|Song by Bo Carter (1928)|
"Corrine, Corrina" (sometimes "Corrina, Corrina") is a 12-bar country blues song in the AAB form. "Corrine, Corrina" was first recorded by Bo Carter (Brunswick 7080, December 1928). However, it was not copyrighted until 1932 by Armenter "Bo Carter" Chatmon and his publishers, Mitchell Parish and J. Mayo Williams. The song is familiar for its opening verse:
- Corrine, Corrina, where you been so long?
- Corrine, Corrina, where you been so long?
- I ain't had no lovin', since you've been gone.
The Mississippi Sheiks, as the Jackson Blue Boys with Papa Charlie McCoy on vocals, recorded the same song in 1930; this time as "Sweet Alberta" (Columbia 14397-D), substituting the words Sweet Alberta for Corrine, Corrina.
"Corrine, Corrina" has become a standard in a number of musical styles, including blues, jazz, rock and roll, Cajun, and Western swing.
The title of the song varies from recording to recording; chiefly with the variant "Corrina, Corrina."
"Corrine, Corrina" may have traditional roots, however, earlier songs are different musically and lyrically. One of the earliest is the commercial sheet music song "Has Anybody Seen My Corrine?" published by Roger Graham in 1918. Vernon Dalhart (Edison 6166) recorded a vocal version in 1918, and Wilbur Sweatman's Original Jazz Band (Columbia A-2663), an instrumental version the same year. Graham's song contains sentiments similar to "Corrine, Corrina":
- Has anybody seen my Corrine?
- No matter where Corrina may be
- Tell my Corrina to come right back to me
- I want some lovin' sweetie dear
- If you see Corrina, tell her to hurry home
- I ain't had no true love since Corrina been gone (3×)
The Mississippi Sheiks also recorded "Sweet Maggie" in the 1930s:
- Sweet Maggie sweet Maggie where you bin so long
- Tell me sweet Maggie where you bin so long
- There hasn't bin no lovin since you bin gone
Notable early singers to record the song included Blind Lemon Jefferson (1926), Bo Carter (1928), Charlie McCoy (1928), Tampa Red (1929, 1930), Frankie "Half Pint" Jaxon (1929), Walter Davis (1939), Johnny Temple (1940 ), Big Joe Turner (1941).
Early Country standard
Western Swing standard
In 1934, Milton Brown and his Musical Brownies recorded the song under the title "Where Have You Been So Long, Corrinne," as a Western swing dance song. Shortly thereafter, Bob Wills adapted it again as "Corrine, Corrina," also in the Western swing style. Following his recording with The Texas Playboys (OKeh 06530) on April 15, 1940, the song entered the standard repertoire of all Western swing bands, influencing the adoption of "Corrine, Corrina" by Cajun bands and later by individual country artists.
Although the Playboys' rendition set the standard, early Western swing groups had already recorded "Corrine, Corrina". Western swing bandleaders easily adapted almost any style of music into their dance numbers, but the Mississippi Sheiks' string band country blues style came easier than some. Milton Brown and his Musical Brownies recorded the song during a session on August 8, 1934, after meeting the Sheiks at a similar recording session earlier that year. Their version was titled "Where You Been So Long, Corrine?" (Bluebird B-5808).
"Corrine, Corrina" is also an important song related to Western swing's pioneering use of electrically amplified stringed instruments. It was one of the songs recorded during a session in Dallas on September 28, 1935 by Roy Newman and His Boys (OKeh 03117). Their guitarist, Jim Boyd, played what is the first use of an electrically amplified guitar found on a recording.
Folk music revival
"Corrine, Corrina" entered the folk-like acoustical tradition during the American folk music revival of the 1960s when Bob Dylan began playing a version he titled "Corrina, Corrina". Although his blues based version contains lyrics and song structure from Corrine Corrina, his melody is lifted from "Stones in My Passway" (Vocalion 3723) recorded by Robert Johnson in 1937. Dylan's version, found on his second album, "The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan," also borrows lyrics taken from Johnson's song:
- I got a bird that whistles, I got a bird that sings (2×)
The Rising Sons featuring Taj Mahal and Ry Cooder recorded the song as Corinna, Corinna before breaking up in 1966. Taj Mahal then recorded another version in 1968 titled Corinna. Joni Mitchell covered the song in 1988 on her album Chalk Mark in a Rain Storm; titling it "A Bird That Whistles (Corrina Corrina)", and adding a flight-evoking Wayne Shorter sax solo. Many other different artists have covered this folk/blues classic over the years, including Eric Clapton, who sings it as "Alberta, Alberta", Willie Nelson, Steve Gillette and Leo Kottke, both of whom showcase their guitar virtuosity in their performances, and Conor Oberst. They generally sing a Bob Dylan style of it, with similar lyrics, although Oberst includes in the first verse: "I've been worried about you Coquito (a sweet coconut beverage), ever since you've been gone". Also regularly sung by Declan Sinnott (freeman of Wexford in Ireland/ producer of 4 albums for Mary Black) when he plays with Christy Moore - and as 7th track on his first album "I Love The Noise It Makes" (2012)
- Alberta, let your hair hang low (2×)
- I'll give you more gold, than your apron can hold
- If you'd only let your hair hang low
Big Joe Turner released a version of this song on Atlantic Records in 1956. Ray Peterson had a #9 in 1960 with his version of the song, produced by Phil Spector. Jerry Lee Lewis released a version of the song on his 1965 album, The Return of Rock. Bill Haley & His Comets released a rock n' roll version as a Decca Records single in 1958. Rod Stewart recorded his own version sometime between 2011 and 2013, and it is featured as a bonus track on his CD "Time". Boz Scaggs released a version of the song on his 2013 album Memphis.
