Deep Elm Blues

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"Deep Elm Blues"
Genre Traditional
Writer(s) Traditional

The "Deep Elm Blues" is an American traditional song. The title of the tune refers to historical African American neighborhood in downtown Dallas, Texas, known as Deep Ellum, and a home to music legends Blind Lemon Jefferson, Blind Willie Johnson, Lead Belly, and Bill Neely. Sometimes the song's title is spelled "Deep Elem" or "Deep Ellum."[1]

The first known recording was made by the Cofer Brothers under the name of the Georgia Black Bottom on OKeh Records. The Shelton Brothers recorded various versions of this song, the first being cut in 1933 with Leon Chappelear under the pseudonym of Lone Star Cowboys for Bluebird Records. They recorded it again in 1935 for Decca Records followed by "Deep Elm No.2" and "Deep Elm No.3". Les Paul (as Rhubarb Red) recorded "Deep Elem Blues" and "Deep Elem Blues #2" on Decca in 1936. The Sheltons also recorded it in the 1940s as "Deep Elm Boogie" for King Records.

Other versions of the song were made between 1957 and 1958 by Jerry Lee Lewis for Sun Records, Bobby Jackson for Gold Air Records, Mary McCoy & the Cyclones for Jin Records and, later, by Jerry Garcia, the Grateful Dead, Levon Helm, the Infamous Stringdusters, and Rory Gallagher.


  1. ^ Pask, Kevin. "Deep Ellum Blues" Southern Spaces, 30 October 2007.