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Origins: Cocaine Blues

19 Dec 02 - 01:39 PM (#850524)
Subject: Origins: Cocaine blues
From: GUEST,JTT

I think I may have asked this before, and even been answered, but I'm still looking for the song.

There's a song called Cocaine Blues, that starts something like:

Early one morning I was doing my rounds

I took a shot of cocaine and I shot my woman down

There's a version by Johnny Cash, but it's an older version - from the 1940s, I think - that I'm after, a cheery little thing with German-style accordion breaks.

I had it on one of those compilations of Americana, but can't find it any more.


19 Dec 02 - 01:55 PM (#850546)
Subject: RE: Origins: Cocaine blues
From: Homeless

I've found a version of this, very similar to Johnny Cash, done by George Thorogood. Also, Garcia, Grisman, and Rice do a version where the melody is totally different and the words changed a lot, but the premise is the same. It has a different title, tho I don't recall that off hand. I've also heard Pete Seeger doing a song called "Cocaine Blues" that is similar to Johnny Cash's. I *think* it's just banjo in it, tho I may be wrong. I can check when I get home tonight.

Are you looking for info about your 1940's version, the dots, or a recording?


19 Dec 02 - 02:09 PM (#850569)
Subject: RE: Origins: Cocaine blues
From: Steve Benbows protege

Check out the Memphis jug band they recorded a version of it in 1930. I have it on a C.D released by J.S.P. records. They call it " Cocaine Habit Blues." Happy hunting it is well worth the effort!!


19 Dec 02 - 02:42 PM (#850599)
Subject: RE: Origins: Cocaine blues
From: weerover

There are several variants of this song - I have 3 versions, on recordings by Dylan, Jackson Browne and Sandy & Jeannie Darlington


19 Dec 02 - 02:54 PM (#850608)
Subject: RE: Origins: Cocaine blues
From: Rustic Rebel

Cocaine Blues
(Luke Jordan)
The following note on Luke Jordan is from a review of the Global Village CD - VIRGINIA TRADITIONS: Western Piedmont Blues. "Any fan of the pre-war blues will be familiar with Luke Jordan and his constant pursuit of cocaine. His two tracks were cut in 1929 and are followed by a hiatus that lasts until James Lowry cut his three offerings at a radio station in 1953.

(Dylan performs the Reverend Gary Davis' arrangement of this song)

Here is the original Jordan version:

Every time me and my baby go uptown,
Police come and they knock me down.
Cocaine run all 'round my brain.

Yeah, baby, come here quick,
This old cocaine 'bout to make me sick.
Cocaine run all 'round my brain.

Yonder come my baby, dressed in red,
She's got a shotgun, says she's gonna kill me dead.
Cocaine run all 'round my brain.

Early one mornin', half past four,
Cocaine knockin' at my door.
Cocaine run all 'round my brain.

You take Mary, I'll take Sue,
Ain't no difference 'twixt the two.
Cocaine run all 'round my brain.

Yeah, baby, come here quick,
This old cocaine 'bout to make me sick.
Cocaine run all 'round my brain.

Started down Beall Street and I'm turnin' up Main,
Lookin' for a gal that sells cocaine.
Cocaine run all 'round my brain.

Well, I reached into my pocket, grabbed my poke,
Note in my pocket said, ""No more coke.""
Cocaine run all 'round my brain.

Cocaine's for horses, not for men,
They tell me it'll kill me, but they won't say when.
Cocaine run all 'round my brain.

Yeah, baby, come here quick,
This old cocaine 'bout to make me sick.
Cocaine run all 'round my brain.

I found this at...bobsboots
Peace, Rustic


19 Dec 02 - 09:24 PM (#850851)
Subject: RE: Origins: Cocaine blues
From: Richie

This is a version of Little Sadie. There is a comprehensive thread on it in the DT from early December 2002.

I can't get the search to pull it up now. Maybe Joe offer can provide a link.

Richie


19 Dec 02 - 09:27 PM (#850853)
Subject: RE: Origins: Cocaine blues
From: Richie

The last version posted by Rustic Rebel is the related but different song, Cocaine Blues. The first post by Guest JTT is a version of Little Sadie.

