Deep Elem Blues

Deep Elem Blues Deep Ellum Blues

Back in January of 2009 I wrote about having the blues, more specifically the wintertime blues, the baby blues, the lovesick blues. I’m sure you get the picture.

The blues post started out with a photo of ice built up on the inside of my kitchen window. There are no worries of that happening this January, its been in the 60s here in western NC.

A few other updates from the post:

  • We no longer have the dial up blues-we’re really uptown now with only the occasional “satellite internet blues.”
  • The girls haven’t been suffering from the “grounded for being a slacker at school blues” in a long time, but with all the extra studying there’s hardly any time left for contra dancing.
  • Along with most of the US we’re still suffering from the “lowdown mean I’m broke and ain’t got no money blues.”
  • One other thing that hasn’t changed is how much I love Paul’s version of the song Deep Elem Blues. The song has such entertaining lyrics you gotta love it for that, but add Paul’s insane picking and emotion filled vocals and its perfection. I mean what goes on between his head and his fingers that makes those awesome sounding guitar breaks come out?

The old blues song has various titles depending on who you ask. To name a few: Deep Elm Blues, Deep Elem Blues, or Deep Ellum Blues. Its been around since the 1930s and has been recorded by various artists over the years including The Grateful Dead. Deep Elm was a red light district in Dallas Texas you can go here to read more about the history of the song.

As is the case with many old songs, the lyrics vary depending on the person performing it. Here’s the ones Paul sings:

Well I went down to the bottoms to see my Mary Lou She was dancing with a stranger she had taken off her shoes Oh sweet Momma your Daddys got the Deep Elem Blues Oh sweet Momma Daddys got the Deep Elem Blues

Well I told that trifling woman Told her what I was going to do If she don’t quit her rambling I’m going ramble too Oh Little Momma your Daddys got the Deep Elem Blues Oh Little Momma Big Daddys got the Deep Elem Blues

Well I once knew a Preacher preached the Bible through and through till he went down to Deep Elem Now his preaching days are through Oh Little Momma your Daddys got the Deep Elem Blues I said oh now Momma Poppas got the Deep Elem Blues

Well I wish I was an apple hanging on the tree Every time Mary Lou came by she could take a bite of me Oh now Momma your Daddys got the Deep Elem Blues I said oh now Mommason Daddyson got the Deep Elem Blues

Give it a listen and see if you like it as much as I do.

Got any variety of the blues at your house?



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  • Reply
    Joe Mode
    February 4, 2022 at 5:52 pm

    My great grandmother and her family attended Elm Springs Baptist Church in Grainger County, Tennessee. She pronounced “Elm” as “Ellem” or “Elum.” A load of Tennesseans went to Texas, as did she and her family circa 1901-2. She was born in 1898. They came back to East Tennessee when her dad died in 1902 from pneumonia. I wonder if there’s an Appalachian connection to the Elum pronunciation?

    • Reply
      February 4, 2022 at 6:46 pm

      Joe-I’m not sure if it is or not. Thank you for reading 🙂

  • Reply
    Marilyn Reed
    February 4, 2022 at 10:05 am

    That’s a real toe-tapper!

  • Reply
    January 29, 2012 at 9:28 am

    Love it!
    Oh yes, you know I’ve got the can’t find a job and poorer than a church mouse blues!

  • Reply
    January 28, 2012 at 2:40 am

    The blues ain’t nothin but a good man feelin bad. Taint it the truth?

  • Reply
    Suzi Phillips
    January 27, 2012 at 10:22 pm

    Could listen to that fine pickin’ all day & I just love Miss BRuth’s attitude. Now if we could all just practice it….

  • Reply
    January 27, 2012 at 10:15 pm

    A little off-topic, but does anyone remember the “bluing” we used in the white wash in the old days? What was that stuff, and what was it suppose to do?
    God bless.

  • Reply
    January 27, 2012 at 10:13 pm

    No blues here right now really….praise and thank God!
    God bless.

  • Reply
    susie swanson
    January 27, 2012 at 8:33 pm

    I could listen to him sing all day.. love that song.. some kind of blues are always around my house, but you’re right about the winter.. spring flowers are putting out it’s been so warm.. I guess we can call it the winter/ spring

  • Reply
    Sheryl Paul
    January 27, 2012 at 1:36 pm

    I love it! Paul has a beautiful voice, I could listen for hours

  • Reply
    January 27, 2012 at 1:36 pm

    Only once in a BLUE moon.

