Extra Credit: 1914 Blues Challenge

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W.C. Handy was called “the father of the blues” — he gave himself the title and put it on his letterhead. It wasn’t an idle boast. The son of former slaves raised in a log cabin, Handy became a major force in music publishing. He was the first to publish a body of songs identified as blues, based on lyrics and melodies he heard in black Southern communities. If he didn’t father the blues, he took it under his wing, introduced it to the rest of America, and made it a star.

Two of his biggest hits, “St. Louis Blues” and “Yellow Dog Blues,” were published in 1914, making the year a turning point in the history of the blues. In honor of the songs’ centennial, your assignment is to create your own version of “Yellow Dog Blues.”

We'll feature our favorites, and crown a winner, on the show.

UPDATE 6/27: Marc Anthony Thompson has chosen two winners.

Thanks to everyone who participated!


→ STEP 1: Learn "Yellow Dog Blues"

Download the sheet music HERE.

→ STEP 2: Record your own version
of the song
Cover the song in any style, with any instrumentation; as traditional or as radically different as you'd like.

→ STEP 3: Upload the audio file

Send us your version

In the Description for your track, make sure to tell us:

  • Your name and/or band name
  • Where you're from

By uploading your track, you are representing to us that you have the right to post it (every performer is okay with your doing so), and, if any performers are under 18, that each one has permission from a parent or guardian to do so.

You should also make sure to follow the SoundCloud Terms of Use.

→ STEP 4: Listen to and comment on other people's covers


Questions? Post them below or
e-mail us.

Thanks for participating — we're excited to hear your covers!