-Richie


19 Dec 02 - 10:06 PM (#850873)
Subject: RE: Origins: Cocaine blues
From: Nathan in Texas

Harvey Reid (http://www.woodpecker.com)does a hilarious version on his live "In Person" cd which traces the song from its origins with the first humans through the various cultures and historical movements of mankind.


19 Dec 02 - 10:51 PM (#850897)
Subject: RE: Origins: Cocaine blues
From: toadfrog

This is Little Sadie This is what the Traditional Ballad Index says:
Bad Lee Brown (Little Sadie) [Laws I8]

DESCRIPTION: The singer goes out one night to "make his rounds." He meets his (girlfriend/wife), Little Sadie, and shoots her. He flees, but is overtaken and sentenced to (a long prison term/life)
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: 1922
KEYWORDS: murder prison
FOUND IN: US(Ap,So,SE)
REFERENCES (5 citations):
Laws I8, "Bad Lee Brown"
Randolph 155, "Bad Lee Brown" (2 texts, 1 tune)
MWheeler, pp. 109-111, "Late One Night" (1 text, 1 tune)
Lomax-ABFS, pp. 89-91, "Bad Man Ballad" (1 text, 1 tune)
DT 659, LILSADIE*
RECORDINGS:
Clarence Ashley, "Little Sadie" (Columbia 15522-D, 1930; on RoughWays1)
Wade Ward, "Little Sadie" [instrumental] (on Holcomb-Ward1)
ALTERNATE TITLES:
Bad Man's Blunder
File: LI08

So neither Johnny Cash nor Bob Dylan invented it. Though there are people out there on the web who claim it for those folks.


19 Dec 02 - 11:11 PM (#850908)
Subject: RE: Origins: Cocaine blues
From: Richie

Thanks Toadfrog for the link to "Little Sadie." The recent thread was "Bad Lee Brown" that I started to find eraly versions of "Little Sadie"

"Cocaine Blues" is the title of several "Little Sadie" versions. However, the "cocaine, run all 'round my brain" is a different song which is also sometimes entitled "Cocaine Blues."

-Richie


21 Dec 02 - 11:32 AM (#851681)
Subject: RE: Origins: Cocaine blues
From: GUEST,JTT

I'm looking for the particular version of the song that has the cheery accordion breaks. It's the "doing my rounds" one, *not* the "all around my brain" song that I'm after.

I think the version I'm looking for was recorded in the 1940s, maybe 1930s; and I think the tape on which I had the recording also included the original version of Life Gets Teedjus, Don't It, which may place it according to time.

And yes, it's a recording I'm looking for. I'd actually pay hard cash for it - will euros do?


21 Dec 02 - 11:38 AM (#851689)
Subject: RE: Origins: Cocaine blues
From: GUEST,Frank Hamilton

You might check out the song "Duncan and Brady". Could be a variant.


21 Dec 02 - 02:39 PM (#851782)
Subject: RE: Origins: Cocaine blues
From: GUEST,JTT

This was definitely called Cocaine... something.


22 Dec 02 - 09:42 AM (#852150)
Subject: RE: Origins: Cocaine blues
From: GUEST,King Street Smith

JTT - the version you are looking for is by Merle Travis and you can listen to it on "The Record Lady's All Time Country Favourites" site. You will have to search for the site on Google. Right above it in the Titles index is "Cocaine Blues" by Johnny Cash. Oh yeah, the melody and some of the words are the same as "Bad Lee Brown." I've a version of BLB by Woody G and Cisco Houston on vinyl somewhere but they don't include any reference to cocaine.


23 Dec 02 - 01:51 PM (#852660)
Subject: RE: Origins: Cocaine blues
From: GUEST,JTT

Many, many thanks, King Street Smith


24 Dec 02 - 05:32 AM (#853027)
Subject: RE: Origins: Cocaine blues
From: GUEST,JTT

Haven't found the Record Lady yet; I searched through every Merle Travis album on Amazon and nary a sign of the track, though.


