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Viola Lee Blues
Composer: Noah Lewis

Written by Noah Lewis who was a member of Cannon's Jug Stompers. Some recordings of the song use the title Penitentiary Bound.

Many of the lyrics of Viola Lee Blues also occur in the similar song Joliet Bound, which is usually credited to Kansas Joe McCoy and which also appears to have been first recorded around 1929/30. It is possible that both songs derived from an earlier song or family of songs.

The Grateful Dead performed the song live between 1966 and 1970. Brief film of the Grateful Dead pplaying Viola Lee Blues can be seen in the 1968 movie Petulia and in the 1990's documentary Berkeley In The Sixties.



Grateful Dead

info The Grateful Dead, 1967
info The Grateful Dead / Anthem Of The Sun, 1976?
info Dick's Picks, Vol. 8, 1997
info Fallout From The Phil Zone, 1997
info Dick's Picks, Vol. 22, 2001
info The Golden Road (1965-1973), 2001
info The Grateful Dead, 2003 expanded CD
info The Birth Of The Dead, 2003
info Rhino Hi-Five: The Grateful Dead, 2005
info Road Trips: Vol 2, Number 2: Feb 14, 1968, Carousel Ballroom, 2009
info Road Trips: Vol 2, Number 2: Feb 14, 1968, Carousel Ballroom Bonus CD, 2009
info Birth Of The Dead, Vol. 2 (The Live Sides), 2014

The Dead

info Mansfield, MA, June 22, 2003
info St. Louis, MO, July 2, 2003
info Morrison, CO, July 11, 2003
info Morrison, CO, June 20, 2004
info Sacramento, CA, June 27, 2004
info St.Louis, MO, July 23, 2004
info Camden, NJ, August 7, 2004
info Dead '09: Albany, NY, April 17, 2009
info Dead '09: Hartford, CT, April 26, 2009
info Dead '09: Los Angeles, CA, May 9, 2009

Furthur

info Dec 12, 2009, Asbury Park, NJ
info Dec 31, 2009, San Francisco, CA
info Feb 5, 2010, Miami, FL
info Feb 12, 2010, Hampton, VA
info Feb 18, 2010, Manchester, NH
info Feb 23, 2010, New York, NY
info Mar 5, 2010, Denver, CO
info June 25, 2010, Rochester, NY
info July 3, 2010, Herkimer, NY
info July 10, 2010, Philadelphia, PA
info September 20, 2010, Santa Barbara, CA
info September 25, 2010, Morrison, CO
info November 12, 2010, Chicago, IL
info November 21, 2010, New York, NY
info December 31, 2010, San Francisco, CA
info February 12, 2011, Broomfield, CO
info March 6, 2011, Boston, MA
info March 13, 2011, New York, NY
info March 22, 2011, Upper Darby, PA
info March 26, 2011, New York, NY
info April 6, 2011, Boca Raton, FL
info July 15, 2011, Masontown, WV
info July 19, 2011, Saratoga Springs, NY
info July 28, 2011, Walnut Creek, Raleigh, NC
info Sept 27, 2011, Missoula, MT
info Oct 4, 2011, Las Vegas, NV
info Oct 8, 2011, Monterey, CA
info Nov 5, 2011, Wilkes-Barre, PA
info Nov 12, 2011, Atlantic City, NJ
info Nov 19, 2011, Madison, WI
info Dec 31, 2011, San Francisco, CA
info April 6, 2012, Boston, MA
info April 14, 2012, New York, NY
info April 18, 2012, New York, NY
info April 21, 2012, Live Oak
info July 6, 2012, Canandaigua, NY
info July 17, 2012, Chicago, IL
info September 23, 2012, Morrison, CO
info September 28, 2012, Troutdale, OR
info October 7, 2012, Santa Barbara, CA
info December 29, 2012, San Francisco, CA
info January 17, 2013, Mill Valley, CA
info February 21, 2013, Denver, CO
info April 19, 2013, Port Chester, NY
info July 12, 2013, Holmdel, NJ
info Sept 7, 2013, Arrington, VA
info Sept 20, 2013, Morrison, CO
info Sept 25, 2013, Eugene, OR
info Oct 2, 2013, Las Vegas, NV

