Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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In the Jailhouse Now

First recorded (as “Jail House Blues”) by Whistler & His Jug Band (1924).
Also recorded by Earl McDonald’s Original Louisville Jug Band (1927), Jim Jackson (1928), Tim Blake Nelson (2000).
Popular versions by Jimmie Rodgers (US #14 1928), Webb Pierce (C&W #1 1955), Johnny Cash (C&W #8 1962), Sonny James (C&W #15 1977), Willie Nelson & Webb Pierce (C&W #72 1982).

From the wiki: “‘In The Jailhouse Now’ is an American novelty Blues song originally found in vaudeville performances from the early 20th century. In 1924, Whistler’s Jug Band from Louisville, Kentucky, recorded it under the title ‘Jail House Blues’. In 1927, Earl McDonald’s Original Louisville Jug Band made another recording of the song; in January 1928, Jim Jackson recorded ‘Jailhouse’ and established the first song’s first copyright titled as ‘In the Jailhouse Now’ although the song is usually now credited to Jimmie Rodgers. Rodgers recording of ‘In the Jailhouse Now’ was recorded February 15, 1928, in Camden, New Jersey, and features Rodgers’ famous yodel throughout the song. In 1938, Gene Autry and his side-kick, Smiley Burnette (as ‘Frog’), sang the Jimmie Rodgers version in the movie Prairie Moon.

“After Rodgers’ recording, the best-known version of the song was by Webb Pierce, who had a #1 Country hit with the song in 1955 – a hit so big its 21-week run at the top of the Country chart was a record for 58 years. When Johnny Cash recorded the song in 1962, he used lyrics that are different from Jimmie Rodgers’ versions which Cash learned from the African-American jug band musicians in Memphis. The song again regained popularity years later in 1977 when Sonny James recorded a live version during a 1976 concert at Tennessee State Prison.

“In O Brother, Where Art Thou?, ‘Delmar’ (Tim Blake Nelson) sings a rendition, with ‘Pete’ (John Turturro) yodeling between the verses, prior to the Soggy Bottom Boys’ main number, ‘Man of Constant Sorrow‘.”

Earl McDonald’s Original Louisville Jug Band, “He’s in the Jailhouse Now” (1927):

Jim Jackson, “He’s in the Jailhouse Blues” (1928):

Jimmie Rodgers, “In the Jailhouse Now” (1928):

Gene Autry, “In the Jailhouse Now” from Prairie Moon (1938):

Webb Pierce, “In the Jailhouse Now” (1955):

Johnny Cash, “In the Jailhouse Now” (1962):

Sonny James, “In the Jailhouse Now” (1977):

Willie Nelson & Webb Pierce, “In the Jailhouse Now” (1982):

Tim Blake Nelson, “In the Jailhouse Now” from Oh Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000):

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