66 “Bob Lee Junior Blues” by The Memphis Jug Band


October 19, 2012 by gadaya

On the 19 and 20th of October, 1927, in Atlanta, Georgia, The Memphis Jug Band recorded six sides for the Victor company, including “Bob Lee Junior Blues”. Around Will Shade, leader of the band, on guitar and vocal, were Ben Ramey on Kazoo and Vocal, Will Weldon on guitar and vocal, Vol Stevens on banjo/mandolin and guitar, Jennie Clayton (Shade’s wife) on vocals and Charlie Pork on jug.

  1. I Packed My Suitcase, Started to The Train
  2. State of Tennessee Blues
  3. Bob Lee Junior Blues
  4. Kansas City Blues
  5. Beale Street Mess Around
  6. I’ll See You In The Spring, When The Birds Begin To Sing

“Kansas City Blues” was first recorded by Jim Jackson (see “Old Dog Blue”) nine days earlier and was his big hit song and one of the most popular Blues song to come out of the 1920’s.

“Kansas City Blues part 1 & 2” by Jim Jackson (0ctober 10, 1927)

The chorus of “I’ll See You In The Spring, When The Birds Begin To Sing” is also know as “Fare Thee Honey” or “Fare Thee Well Blues”, a well-know Blues song as well.

“Fare Thee Well Blues” by Mississippi Joe Calicott  (February 20, 1930)

On “Bob Lee Junior Blues”, Jennie Clayton takes the lead vocals and sing this woman’s Blues love lament with her shrilling voice while the banjo/mandolin, kazoo and guitar play the typical 12-bar Blues/Jug band accompaniement.

Lyrics to “Bob Lee Junior Blues”

(with a picture of Will Shade and Jennie Clayton in the 1960’s and The Bob Lee Junior steamboat)

I can’t sleep for dreamin’.
I can’t stay awake for tryin’.
I can’t sleep for dreamin’.
Can’t stay awake for tryin’.
That man I’m lovin’,
He’s trouble all the time.

Wish my man could holler
Like Bob Lee Junior does. Wish my man could holler
Like Bob Lee Junior does.
I would follow my daddy
Most everywhere he goes.

And I asked the conductor,
“Let me ride the blinds.”I asked the conductor,
“Let me ride your blinds.”
He said, “Buy you a ticket, This garbage (?) train ain’t mine.”

Oh, I hate the train 
That take my man away.
I hate the train
That take my man away.
But the same train carry him
Gonna bring him back someday.

The Bob Lee Junior referred in this song is in fact a famous river boat that used to plied the Mississippi river out of Memphis and had a loud and strong whistle.

The band concludes the song by an instrumental rendition of the Blues/Jazz standard “Careless Love”.

The Careless Love Variations
This true classic song of american popular and folk music have uncertain origins. the tune is basically “the sprig of thymes” and some verses are similar to old english folk songs like “died for love”.In the us, it was popularized  in the early 20th century mostly by new orleans jazz bands and blues singers but was also on the repertoire of many folk singers during the folk revival.
Since I couldn’t find any other versions of “Bob Lee Junior Blues” I compiled 20 variations of “Careless Love” for your listening pleasure.
  1. Careless Love Sydney Bechet Blues In My Heart
  2. Careless Love Dock Boggs His Folkways Years 1963-1968 (Disc 2)
  3. Careless Love Lonnie Johnson A Life In Music Selected Sides 1925 – 1953
  4. Careless Love Fred Cockerham Recordings From The Collection Of Ray Alden
  5. Careless Love J.W Warren The George Mitchell Collection
  6. Careless Love Lead Belly Lead Belly’s Last Sessions
  7. Careless Love Big Bill Broonzy Recorded In Club Montmartre 1956 
  8. Careless Lover Emry Arthur Old-Time Music From Southwest Virginia
  9. Careless Love Ernest Stoneman and His Dixie Mountaineers Bluegrass Bonanza (Disc 1) 
  10. Loveless Love King Oliver King Oliver’s Dixie Syncoptors
  11. Careless Love Riley Puckett Country Music Pioneer
  12. New Careless Love Sonny Terry Deep River Of Song – Black Appalachia
  13. Careless Lover Snooks Eaglin New Orleans Street Singer
  14. Loveless Love Billie Holiday Best Of Billie Holiday
  15. Careless Love Lee Wiley Lee Wiley 1931-1940
  16. Careless Love Tim Eriksen Every Sound Below
  17. Careless Love Blind Boy Fuller Complete Recorded Works
  18. Careless Love Joan Baez, Bill Wood Folksingers ’round Harvard Square 
  19. Loveless Love Mills Brothers Chronological, Vol.1 (1931-1932)
  20. Careless Love Dave Van Ronk The Folkways Years, 1959-1961

