Johnny Cash vs Gordon Jenkins vs Little Brother Montgomery

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Jake
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Johnny Cash vs Gordon Jenkins vs Little Brother Montgomery

Post by Jake » Fri Feb 21, 2020 5:41 pm

Audio: Johnny Cash - "Folsom Prison Blues"


Sun Records 232, 1955.

Audio: Gordon Jenkins ft. Beverly Mahr - "Crescent City Blues"


From Seven Dreams, Decca Records, 1953.


Audio: Little Brother Montgomery - "Crescent City Blues"


Bluebird Records B6733, 1936.


I don't think I'd ever heard the Gordon Jenkins version. Fascinating! It's not surprising that after the live version of the song became a hit in 1968, Jenkins sued Cash and reportedly settled for $75,000. But I wonder if Jenkins ever kicked any dough to Little Brother Montgomery, from whom he borrowed the melody. Doubt it.
In a mid-'90s interview with a Canadian magazine, Cash said he heard the Jenkins tune during his Air Force days in Germany. “At the time, I really had no idea I would be a professional recording artist; I wasn’t trying to rip anybody off,” he said.

“So when I later went to Sun to record the song, I told Sam Phillips that I rewrote an old song to make my song, and that was that. Sometime later I met up with Gordon Jenkins and we talked about what had happened, and everything was right.”
--ROBERT HILBURN, Los Angeles Times, AUG. 22, 2006

jonas
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Re: Johnny Cash vs Gordon Jenkins vs Little Brother Montgomery

Post by jonas » Fri Feb 21, 2020 10:22 pm

It’s really fun to listen to the evolution of that song. I don’t recall hearing of any other issues with Johnny Cash taking songs without attribution, and I’m glad he kicked some money over to at least one of these guys.

worpswede
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Re: Johnny Cash vs Gordon Jenkins vs Little Brother Montgomery

Post by worpswede » Thu Mar 05, 2020 10:27 am

Interesting stuff. I think the compensation to Gordon Jenkins is pretty obvious, but I struggle with the Little Brother Montgomery title-who's melody seems derivative of Jimmie Rodgers' In The Jailhouse Now.

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