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1983 – Music – Roger Miller + Willie Nelson – Milk Cow Blues – Sung Live On Stage At Austin City Limits

Milk Cow Blues is a blues song written and originally recorded by Kokomo Arnold in 1934….after which he recorded four sequels designated “Milk Cow Blues No. 2” through No. 5. The song made Arnold a star, and was widely adapted by artists in the blues, Western swing and rock idioms….to include Rickey Nelson, Glen Campbell, Elvis Presley, The Kinks, Jerry Lee Lewis, Aerosmith, George Strait and Eric Clapton….along with Willie Nelson and Roger Miller….as seen in this video herewith….when the two sing a duet of “Milk Cow Blues” live on stage at Austin City Limits in 1983.

The original lyrics in the Kodomo Arnold record combine the threads of:

       Blues on awakening….

Good morning, Blues Blues how do you do?

Do mighty well this morning, can’t get along with you. 

 

The loss of a milk cow…. 

Says, I woke up this a-morning and I looked outdoors

Says, I knowed my mamlish milk cow pretty mama, Lord, by the way she lowed

Lord, if you see my milk cow, buddy, I said, please drive her home

Says, I ain’t had no milk and butter, mama, Lord, since a-my cow been gone

 

A breakup with his lover….

How can I do right, baby when you won’t do right yourself?

Lord, if my good gal quits me well, I don’t want nobody else

 

A warning that she will have regrets….

Now you can read out your hymnbook, preach out your Bible

Fall down on your knees and pray, the good Lord to help you

Because you going to need you going to need my help some day

Mama if you can’t quit your sinning please quit your lowdown ways.

 

The metaphor of a milk cow for a female lover was already established in recordings with the same title…. and also found in “Mean Tight Mama” by Sarah Martin in 1928:

Now my hair is nappy and I don’t wear no clothes of silk

But the cow that’s black and ugly has often got the sweetest milk

and in “My Black Mama Part 1” by Son House in 1930, also in a four-line verse, but one formed by repetition:

Well, you see my milk cow tell her to hurry home

I ain’t had no milk since that cow been gone

If you see my milk cow tell her to hurry home

Yeah, I ain’t had no milk since that cow been gone                                                                                                   

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