Date: Fri, 20 Sep 1996 17:26:58 -0400


Subject: Re: Salty Dog

Don't know about the etymology, but the "salty dog" song and lines

quoted are known to me from the repertoire of "Mississippi" John Hurt.

Hurt was a Delta musician whose songs come more from the minstrel

tradition than from just blues, and probably cover a much wider area

than the Delta in their sources, but certainly predate bluegrass.

Charles Wolfe and Kip Lornell, in their definitive book on Huddie

Ledbetter (Leadbelly), connect the song to Pinetop Williams, an early

influence on Ledbetter, who performed in turn-of-the-century

Shreveport LA in Ledbetter's formative years (1902-4) as a pianist in

the Fannin St. barrelhouses. I don't know of a Leadbelly recording of

the tune, though.

Just to beat it to death, there IS a reference to what might

be nautical matters in the second verse:

Little fish, big fish, swimmin in the water

Old man can I marry your daughter?

You salty dog!

but that's stretching things a bit...

--peter patrick