[Dixielandjazz] Jazz History

Bill Haesler bhaesler at bigpond.net.au
Sun May 6 16:32:35 PDT 2012

Robert Ringwald wrote regarding 'St Louis Blues":
> Very interesting, especially to hear the second or B strain of Yellow Dog Blues in the middle of St Louis Blues in 1917.  
> Thus, when was Yellow Dog Blues written, by whom and first recorded? 

Dear Bob (and Stan),
After sending my last email, I remembered that I have a copy of WC Handy's 1941 autobiography.
In the book Handy notes that "The St. Louis Blues" was composed as a follow-up to his initial 1913 'hit' The Memphis Blues" and was completed [and published by Pace & Handy] in September 1914.
He then started on a new song as a sequel/answer to Shelton Brooks' popular song "I Wonder Where My Easy Rider's Gone?"
"The Yellow Dog Rag" was born, but was not a success until retitled "The Yellow Dog Blues" in 1919 to cash in on the popularity of the emerging 'blues' craze.
I suggest that the use of the "Yellow Dog" theme by Ciro's Club Coon Orchestra in its 1919 rendition of "St Louis Blues" was intended to make the performance a medley.
While discussing 'first recordings' of these and other pop songs of the period, we must never overlook the influence sheet music. 
And piano rolls, the sales of which outstripped record sales at that time.
"St Louis Blues", a roll cut by Clarence Jones, was on sale in 1914.  
Very kind regards,

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