Blake Shelton was still on his sophomore year as a recording artist when he recorded a version of “Ol’ Red” in 2002. The song was an original record of George Jones that first hit the radio stations in 1990. Had Jones been alive, he’s certainly proud of Shelton’s success with his song. While Shelton’s cover did not progress to Top 10, only peaking at No. 14, the song became an audience favorite back then. In fact, “Ol’ Red” was regularly performed by Shelton during concerts based on a high request from the audience. Eventually, Shelton considered the song his signature hit. As an additional trivia, Shelton opened a chain of restaurants across Nashville and Tennessee with the name “Ol’ Red.”
“Ol’ Red” was recorded on Shelton’s self-titled and debut album. Warner Bros. Records released it in 2001 after he left the now-defunct Giant label. It’s one of the three singles in the album which all charted. The two others were his No. 1 debut single “Austin” and “All Over Me” that he co-wrote with Earl Thomas Conley and Michael Pyle. The album ultimately became a platinum record certified by RIAA. Songwriters James Bohon, Don Goodman, and Mark Sherrill penned the tune. Watch the official music video for “Ol’ Red” below.
The Story in the Song
The song “Ol’ Red” recounts the tale of a prisoner who, after committing a crime of passion, was sentenced to a 99-year imprisonment. After spending a few years as an inmate, the jail ward offered him a job. That is to look after a Bloodhound named “Ol’ Red.” The hound helps the prison guards in tracking escaping inmates. Sometimes, the warden asks the inmates to act like they’re escaping to test Ol’ Red’s antic abilities.
One time, the song’s narrator thought of giving Ol’ Red a partner so he wrote his cousin to send him one. In no time, a female Bluetick Coonhound arrived. He placed her in the nearby area of the prison. The narrator brings them together during Ol’ Red’s exercise runs in the evening. That’s for them to engage in sexual intercourse. Eventually, they became used to such routine. This provided the narrator with his best chance to escape from the prison.
Unknown to the prison guards, the narrator had been plotting to escape soon after. He headed to the north of Tennessee and was successful with it. At the song’s closing lines, another success story was disclosed: Ol’ Red and Bluetick now have puppies together.
Going back to the song, aside from Shelton, Kenny Rogers also recorded “Ol’ Red.” His version came out in 1993 and appeared on his album If Only My Heart Had a Voice. Listen to his rendition of the song below.
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