Corrina, Corrina is a 12-bar blues that dates back to the 1920s and earlier. It was first recorded by Black blues musician Bo Carter in 1928. He copyrighted the song four years later, but even by then the song had already been covered multiple times. The song has traditional roots and was preceded by a song published in 1918 called “Has Anybody Seen My Corrine?” Still, in that earlier song, the words and music are notably different from Carter’s version. Blind Lemon Jefferson also recorded a version of a song called “Corrina Blues” in 1926, which includes a few lyrics almost identical to some in the song Bo Carter would record two years later.
In 1930, Bo Carter as part of the Jackson Blue Boys recorded the song again, this time as “Sweet Alberta.” If you’re a fan of Eric Clapton’s music, you’ll recognize his song “Alberta, Alberta” as an homage to this 1930 version of the song. The Mississippi Sheiks (another alias for the same band) also recorded “Sweet Maggie” during the 1930s, which again shared very similar lyrics.
In 1934, Corrina, Corrina entered the realm of Western Swing when Milton Brown and the Musical Brownies recorded it as “Where Have You Been So Long, Corrinne.” The following year, the song gained an even more significant place in music history when Roy Newman and His Boys recorded it in a session that is believed to be the first recorded example of an electrically amplified guitar. Five years later, in 1940, Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys recorded the song as “Corrine, Corrina,” and it was that recording that cemented the song as a staple in the Western Swing repertoire.
Since Bob Wills’ 1940 version, countless country and Western Swing bands have recorded the song. The song has gone beyond the boundaries of just blues and Western Swing, with more than a hundred recorded versions in numerous genres, including several versions in other languages. It continues to be a staple in Western Swing today, which is one reason (along with its timeless melody, standard blues form, and crossover potential into genres such as blues and jazz) that we’ve included it in Fiddle School.