22 “When that great ship went down” by William & Versey Smith

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May 7, 2009 by gadaya

William & Versey Smith’s World

William Smith and his wife recorded four songs for Paramount in 1927. They were either from Texas or the Carolinas. William Smith was a kind of “guitar evangelist” with a percussive guitar style and a growling voice, much like Blind Willie Johnson and other singers from this period. Judging by the songs they recorded, they mixed topical songs with religious overtones with purely religious repertoire, but they could have been singing many other styles of music, like black street singers often do. The counterpoint voice of his wife who plays also with a sort of washboard all kind of percussive effects over William’s singing and repetitive guitar riffs give the Smiths a unique and raw sound unheard since then on records.

-I’ve compiled the four tracks the Smiths recorded with some performances by other “sanctified couples” or related style of music.

Enjoy and feel the Spirit!

TRACK LIST

  1. “When That Great Ship Went Down” by William & Versey Smithbukka
  2. “I Believe I’ll Go Back Home” by William & Versey Smith
  3. “Everybody Help The Boys Come Home” by William & Versey Smith
  4. “Sinner You’ll Need King Jesus” by William & Versey Smith
  5. “So Glad I’m Here” by Louisville Sanctified Singers
  6. “God Give Me A Light” by Louisville Sanctified Singers
  7. “I Ain’t No Stranger Now” by Chicago Sanctified Singers
  8. “Tell Me What Kind Of Man Jesus Is” by Chicago Sanctified Singers
  9. “The Latter Rain Is Fall ” by McIntorsh & Edwards
  10. “The 1927 Flood” by McIntorsh & Edwards
  11. “Take A Stand” by McIntorsh & Edwards
  12. “Since I Laid My Burden Down” by McIntorsh & Edwards
  13. “What Kind Of Man Jesus Is” by McIntorsh & Edwards
  14. “I Am In The Heavenly Way” by Bukka White & Memphis Minnie
  15. “The Promise True And Grand” by Bukka White & Memphis Minnie
  16. “Tryin’ To Get Home” by Eddie Head and his family
  17. “Down On Me” by Eddie Head and his family
  18. “Lord I’m The True Vine” by Eddie Head and his family
  19. “I Wouldn’t Mind Dying (but I Gotta Go By Myself)” by Rev. I.B. Ware with wife and son
  20. “You Better Quit Drinking Shine” by Rev. I.B. Ware with wife and son
  21. “Troubled ‘Bout My Mother ” by Patton And Lee
  22. “Oh Death” by Patton and Lee
  23. “Honey In The Rock” by A.C. Forehand And Blind Mamie Forehand
  24. “Mother’s Prayer” by A.C. Forehand And Blind Mamie Forehand

 

DOWNLOAD HERE

butterfly1965


The Titanic Variations

“The ‘Titanic sank on Sunday, April 14, 1912. The following Sunday I saw on a train a blind preacher selling a ballad he had composed on the disaster. The title was “Didn’t that ship go down?”t058733a

The sinking of the Titanic in 1912 was an event that made a big impression on people’s collective mind as it was one of the first in a serie of disasters in the modern world that showed the vulnerability of Man’s creation against God’s Creation, nature. Soon after the event, songs began to circulate and some were put in print on broadside papers. For many singers, the disaster was a kind of modern “tower of Babel”, God punishing man’s arrogance, especially among black singers who saw in the disaster God’s punishement for the segregational policies of the boat’s company (Black were not allowed on board). The most famous folk song about the Titanic was a song usually known as “When that great ship went down”. Despite his chorus “Wasn’t it sad when that great ship went down” the song was usually sang with an upbeat and joyous feeling, the ironic twist gave by the creators of the song, african-americans who were mocking white folks supremacy. Like in other folk ballads, there are key verses that helped memorize the song, for example: “…The rich would not ride with the poor..” “… the band was playing “Nearer my God to Thee”. It became with time a famous song to sing with children at camp-fires.

