The history of a song: Mule Skinner Blues

No mules were skinned in the making of this song! 

Mule Skinner Blues was a song written in late 1920’s and recorded in 1930 by “America’s Blue Yodeler”; Jimmie Rodgers (James Charles Rodgers). Original name of the song was Blue Yodel #8.

Jimmie Rodgers later re-wrote/recorded the song with George Vaughan Horton titled New Mule Skinner Blues in 1950.

Rodgers had two other nicknames during his career “The Father of Country Music” and “The Singing Brakeman.” 

Since the writing of this song it has been recorded by many artist’s, but the most interesting part of this is it has been recorded every decade since 1930.

This condensed list of country singer icons (and one rock) include:

- Bill Monroe 1940

- Frankie Laine 1949

- Jimmie Rodgers re-write 1950

-The Fenderman 1960 

- Osborne Brothers 1963

- Merle Haggard 1969

- Dolly Parton 1970

- The Cramps 1989

- Sweathearts of the Rodeo 1996

- Gert Lengstrand 1997

- Colter Wall 2017  

This song is here to stay deeply embedded in country music history. If you have never heard this song it would be hard to recommend just one version to listen to. The most identifiable recording to people is The Fenderman which has a up-beat put a smile on your face feel, where Colter Wall portrays that longing country sound, and can’t forget to mention Merle Haggard puts his own Okie From Muskogee stamp on the song.

Mule skinner is a term used to describe a muleteer or mule-driver that stemmed from stubborn mule teams that needed to be whipped to pull forward, this at times would break the skin and term mule skinner was born. 


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