Home
Brown's Ferry Blues
Composer: Delmore Brothers / Traditional / ?

Brown's Ferry Blues was performed by Jerry Garcia, Marshall Leicester and Robert Hunter at the Carlos Bookstall in San Carlos in July 1961.

Writing credits for the song on recordings are variously Alton Delmore, the Delmore Brothers, Sam & Kirk McGee and Traditional. Both the Delmores and McGees claimed to have written the song. It is possible that Brown's Ferry Blues was written by Alton Delmore and named for an old ferry site on the Tennessee River. Note that the dates given below for early singles are recording dates rather than release dates.

The melody with slight variations has been used for a number of other songs.



Recordings

no info Single (Brown's Ferry Blues (The Delmore Brothers) / New Salty Dog (The Allen Brothers)), April 1934
no info Single (Brown's Ferry Blues / Railroad Blues), McGee Brothers, August 1934
no info Single (Brown's Ferry Blues / Long Chain Charlie Blues), Bill Cox, Sept 1934
no info Single (Brown's Ferry Blues, Part 2 / I'm Going Away), The Delmore Brothers, January 1935
no info Single (Brown's Ferry Blues / Lonesome And Weary Blues), Callahan Brothers, April 1935
no info Single (Brown's Ferry Blues / Bring Back My Blue Eyed Sweetheart), Philyaw Brothers, Dec 1937
no info Single (Gambler's Yodel / Brown Ferry Blues No. 3), The Delmore Brothers, Feb 1939
no info Single (Kilroy Was Here / Brown's Ferry Blues), Tin Ear Tanner & His Back Room Boys, 1946
info The New Lost City Ramblers, The New Lost City Ramblers, 1958
info Songs By The Delmore Brothers, The Delmore Brothers, 1958
info 16 All Time Favorites, Delmore Brothers, 1958
info Gather 'Round, Tennessee Ernie Ford, 1959
info A Tribute To The Delmore Brothers, The Louvin Brothers, 1960
info Sing Songs Of The New Lost City Ramblers, Tom Paley, John Cohen, Mike Seeger, 1961
no info The Fabulous Guitar, Roy Lanham, 1961
info Big Bluegrass Special, Glen Campbell & The Green River Boys, 1962
info Dian & the Greenbriar Boys, Dian & the Greenbriar Boys, 1963
no info Single (Brown's Ferry Blues / He Was A Friend Of Mine), Dian & the Greenbriar, 1963
no info Poplin Family of Sumpter, South Carolina, The Poplin Family, 1963
info In Memory, Vol. 1, The Delmore Brothers, 1964
info 12 String Dobro, Tut Taylor And The Folkswingers, 1964
no info Hit Parade Of Bluegrass Stars, Various Artists (Benny Martin), 1965
no info Stars of the WWVA Jamboree, Jim Greer and the Mac-O-Chee Valley Folks, 1966
no info Single (Brown's Ferry Blues / Souvenirs Of Sorrow), Billy Grammer, 1966
no info Bill Haney and the Dixie Buddies, Bill Haney and the Dixie Buddies, 1967
info Great Songs Of The Delmore Brothers, Merle Travis and Johnny Bond, 1969
no info Brown's Ferry Blues, The Delmore Brothers, 1970
info Doc Watson On Stage, Doc Watson & Merle Watson, 1971
info Bucktime!, Kenny Baker and Josh Graves, 1974
no info Stone Mountain Boys, Stone Mountain Boys, 1974
info Hillbilly Jazz, Vassar Clements, 1975
info Hard Luck Papa: Old Time Picking Styles and Techniques, Tom Paley, 1976
info It's Bread and Water For, Curly Ray Cline, 1977
info 20 Years: Concert Performances, The New Lost City Ramblers, 1978
no info The Smithsonian Collection of Classic Country Music, Various Artists (Delmore Brothers), 1981
no info Merle & Grandpa's Farm & Home Hour, Merle Travis & Grandpa Jones, 1982
no info Singing My Troubles Away, Vol. 2, The Delmore Brothers, 1983
no info Everhart Takes the Fifth, Bob Everhart, 1983
no info Deep In The Bottom, John Jackson, 1983
no info Sand Mountain Blues, The Delmore Brothers, 1986
no info Been Riding with Old Mosby, Frank Bode with Tommy Jarrell and Paul Brown, 1986
no info The Louvin Brothers, The Louvin Brothers, 1987
no info A Lotta Rock'n'roll, Johnny Bond, 1989
info The Puritan Sessions, Kenny Baker & Josh Graves, 1990
info New Lost City Ramblers: The Early Years: 1958-1962, The New Lost City Ramblers, 1991
no info Threadgill's Super Session, Various Artists, 1991
info Close Harmony, The Louvin Brothers, 1992
no info Roots n' Blues: The Retrospective 1925-1950, Various Artists (Callahan Brothers), 1992
info Freight Train Boogie, The Delmore Brothers, 1993
info Third Annual Farewell Reunion, Mike Seeger, 1994
