There’s a song by John Hartford called "Corn Cob Blues", from a 1967 album.

The song’s about a cowboy singer promoting the wedding of a member of his backing crew, and the thoughts of the groom during the run-up to the ceremony. Presumably the wedding is to be a public ticketed occasion, a bit like one of Hank Williams’ 2nd wedding ceremonies, which was held in the New Orleans Civic Auditorium.

It’s an odd story, and makes for a good quirky song, but does anyone know if there’s a real story behind it? It also mentions "Hurricane Apple", which I think was never a real hurricane.

  • Do you mean the album Looks at Life? According to Wikipedia, it has been released in 1967, not 1966.
    – unor
    Commented Mar 3, 2015 at 3:52
  • thanks for the correction. I got to know the track via a banjo-playing friend and hadn't checked all the information.
    – Angst
    Commented Mar 12, 2016 at 18:22

2 Answers 2


The primary source, John Hartford, belies any notion of the song being based upon true events:

'Corn Cob Blues' is about a skinny boy with elopment on his mind who gets involved in a highly commercial wedding venture complete with song and dance routine, stale jokes, and a lot of loud promotion.

There is no record of a storm with the appellation "Hurricane Apple", either within the .list of current names or within the list of retired hurricane names.

The lyric in question is as follows:

Well the rain came down and the crowd was slow/ And the cowboy hollered and stubbed his toe/ The signs on track to see from here to town/ Hurricane Apple couldn't knock them down.

At first glance, "Apple" feels as though the songwriter wanted a name comprising of two syllables with soft consonants to maintain the scan and rhythm.

It is also possible that the name is a call back to the hurricane which struck New England in 1938.


It is Hurricane Ethel, not Apple...it was a hurricane that came over the Gulf of Mexico in 1960, so it makes sense that John Hartford would make a reference to a powerful event from his time.

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