Cocaine Blues (I)
DESCRIPTION: "Yonder comes my baby all dressed in blue, Hey, baby, what you gonna do? Cocaine all around my brain." "Hey, baby, won't you come here quick, This old cocaine is makin' me sick." "Yonder comes my baby all dressed in white, Hey... gonna stay all night?"
EARLIEST DATE: 1963 (recording, Dave Van Ronk. Van Ronk learned it from Rev. Gary Davis, who would record it in 1965. In turn Davis said he learned it in 1905)
KEYWORDS: drugs sex
REFERENCES (1 citation):
Silber-FSWB, p. 76, "Cocaine Blues" (1 text)
cf. "Cocaine Lil" (theme, lyrics)
cf. "Take a Whiff on Me" (lyrics, chorus)
cf. "Cocaine (The Furniture Man)" (subject)
cf. "Cocaine Bill and Morphine Sue" (subject)
NOTES [185 words]: The assorted cocaine songs mostly are right about the effects of the drug. According to Esther Gwinnell and Christine Adamec, The Encyclopedia of Addictions and Addictive Behavior, Facts On File, 2006, pp. 63-67, cocaine can have the following effects:
* heart attack, respiratory failure, stroke, or seizures, which of course can lead to death (as in "Cocaine Lil")
* Loss of the sense of smell and a chronically inflamed and runny nose (as in "Cocaine (The Furniture Man)")
* abdominal pain and increased risk of many diseases, especially sexually transmitted diseases, which might explain the mention in this song of becoming sick
Cocaine is strongly addictive, and there are some who die of withdrawal, which might explain the ending of Cocaine Bill and Morphine Sue."
Cocaine was first available in the United States in 1884, was found in Coca-Cola until 1906, was (mostly) banned by the Harrison Narcotic Act of 1914, and was placed on the list of controlled substances in 1970. This would explain the references in "Cocaine Bill and Morphine Sue" to not being able to find the drug in drug stores. - RBW
Last updated in version 4.4
Go to the Ballad Search form
Go to the Ballad Index Song List
Go to the Ballad Index Instructions
Go to the Ballad Index Bibliography or Discography
The Ballad Index Copyright 2018 by Robert B. Waltz and David G. Engle.