One of Jon’s favourites it seems as he says, “I really love this song and was quite chuffed when Tom Waits recorded it on Orphans, as well as Young At Heart, which is another unrelated favourite of mine – nice to have your musical taste validated by a genius. He also does a great Two Sisters– definitely a closet folky.” The song is of course an old one and while it will be forever associated with Lead Belly, it’s not until after his death that the Weavers’ version of this made the Billboard Charts. They somewhat sanitised the suicidal tendencies, which I note are reinstated here. Wiki is instructive here suggesting that although it may date back to the C19th, Lead Belly heavily modified it anyway. At the risk of upsetting other, other admin, I can’t help but note its curious use on the football terraces, where it’s the club song of ‘The Gas’ (Bristol Rovers), although the reasons for this seem to be as obscure as the song’s actual origins.
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