In 1927, the singing and guitar-picking duo of Thomas P. (Tom) Darby of Columbus and Johnny J. (Jimmie) Tarlton of Phenix City wrote, recorded and released the now classic song, "The Stockade Blues" also known as "Way Down In Columbus, Georgia." The record soared in popularity throughout the nation and reportedly sold millions at a time when the recording industry was in its infancy. Featured on the other side of the record was "Birmingham Jail."
"Columbus Stockade Blues" propelled Columbus to nationwide fame. The song enjoyed a revival in the early 1960's when it was re-released under the title "Leave Me If You Want To." It is said that Darby was inspired to write the stockade song because of his brother, an ex-sailor, “who spent about half of this time in the Stockade.” Not realizing that they had written a classic, the duo settled for a flat fee of $150. Despite the popularity and success of their song, Darby and Tarlton never received anything further from their song. "We sang from our hearts, " Darby once said. "And when you sing from your heart, that makes a difference." Thomas Paul Darby died in August 1971.
Click here to listen to the "Columbus Stockade Blues" performed by Jimmie Davis.