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Sometimes I want to holler, sometimes I want to shout. Sometimes I want to cry, and wonder what about. I think I got the blues - Sonny Terry, I Think I Got The Blues

Author Topic: B.F. Shelton's 'Cold Penitentiary Blues'  (Read 3094 times)

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Offline Doc Brainerd

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B.F. Shelton's 'Cold Penitentiary Blues'
« on: September 30, 2006, 12:43:37 PM »
Anybody know of a CD compilation that includes B.F. Shelton's 'Cold Penitentiary Blues'? I have been listening to hillbilly blues- such as Dock Boggs- and found Shelton mentioned as a similar artist. His recordings were apparently limited to four tracks recorded at the famous Bristol, TN sessions of 1927. Looks like 3 of his 4 known recordings are included on the Yazoo collection The Music of Kentucky: Early American Rural Classics, Vol. 1, but despite an internet search, I cant find any way to acquire a copy of 'Cold Penitentiary Blues.'
To anybody that's heard it: is it worth tracking down?

DB

Offline uncle bud

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Re: B.F. Shelton's 'Cold Penitentiary Blues'
« Reply #1 on: September 30, 2006, 08:33:16 PM »
Doc -

I don't know the tune but you can request on Venerable Music's web radio station:

http://www.venerablemusic.com/samphpweb/playlist.php?letter=B

There is also a Cold Penitentiary Blues by George Edgin's Corn Dodgers on the JSP Mountain Blues compilation.

Offline fictioneer

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Re: B.F. Shelton's 'Cold Penitentiary Blues'
« Reply #2 on: October 01, 2006, 10:48:08 PM »
I used to have a dub of this on reel-to-reel 30-odd years ago, and if memory does not fail, it's a 3/4 time piece derived from "The Coon Can Game" --the one that goes approx "As I sat down in a gambling game, Could not play my hand, Was thinking about the woman I love, Run away with another man.  Run away with another man, poor boy, Run away with another man, &c."  I didn't find it as distinctive as his other sides and don't remember it being strikingly different from any other version of "The Coon Can Game." 

Offline Doc Brainerd

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Re: B.F. Shelton's 'Cold Penitentiary Blues'
« Reply #3 on: October 02, 2006, 12:18:58 AM »
Thanks for the help guys :D.  A little more time searching the net shows that it was Shelton's 'Cold Penitentiary Blues' was last available as part of a Rounder compilation LP Kentucky Country; Old Time Music From Kentucky.  As Uncle Bud suggested, I was able to request it on the Venerable Music web jukebox/radio.  It was as you described it, fictioneer, not really as distinctive as his versions of 'Pretty Polly' or 'Darling Cora.'  He did play guitar on that track, however, rather than banjo, but it lost that Dock Boggs-y vibe his other songs possess.

Also, fictioneer, one webpage did indicate it was based on the 'The Coon Can Game' as you had already pointed out.

Ultimately, probably not a 'must-have' addition to my listening library :(.

DB

Offline Johnm

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Re: B.F. Shelton's 'Cold Penitentiary Blues'
« Reply #4 on: July 07, 2016, 02:16:45 PM »
Hi all,
B. F. Shelton's "Cold Penitentiary Blues" has been put up on youtube since this thread was started in 2006.  Here is Shelton's performance of the song:



Got the cold penitentiary blues, old boy,
I've got the cold penitentiary blues
Thinking of that girl I love
I got the cold penitentiary blues

SOLO

Mother called me to her deathbed side,
"Oh son, won't you listen to me?
If you don't quit your rowdy ways,
You'll see trouble all your days."

See trouble all your days, old boy,
See trouble all your days
If you don't quit your rowdy ways,
You'll see trouble all your days

My Father, he's in a cold, cold tomb
My Mother, she's away
Sister married to a gambling man
And now I'm gone astray

Now I'm going astray, old boy,
Oh now, I'm goin' astray
Says, sister married to a gambling man
And now I'm going astray

SOLO

I went down to the freight depot
As the train was pulling in
Looked in the window, saw the girl I love
Had run away with the other man

Run away with the other man, old boy,
Run away with the other man
Looked in the window, saw the girl I love
Had run away with the other man

Got the cold penitentiary blues, old boy,
I've got the cold penitentiary blues
Thinking of that girl I love
I got the cold penitentiary blues

SOLO

I walked out on the cold platform
As the train was rolling by
Waved to me her lily white hand
And I hung down my head and cried

Hung down my head and cried, old boy,
Hung down my head and cried
She waved to me her lily white hand
I hung down my head and cried

Got the cold penitentiary blues, old boy,
I've got the cold penitentiary blues
Thinking of that girl I love
I got the cold penitentiary blues

All best,
Johnm
« Last Edit: July 08, 2016, 07:06:22 AM by Johnm »

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