"Big Road Blues" - Tommy Johnson (1928)
Recorded February 3, 1928 at Memphis Auditorium, Memphis, Tenn.;
Tommy Johnson, voc, g; Charlie McCoy, g
Released on Victor 21279
The Mississippi Sheiks had used Johnson's "Big Road Blues" melody in their successful "Stop and Listen Blues". Johnson was party to the copyright settlement, but was too drunk at the time to understand what he had signed to
Stop And Listen Blues - Mississippi Sheiks (1930)
Recorded February 17, 1930 Shreveport LA
Mississippi Sheiks (Walter Vinson (Jacobs) (g,v), Lonnie Chatman (vn)
Released on OKeh 8807
Lyrics, part of the melody and even Howlin' Wolf's Smokestack howl in "Smokestack Lightnin" (1956) and his earlier "Crying At Daybreak" (1951) on their turn, are rooted in Mississippi Sheiks "Stop and Listen Blues"
Willie Lofton's "Dark Road Blues" was also based on Tommy Johnson's "Big Road Blues".
(c) Willie Lofton (1935) (as "Dark Road Blues")
Willie Lofton:Vocals & Guitar
Recorded in Chicago, IL. Friday, November 1, 1935
Originally issued on Bluebird B6229 (78 RPM)
Canned Heat credit Floyd Jones for borrowing the title and part of the lyrics from "On The Road Again" and some lyric lines from his "Dark Road".
The melody of Canned Heat's "On the Road Again" is pretty much their own, credited to Alan Wilson.
"On The Road Again" - Floyd Jones (1953)
Recorded January 31, 1953 in Chicago, IL;
Floyd Jones, voc, g; Sunnyland Slim, p; Moody Jones, b; Alfred Wallace, dr
"Dark Road" - Floyd Jones (1951)
Recorded March 22, 1951 in Chicago, IL;
Matrix (JB 35222, B)
Floyd Jones, voc, g; # Billy Howell, tp; Sunnyland Slim, p; Moody Jones, b; Alfred Wallace, dr
Released on J.O.B. 1001
Besides influenced by Willie Lofton's "Dark Road Blues" (lyrics), the melody of Floyd Jones' "Dark Road" and "On The Road Again" also owes much to Howlin Wolf's "Crying At Daybreak" (SEE ABOVE)
Here's Canned Heat's adaptation of Floyd Jones' "Dark Road" and "On the Road Again".
As I said above, the melody of Canned Heat's "On the Road Again" is pretty much their own, credited to Alan Wilson.
They released it as a single in April 1968, and it appeared on their 1968 album Boogie with Canned Heat as well as the 1969 compilation The Canned Heat Cookbook. It reached number eight on the UK Singles Chart and number sixteen on the Billboard Hot 100.
But already in 1966 Canned Heat had recorded a straight cover of Tommy Johnson's "Big Road Blues".
(c) Canned Heat 1966 (as "Big Road Blues")
(c) Bonnie Raitt 1971 (" Big Road" )
"Big Road" was on Bonnie's first album
More versions here:
More coverversions and the lyrics of Tommy Johnson's version: