Blue haft gone to Heavn,
I says, "Go on, Blue! Go on Blue!
Dere's a 'possum in Heavn fer me an' you."

Collcted from Mississippi Negroes, MS. of W. P. Cassidy; 1909.
E. C. Perrow, "Songs and Rhymes from the South," Jour. American Folklore, 1911, v. 25, pp. `37-155, no. 17.


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Subject: Lyr Add: OLD BLUE (from Burl Ives)
From: GUEST,Joe_F
Date: 27 Dec 05 - 09:31 PM

As sung by Burl Ives on _More Folksongs_:

I had an old dog; his name was Blue,
And I bet you five dollars he's a good one too,
Saying, come on, Blue, mm-mm.

Blue chased a possum up a 'simmon tree,
Blue looked at the possum, possum looked at me,
Saying go on, Blue, you can have some too.

Bake that possum good and brown,
Leaving sweet potatoes round and round,
Saying come on, Blue, you can have some too.

Old Blue died, and he died so hard
That he jarred [charred?] the ground in my back yard,
Saying go on, Blue, I'm a-coming too.

I dug his grave with a silver spade,
And I let him down with a golden chain,
Saying go on, Blue, I'm a-coming too.

When I get to heaven, first thing I'll do,
I'll grab a horn and call for Blue,
Saying come on, Blue, finally got here too.
--
--- Joe Fineman joe_f@verizon.net

||: Taste is the esthetics of hypocrisy. :||


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Subject: Lyr Add: OLE BLUE (from King Family)
From: Goose Gander
Date: 27 Dec 05 - 11:07 PM

Ole Blue

from . . . .

Voices From the Dust Bowl

OLE BLUE

King Family
Arvin, 1940

I had a little dog, and his name was "Blue"
I'll tell to you what he would do
He'd leave home every night about dark
Wouldn't be gone long till you'd hear him bark
Ole Blue, you rascal you, Ole Blue

One time he ran, when he got free
He got a big possum up a white oak tree
Oh Blue, you rascal you, Ole Blue
Gonna climb up there and get him down
I'll have him cooked good and brown
Sweet potatoes laid all around and around
Ole Blue, you rascal you, Ole Blue

One day Ole Blue, he tak'n got sick
We sent for the doctor, and we sent for him quick
For Blue, you rascal you, Ole Blue
Ole Blue he died and he died so hard
He scratched little holes all over the yard
Ole Blue, you rascal you, Ole Blue.

We dug his grave in a shady place
And covered his grave with a possum face
Ole Blue, you rascal you, Ole Blue
We dug his grave with a silver spade
And let him down with a golden chain
Every link of that chain slipped through my hand
I'll call his name
Ole Blue, you rascal you, Ole Blue

When I come lay my banjo down
And go to heaven and wear a crown
You Blue, you rascal you, Ole Blue
When I get there I know what I'll do
I'll get my horn and I'll call for Blue
"Heah Blue! Yeach, Blue, you rascal you,
Ole Blue."


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Old Blue
From: Cruiser
Date: 22 Sep 06 - 05:05 PM

Dan in Florida:

I doubt you are still around since this was your only post over 7.5 years ago. However, the album you are looking for is "Listen to the Eagle" is by Paul Ott. I posted earlier regarding "Old Blue" and Paul's rendition is the one you were searching for.

Also, the reference to the 'Stars that fell on Alabam' is in the song "I'm the South" and the reference to the Indian chief is in the song "A Letter to the President" where the old chief asks on Sept 12, 1855 how one can sell and buy the air, land, and water. Paul's narration lyrics are backed by the beautiful music of 'Shenandoah'

It has been over 2 years since I replied to this thread and I still have not gotten the CD, but I definitely will. Mr. Ott has one of the purest male voices I have ever heard. Paul is from Mississippi so that also fits your search for a singer from the SE United States.

