This page is dedicated to one song: Cocaine Blues. First recorded, in a very whimsical rendition, in 1927 by Luke Jordan, and subsequently reworked, reinterpreted and recorded by a
host of artists. There's been plenty of verses added, subtracted, rewritten and retooled: so much so that some versions hardly sound like each other at all. But they're all... Cocaine Blues.
back to Songs About Drugs page one
on to Songs About Drugs page three
Here's the original recording, from 1927, that inspired so
many cover versions in the ensuing years.
Roy Hogshed's ultra-peppy little version was surely one of the snappiest and happiest-sounding numbers ever written about a woman-killer dope fiend. Great stuff!
Spoken version from Reverend gary davis, with basic guitar accompaniment. very chill.
Mississippi John Hurt's version has been enormously
influential, as you'll hear from many other versions on this page!
Nick pronounces it cock-ain.
Keith's cover of the tune sounds like something he just
knocked off in a free moment, which is what I really like
about it. A wonderfully relaxed, and easy and
Rambling Jack Elliott, like dave van Ronk, directly credits
Reverend gary davis in his introduction here.
Here's the young Bobby D's take on the song: love his humorous delivery on the "making me sick" lines. Then the
way he takes it over the top with "hey mama come here soon, This hashish has got me on the mooon!" After that it just
gets kinda ridiculous!
Johnny Cash's version is a straight up cover of the Ray Hogshed. Johnny also performed the song at his famous
Folsom Prison show.
Dave van Ronk half-speaks this one, with some late'n'lazy
delivery. he mentions "Gary" in his introduction, referring to Reverend gary davis, and Dave's rendition here is obviously inspired by the Davis version.
Very pleasing version here from Hoyt Axton. Love this line:
"get outta here woman, I thought you understood, you ain't
got no connections you ain't no good".
In his introduction to this live version, Townes van Zandt
mentions that he learned this from the Hoyt Axton version,
Another finger-picker tries his hand at the tune. Nice guitar work, very clean and all. Vocal maybe in need of a wee little bit more...
phrasing, if you know what I mean. Well, anyway, he's doing it the best he knows how.