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Little Sadie
Composer: Traditional

This song, which possibly dates back to the last decades of the 19th century, occurs, with variations, as Little Sadie, Sadie, Bad Lee Brown, Badman Ballad, Bad Man's Blunder, Ode To Bad Bill, Transfusion Blues and Cocaine Blues. (Note that there are completely different songs with some of these titles, most notably Cocaine Blues).

The basic story of the song is present in all variations. A man shoots someone (usually a woman but a deputy in some versions) and is subsequently captured and given a long prison sentence. Some versions, notably those using the Transfusion Blues, Cocaine Blues and Bad Man's Blunder titles, have different tunes.

Two fragments of the song, the earliest collected in 1922, were published by Vance Randolph in 1948 in Ozark Folksongs Vol. II. A complete version of the song, collected as Bad Man Blues from a convict at Parchman, Mississippi, was published in American Ballads and Folk Songs by Alan Lomax in 1934.

The earliest recording of the song appears to be a version of Bad Lee Brown recorded by John Dilleshaw in 1929. This recording was not released at that time. The Little Sadie title was first recorded by Clarence Ashley in 1930. This version has become the standard version of the song using that title. Subsequent well known versions of the song include Bad Man's Blunder by the Kingston Trio and Transfusion Blues/Cocaine Blues by Johnny Cash.

The Grateful Dead/Jerry Garcia versions of the song follow the Clarence Ashley version fairly closely. The Grateful Dead performed the song a handful of times in acoustic sets in 1969, 1970 and 1980. Jerry Garcia also performed the song over 40 times, usually but not always, in an acoustic setting. Litte Sadie, as performed by the Jerry Garcia/John Kahn duo, is included in the Jerry Garcia Songbook. 7 Walkers performed a Papa Mali adaptation of Little Sadie called Early In The Morning.



Grateful Dead

info Beyond Description, Grateful Dead, 2004
info Reckoning, Grateful Dead, 2006 (bonus track on exp CD)

Jerry Garcia

info The Pizza Tapes, Jerry Garcia, David Grisman, Tony Rice, 2000
info Pure Jerry: Marin Veterans Memorial Auditorium, Feb 28, 1986, Jerry Garcia & John Kahn, 2009
info The Pizza Tapes: Extra Large Edition, Jerry Garcia, David Grisman, Tony Rice, 2010

Other recordings

Little Sadie

info Old-Time Tunes of the South, The Stoneman Family, 1957
info The Music of Roscoe Holcomb and Wade Ward, 1962
info Old-Time Music at Clarence Ashley's, Vol 2, Clarence Ashley, 1963
info Adventures for 12 String, 6 String and Banjo, Dick Rosmini, 1964
info Old Time Music At Newport 1963, Various Artists (Clarence Ashley) , 1964
info Doc Watson and Son, Doc Watson , 1965
info How Can I Keep From Singing, Liz Getz, 1966
info Ballads, Hedy West, 1967
info Bluegrass Alliance, Bluegrass Alliance, 1969
info Sweet Moments, The Blue Velvet Band, 1969
info On The Shore, Trees , 1970
info Doc Watson On Stage, Doc Watson & Merle Watson, 1971
info Faro Annie, John Renbourn , 1972
info Getting Folk Out of the Country, Hedy West and Bill Clifton, 1972
info It'll Tickle Your Innards, Dr. Corn's Bluegrass Remedy, 1977
no info Dance Like a Wave on the Sea, Walt Michael and Tom McCreesh , 1978
info Manzanita, Tony Rice, 1979
no info Folkscene Live: Old-Timey, Vol. 1, True and Trembling String Band , 197?
info Early Dawg, David Grisman, 1980
info Berline, Crary, Hickman, Byron Berline, Dan Crary and John Hickman , 1981
info Our Own, Jeff Winegar & Fred Meyer, 1985
info Folk Songs and Ballads, Vol 4, Various Artists (William May), 1992
info Original Folkways Recordings of Doc Watson and Clarence Ashley, 1960-1962, 1994
info Little Signs of Autumn, Shinobu Sato, 1994
info The Vanguard Years, Doc Watson, 1995
info The Vanguard Years Sampler, Doc Watson, 1995
info Folk Music At Newport, Vol. 1, Various Artists (Bill Keith and Jim Rooney), 1995
info High Atmosphere: Ballads and Banjo Tunes from Virginia and North Carolina, Various Artists (Gaither Carlton), 1995
info Where'd You Come From Where'd You Go?, The Freight Hoppers, 1996
info Watson Country, Doc Watson , 1996
info 25 Years of Strictly Country, Various Artists (Dan Crary), 1996
info The Paul Jones Collection Vol. 2: Love Me, Love My Friends, Paul Jones, 1996
info Used to Be: Blues from Pacific Delta, Various Artists (Golden Delicious), 1997
info Precious Moments, The Sadies, 1998
info Live at the Great American Music Hall, Radiators, 1998
info My Rough and Rowdy Ways Volume 1, Various Artists (Clarence Ashley), 1998
info The Best of Doc Watson: 1964-1968, Doc Watson, 1999
info Live At The Laurelthirst, Golden Delicious, 1999
info I'll Take Care of You, Mark Lanegan, 1999
info Legacy of Tommy Jarrell, Vol. 2: Rainbow Sign, Tommy Jarrell, 1999
no info A Survey Of Rural Music Of The Southeastern United States, Various Artists (Clarence Ashley) , 19??
info Real Time, Tim O'Brien & Darrell Scott, 2000
info Patchwork, Hesperus, 2000
info Making Singles, Drinking Doubles, Various Artists (Sadies), 2002
info Greenback Dollar: 1929-1933, Clarence Ashley, 2001
info Doc Watson at Gerdes Folk City, Doc Watson, 2001
info North Fork Flyer, Black Twig Pickers, 2001
info All in Your Head, Hadacol, 2001
info Rising, Misty River, 2002
info DocFest: A Tribute to Doc Watson, Various Artists, 2003
info Classic Old-Time Music From Smithsonian Folkways, Various Artists (Clarence Ashley), 2003
info Trouble in Mind: Doc Watson Country Blues Collection, Doc Watson, 2003
info Put On The Skillet, Hilarie Burhans, 2003
info Live In Europe!, David Lindley & Wally Ingram, 2004
info Jerry Jams, Jerry Cares, Various Artists, 2005
info Five Star Day, Liz Carlisle, 2005
info Wayward Son, John Doyle, 2005
info Fast as Time Can Take Me, Troublesome Creek String Band, 2005
info Shaken by a Low Sound, Crooked Still, 2006
info Cold as the Clay, Greg Graffin, 2006
info Beware Young Ladies!, Tom Paley, 2007
info Wine Wine Wine, Paul McCallum, 2007
info Three Score and Ten: Topic Records: A Voice to the People, Various Artists (Hedy West), 2009
info Bride Of The Noisemakers, Bruce Hornsby & The Noisemakers, 2011

