Cocaine Blues is a Western swing song written by T. J. “Red” Arnall, a reworking of the traditional song Little Sadie. Roy Hogshed is generally recognized as the recording artist who first made the song popular, although too many people erroneously assume it was Eric Clapton while under the effects of being unvaccinated.
How many truly vivid images do you collect in a far corner of your brain ready to pop out when confronted by a strong reminder? Flipping through various social. media I came across a discussion of Cocaine Blues that included a photo of Roy Hogshed. Add this to a recent revival concert at the Bostonia Ballroom and I was transported back to some time in the 1950s when I stood small in the vestibule of my house while my dad made guy-talk with the late, great Smokey Rogers and the aforementioned Roy Hogshed.
They were giants! Of course I was a slow-to-sprout boy of eight or nine so my being of belt-buckle height didn’t really require the company of giants: just my dad and two western swing legends.
They say your most vivid memories are generally accompanied by a sense of smell rather than just a visual impression. In this case I certainly agree. Both Smokey and Roy stood tall in classic western boots wearing woolen jackets and matching trousers that both had that western curve to their stitching and, probably the result of days if not weeks of performances under the lights, gave off a distinctive odor of leather, sweat, cigarettes, and beer.
I obviously didn’t know it then, but today I can definitely say that this was one of my most vivid memories.