24 Dec 02 - 05:37 AM (#853032)
Subject: RE: Origins: Cocaine blues
From: GUEST,JTT

Mm. Found the Record Lady (you have to spell it "favorites" to find it) but she doesn't seem to have that track, as far as I could see.


27 Dec 02 - 12:33 PM (#854111)
Subject: RE: Origins: Cocaine blues
From: GUEST,JTT

My friend who originally owned the tape this was on says no, definitely not Merle Travis (though she may be wrong), and the tape was a Capitol collection that spanned several decades over several tapes.


28 Dec 02 - 10:19 AM (#854510)
Subject: RE: Origins: Cocaine blues
From: Janice in NJ

The USA's Harrison Act of 1914 defied both pharmacology and common sense, and it classified cocaine as a narcotic along with morphine and other opiates, which are true narcotics. As a result, access to what was once an over-the-counter drug became highly restricted. I believe most of the cocaine songs date back to the era right after the passage of the Harrison Act.

Until synthetic substitutes were developed, cocaine was still legally available to licensed professionals, such as doctors who used it to prepare a patient for an ENT exam or dentists who used it as a local anesthetic. Some of that cocaine got diverted to the illegal trade, but it was nothing like the drug cartels we have today.


29 Dec 02 - 12:38 AM (#854844)
Subject: RE: Origins: Cocaine blues
From: GUEST,Norval


29 Dec 02 - 01:22 AM (#854848)
Subject: RE: Origins: Cocaine blues
From: GUEST,Norval

Oops! Hit enter by mistake above.

Cocaine Blues sung by Roy Hogsed appears on Capitol Country Music Classics CDP 7 96841 2. This CD also contains Life Gits Tee-jus Don't It, as mentioned above.
Liner notes state that Cocaine Blues debut date was August 21, 1948
and the highest country position on the charts was #15.
Music/lyrics attributed to T.'Red'Arnell.

This CD has lots of good tunes from the 1940's.

Merle Travis - Divorce Me C.O.D.
Cliffie Stone - Silver Stars, Purple Sage, Eyes of Blue
Tex Willaims - Smoke! Smoke ! Smoke! That Cigarette
Tex Ritter - Rye Whiskey
Red Ingle - Cigareets, Whisky And Wild Wild Women
Eddie Kirk - Candy Kisses
Merle Travis - So Round, So Firm, So Fully Packed

Plus 19 more songs.
A treasure I found in a Pawn Shop.

NTS


29 Dec 02 - 02:16 AM (#854858)
Subject: RE: Origins: Cocaine blues
From: Stewie

I had forgotten completely that I had this until Norval mentioned Hogsed. It can be found as the title track of Roy Hogsed 'Cocaine Blues' Bear Family BCD-16191. Despite the debut date mentioned above by Norval, the discography in the Bear Family CD indicates a 20 May 1947 recording date in Hollywood. The notes comment also that it was
'a cover of the quick rising "Cocaine Blues" written by Red Arnall and sung by him with Slumber Nichols' group on S & G Records'. If you want the lyrics, it shouldn't be too hard to transcribe - give a shout.

--Stewie.


16 Feb 04 - 01:17 AM (#1116738)
Subject: RE: Origins: Cocaine blues
From: GUEST,Albert Calleros

The lyricvs you credit to the Luke Jordan version of Cocaine Blues are very wrong. The Luke Jordan version starts with:

Now go on gal
Don't you take me for no fool
I'm not gonna quit you pretty mama
while the weather's cool...

It's a beautiful song, but it ain't the one you posted.

Respectfully,

Albert Calleros
micronaut@adelphia.net


16 Feb 04 - 01:29 AM (#1116744)
Subject: RE: Origins: Cocaine blues
From: GUEST,Bill Ackerbauer

I love the version Dylan does on the Gaslight Tapes bootlegs. At one point, he changes the verse "Headed up Beale Street, turning on Main, looking for a man who sells cocaine" to "Headed up Main Street, turning on Beale, looking for a man who's called Lucille."

