“K.C. Moan”


Song fragment, with two floating verses: "I thought I heard that K.C. when she blowed/She blowed like my woman's on board" and "When I get back on that K.C. road/Gonna love my baby like I never loved before"


The verses are vocal interludes in what is basically a slow dance tune, although they sound like they might well have originated in a work song. And, although it's located in Tennessee, Memphis is hardly part of Appalachia. Its music is more closely connected with the Mississippi delta region. - PJS

This sng shows, better than almost anything, the loose form of blues songs. Cohen's three versions all have roughly the same first verse: "Thought I/ought to hear that (old/lovin') KC blow... Blowed like she never blowed before/no more." But one of his versions goes on to include much of "Goin' down this road feelin' bad," plus the "Chilly winds" verse, a second is about a man rejected by a woman, and the third has verses about the KC train straining every nerve. It's one of those cases where there simply is no way to tell just where one song stops and another starts.

Cohen's three texts are at least held together by a common melody, but he notes that the Walburn/Hethcox recording has a different tune. - RBW


  • Andrew and Jim Baxter, "Kansas City Railroad Blues" (Victor 20962, 1927)
  • Memphis Jug Band, "K. C. Moan" (Victor 38558A, 1929; on AAFM3, BefBlues2)
  • Riley Puckett, "Kansas City Railroad" (Bluebird B5471, 1934/Montgomery Ward M-7042 [probably as "K. C. Railroad"]
  • George Walburn and Emmett Hethcox, "K.C. Railroad" (OKeh 45004); probably also "Kansas City Railroad Blues" (OKeh 45178)
  • [Jess] Young's Tenesee Band, "The Old K.C." (Columbia 15431-D, 1929)


  1. Cohen-LSRail, pp. 406-412, "KC Railroad/KC Moan" (3 texts plus a mass of fragments, 1 tune)
  2. Asch/Dunson/Raim, p. 102, "K.C. Moan" (1 text, 1 tune)
  3. Scarborough-NegroFS, p. 242, (no title) (1 short text)
  4. Roud #4958
  5. BI, ADR102


Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1927 (recording, Andrew and Jim Baxter)
Found in: US(SE)