Trisha Shetty (Editor)

Milk Cow Blues

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Released  October 1934 (1934-10)
Recorded  September 10, 1934
Length  3:07
Format  10″ 78rpm
Genre  Blues
B-side  "Old Original Kokomo Blues"

"Milk Cow Blues" is a blues song written and originally recorded by Sleepy John Estes in 1930.


Robert Johnson version

Robert Johnson recorded a version of Sleepy John Estes' song, re-titled "Milkcow's Calf Blues", at his last recording session on June 20, 1937. It was released by Vocalion Records in September 1937 as the B-side to "Malted Milk."

Johnnie Lee Wills version

In 1941, Johnnie Lee Wills (younger brother of Bob Wills) recorded a version which was released the same year by Decca Records as "Milkcow Blues" by Johnny [sic] Lee Wills & His Boys. It was sung by Cotton Thompson.

Bob Wills also recorded it on the Tiffany Transcriptions with a vocal by Tommy Duncan. The Wills/Duncan release "Brain Cloudy Blues" is heavily influenced by "Milk cow blues" too.

Elvis Presley & The Blue Moon Boys version

Elvis Presley, accompanied by Scotty Moore on guitar and Bill Black on bass, recorded a rockabilly version retitled "Milkcow Blues Boogie" at Sun Records in November or December 1954. The arrangement was closer to Wills' version than to the Arnold original. The song was released in January 8, 1955 with "You're a Heartbreaker" as the A-side, but would not be released on LP until 1959, when it was included on the RCA LP A Date with Elvis. The tune was also released as a 45 rpm single, along with "You're a Heartbreaker" on RCA Victor records (47-6382). It is listed as 2:34 minutes long, with the publisher Leeds Music ASCAP. It has catalog number F2WW-8044.

Eddie Cochran version

Eddie Cochran's version of "Milk Cow Blues" was posthumously released on the album Never to Be Forgotten.


  • Eddie Cochran: vocal and guitar
  • Dave Shriver: electric bass
  • Gene Riggio: drums
  • Jim Stivers: piano
  • Other versions

  • The McGee Brothers (Sam and Kirk) recorded a version of the song.
  • 1934: Kokomo Arnold recorded two versions of the song, and was believed to be the first one after Sleepy John Estes in 1930.
  • 1946: Cotton Thompson. On King Records. This is sometimes incorrectly credited to Moon Mullican because Cotton was part of Moon's band and recorded this after a Mullican session in 1946. Available on 2 Mullican CDs nowadays and called "New Milk cow blues".
  • 1947 The Maddox Brothers and Rose
  • 1955: Mike Seeger recorded a banjo version that was inspired by the Johnnie Lee Wills version.
  • 1956: [Bob Crosby] b-side of 'Bob Crosby and his Orchestra in Hi Fi' album with Nappy Lamar on vocals.
  • 1960: Ricky Nelson b-side of single w/ You Are The Only One, also included on album Million Sellers and compilation Legendary Masters
  • 1962: George Lewis on his album Endless The Trek Endless The Search
  • 1965: The Kinks on their album The Kink Kontroversy (although they credit the song to Sleepy John Estes on the UK release).
  • 1967: The Chocolate Watchband on the 1994 CD reissue of their album No Way Out.
  • 1970: We Five on their album Catch the Wind.
  • 1971: Mungo Jerry on the second side of their maxi-single, "Lady Rose".
  • 1976: Commander Cody & His Lost Planet Airmen on their live album We've Got A Live One Here.
  • 1977: Levon Helm & the RCO All-Stars on their self-titled album as 'Milk Cow Boogie'.
  • 1977: Aerosmith their album Draw the Line.
  • 1977: Pirates former Johnny Kidd's band recorded the song. It appears on their 1977 live album "Out Of Their Skulls".
  • 1979: Jerry Lee Lewis recorded on the Elektra label.
  • 1981: Glen Campbell recorded the song on his album Glen Campbell Live.
  • 1990: Dead Moon on their 1990 album, Defiance.
  • 1990: Aerosmith on their 1990 MTV Unplugged Live Performance in New York.
  • 1991: George Strait on his 1991 album, Chill of an Early Fall.
  • 2000: Willie Nelson on his 2000 album, Milk Cow Blues.
  • 2001: Doc Watson on his album, Doc Watson at Gerdes Folk City, recorded live in 1962 and 1963 but never released until 2001.
  • 2002: The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, featuring Doc Watson, on the 2002 album Will the Circle Be Unbroken, Volume III
  • 2004: Eric Clapton on his 2004 tribute to Robert Johnson, Me and Mr. Johnson, titled as Milkcow's Calf Blues.
  • 2008: Patrick Wall (Irish blues artist) on his album "Lay me down beside my darling".
  • 2008: Wayne "The Train" Hancock ((Progressive Torch & Twang)(Country)) Live in 2008 on Impact Radio89FM
  • 2009: Obits on their debut album I Blame You.
  • 2016: The Kinks featured a live version on their 2016 Record Store Day exclusive album, "The Kinks in Koncert 1965"
  • Roscoe Holcomb recorded "Milk Cow Blues" on his album "An Untamed Sense of Control".
  • Mississippi Fred McDowell recorded "Milk Cow Blues" on a self-titled album.
  • The song is also featured in the film Walk the Line, in which it is covered by Tyler Hilton.
  • References

    Milk Cow Blues Wikipedia

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