Ratdog

info Jim Thorpe, PA, July 14, 2009
info Las Vegas, NV, September 2, 2009

Phil Lesh & Friends

info June 20, 2006, Nashville, TN
info June 27, 2006, Asheville, NC
info July 3, 2006, Hartford, CT
info July 12, 2006, Essex Junction, VT
info July 15, 2006, Indianapolis, IN
info July 19, 2006, Kansas City, MO
info April 9, 2014, Port Chester, NY, 2014
info April 18, 2014, Las Vegas, NV, 2014
info May 30, 2014, Port Chester, NY, 2014

 
Cannon's Jug Stompers

no info Single (Viola Lee Blues / Heart Breakin' Blues), 1928 (Victor)
no info Single (Viola Lee Blues / Minglewood Blues), 1928 (Bluebird)
info The Complete Works In Chronological Order 1927-1930, 1975
info Great Jug Bands, 1926-34, Various Artists, 197?
info Jazz Tribune No. 51: Memphis Blues 1928-30, Various Artists, 1984
info The Complete Works: 1927-1930, 1989
info Complete Recorded Works Vol 1 1927-1928, 1990
info Blues Masters, Vol. 12, Memphis Blues, Various Artists, 1993
info Legendary 1928-30 Recordings, 1994
info My Rough and Rowdy Ways Volume 1, Various Artists, 1998
info The Best of Cannon's Jug Stompers, 2001
info The Roots Of The Grateful Dead & Jerry Garcia, Various Artists, 2001
info Roots of Ry Cooder, Various Artists, 2002
info When the Sun Goes Down, Vol. 2, Various Artists, 2002
info When the Sun Goes Down Box Set, Various Artists, 2002
info Gus Cannon and His Jug Stompers / Sleepy John Estes, 2002
info Memphis Jug Band / Gus Cannon's Jug Stompers (Box set), 2005
info The Roots of the Grateful Dead, Various Artists, 2008

Other recordings

info See Reverse for Title, Jim Kweskin and The Jug Band, 1966
info Purple Gang Strikes, Purple Gang, 1968
info Panama Limited Jug Band, Panama Limited Jug Band, 1969
info Crossroads Soundtrack, Ry Cooder, 1986
info Saturday Rolling Around, The GPs, 1991 (as Penitentiary Bound)
info Twilight Dance, Solar Circus, 1992
info Relix Bay Rock Shop No. 2, Various Artists (Solar Circus), 1992
info The World We Knew, Tav Falco's Panther Burns, 1994 (bonus track on CD)
info Music By Ry Cooder, Ry Cooder, 1995
info Art and Grit, Steve James, 1996
info Back! Back! Back!, Mad-Words, 1997
info Shake That Thing, Last Chance Jug Band, 1997
info Dead Delites, Vol. 2, Various Artists (Solar Circus), 1998
info Chasin' Gus' Ghost, John Sebastian And The J-Band, 1999
info Living Country Blues: An Anthology, Various Artists (Hammie Nixon), 1999
no info Chasing Rainbows, Double Decker String Band, 19??
info Werewolves of Atlanta: Halloween 2004, Dark Star Orchestra, 2005
info The Journey: Recordings 1965-2006, Ralph McTell, 2006
info 30 Years, Jake's Leg, 2008

As Some Got Six Months

no info Angola Prisoners' Blues, Various Artists, 1996

Versions of Joliet Bound can be found on the following recordings;

no info Complete Recorded Works, Vol. 3, 1931-32, Memphis Minnie and Kansas Joe McCoy, 1991
no info When A Woman Gets The Blues, Rory Block, 1995
info Hills of Home: 25 Years of Folk Music on Rounder, Various Artists (Rory Block), 1995
info The Real Music Box: Rounder Records 25th Anniversary, Various Artists (Rory Block), 1995
no info Queen of the Blues, Memphis Minnie, 1997
no info Gone Woman Blues, Rory Block, 1997
no info Tommy Johnson & Associates, Tommy Johnson, 1999
no info Every Road I Take: The Best of Contemporary Acoustic Blues, Various Artists, 1999
no info Best of Kansas Joe, Vol. 1, 1929-35, Kansas Joe McCoy, 19??
no info Memphis Jamborree, Various Artists (Kansas Joe McCoy), 19??

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