Thursday, January 7, 2016

RISING SUN BLUESY & ROOTSY WITH LEAD BELLY AND HIS STELLA

‘House of the rising sun’ was, of course, brought to popular acclaim by ‘The Animals’ in 1964 and this is the version with which I was familiar until a few years ago when I came across a CD collection of Lead Belly’s music at a music store in Somerset, England.

According to entries in Wikipedia, this song has also gone under the name of, ‘Rising Sun Blues’ and if one listens to the YouTube clip (below) it is clear that although the melody of the song is very similar to that used by The Animals the underlying chord progressions do not match.


The Animals changed the song from a blues-sounding ballad to a folk/rock style which might account for its popularity back in the 1960’s. Apparently, a 1965 version was recorded by, ‘The Speakers’ in Spanish called, ‘La casa del sol naciente’ – again, according to Wikipedia.

Although this video only shows a photograph of Lead Belly with his guitar, this in itself is of interest as it is a Stella 12 string – which was an unusual choice of instrument for blues men.

The sound quality of the recording is, inevitably, crackly as it is from a 1948 recording.

I remember my parents, who were staunch classical music lovers, telling me that ‘modern music’ would never stand the test of time but this song is a great example of one that has lived on in various forms from the 16th century to the present day.




REVIEW BY
Lucky Bill
for CBBlues.com