Washboard Blues

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"Washboard Blues"
1927 recording by Paul Whiteman and His Concert Orchestra.
Single by Paul Whiteman and his Concert Orchestra, vocal refrain by Hoagy Carmichael
A-side"Among My Souvenirs"
PublishedMay 28, 1925 (1925-05-28) Jack Mills, Inc.[2]
ReleasedFebruary 1928 (1928-02)[1]
RecordedNovember 18, 1927 (1927-11-18)[3]
StudioVictor Studios, 952 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago, Illinois[4][3]
LabelVictor 35877
Composer(s)Hoagy Carmichael
Lyricist(s)Fred B. Callahan, Irving Mills

"Washboard Blues" is a popular jazz song written by Hoagy Carmichael, Fred B. Callahan and Irving Mills. It was first recorded for Gennett Records in May, 1925 by Hitch's Happy Harmonists with Carmichael on piano. It was subsequently recorded by jazz bands Original Memphis Five (1925) and Red Nichols and his Five Pennies (1926).[5]

On November 18, 1927, it was recorded in Chicago by Paul Whiteman and his Concert Orchestra, featuring piano and lead vocals by Carmichael, and was released as Victor 35877-B (the B-side of "Among My Souvenirs")[6]

The song is an evocative washerwoman's lament. Though the verse, chorus, and bridge pattern is present, the effect of the song is of one long, cohesive melodic line with a dramatic shifting of tempo. The cohesiveness of the long melody perfectly matches the lyrical description of the crushing fatigue resulting from the repetitious work of washing clothes under primitive conditions.[7]


A copy of the lyrics from the Indiana University archives of the Hoagy Carmichael collection credits F. B. Callahan with the words to "Washboard Blues".[8]


  1. ^ "Victor 35877 (Black label (popular) 12-in. double-faced) - Discography of American Historical Recordings". adp.library.ucsb.edu. Retrieved 2021-10-01.
  2. ^ Library of Congress. Copyright Office. (1925). Catalog of Copyright Entries, 1925 Musical Compositions For the Year 1925 New Series Vol 20 Part 3. United States Copyright Office. U.S. Govt. Print. Off.
  3. ^ a b "Victor matrix CVE-40901. Washboard blues / Hoagy Carmichael ; Paul Whiteman Concert Orchestra - Discography of American Historical Recordings". adp.library.ucsb.edu. Retrieved 2021-10-01.
  4. ^ "Chicago Recording Studios". VictorRecords.com | Victor Victrola® | Victor Talking Machine Co.® | VMI. Retrieved 2021-10-01.
  5. ^ Rust, Brian (2002). Jazz and Ragtime Records (1897-1942). Mainspring Press. ISBN 0-96-718192-5.
  6. ^ Greenwald, Matthew. "Washboard Blues". AllMusic. Retrieved 7 March 2010.
  7. ^ Wilder, Alec (1990). American Popular Song: The Great Innovators 1900-1950. New York & Oxford: Oxford University Press. p. 374. ISBN 0-19-501445-6.
  8. ^ "Hoagy Carmichael Collection". Webapp1.dlib.indiana.edu. Retrieved 2009-09-30.

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