Cocaine Blues - Red Arnall (1947)

Publication Year: 

Text retrieved from on September 21st, 2013.

"Cocaine Blues" is a Western Swing song written by T. J. "Red" Arnall, a reworking of the traditional song "Little Sadie". This song was originally recorded by W. A. Nichol's Western Aces (vocal by "Red" Arnall) on the S & G label, probably in 1947, and by Roy Hogsed and the Rainbow Riders May 25, 1947, at Universal Recorders in Hollywood, California. Hogsed's recording was released on Coast Records (262) and Capitol (40120), with the Capitol release reaching number 15 on the country music charts in 1948.[1]

The song is the tale of a man, Willy Lee, who murders a woman while under the influence of whiskey and cocaine. Willy is caught and sentenced to "ninety-nine years in the San Quentin Pen". The song ends with Willy saying:

"Come all you hypes and listen unto me,
Just lay off that whiskey and let that cocaine be."


Roy Hogsed (1948)
Johnny Cash (1968)
Hank Thompson (1959)
Led Zeppelin played in concert at Budokan, Japan 1971
Hylo Brown, Lovesick and Sorrow (1963)
Hannes Wader translated the song into German "Kokain" (1972)
George Thorogood and The Destroyers (1978)
Uncle Tupelo (live versions 1988-93)
Keith Richards (on Voodoo Brew) (1993)
Hank Williams III (1999)
Bob Dylan (Played live in the early 1960s and throughout the mid-1990s, a version was later released on The Bootleg Series Vol. 8 – Tell Tale Signs: Rare and Unreleased 1989–2006)
Nick Drake, (on Family Tree) (2007)[2]
The Loved Ones (2008)
Merle Haggard (2011)
Davy Graham (1964)