Motherless Children

catherine yronwode
Wed Jun 24 20:13:44 EDT 1998

Lisa Otey wrote:
> Jerry Zolten wrote:
> >Anybody out there know any history on this tune?  Was it once a flat out
> >spiritual? It seems to work as both a blues and a gospel. I know Josh White
> >recorded it back when he was hard blues in around 1930. Blind Willie
> >Johnson recorded it in 1927 and Blind Mamie Forehand in 1929. Do any of you
> >associate the song with any particular artist?  Love to hear what you know.
> > Thanks.  JJZ
> >
> >
>         I've heard renditions by Odetta and Nat King Cole. I recorded it
> too. I think it's a traditional folk spiritual, but I couldn't say for sure.
> -Lisa Otey

I am personally much more fond of the entirely different song called
Motherless Child Blues by Elvie Thomas, accompanied on lead guitar by
the incomparable Geeshie Wiley, circa late 1920s rural Mississippi.

catherine yronwode

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