  • Reply
    January 27, 2012 at 12:15 pm

    That’s some great pickin’ and
    grinnin’ to go along with Paul’s
    beautiful voice.
    The ‘blues’ are coming from those
    long winter nights and hardly any
    sunshine. That’s fixin’ to change
    very soon…Ken

  • Reply
    Karen Larsen
    January 27, 2012 at 11:11 am

    No blues here today either. I had my beautiful friends over for breakfast and we shared laughs and good talk- not to mention some good food (if I do say so myself). As B. Ruth said.. life is what you make it so make it sparkle!”

  • Reply
    Uncle Al
    January 27, 2012 at 9:54 am

    Tipper, I guess the only “blues” on this side of the mountain is the “lack of snow” blues. Not that I want a pile of it like we had last year, but I worry that this mild winter may cause things to bloom early only to get smacked by a late season blast from the north. My blackberries weren’t too good and had none of those little grapes for my jelly. 🙂

  • Reply
    B. Ruth
    January 27, 2012 at 9:33 am

    I also like Paul’s version of Deep Elem Blues….and they do a great job on the song…
    Back in ’57 and ’58 we used to sing and dance to a song called “Blue Monday” by “Fats” Domino…The lyrics (sang) thru the whole week, then rest on Sunday and get ready for Mondays mess….LOL He was so happy the whole time he sang the song!
    You could’t stay “down in the dumps” too long ’cause you were dancing (what we called strollin’) around to the music!
    Now you know that all us “make do” gals don’t get the blues!..Was it Plato that said, Happiness is what you make it…or something like that..I think I remember it from Philosophy 101…LOL..long time ago!
    Quothe the B. Ruth…”I think life is a circle and it goes around and around…so might as well make it sparkle…the best that you can”…I am waxing poetic today….Get it waxing/ sparkle? Oh well, I’ve had my say…
    Thanks for the great post, Tipper!

  • Reply
    Lonnie Dockery
    January 27, 2012 at 9:26 am

    I just sit and shake my head when I hear him picking like that! It’s unbelievable. Good Stuff! I enjoyed the history from the Mudcat Cafe too! Thanks!

  • Reply
    tony foster
    January 27, 2012 at 9:13 am

    I’ve got “the can’t wait to get back to southern appalacia” blues. Houston just ain’t home!

  • Reply
    January 27, 2012 at 9:12 am

    There’s nothing like some great picking and singing to chase the blues away. I loved Paul and Pap’s version of this song. Got my toes to tapping and put a big old smile on my face this morning.
    Thank you for sharing Tipper!

  • Reply
    Pam Moore
    January 27, 2012 at 9:01 am

    The it’s raining and overcast, and I’m feeling puny blues.

  • Reply
    January 27, 2012 at 8:49 am

    Its a cool-damp 40 degrees with an overcast sky where I’m at. Great song -goes along perfectly with the weather. This is the first time I’ve heard that song – I like it too.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    January 27, 2012 at 8:49 am

    Your right Tipper, Paul does a fine job on that song of blues!
    Only blues here is the too many cats blues. lol
    Tipper isn’t it wonderful to look back at your old list and see how many things are gone from it.
    Life is good, isn’t it.

  • Reply
    January 27, 2012 at 8:16 am

    If a fella had the blues, that song would purge that problem. Paul really put “The Whammy” on that one.

  • Reply
    January 27, 2012 at 8:15 am

    no blues here for now. not even blue because it is raining today, we need it so bad and it started at 4 am and we are doing the happy dance. that is some pickin going on in the video.

  • Reply
    January 27, 2012 at 8:13 am

    Just a side note to a great song. Regarding the pronunciation of Elem, my great grandmother from Liberty Hill in Grainger County, Tennessee pronounced her local church there as Elem Springs Baptist Church. Of course it was spelled Elm Springs. Love our Appalachian dialect.

  • Reply
    January 27, 2012 at 8:00 am

    That’s some fine pickin and singin. Great harmony. Like everybody, I get the blues but try not to dwell on it. Can always find so much to be thankful for.

  • Reply
    Mary Shipman
    January 27, 2012 at 7:30 am

    Great music, and a wonderful start to the morning!

  • Reply
    Don Casada
    January 27, 2012 at 6:53 am

    Mercy, mercy, that is fine as fine can be!
    A little different picking style and pitch, but the combination of picking and that mellow voice singing a blues song brought another western NC mountain boy to mind – Doc Watson. I reckon Doc would be right proud of the comparison.

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    January 27, 2012 at 5:57 am

    No blues here today. It’s Friday! Only had three Mondays this week. They’re calling for pretty weekend. The grandbabies are coming! So why the blues. A little worry about next week is starting to creep in though. Wondering how many Mondays next week.

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