-For a more detailed article about the song, go to this page

-I’ve tried to include here all the best performances of “Titanic songs” that i know, restricting myself to music that is “folk related” (Blues,country and old-time music, yiddish song) and didn’t include any classical pieces or songs related to the popular James Cameron’s movie “Titanic”. For once i decided not to classified the performances into genres but mixed everything, so you can jump from a blues to an old-timey version, from an old recording to a contemporary performance, etc…I hope you’ll enjoy this  as much as i did when putting all this tracks together…

TRACK LIST

PART ONE

  1. The Titanic, Ernest Stoneman, from “People Take Warning”
  2. The Great Ship Went Down, Cofer Brothers, fromGeorgia Stringbands Vol. 1″
  3. Titanic Blues, Hi Henry Brown & Charlie Jordan, from “People Take Warning” titanic
  4. The Last Scene Of The Titanic, Frank Hutchison, fromComplete Works Volume One”
  5. The Great Titanic, Roy Acuff, fromThe Best Of…”
  6. Titanic Blues, Virginia Liston, from “Virginia Liston Vol. 2 (1924-1926)”
  7. The Titanic, Pete Seeger, fromAmerican Favorite Ballads, Vol. 3″
  8. The Titanic, The Carter Family, fromThe Acme Sessions 1952/56″
  9. The Great Titanic, A.L. Phipps and the Phipps Family, from Phipps Family – Faith, Love and Tragedy”
  10. The Great Titanic, Tom, Brad & Alice, fromBeen There Still”
  11. Titanic Man Blues, Ma Rainey, from “Ma Rainey Vol. 3 (1925-1926)”
  12. Titanic, Rolf Cahn, fromCalifornia Concert with Rolf Cahn”
  13. Titanic, Bright Newton, from The Max Hunter Folksong Collection
  14. Titanic, Bob Gibson, fromThe Riverside / Folklore Series Volume 1″
  15. Titanic, Hans Theessink , from “Titanic”
  16. Titanic, Dan Zanes, fromParades And Panoramas”
  17. When That Great Ship Went Down, The Dixiaires, fromThe Greatest Spirituals, Vol. 2 (1946-1951)”
  18. Titanic (When That Great Ship Went Down), Rory Block, from Confessions of a Blues Singer”
  19. Titanic, Spider John Koerner, from “Raised By Humans”
  20. Titanic, Lesley Riddle, from “Step by Step”

DOWNLOAD HERE

PART TWO

  1. Titanic, Bruce Jackson, fromGet Your Ass in the Water and Swim Like Me! Narrative Poetry from the Black Oral Tradition”00986b
  2. Ballad of the Steamship Titanic, Brave Old World, fromKlezmer Music”
  3. The Great Titanic, Dry Branch Fire Squad, fromFertile Ground”
  4. The Sinking of the Titanic, Lulu Belle & Scotty Wiseman, fromDown Memory Lane”
  5. Titanic, Koerner, Ray & Glover, from “The Return Of Koerner, Ray & Glover”
  6. Great Titanic, Ollie Gilbert, from The Max Hunter Folksong Collection
  7. The Titanic, Bobby Buford, from The Digital Library of Appalachia
  8. Ship Titanic, Ed Badeaux, fromThe Songs of Camp”
  9. The Great Titanic, Hobart Smith, from “Hobart Smith Of Saltville,Virginia”
  10. The Ship Titanic, Pink Anderson, fromGospel, Blues And Street Songs (Reverend Gary Davis And Pink Anderson)”
  11. Down With The Old Canoe, Dixon Brothers, fromPeople Take Warning”
  12. The Titanic, New Lost City Ramblers, fromRememberance Of Things To Come”
  13. The Titanic, Leadbelly, fromLead Belly’s Last Sessions”
  14. God Moves On The Water ,Blind Willie Johnson, fromThe Complete Blind Willie Johnson”
  15. Titanic, Lula Davis, from The Max Hunter Folksong Collection
  16. The Titanic, Mance Lipscomb, fromYou Got To Reap What You Sow”
  17. The Titanic, Almeda Riddle, from Southern Journey, Vol. 7: Ozark Frontier”
  18. Titanic Blues, Bill Jackson, from “Long Steel Rail”
  19. The Sinking Of The Titanic, Richard Rabbitt Brown, fromPeople Take Warning”
  20. Titanic, The Sacred Shakers, from “The Sacred Shakers”

