Suggest a Songfact / Artistfact
Album: Blake SheltonReleased: 2002
This was released as the third and final single from Country singer Blake Shelton's self-titled debut album. Although it was not a hit at the time, it has become one of Shelton's most commonly-requested tunes in concert, and he considers it his signature song.
The song was written by James "Bo" Bohan, Don Goodman and Mark Sherrill and was originally recorded by George Jones on his 1990 album You Oughta Be Here with Me. It was later covered by Kenny Rogers on his 1993 album If Only My Heart Had a Voice.
The song's narrator is a prisoner who is offered a job to take care of the titular prison dog, a bloodhound who is well-known among the inmates for his skill at tracking escaped prisoners. The song tells how the prisoner hatches a successful plan to escape from jail, which involves Ol' Red.
During an August 2010 Nashville webcast, Shelton explained why this is one of his favorite songs. "It's so strange to me that was the very first song I ever found accidentally when I moved to Nashville. I held onto it for many, many years and had to fight to get it on my album. Once I got it on my album, I had to fight to get it released as a single. Then it was another battle to get them to put it out as a video. Even though they liked the song, nobody ever thought that it would be something accepted in country radio and by country music fans in general. I think they thought that type of song was dead and gone. To be honest, I wasn't sure, either. I just loved it that much and, thank God, on the first album I was lucky enough to have two of the biggest hits of my career. ('Austin' is also from that album). That's awesome."
Peter Zavadil directed the music video. Shelton recalled filming it in the Nashville webcast. "The 'Ol' Red' video was a two-day shoot here in Nashville and Elliott [Sadler] played the part of my inbred cousin, which he nailed. It was so realistic. It was almost like we were making a movie. We did it here at the old Tennessee State Prison and actually had this guy that played the part of the warden who honestly did scare me when he was yelling at me, pointing and spitting, hitting me in the face and cussing me out."