In Search Of Little Sadie

info Self Portrait, Bob Dylan, 1970
info Another Self Portrait (1969-1971), Bob Dylan, 2013

Bad Lee Brown

info Wanted For Murder: Songs of Outlaws and Desperados, Paul Clayton, 1957
info More Songs By Woody Guthrie And Cisco Houston, 1963
info Sue Cow, Tom Paley, 1969
info Folk Music in America Vol. 9: Songs of Death & Tragedy, Various Artists (John Dilleshaw), 1978
info Woody Guthrie & Cisco Houston, Vols. 1-2, 1995
info All That's Folk, Various Artists (Cisco Houston), 1996
info Complete Recorded Works (1929-1930), John Dilleshaw, 1997
info Definitive Gold, Woody Guthrie, 2006
info Classic African American Ballads from Smithsonian Folkways, Various Artists (Woody Guthrie), 2006
info Murder, Theft and Devlish Deals, Various Artists (Woody Guthrie), 2009

Badman Ballad

info The Cisco Special, Cisco Houston, 1960
info Best of the Vanguard Years, Cisco Houston, 2000

Transfusion Blues

info Now, There Was a Song!, Johnny Cash, 1960
info The Man in Black: 1959-1962, Johnny Cash, 1991
info Strapped for Cash, Ian Calford and the Brakemen, 2000

Cocaine Blues

info At Madison Square Garden, Johnny Cash, 2002
More recording information to be added shortly.

Bad Man's Blunder

no info Single, The Kingston Trio, 1960
info String Along, The Kingston Trio, 1960
info The Best Of The Kingston Trio, The Kingston Trio, 1962
no info Memories: Live!, White Mountain Singers, 1987
info Capitol Collectors Series, The Kingston Trio, 1990
info Greatest Hits, The Kingston Trio, 1990
info Sold Out / String Along, The Kingston Trio, 1992
info The Capitol Years, The Kingston Trio, 1995
info Greatest Hits, The Kingston Trio, 1995
info The Original, The Kingston Trio, 1996
info The Guard Years, The Kingston Trio, 1997
info The Kingston Trio Story, The Kingston Trio, 2000
info Greatest Hits, The Kingston Trio, 2003
info The Essential Kingston Trio, The Kingston Trio, 2006

Ode To Bad Bill

info Medicine Show Man, Peg Leg Sam, 1995
info Kickin' It, Peg Leg Sam, 2000

 
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