Why does Dylan like “Boogie Woogie Country Girl”

By Aaron Galbraith and Tony Attwood

In the last article in this series we looked at “Red Cadillac and a Black Moustache” – a song neither of us knew before we started the research.

Now here is another rather obscure song “Boogie Woogie Country Girl” although in its time it was (like Red Cadillac) far from being obscure.  Dylan recorded it in 1995.

This song was recorded for the Doc Pumus tribute album “Til The Night Is Gone” and album that not only has Dylan on it but also John Hiatt, BB King, Dion, Rosanne Cash, and  Dr. John – and many others.

The piece was written by Doc Pomus and Reginald Ashby and was first recorded and released by Joe Turner and Orchestra.  I’ll take a look at Joe Turner first, and then come back to Doc Pomus.

Here are the lyrics

She wears loafer shoes, a dungaree
Red jacket shirt if you please
My boogie woogie, boogie woogie, boogie woogie country girl
Well, I mean what I mean, my boogie woogie country girl
Now she digs that music with a beat
Rock ‘n’ rollin’ is her need
My boogie woogie, boogie woogie, boogie woogie country girl
Well, I mean what I mean, my boogie woogie country girl
On Saturday night she comes to town
She plays the jukebox, let her hair hung down
My boogie woogie, boogie woogie, boogie woogie country girl
Well, I mean what I mean, my boogie woogie country girl
Let ’em roll
She digs some cherries, she can milk a cow
Don’t like squares, though daddy taught her how
My boogie woogie, boogie woogie, boogie woogie country girl
Well, I mean what I mean, my boogie woogie country girl
Turner was born May 18, 1911 and began performing in the clubs from an early age particularly becoming associated with the boogie woogie pianists of the era.

By the 1940s he was well established, playing alongside Dizzy Gillespie while making records and performing with the likes of Art Tatum, Count Basie etc.  As such he was part of the movement that joined the blues, jump, rhythm and blues and rock n roll into an ever evolving musical form.

“Boogie Woogie Country Girl” came out of this era and like many of the songs at the time included risqué lyrics that led to radio stations banning the songs – which only added to their appeal.

He was also one of the first to record “Shake Rattle andRoll,” a sanitised version of which was a hit for Bill Haley and he recorded Coorrine Corrina.

A song which of course Bob Dylan sang in a very different way – and I (Tony) want to sneak this in here as I just love this performance.

In 1966 Turner worked with Bill Haley’s band, The Comets, and from here on he returned to jazz and blues performances on occasion with Count Basie and he carried on performing in the 1980s at major jazz festivals.  He died in November 1985 aged 74.

In selecting a song by this legend Bob is seeking to remind us of the heritage that there is in jazz and blues, which should not be forgotten.  Besides it is a lively fun piece of music, which can still be enjoyed today as much as when it was written.

So, back to Doc Pomus the songwriter – who actually began working as a blues singer but by the 1950s he was writing songs for many of the notable recording artists of the day including Lavern Baker and Ray Charles.

His breakthrough came with the song Young Blood recorded by the Coasters.  After that he worked as a lyricist with the composer Mort Shumann writing such songs as  “A Teenager in Love”, “Save The Last Dance For Me”, “Sweets For My Sweet” , “Little Sister”, and           “(Marie’s the Name) His Latest Flame”.  Indeed the songs he worked on reads like a directory of the classics of the era: “Lonely Avenue”, “Viva Las Vegas”, “Can’t Get Used to Losing You”, and “A Mess of Blues”.

Thus it is not too hard to understand Dylan’s interest in one of the great songwriter’s songs – and being Dylan it is not too hard to understand why he chose one of the lesser known songs from the catalogue.

There is an index to the “Why Does Dylan Like” series here..

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1 Response to Why does Dylan like “Boogie Woogie Country Girl”

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    http://thebobdylanproject.com/Song/id/89/Boogie-Woogie-Country-Girl

    If you are interested, we are a portal to all the great information related to this topic.

    Join us inside Bob Dylan Music Box.

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