Milk Cow Blues (song)

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"Milk Cow Blues"
Single by Kokomo Arnold
B-side "Old Original Kokomo Blues"
Released October 1934 (1934-10)
Format 10″ 78rpm
Recorded September 10, 1934[citation needed]
Genre Blues
Length 3:07
Label Decca Records
Writer(s) Kokomo Arnold
Kokomo Arnold singles chronology
"Gitfiddle Jim" (1934) "Milk Cow Blues" (1934) "Back to the Woods" (1934)

"Milk Cow Blues" is a blues song written and originally recorded by Sleepy John Estes in 1930 (The Blues Line: Blues Lyrics from Leadbelly to Muddy Waters, edited by Eric Sackheim, Jonathan Shahn, Da Capo Press, 2003).

Robert Johnson version[edit]

Robert Johnson recorded a version of Sleepy John [1]Estes' song, re-titled "Milkcow's Calf Blues", at his last recording session on 20 June 1937. It was released by Vocalion Records in September 1937 as the B-side to "Malted Milk."

Johnnie Lee Wills version[edit]

In 1941, Johnnie Lee Wills (younger brother of James Robert Wills aka Bob Wills) recorded a version which was released the same year by Decca Records as "Milkcow Blues" by Johnny [sic] Lee Wills & His Boys. It was sung by Cotton Thompson.[2]

Bob Wills also recorded it on the Tiffany Transcriptions with a vocal by Tommy Duncan. The Wills/Duncan release "Brain cloudy blues" is heavily influenced by "Milk cow blues" too.

Elvis Presley & The Blue Moon Boys version[edit]

"Milkcow Blues Boogie"
Milcow Blues Boogie Elvis single.jpg
"Milkcow Blues Boogie" cover
Song by Elvis Presley & The Blue Moon Boys
Released January 8, 1955
Recorded November–December 1954
Genre Rockabilly, Country
Length 2:39
Label Sun Records
Writer Kokomo Arnold

Elvis Presley, accompanied by Scotty Moore on guitar and Bill Black on bass, recorded a rockabilly version retitled "Milkcow Blues Boogie" at Sun Records in November or December 1954. The arrangement was closer to Wills' version than to the Arnold original.[2] The single was released in January 8, 1955 with "You're a Heartbreaker" as the B-side, but would not be released on LP until 1959, when it was included on the RCA LP A Date with Elvis. The tune was also released as a 45 rpm single, along with "You're a Heartbreaker" on RCA Victor records (47-6382). It is listed as 2:34 minutes long, with the publisher Leeds Music ASCAP. It has a catalog number (F2WW-8044).

Eddie Cochran version[edit]

"Milk Cow Blues"
Song by Eddie Cochran from the album Never to Be Forgotten
Released 1962
Recorded August 25, 1959
Genre Blues
Length 2:40
Label Liberty Records
Writer Kokomo Arnold
Producer Eddie Cochran

Eddie Cochran's version of Milk Cow Blues was posthumously released on the album Never to Be Forgotten.


Other versions[edit]

The song is also featured in the film Walk the Line, in which it is covered by Tyler Hilton.


  1. ^ The Blues Line: Blues Lyrics from Leadbelly to Muddy Waters
  2. ^ a b Russell, Tony (2007). Country Music Originals: The Legends and the Lost. New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-532509-5. OCLC 85822512. 
  3. ^ The McGee Brothers rendition of "Milk Cow Blues" can be found on this anthology: [1]. It is described in more detail in both French and English in its online booklet: [2]
  4. ^ We Five, Catch the Wind Retrieved February 29, 2012.