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]

Roscoe Holcomb recorded "Milk Cow Blues" on his album "An Untamed Sense of Control".

Mississippi Fred McDowell recorded "Milk Cow Blues" on an self titled album.

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.