Click on Harry!

For more on The memphis Jug Band:

Wikipedia article, Jugstore biography, The Memphis Jug Band and Cannon’s Jug Stompers Box set (4cd) on Jsp records

-In the 1970’s, Bengt Olsson issued this great book about the Memphis Blues (and Jug bands). It’s now out-of-print but worth looking for a used copy.


18 thoughts on “66 “Bob Lee Junior Blues” by The Memphis Jug Band

  1. inthealley says:

    hello gadaya,

    I was beginning to wonder whether you had stopped (again) and so glad to find you hadn’t. Did you know that your download company are refusing to let us download your selections – I really hope this can be sorted out, and am sorry for the complications it must be causing you ….. good luck!

  2. DW says:

    Mediafire seems to be on the warpath this week. Please don’t give up; your blog is a treasure and I hope you can find another data locker.

  3. atleson says:

    wonderful, wonderful. I’ve forgotten how much i love this type of blues. I can hear the selections, except for the “Careless Love” bundle, but there’s no link to download.


  4. Crab Devil says:

    I don’t know if it helps to say so, but the problem does look to be with Mediafire, rather than with your actual link. For the time being, some other option (like Rapidshare or Zippyshare) might be more workable.

    • DW says:

      Mediafire is closing people down right and left. You’ve come too far to quit now . . . please hang in there for all the good work you do. And i agree, zippyshare and rapidshare seem to be bulletproof these days, but then who knows?

  5. Mark Russell says:

    Absolutely love what you are doing here and have contributed via paypal.

    However mediafire appear to have blocked your links now.

    Any chance of posting these latest tracks some other way?

    Many thanks for an extraordinary historical document and the huge amount of research that must have gone into it.




  6. inthealley says:

    Thanks for sorting it out, gadaya, and thanks again for the post. I must make another contribution to the fighting fund!!!

  7. Crab Devil says:

    Yes, thanks for sorting that out — and thanks for the whole project more generally.

  8. john says:

    iLivid gets me nowhere. I give up

    • inthealley says:

      For future reference, John, the iLivid link in lots of download areas is an advert …. it tries to get you into using a download manager with adverts and other complications – wherever you see it, ignore it and look elsewhere on the page for another link. Obviously, in this case, mediafire is the problem, but often iLivid masks that fact and does its best to irritate us all!!

  9. john says:

    OK, now the Zippyshare link shows up. And works !

  10. atleson says:

    can anyone suggest the best or most essential cds of the Memphis Jug Band and Gus Cannon.

    There are a number of “bests” of each and “complete” sets, but it’s hard to know which is most complete and, most important, remastered the best.


  11. Shadonoz says:


    Thanks so much for your devotion to this project and all of your hard work to keep the best music of all time alive. It’s always a treat to receive a link from you. Too bad Mediafire went sour. So glad you were able to find Zippyshare. Another site you might want to consider in the future is SugarSync. Cheers!


  12. tantrictrick says:

    a lovely, lovely site and a treasure trove for all. Great Work and very much thanks

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