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Yellow Dog Blues

Handy's Memphis Blues Band


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Feat. Johnny Dunn


Recorded in New York City in January of 1922 with W.C. Handy cornet & leader, Johnny Dunn trumpet, George Williams trombone, James Osborne and Robert Young clarinet & alto sax, Jim Turner, Edward Wyer, and Paul Wyer violins, Bobby Lee piano, Ike Hatch banjo, George Higgans guitar, and Sy Moore drums.

*"Yellow Dog Blues" was composed by W. C. Handy.

It was composed by W.C. Handy in 1915 as an answer song to "I Wonder Where My Easy Rider's Gone?" written by Shelton Brooks in 1913. The lyrics of the original Brooks' song tell the tale of a girl named Susie Johnson who foolishly bets on a horse race using a tip from Jockey Lee, an unseemly character that ultimately runs off with her money.

Handy's song was first published as "Yellow Dog Rag" but due to poor sales the title was changed in 1919 substituting the word "Blues" for "Rag" in order to boost its popularity.

The lyrics explain what ever happened to (Shelton Brooks' character) Jockey Lee.

First Verse:

Ever since Miss Susan Johnson lost her Jockey, Lee,
There has been much excitement, more to be;
You can hear her moaning night and morn.
She's wonderin' where her Easy Rider's gone?
Cablegrams goes off inquiry,
Telegrams goes off sympathy,
Letters come from down in "Bam"
And everywhere that Uncle Sam
Has even a rural delivery.
All day the phone rings, but it's not for me,
At last good tidings fill our heart with glee,
This message came from Tennessee.


This is your Easy Rider struck this burg today
On a southbound rattler side door Pullman car.
Seen him here an' he was on the hog.
All you Easy Riders got a stay away,
So he had to vamp it but the hike ain't far.
He's gone where the Southern cross' the Yellow Dog.

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