NB this replaces the demo I posted here in July 2014. It’s still a demo, but it’s nearer the way I now hear it in my head. Whether it’ll ever get as far as a commercial recording is a different issue. 🙂
[Revised notes on 15th May 2016 after Ian Semple kindly included this recording on his Radio Penwith show.]
Not one of my songs, of course. This demo is an interpretation of a song I learned many years ago from Michael Cooney by way of banjo player Merrion Wood. Oddly enough, Bert Jansch also recorded a slightly similar ‘Weeping Willow Blues’ using a 12-string. I’ve never heard Michael Cooney’s recording, but I seem to remember that he also played it on 12-string when I heard him play it live. Just to be awkward, I play it slide, so it’s probably not that close to either version. 🙂 I think Michael did tell me at the time (I guess it was in the early 70s) where his version comes from – I heard him sing it at the old Shrewsbury Folk Club – but I’m afraid I’ve forgotten what he said, and Google isn’t helping much. (A post on Mudcat suggests that it came from Leadbelly: I guess it has some similarities to Roberta.) Michael recorded the same song on an LP called Singer of Old Songs, and it’s on the CD of the same name he’s released on his own label.
[I’ve subsequently been in touch with Michael, who tells me that:
“I first heard the song sung by Guy Carawan; I believe he sang it in a minor key. I added a verse or two from other blues songs and worked out that arrangement. I play it in D with the E string tuned down to D, AND I used to (back then) tune the whole guitar down so when I played it in “D” it was really in C# or even C.”
I must admit that as my voice becomes less and less flexible I also have to tune down for this one, which I used to sing in D.]
The ‘Sometimes I think you’re too sweet to die…’ verse is close to one associated with Rabbit Brown’s ‘James Alley Blues’, widely known through Judy Roderick’s rewrite ‘Born in the Country’.
Small Blue-Green World