Southern Cross the Dog2018-04-15T14:13:01+00:00

Southern Cross the Dog

Many early blues singers used variations on the phrase “going where the Southern cross the Dog.” The expression refers to the place in Moorhead, Mississippi, where the Yazoo and Mississippi Valley rail line intersected with the Southern rail line. Many southerners referred to the Yazoo and Mississippi line as the “Yellow Dog” or simply the “Dog” or “Dawg.” The first historical reference to blues lyrics mentions this phrase: when W. C. Handy wrote about first hearing the blues in 1903 at a train station in Tutwiler, he described a man playing guitar and repeating the phrase “Goin’ where the Southern cross’ the Dog.” Handy later popularized the phrase in his “Yellow Dog Blues” (1914). Charley Patton sang the phrase in “Green River Blues” (1929), and Kokomo Arnold used it in “Long and Tall” (1937). Today, the Southern rail line is known as the Columbus and Greenville (C&G) Railway, and the Yazoo and Mississippi rail line has been moved eastward and consolidated by the Illinois Central.

Further Reading

  • W. C. Handy, Father of the Blues (1941)

Citation Information

The following information is provided for citations.

  • Article Title Southern Cross the Dog
  • Author
  • Website Name Mississippi Encyclopedia
  • URL
  • Access Date December 17, 2018
  • Publisher Center for Study of Southern Culture
  • Original Published Date
  • Date of Last Update April 15, 2018