info Rhythm of the Mountains, Various Artists (Sam & Kirk McGee), 1994
info Mountain Music Collection, Vol. 1: Wild and Reckless Men, Various Artists (Sam & Kirk McGee), 1994
info The Vanguard Years, Doc Watson, 1995
no info Brown's Ferry Blues, The Delmore Brothers, 1995
no info Watermelon Sampler, Vol. 1, Various Artists (Threadgill's Super Session), 1995
no info Sizzling Strings/The Fabulous Guitar, Roy Lanham, 1996
no info 26 All-Time Country Classics, Various Artists (Delmore Brothers), 1998
no info R.C. Cola Radio Shows, Vol. 2, Roy Acuff & His Smoky Mountain Boys, 1999
info Complete Recorded Works 1926-1934, Sam McGee, 1999
no info Chickens Don't Roost Too High, Red Mountain White Trash, 1999
no info American Roots: A History of American Folk Music, Various Artists (Delmore Brothers), 2000
no info Nashville Early String Bands, Vol. 2, Various Artists (Sam & Kirk McGee), 2000
no info As Good As It Gets: Bluegrass, Various Artists (Louvin Brothers), 2000
no info As Good as It Gets: Hillbilly, Various Artists (Delmore Brothers), 2000
no info The EP Collection...Plus, Tennessee Ernie Ford, 2001
info 40 Years of Concert Performances, New Lost City Ramblers, 2001
no info Inducted into the Hall of Fame 2001, The Delmore Brothers, 2002
no info O Brother: The Story Continues, Various Artists (Delmore Brothers), 2002
no info Folksongs: Old Time Country Music 1926-1944, Various Artists (Sam & Kirk McGee), 2002
no info Mountain Guitar Pickin': 24 Bluegrass Instrumental, Various Artists (Clarence Jackson), 2002
no info On the Air, The Shivers, 2003
info Smokey Mountain Bluegrass: 24 Traditional Favorites, Various Artists (Jim Greer), 2003
info Classic Cuts: 1933-41, The Delmore Brothers, 2004
no info American Roots, Various Artists (Delmore Brothers), 2004
no info The Collection of American Folk Music, Various Artists (Delmore Brothers), 2004
info When the Sun Goes Down, Vol. 10: East Virginia Blues, Various Artists (Delmore Brothers), 2004
no info Legends of Bluegrass, Various Artists (Delmore Brothers), 2004
no info Mountain Pickin': 20 Great Bluegrass Instrumentals, Various Artists (James Wall), 2004
no info All Around the Mountain, Tom Akstens and Neil Rossi, 2005
no info God Don't Like It: Document Shortcuts, Vol. 1, Various Artists (Sam & Kirk McGee), 2005
info Mountain Blues: Blues, Ballads & String Bands 1927-1938, Various Artists (Callahan Brothers), 2005
no info Guitar Collection: 25 Bluegrass Guitar Favorites, Various Artists (James Wall), 2005
no info Sweet American Picks, The Grey Sky Boys, 2006
no info Pre-War Country, Various Artists (Delmore Brothers), 2006
info Old Town School of Folk Music Songbook, Vol. 1, Various Artists (Robbie Fulks), 2006
info Vol. 2: The Later Years 1933-1952, The Delmore Brothers, 2007
no info Music Inspired by Oh! Brother, Where Art Thou?, Various Artists (Delmore Brothers), 2007
no info The Figs, The Figs, 2008
no info Classic Mountain Bluegrass: 25 Appalachian Favorites, Various Artists (Jim Greer & the Mac-O-Chee Valley Folks), 2008
no info My Dusty Road, Woody Guthrie, 2009
info 50 Years: Where Do You Come from, Where Do You Go?, The New Lost City Ramblers, 2009

Lyrics

The lyrics from the version on the San Carlos tape are as follows;

Hard luck poppa, a-countin' his toes
You can smell his feet wherever he goes
Lord, Lord, got those Brown's Ferry blues
Hard luck poppa done [? ]
[?] luck, you got to smile
Lord, Lord, got those Brown's Ferry blues.

Two old maids a-sitting in the sand
Each one wishing that the other was a man
Lord, Lord, got those Brown's Ferry blues
Two old maids done lost their style
If you want to be lucky you got to smile
Lord, Lord, got those Brown's Ferry blues.

It's early to bed and early to rise
And your girl goes out with other guys
Lord, Lord, got those Brown's Ferry bIues
You don't believe me try it yourself
I tried it and I got left
Lord, Lord, got those Brown's Ferry blues.

Hard luck poppa standing in the rain
If the world was corn he couldn't buy grain
Lord, Lord, got those Brown's Ferry blues
Hard luck poppa standing in the snow
His knees knock together but he's raring to go
Lord, Lord, got those Brown's Ferry blues.

 
  album cover

album cover

album cover

album cover

album cover

album cover

album cover

album cover

album cover