Our original plan was to simply post this song and dedicate it to Marylanders who have pit bull type dogs as companions — they being stressed out now over the state’s highest court badmouthing their loved ones, and the implications that might carry.
But then, as sometimes happens, we got fascinated with its backstory, and attempted to pin down the song’s history, which is difficult to do nowadays with all the bogus flotsam — like pit bull myths — that bobs to the surface on the Internet.
We think we got to the root of it, though, and we still dedicate it to Maryland pit bull owners, whose dogs aren’t nearly as “inherently dangerous” as sweeping, ill-informed court rulings.
To them we dedicate all three versions of the song we’re showing you here, even the Yugoslavian one.
We began, above, with one by Lulu Belle and Scotty, a husband and wife, both now deceased, from the mountains of North Carolina. It was recorded during a radio performance, which Lulu Belle only slightly flubbed.
Next we offer you this rendition — combining a 1926 recording by Gid Tanner & the Skillet Lickers with some Walt Disney animation, circa 1924, in which a dog catcher gets his due. Don’t try this at home, for it would make you a terrorist, and, in the U.S., only courts and governments are allowed to instill terror.
It cuts the song short, leaving out a last verse, so here are the full lyrics:
Me and old Lem Briggs and old Bill Brown
Took a load of corn to town
Old Jim dog, the on’ery pup
He just naturally followed us up
Every time I come to town
The boys go to kicking my dog around
Makes no difference if he’s a hound
Ya gotta quit kicking my dog around
As we driv’ past the country store
A passel of yaps came out the door
Jim he scooted behind a box
Showered him with sticks and rocks
They tied a tin can to his tail
And run him past the county jail
That just naturally makes me sore
Bill he cussed and Lem he swore
Me and Lem Briggs and old Bill Brown
Lost no time a-getting down
We whupped them fellers to the ground
For kickin’ my old dog, Jim, around
Jim seed his duty there and then
He sure let into those gentlemen
He sure messed up that townhouse square
With rags and meat and hide and hair
While Gid Tanner & the Skillet Lickers are credited with first recording the song, it was written 14 years earlier and copyrighted in 1912 by Webb M. Oungst and Cy Perkins, a pseudonym for Mrs. William Stark, wife of a famous publisher of ragtime music.
Mrs. Stark used the pseudonym, it is said, because she was afraid the song would be rejected if it was known that a woman had written it.
The same year, Champ Clark, a Missouri Democrat adopted it as his theme song in his campaign for the presidential nomination. He lost. Woodrow Wilson won.
Given the exposure, though, the song became briefly popular, and Witmark & Sons purchased the copyright for $10,000. Some accounts say the payments weren’t met, which led to a lawsuit.
The Second Missouri Infantry chose it as their marching song, and there are those who have pushed over the years for it to become the state song, which given the state’s not yet totally forgotten and overcome reputation for puppy mills probably would be a mistake.
I think it makes a better theme song for pit bulls, for no breed or type of dog gets more kicked around than them.
Here’s the original sheet music
And here’s the version recorded by Yugoslavian — back when it was still Yugoslavia — pop singer Diego Varagic, “Krcma Na Putu Za Tenesi.”
Posted by jwoestendiek May 24th, 2012 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: appeals court, campaign, campaign song, candidate, champ clark, diego varagic, folk, gid tanner, history, inherently dangerous, lulu belle and scotty, maryland, missouri, pit bull, pit bulls, pitbull, pitbulls, presidential, ragtime, sheet music, skillet lickers, song, versions, video, walt disney, who wrote, ya gotta quit kickin' my dog around, you gotta quick kicking my dog around, yugoslavia