His clothes were rags; his feet peeped out of his
shoes. His face had on it some of the sadness of the ages.
As he played, he pressed a knife on the strings of the guitar in
a manner popularized by Hawaiian guitarists who used steel bars.
The effect was unforgettable. His song, too struck me
instantly. Goin' where the Southern cross’ the Dog.
The singer repeated the line three times, accompanying himself on
the guitar with the weirdest music I have ever heard.
“Yellow Dog Rag (Yellow Dog Blues),” a
song in which I undertook to answer the question raised by Sheldon
Brooks in his remarkable hit, “I Wonder Where My Easy
Rider’s Gone…” Thus my song was made around the
line (but not the music) I had heard the guitar player improvise that
night at Tutwiler.
Father of the Blues, W.
Eddie and I go to where the Southern Railroad and
the “Yellow Dog” (the Yazoo & Mississippi Valley
Railroad) once crossed in Moorhead, Mississippi. We record in a
gazebo right next to this historic crossing. The only dog we hear
all day is the one that yelps at the end of the first take. I
have no idea why that old hound began to cry at that exact moment, but
it was right on cue. Touched by an angel perhaps?