Ol' Red

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"Ol' Red"
BS - Ol red.png
Single by Blake Shelton
from the album Blake Shelton
Released March 18, 2002
Recorded 2001
Genre Country
Length 3:42
Label Warner Bros. Nashville
Songwriter(s) James "Bo" Bohon
Don Goodman
Mark Sherrill
Producer(s) Bobby Braddock
Blake Shelton singles chronology
"All Over Me"
"Ol' Red"
"The Baby"

"All Over Me"
"Ol' Red"
"The Baby"

"Ol' Red" is a song written by James "Bo" Bohon, Don Goodman, and Mark Sherrill. The song was originally recorded by George Jones on his 1990 album You Oughta Be Here with Me and covered by Kenny Rogers on his 1993 album If Only My Heart Had a Voice. Rogers' version was released as a single in August 1993.[1] It was later recorded by Blake Shelton, and his version of the song was released in March 2002 as the third and final single from his self-titled debut album. Shelton’s rendition also a Top 20 hit on the US Billboard Hot Country Songs chart, having peaked at number 14.


The narrator is a prisoner serving a 99-year sentence for committing a crime of passion when he murdered a man with whom his wife was having an affair and presumably the wife herself. Two years into his incarceration (12 years in the George Jones and Kenny Rogers versions), the warden offers him a job tending Ol' Red, a Bloodhound used by the prison guards to track escaping inmates. The dog has foiled every escape attempt on his watch, and the warden even dares the inmates to make such attempt for pleasure just to allow Ol' Red to outsmart them with his antics.

The narrator eventually writes a letter to his cousin, who delivers an unnamed female Bluetick Coonhound and places her in a pen a short distance south of the prison. During Ol' Red's evening exercise runs, the narrator pairs him up with the Bluetick, presumably so they can engage in sexual intercourse. After Ol' Red has become accustomed to these visits, the narrator deliberately keeps him separated from her for several days in order to make him anxious to see her. The narrator escapes from the prison, knowing that Ol' Red will lead the pursuing guards to the Bluetick instead of following his trail. The final lines reveal that the escape was successful as the narrator heads north to Tennessee, and that Ol' Red and the Bluetick had a litter of puppies together.

Although it did not reach the Top Ten, "Ol' Red" is one of Shelton's most commonly requested songs in concert (as well as one of his best-known hits), and he considers it his signature song[2], even opening a chain of restaurants with the name "Ol' Red" in Tishomingo, OK, Gatlinburg, TN, and Nashville, TN's lower Broadway area.[3]

Shelton's version of the song includes a backing vocal from Rachel Proctor.[4]

Music video[edit]

The music video was directed by Peter Zavadil. It also features a cameo by NASCAR driver Elliott Sadler.

Chart performance[edit]

"Ol' Red" debuted at number 60 on the U.S. Billboard Hot Country Singles & Tracks for the week of March 30, 2002.[5]

Chart (2002) Peak
US Bubbling Under Hot 100 Singles (Billboard)[6] 1
US Hot Country Songs (Billboard)[7] 14

Year-end charts[edit]

Chart (2002) Position
US Country Songs (Billboard)[8] 49


Region Certification Certified units/Sales
United States (RIAA)[9] Platinum 1,000,000double-dagger

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone
double-daggersales+streaming figures based on certification alone


  1. ^ "Single Reviews" (PDF). Billboard. August 14, 1993.
  2. ^ "Blake Shelton: Celebrating Country Life". Ada Evening News. 2009-04-25. Archived from the original on 2009-04-29. Retrieved 2009-04-28.
  3. ^ "Blake Shelton, Ryman to open Ole Red venue in Gatlinburg". Knoxville News Sentinel. Retrieved 2018-06-13.
  4. ^ Blake Shelton (CD insert). Blake Shelton. Warner Bros. Records. 2001. 24731.
  5. ^ "Billboard Chart Search: Artist=Blake Shelton / Title=Ol' Red / Chart=Hot Country Songs". Retrieved April 25, 2014.
  6. ^ "Blake Shelton Chart History (Bubbling Under Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved July 8, 2013.
  7. ^ "Blake Shelton Chart History (Hot Country Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved January 29, 2011.
  8. ^ "Best of 2002: Country Songs". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. 2002. Retrieved August 13, 2012.
  9. ^ "American single certifications – Blake Shelton – Ol%27 Red". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved October 16, 2016. If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Single, then click SEARCH. 

External links[edit]