Here is the link again and all the songs have sound clips available:

Listen to the Eagle


Cruiser

_____________________________________________________________


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Subject: RE: Old Dog Named Blue
From: GUEST,dptymk
Date: 27 Nov 10 - 01:25 PM

Years ago I had an album by Roy Acuff with this song, sorry, but the name of the album escapes me


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Subject: RE: Old Dog Named Blue
From: GUEST,Morgana
Date: 28 Nov 10 - 10:48 AM

Traditional

Well, I had an old dog and his name was Blue,
Had an old dog and his name was Blue.
Had an old dog and his name was Blue...
Betcha five dollars he's a good dog too...
"Here old Blue"
"Good dog you"

Well, I shouldered my axe and I tooted my horn,
Went to find 'possum in the new-grown corn.
Old Blue treed and I went to see,
Blue had 'possum up a tall oak tree.
Mmm, boy I roast'd 'possum, nice and brown,
Sweet po-ta-toes, n' all a-round...
And to say "Here old Blue (here-boy)
You can have some too"

Now, Old Blue died and he died so hard,
Made a big dent in my back-yard.
Dug his grave with a silver spade,
Lowered him down with a link of chain.
Ev-er-y link I did call his name...
Singing "Here Blue-ue...
"Good dog you"

Now, when I get to heaven, first thing I'll do.
When I get to heaven, first thing 'awm do.
When I get to heaven first thing I'll do,
Pull out my horn and call old Blue...
I'll say, "Here Old Blue come-on dog"
"Good dog you."

I'll say, "Here Blue-e"
"I'm a coming there too"

(As sung on the LP Joan Baez Ballad Book)


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Subject: RE: Old Dog Named Blue
From: Cruiser
Date: 17 Jan 11 - 08:16 PM

Here is the complete version of Ole Blue by Paul Ott from a 45 rpm.

Ole Blue Paul Ott


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Subject: RE: Old Dog Named Blue
From: GUEST
Date: 08 Mar 12 - 07:00 PM

I'd always assumed the "Giles County" in Jim Jackson's version of the song was Giles County, Tenn., about 200 miles east of Beale Street and Memphis. But then again, I'm from Tennessee. I guess it could just as well be Virginia.


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Subject: RE: Old Dog Named Blue
From: Joe_F
Date: 09 Mar 12 - 06:04 PM

You can't beat Cruiser's post for authenticity: Ott himself, and Blue himself!


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Subject: RE: Old Dog Named Blue
From: olddude
Date: 09 Mar 12 - 09:27 PM

Art Thieme, best version for me ... played it today actually


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Subject: RE: Old Dog Named Blue
From: Leadfingers
Date: 09 Mar 12 - 10:44 PM

I had a dog and his name was Green

Weirdest Gog I've ever seen

Green he had a greenish Skin

Four webbed feet and a dorsal fin

Wish I could credit the writer , but it has to be about 1968 that I heard that !!


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Subject: RE: Old Dog Named Blue
From: GUEST,Jerry K Green
Date: 22 Jul 17 - 11:18 PM

July 22, 2017 10:00 pm Central Time.
I just googled to see what I might find about a song called Old Blue, and discovered this site and Old Blue Thread.
When I was a little boy in the 1930s in Texas, my older brothers taught me the only version of the song that I had heard of till now.
Before I was born in 1931, my family had 'followed the crops' from the Texas gulf coast into lower Oklahoma in 1926,27,28 & 29, picking cotton, etc., to survive. I was told that they learned this simple song from other field hands. In reading all the posts in this thread, I saw bits of 'our' version in different posted versions. Here is the one I sing:

Evey evening just about dark
You can hear Old Blue for he begins to bark
Here, Blue, you rascal you, here Blue

And then one day Old Blue took sick
We called the doctor come here quick
Here, Blue, you rascal you, here Blue

The doctor came and he came on a run
He said Old Blue your hunting's all done
Here, Blue, you rascal you, here Blue

Old Blue he died and he died so hard
That he dug little holes all over the yard
Here, Blue, you rascal you, here Blue

I dug his grave with a silver spade
And I let him down on a golden chain
Here, Blue, you rascal you, here Blue

Now Blue's in Heaven wearin' a golden crown
And I'm down here goin' 'round and 'round
Here, Blue, you rascal you, here Blue


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Subject: RE: Ol' Blue
From: GUEST,Rick Jackson
Date: 26 Sep 17 - 06:31 AM

I grew up in Mississippi in the 70s and this song (along w/a video of Paul Jr. running w/his hound dog) was used as a promotional clip for MS conservation...loved it...even found the video on youtube


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