The version I play is a hybrid of versions by Stefan Grossman and Dave Van Ronk, and I think they both learned it from Rev. Gary Davis.

Smokin' Bill's Digital Depot


14 Jun 04 - 01:56 PM (#1207072)
Subject: RE: Origins: Cocaine blues
From: GUEST

Guthrie did it on the asch recordings vol 4, that sounds like where cash got it from


14 Jun 04 - 03:42 PM (#1207140)
Subject: RE: Origins: Cocaine blues
From: Ragman

I know this is not what the originator of this thread was looking for, but since Gary Davis' Cocaine Blues keeps coming up, I hoped I could add my tuppence worth, invite comment, and maybe learn some more about the history of this great song.

I tell this story (or usually a shortened version of it) before performing Cocaine Blues, trying to get somewhere near to re-creating Stefan Grossman performances, who I saw several times around 1968-1970 in Scotland.

"There are many versions of Cocaine, and Candyman, two famous songs attributed to Gary Davis Over the years, the words of these songs have been used in other songs, and the tunes have been played with many different arrangements. This is the earliest version I know of Cocaine Blues. It is played in the form of a slow rag-time piece, very popular for dance music at the turn of the 20th century.

In performances dating from the late sixties, Stefan Grossman introduces Cocaine Blues and Candyman, playing the tune on the guitar and giving a potted history of where he believed the songs originated. He tells how Gary Davis heard the song in 1905 sung by a man called Cole Porter in a travelling show that his mother took him to when he was a young boy. Davis was blind even at that early age. He went home, persuaded his mother to help him build a guitar, and began to develop his skill as a musician and entertainer from there. Cocaine Blues talks of how at that time, medics and legal authorities were beginning to regard cocaine no longer as a recreational drug but as one with addictive properties and potentially lethal effects. The reference to "horses and not for men" alludes to the illegal practice of doping horses to make them perform better in races. If truly dating back to 1905, this version of the song heralded the changes in federal law in the USA to make cocaine an illegal drug, and which forced the Coca-Cola Company to alter the "magic formula" for their popular bottled drink."

(Guitar intro)

Now I'm going up Beale St, walking up Main
Looking for the man so I can bum cocaine
Cocaine, all around my brain

I said cocaine's for horses and not for men
Doctors say it will kill you but they won't say when
Cocaine, all around my brain

I said, hey, baby, won't you come here quick
This cocaine's going to make me sick
Cocaine's all around my brain

(Guitar bridge)

Now, I walked right down to Mr Myer's place
And I looked right into Mr Myer's face
And he said, "Boy, cocaine's all around your brain"

And he said "Look over yonder to that girl dressed in red
I tell you cocaine's going to kill you dead"
Cocaine's all around my brain

I said, hey, baby, won't you come here quick
This cocaine's going to make me sick
Cocaine's all around my brain

(Guitar bridge)

Repeat verse 1

(Guitar to fade out)

Comments on accuracy welcomed...
Cocaine Blues by Gary Davis, circa 1905?

BrianC (Ragman)


15 Jun 04 - 12:16 PM (#1207832)
Subject: RE: Origins: Cocaine blues
From: Easy Rider

Then, of course, there is always the Grateful Dead version, titled "Casey Jones":

"Driving that train
High on cocaine.
Casey Jones you better, watch your speed.
Trouble ahead, you know, trouble behind,
And you know that notion just crossed my mind."

Does anybody have TAB for this song. 'd love to learn to play it.


30 Nov 04 - 04:52 PM (#1343621)
Subject: RE: Origins: Cocaine blues
From: GUEST,honeydhont

Isn't it possible to change the credit for Cocaine Blues 3 in the digitrad ? Or delete this version all together ? Like mr Albert Calleros mentions above (and Stewie somewhere else), the Cocaine Blues 3 is is NOT the Luke Jordan version, his 1927 version is given here correctly as Cocaine Blues (2). Or did he recorded it twice, this version is - wrongly I suppose - dated 1929, but is lyrically quite similar to Gary Davis' Cocaine Blues (first listed here). It's already very confusing as it is.
Thanks.