The Original?

I make no excuse for providing additional information about a number that perhaps few Elvis fans have ever heard:

That’s Elvis singing an short, unlisted extract of Columbus Stockade Blues on the FTD release Promised Land in 2011. Hardly a performance to write home about, but I find the number interesting and am particularly fond of the original.

I also enjoy the Blues, Country Blues, and I love the use of the guitar slide. So I just thought I’d try to find out a bit more about Columbus Stockade Blues.

Well, there’s no real doubt about the original of Columbus Stockade Blues.

Darby and Tarlton were an early country music duo, who became particularly popular in the late 1920s and 1930s, until they fell out with each other, apparently in a dispute over  who was responsible for the actual writing of Columbus Stockade Blues.

The number was supposedly written by Darby and Tarlton (though not even they could end up agreeing on just who did what).

And yet, and yet…

Brad Barnes, a reporter with the Columbus-based Ledger-Enquirer, wrote an article entitled Behind The Bars in 2007, linking Columbus Stockade Blues to an earlier folk song, Dear Companion. Sadly, the article is no longer available at the Ledger-Enquirer’s website and attempts to get in touch with Barnes through the newspaper have met with no response.

Interestingly, the link to Dear Companion and other folk numbers is also discussed in The Mudcat Café forum.

© David Neale 2018