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THEY GOTTA QUIT KICKIN' MY DOG AROUN'

(James Bland)


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The link between the popular songs of the sixties [1860s], and the commercialized product of the nineties [1890s ] is best represented by the music of James Bland, born of free Negro parents in New York, musically well educated, a brilliant graduate of Howard University. He joined a Negro minstrel show company (of which there were not many) and wrote more than seven hundred songs for minstrel use, copyrighting only a few. Equaled perhaps only by Foster in his gift for melody, Bland turned out good songs by the score, many published under others' names.

"Carry Me Back to Old Virginny" (1878) alone was enough to place Bland with the popular immortals... "They Gotta Quit Kickin' My Dog Aroun'" was a comedy favorite for years. When Bland's troupe visited London in 1884, he stayed there to enjoy a highly successful career on the English stage. When he returned twenty years later the minstrel shows were nearly gone and he could not write what vaudeville wanted. Like Foster, he died broke and alone in 1911.

Russel Nye, The Unembarrassed Muse: The Popular Arts in America, New York, 1978, p. 314


Bob Dylan's likely source: Version #1, Alan Lomax, The Folk Songs of North America, Garden City, 1960; Song #158, listed as "The Hound Dawg Song", p. 311; from Vance Randolph (State Historical Society of Missouri), Ozark Folksongs, Columbia, Missouri, 1946-1950 (4 volumes), Vol. III, p. 278.

ALAN LOMAX:
Some say "The Hound Dawg Song," a favourite Ozark mountain song, originated before the Civil War, when a country boy named Zeke Parish had a tussle with a townie, who had kicked his dog. Old Aaron Weatherman, Swan Post Office, Taney County, Missouri, concurs -- "I was there and knowed Zeke and his paw and the hound, too."

Some of his neighbours laugh at old Zeke and say that "The Hound Dawg Song" is a recently composed piece, while others swear that Daniel Boone brought the song to Missouri. It became universally popular at the time when Arkansas's favourite son, Champ Clark, who was candidate for the presidency of the United States, used it as his campaign song. Since that time civic orgainzations and booster clubs in both Arkansas and Missouri have claimed it for their state. The tune is the old fiddler's favourite, "Sandy Land" or "Sally Anne."

Alan Lomax, The Folk Songs of North America, Garden City, 1960, p. 303.


VERSION #1 (also included in Digital Tradition, filename KICKDAWG, as "Hound Dog Song")


Ev'ry time I come to town
The boys keep kickin' my dawg aroun';
Makes no diff'rence if he is a houn',
They gotta quit kickin' my dawg aroun'.

Me an' Lem Briggs an' old Bill Brown
Took a load of corn to town;
My old Jim dawg, onery old cuss,
He just naturally follered us.

As we driv past Johnson's store
A passel of yaps come out the door;
Jim he scooted behind a box
With all them fellers a-throwin' rocks.

They tied a can to old Jim's tail
An' run him a-past the county jail;
That just naturally made us sore,
Lem, he cussed an' Bill he swore.

Me an' Lem Briggs an' old Bill Brown
Lost no time a-gittin' down;
We wiped them fellers on the ground
For kickin' my old Jim dawg around.

Jim seen his duty there an' then,
He lit into them gentlemen;
He shore mussed up the court-house square
With rags an' meat an' hide an' hair.

Every time I come to town
The boys keep kickin' my dawg aroun';
Makes no difference if he is a houn',
They gotta quit kickin' my dawg aroun'.


VERSION #2 (as performed by Bob Dylan and The Band on "The Basement Tapes", 1967)

NOTE: This is just an approximation of the recorded version, which is extremely hard to transcribe due to the constant "call and response" by Dylan and The Band.
Transcribed by Manfred Helfert.

THE BAND: Why, why, why...
BOB DYLAN: Every time I go to town,
The boys keep kickin' my dog around.
THE BAND: Why, why, why...
BOB DYLAN: Don't know why -- I'm goin' to town,
I don't know why they kick my dog aroun'.
Let me hear you now...

THE BAND: Dog, dog, dog... dog, dog, dog...
Dog, dog, dog... Why, why, why...
BOB DYLAN: ...that's right... do that again.
THE BAND: Why, why, why... why, why, why...
Why, why, why... why, why, why...
Why, why, why...

BOB DYLAN: Every time I go to town,
The boys keep kickin' my dog around.
THE BAND: Why, why why...
BOB DYLAN: I don't know why -- I'm goin' to town,
I don't know why they're kickin' my dog aroun'.

THE BAND: Dog, dog, dog...
BOB DYLAN: Yes, yes, yes...
THE BAND: Why, why, why...
BOB DYLAN: Aw, haw...
THE BAND: Dog, dog, dog...
BOB DYLAN: Why, why, why...
THE BAND: Why, why, why...
BOB DYLAN: Dog around...

BOB DYLAN: Every time I go get a meal,
I can see the boys a-planning to steal.
THE BAND: Quack, quack, quack...
BOB DYLAN: Why, your dog, he's a-wagging his tail,
He helps me pick up the mornin' mail.
THE BAND: Work, work, work...

BOB DYLAN: Every time I go to town,
The boys keep kickin' my dog around.
THE BAND: Kickin', kick, kick...
BOB DYLAN: I don't know why they kick my dog around,
I just keep a-goin' to town.
THE BAND: Work, work, work...
BOB DYLAN: I don't know why...
THE BAND: Why, why, why...
BOB DYLAN: I don't a-bark (?)...
THE BAND: Dark, dark, dark...
BOB DYLAN: I don't know why...
THE BAND: Why, why, why...
BOB DYLAN: Barka, bark, bark...
THE BAND: Quack, quack, quack...
BOB DYLAN: Duck, duck, duck...
THE BAND: **** [SUGGESTIONS WELCOME!]
BOB DYLAN: Pig, pig, pig...
THE BAND: **** [SUGGESTIONS WELCOME!]
BOB DYLAN: Duck, duck, fuck (?)...
THE BAND: Work, work, work...
BOB DYLAN: Dig, dig, dig...
THE BAND: Dig... [BREAK IN TAPE]


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