Asleep at the Wheel covered the song on their 1993 album A Tribute to the Music of Bob Wills & the Texas Playboys with Brooks & Dunn. Their version peaked at number 73 on the Billboard Hot Country Singles & Tracks chart in 1994.
- Cheseborough, "Carter, Bo", p. 186: "Carter's [Bo Carter and the Mississippi Sheiks] 1928 recording of 'Corrine, Corrina' is the earliest know version of that song, which has become a standard of American music.
- Dixon, Blues & Gospel Records, p. 355.
- Seubert, "Has Anybody Seen My Corrine".
- "Where Have You Been So Long Corrine by Milton Brown @ARTISTdirect". Artistdirect.com. Retrieved 2014-05-21.
- Clayton, The Roots of Texas Music, p. 23: "For example, 'Corrine, Corrina,' now considered a Cajun standard, probably was originally an African American blues song. In the 1930s, it was adapted to western swing by Bob Wills, and, from there, worked its way into the standard Cajun repertoire, changing slightly with each transformation."
- Ginell, Milton Brown and the Founding of Western Swing, p. 107: "The Brownies began the session [August 8, 1934] with five blues, which all showed the influence of the Mississippi Sheiks, the black string band that recorded during the Brownie's previous visit to San Antonio in April. Two of the songs became long-lasting standards in western swing bands' repertoire: "Where You Been So Long, Corrine?' Oberstein's bastardized title for 'Corrine Corrina' and 'Just Sitting on Top of the World' ('Sittin' on Top of the World')."
- Govenar, Deep Ellum and Central Track, p. 243: "Dallas, September 28, 1935 ... DAL 181, Corrine, Corrina, Vo/OK 03117."
- Dempsey, The Light Crust Doughboys Are on the Air, p.120: "[Jim] Boyd, who played bass and guitar in his on-and-off career with the Doughboys that continued into the 1990s, receives credit from some researchers with what may be the first recorded use of an electric guitar. It occurred in a September 1935 session with the group Roy Newman and His Boys, who played on Dallas radio station WRR. They recorded 'Shine On Harvest Moon,' Corrine, Corrina' and 'Hot Dog Stomp'."
- Waltz, "Corrina, Corrina": "Lomax reports that this "also occurs as Alberta or Roberta." If so, they are not the songs usually found under these names [i.e. "Alberta, Let Your Hair Hang Low"]. Many do think them related, and Roud appears to lump them. But the form is simply too different in my book."
- Turner, Big Joe. "Corrine, Corrina by Big Joe Turner".
- Corinna, Corinna Chart Position Retrieved June 15, 2012.
- Jerry Lee Lewis, The Return of Rock Retrieved June 15, 2012.
- Whitburn, Joel (2013). Hot Country Songs 1944–2012. Record Research, Inc. p. 28. ISBN 978-0-89820-203-8.
- Cheseborough, Steve. "Carter, Bo". Encyclopedia of the Blues pp. 185–186, edited by Edward M. Komara. Routledge, 2005. ISBN 0-415-92700-5
- Clayton, Lawrence. The Roots of Texas Music. Texas A&M University Press, 2005. ISBN 1-58544-492-8
- Dempsey, John Mark. The Light Crust Doughboys Are on the Air: Celebrating Seventy Years of Texas Music. University of North Texas Press, 2002. ISBN 1-57441-151-9
- Dixon, Robert M.W. Blues & Gospel Records, 1902-1943. Storyville Publications, 1982. ISBN 0-902391-03-8
- Ginell, Cary. Milton Brown and the Founding of Western Swing. Urbana, IL: University of Illinois Press, 1994. ISBN 0-252-02041-3
- Govenar, Alan B.; Jay F. Brakefield. Deep Ellum and Central Track: Where the Black and White Worlds of Dallas Converged. University of North Texas Press, 1998. ISBN 1-57441-051-2
- Seubert, David. "Has Anybody Seen My Corrine. Donald C. Davidson Library, University of California, Santa Barbara, Cylinder Preservation and Digitization Project.
- Waltz, Robert B; David G. Engle. "Corrina, Corrina". The Traditional Ballad Index: An Annotated Bibliography of the Folk Songs of the English-Speaking World. Hosted by California State University, Fresno, Folklore, 2007.