Mississippi Mud

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1927 release as Victor 20783-B by Paul Whiteman's Rhythm Boys.

"Mississippi Mud" is a 1927 song written by Harry Barris,[1] first sung by Bing Crosby as a member of Paul Whiteman's Rhythm Boys.[2]


The Rhythm Boys originally recorded the song on June 20, 1927[3] in New York for Victor as a medley with "I Left My Sugar Standing in the Rain."[4][5] It was recorded by Paul Whiteman's orchestra on February 18, 1928 with vocals by Irene Taylor and The Rhythm Boys, featuring Bing Crosby, and with Bix Beiderbecke on cornet.[6] Two takes from the June 20, 1927 session were released on Victor.

Paul Tremaine's Orchestra performed "Mississippi Mud" in a 1929 film short. Later it was also sung briefly by the Rhythm Boys in the 1930 film King of Jazz. The song was also sung in the 1931 Toby the Pup cartoon Down South. The Rhythm Boys, Bing Crosby, Harry Barris, and Al Rinker, performed the song when they reunited on radio in 1943 on the Paul Whiteman Presents radio program. Paul Whiteman re-recorded the song on December 7, 1954 for Coral Records.

Other recordings[edit]

The song has been recorded by a number of artists since, including Frankie Trumbauer and His Orchestra with Bix Beiderbecke, Dinah Shore, Si Zentner and his Orchestra and the Johnny Mann Singers, the Charleston Chasers, the Louisiana Rhythm Kings, Kid Ory's Creole Jazz Band, Dean Martin, Bobby Darin and Johnny Mercer with Billy May and His Orchestra, Edyie Gorme, Connie Haines. The Lennon Sisters, Harry Reser's band under the name the Seven Little Polar Bears, Dick Cathcart, Joan Shaw, and Ray Charles, and become one of the standards of the American songbook. Lyrics have been revised because of the derogatory racial term about African Americans in the original.[7] The original lyrics featured a line in the refrain: "When the 'darkies' beat their feet on the Mississippi Mud", using an expression dating to the slavery years. This has since been revised to: "When the 'people' beat their feet on the Mississippi Mud."

Alvin and the Chipmunks covered the song for their 1965 album The Chipmunks Sing with Children.

1927 sheet music, Shapiro, Bernstein and Co., N.Y.

Television performances[edit]

Dean Martin and Louis Armstrong performed the song on the Dean Martin Show on NBC on December 9, 1965 as part of a Dixie medley of songs.[8]

The song was featured in the M*A*S*H (TV series) Season 3 episode "The General Flipped at Dawn," being sung and danced to by Harry Morgan (playing Brigadier General Steele) after he asks an African-American helicopter pilot to sing "a number". The implication was that Steele, who was mentally unstable, was racist.

The song was also featured as the opening number for The Muppet Show, episode 18 (the guest star was Phyllis Diller). It was included on the 1977 Muppet Show soundtrack album.


  1. ^ ASCAP entry for the song. The sheet music and record labels list only Harry Barris as the composer, but ASCAP lists James Cavanaugh as a co-writer. Archived 2010-01-07 at WebCite
  2. ^ Rhythm Boys Time, July 19, 1943.
  3. ^ "A Bing Crosby Discography". BING magazine. International Club Crosby. Retrieved April 30, 2017.
  4. ^ Paul Whiteman's Original Rhythm Boys. Red Hot Jazz.
  5. ^ Paul Whiteman's Rhythm Boys – Sweet L'il / Ain't She Sweet / Mississippi Mud / I Left My Sugar Standing In The Rain. Discogs.
  6. ^ Paul Whiteman and his Orchestra.
  7. ^ "Mississippi Mud", Second Hand Songs website
  8. ^ The Dean Martin Show. IMDB.