Mudcat Café message #67986 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #10103   Message #67986
Posted By: Night Owl
03-Apr-99 - 11:56 PM
Thread Name: Lyr Req: Yellow Dog Blues (W. C. Handy)
Subject: RE: Yellow Dog Blues??
Still had my favorite songbooks out from another thread and found in "Country Blues Songbook" -(c)1973 Oak Publications......"A one-liner W.C Handy once recalled hearing a bottleneck guitarist perform near the turn of the century at a Tutwiler, Mississippi railroad depot is the earliest blues stanza that can be related to a blues performance as such. The much fabled lyric,'Goin' where the Southern cross the Dog', commemorates the then recent construction of the Y&MV ("Dog") railroad in the Mississippi Delta. At the time Handy heard it sung, any traveler leaving the first stop out of Tutwiler, the town of Moorhead forty miles southwards, was also a way station along the Southern line running between Greenville, Mississippi and Birmingham. With the subsequent completion of the Y&MV, the Southern crossed the Dog in four different Delta towns. The notion nevertheless persisted among Delta blues singers that Moorhead formed the junction of the Southern and the "Dog" Folk ingenuity must have risen to new heights once the Delta branch of the Southern gave way to another railroad in the late 1920's, thus robbing the song chestnut of its last semblance of realism. At least one Delta bluesman who continued using it was unfazed by this rude develoment; according to his etymology, "Goin' where the Southern cross the "Dog" evoked the Southern branch of the "Dog". "We didn't hardly ever say nothin' about the south "Dog", he told Gayle Wardlow, "we called it the 'southern'. The 'southern' cross the "Dog" in Moorhead." Wonder if the politics involved with the takeover by another railroad in the "late twenties" resulted in the term "Yellow Dog Contract"??????