Bill Monroe performs “Mule Skinner Blues” Live On Grand Ole Opry 1992.

Bill Monroe performed the song for his debut on November 25, 1939, at the Grand Ole Opry. It was his first solo recording for the RCA label Victor, he recorded it on October 7, 1940

YouTube When The Cowboy Sings Channel
YouTube When The Cowboy Sings Channel

Mule Skinner Blues:

Song originally called Blue Yodel No. 8, written by Jimmie Rodgers & George Vaughan, was recorded for the first time by Jimmie Rodgers, for the victor label, on July 11, 1930, in Los Angeles, California. It has been recorded by many artists since then, acquiring the de facto title “Mule Skinner Blues” after Rodgers called her “Blue Yodel # 8” (one of her Blue Yodels).

Single Bill Monroe ( Decca 1950 )
Single Bill Monroe ( Decca 1950 )

Bill Monroe performed the song for his debut on November 25, 1939, at the Grand Ole Opry. It was his first solo recording for the RCA label Victor, he recorded it on October 7, 1940, at Rooms 104, 106, Kimball House, 30 South Pryor St., Atlanta, Georgia. In this recording was accompanied by, Clyde Moody (guitar / mandolin / vocal), Tommy Magness (vocal), Cousin Wilbur (bass) .With the production of Frank Walker & Dan Hornsby.
Monroe recorded again in 1950 as “New Mule Skinner Blues”, with updated lyrics by George Vaughn (also known as Vaughn Horton), who sometimes appears as co-author of the original. It was recorded on February 3, 1950, in Castle Studio at The Tulane Hotel, 206 8th Ave. North, Nashville 3, TN. In this recording was accompanied by, Jimmy Martin (guitar), Rudy Lyle (banjo), Joel Price (bass), Vassar Clements (fiddle).

Monroe, known as Father of Bluegrass, had found a way to fuse the popular Hillbilly songs of the era with the music of the oldest string band. ”
The term “Mule Skinner”, the jargon of the muleteers, is a mule driver, and has nothing to do with removing the skin of the animal.



Single Dolly Parton ( RCA 1970 )
Single Dolly Parton ( RCA 1970 )

 

It is a very versioned song, with more than 70 recorded versions. The version that got highest in the country music charts, was the recording made by Dolly Parton (RCA 1970), reaching # 3 in the charts, earning a nomination to the Grammy for Best Female Country Vocal.

 

 

Cover single The Fendermen ( Top Rank 1960 )
Cover single The Fendermen ( Top Rank 1960 )

Some versions:
Gene Autry 1931 (Champion Records)
Roy Acuff & His Smoky Mountain Boys 1940 (Okeh Records)
Maddox Brothers & Rose 1948 (4 Star)
James O’Gwynn 1957 (Mercury)
The Fendermen 1960 (Cuca Records)
Dolly Parton 1970 (RCA)
Otis Williams 1971 (Stop Records)
Van Morrison 1997 (Exile Records)
And many more…





Bill Monroe – Mule Skinner Blues Lyrics

Good morning captain good morning son
Do you need another mule skinner
Out on your new road line

Well I like to work I’m rolling all the time
Lord I like to work boy I’m rolling all the time
I can pop my initials Right on a mule’s behind

Well it’s hey little water boy bring your water ’round
Lord it’s hey little water boy bring your water ’round
And if you don’t like your job just set that water bucket down

I work out on the new road from a dollar and a dime a day
Lord I work out on the new road I make a dollar and a dime a day
I’ve got three women on Saturday night Waiting to draw my pay

Well I’m going to town honey what can I bring you back
Well I’m going to town baby what can I bring you back
Just bring a pint of good rye And a John B.Stetson hat

Lord it’s raining here and it’s storming on the deep blue sea
Lord it’s raining here and it’s storming on the deep blue sea
Can’t no blonde headed woman make a monkey out for me

If your house catches fire and there ain’t no water ’round
If your house catches fire and there ain’t no water ’round
Just throw your good gal out the window let your house just burn on down

Well I’m leaving here and I ain’t gonna take no clothes
I’m leaving here and I ain’t gonna take no clothes
There may be good times in this old town but it’s better on down the road

Single Bill Monroe ( RCA 1940 )
Single Bill Monroe ( RCA 1940 )

Miquel Batlle
djmiquel@whenthecowboysings.org