Hound Dog Song, The
DESCRIPTION: "Ev'ry time I come to town, The boys keep kickin' my dog around, Makes no diff'rence if he is a hound, They gotta quit kickin' my dog around." The details of the tussle between dog and people is described, ending when the dog's owners counterattack
AUTHOR: Edison Company lists Words: Ebb M. Oungst; music: Cy Perkins; similarly Richardson/Spaeth-AmericanMountainSongs; there are many, many other claims
EARLIEST DATE: 1912 (sundry sheet music publications)
KEYWORDS: fight dog injury
FOUND IN: US(Ap,SE,So)
REFERENCES (8 citations):
Randolph 512, "The Hound Dog Song" (1 text, 1 tune)
Randolph/Cohen-OzarkFolksongs-Abridged, pp. 357-360, "The Hound Dog Song" (1 text, 1 tune -- Randolph's 512)
Lomax-FolkSongsOfNorthAmerica, "The Hound Dawg Song" (1 text, 1 tune)
Richardson/Spaeth-AmericanMountainSongs, pp. 80-81, "They Gotta Quit Kickin' My Dawg Aroun'" (1 text, 1 tune)
Darling-NewAmericanSongster, pp. 253-254, "The Hound Dog Song" (1 text)
ADDITIONAL: Fred W. Allsopp, Folklore of Romantic Arkansas, Volume II (1931), pp. 196-198, "The Ozark Dog Song" (1 fragment plus extensive folklore about whether the song is from Missouri or Arkansas)
Susan C. Attalla, "The Dawg Song War," article in _Missouri Folklore Society Journal_, Volume 27-28 (cover date 2005-2006, but published 2015), pp. 70-95 (various excerpts with extensive historical notes about the claimed sources of the song)
American Quartet & Byron G. Harlan, "They Gotta Quit Kicking My Dog" (Victor 17065, 1912)
Byron G. Harlan, "Gotta Quit Kickin' My Dawg Aroun'" (Columbia A-1150, 1912) (Edison Amberol 1023, 1912)
Gid Tanner and His Skillet Lickers, "Ya Gotta Quit Kickin' My Dog Aroun'" (Columbia 15084-D, 1926)
Cy Stebbins, "They Gotta Quit Kickin' My Dawg Aroun'" (Vocalion 14378, 1922)
You Gotta Quit Kickin' My Dog Around
NOTES [748 words]: This was the campaign song of Champ Clark, [representative] from Missouri, during his campaign for President of the United States. He lost. - PJS
This perhaps needs clarification. James Beauchamp "Champ" Clark was never even nominated for the Presidency, though he came very close. As Congressman from Missouri, he had been a leader in the fight to strip the Speaker of the House of his dictatorial powers in that chamber. This made him an obvious candidate for the Presidency in 1912. There were four major candidates that year -- Clark, Woodrow Wilson, Representative Oscar W. Underwood of Alabama, and Ohio Governor Judson Harmon, with three-time nominee William Jennings Bryan less a candidate than a kingmaker.
On the first ballot, Clark had 440½ votes, Wilson 324, Harmon 143, Underwood 117½, 56 for others (Chace, p. 152). On the tenth ballot, Clark reached 556 votes -- a majority (DeGregorio, p. 415).
But the Democratic Party required that candidates receive two-thirds of the votes of the nominating convention delegates, and Clark -- though he was the clear favorite among the candidates -- never did gain that many votes (this was in the days when most delegates were chosen by caucus). Eventually his support started to fail, and a series of deals made Woodrow Wilson the Democratic nominee.
William Jennings Bryan, who had already been nominated three times and lost all three times, had a lot to do with this; he had led the Nebraska delegation, and they had supported Clark -- but on the fourteenth ballot he declared that he would not support Clark as long as New York did (to vastly oversimplify, he claimed the New York delegation was corrupt; Chace, p. 155). According to one who was there, "Mr. Bryan had not the slightest idea, when he changed the vote of Nebraska, of contributing to the nomination of Wilson. He merely desired to defeat Champ Clark, with the concealed hope and expectation of prolonging the contest and receiving the nomination himself" (Chace, p. 155). Like most of Bryan's fantasies, that didn't work out, even though Wilson had been vacillating about releasing his delegates by that time (Chace, p. 154). The nomination contest went on.
The first real movement came on ballot #28, when Indiana shifted to Wilson, abandoning favorite son Thomas Marshall (who would eventually be chosen Wilson's vice president). Two ballots later, Wilson edged ahead of Clark, although he was still shy of the majority (Chace, p. 156). On ballot #43, Illinois went for Wilson, giving him a majority for the first time (Chace, p. 157). Two ballots later, other states started releasing their delegates, and on ballot #46, Wilson gained 990 votes and the nomination (Chace, p. 158).
It was the first time since 1844 that a candidate who had earned a majority of the delegates failed to eventually make it to two-thirds and the nomination (Chace, p. 153).
With the Republican Party split between the factions of Taft and Theodore Roosevelt, the Democratic nominee's election was assured. Thus Clark was only a rule change away from being elected President -- but not a single person ever voted for him in a national election.
To add injury to insult, in 1920, when Warren G. Harding was elected President, there was a Republican landslide. One of those swept out of the House was Clark, after 28 years in congress. When Clark was asked why, he snarled "Wilson." He was probably right; the nation was repudiating the ex-President (Boller, p. 214). Thus Wilson not only cost Clark the Presidency but eventually even his congressional seat.
Chace, p. 147, describes Clark as "at best an old-fashioned Democrat, ready to support moderate reforms. He has been described by Wilson biographer Arthur Link as 'a distinguished-looking figure.' As he stood at the speaker's desk 'in his long coat' or appeared 'on the street in his broad-brimmed black slouch hat, with a touch of color in his neck-scarf, he made one think -- well, of Henry Clay.'"
Randolph heard a story which based this on a pre-Civil-War incident in Forsyth, Missouri. Proof is, of course, lacking, and if the attribution to Oungst and Pekins is correct (which I don't quite believe), it seems unlikely to be true.
The closest thing to a definitive word is probably the article by Susan B. Attala cited in the references. She lists an extraordinary number of claims about the source or authorship of the song, none of which can be proved. Her ultimate conclusion is that we don't know the source. - RBW
Last updated in version 5.3
- Boller: Paul F. Boller, Jr., Presidential Campaigns, second revised edition, Oxford University Press, 1984-2004
- Chace: James Chace, 1912: Wilson, Roosevelt, Taft & Debs -- the Election That Changed the Country, Simon & Schuster, 2004
- DeGregorio: William A. DeGregorio, The Complete Book of U. S. Presidents, fourth edition, Barricade Books, 1993
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