 

DOWNLOAD HERE

butterfly1965

 

Ballad of the Steamship Titanic Brave Old World Klezmer Music
The Great Titanic Dry Branch Fire Squad Fertile Ground
The Sinking of the Titanic Lulu Belle & Scotty Wiseman Down Memory Lane
Titanic Koerner, Ray & Glover The Return Of Koerner, Ray & Glover
Great Titanic Ollie Gilbert Max Hunter Folksong Collection
The Titanic Bobby Buford Digital Library of Appalachia
Ship Titanic Ed Badeaux The Songs of Camp
The Great Titanic Hobart Smith Of Saltville,Virginia
The Ship Titanic Pink Anderson Gospel, Blues And Street Songs (Reverend Gary Davis And Pink Anderson)
Down With The Old Canoe Dixon Brothers People Take Warning [Disc 1] – Man Vs. Machine
The Titanic New Lost City Ramblers Rememberance Of Things To Come
The Titanic Leadbelly Lead Belly’s Last Sessions [Disc 2]
God Moves On The Water Blind Willie Johnson The Complete Blind Willie Johnson
Titanic Lula Davis Max Hunter Folksong Collection
The Titanic Mance Lipscomb You Got To Reap What You Sow
The Titanic Almeda Riddle Southern Journey, Vol. 7: Ozark Frontier
Titanic Blues Bill Jackson Long Steel Rail
The Sinking Of The Titanic Richard Rabbitt Brown People Take Warning [Disc 1] – Man Vs. Machine
Titanic The Sacred Shakers The Sacred Shakers 

Titanic Bruce Jackson Get Your Ass in the Water and Swim Like Me! Narrative Poetry from the Black Oral Tradition
Ballad of the Steamship Titanic Brave Old World Klezmer Music
The Great Titanic Dry Branch Fire Squad Fertile Ground
The Sinking of the Titanic Lulu Belle & Scotty Wiseman Down Memory Lane
Titanic Koerner, Ray & Glover The Return Of Koerner, Ray & Glover
Great Titanic Ollie Gilbert Max Hunter Folksong Collection
The Titanic Bobby Buford Digital Library of Appalachia
Ship Titanic Ed Badeaux The Songs of Camp
The Great Titanic Hobart Smith Of Saltville,Virginia
The Ship Titanic Pink Anderson Gospel, Blues And Street Songs (Reverend Gary Davis And Pink Anderson)
Down With The Old Canoe Dixon Brothers People Take Warning [Disc 1] – Man Vs. Machine
The Titanic New Lost City Ramblers Rememberance Of Things To Come
The Titanic Leadbelly Lead Belly’s Last Sessions [Disc 2]
God Moves On The Water Blind Willie Johnson The Complete Blind Willie Johnson
Titanic Lula Davis Max Hunter Folksong Collection
The Titanic Mance Lipscomb You Got To Reap What You Sow
The Titanic Almeda Riddle Southern Journey, Vol. 7: Ozark Frontier
Titanic Blues Bill Jackson Long Steel Rail
The Sinking Of The Titanic Richard Rabbitt Brown People Take Warning [Disc 1] – Man Vs. Machine
Titanic The Sacred Shakers The Sacred Shakers

 


9 thoughts on “22 “When that great ship went down” by William & Versey Smith

  1. ldp says:

    THANK YOU very much for all these versions of the *original* Titanic ballad. It was indeed at a Scout camp that I learned it and it was typically sung with great abandon. Of course, we children had no real idea why “It was sad (It was sad)/It was sad (Too bad!)” was sung with such glee. Thanks a million for the links.

  2. I used to sing this all the time with my fourth grade class (10-11 years old). And we studied one of the surviving heroes of the Titanic, the “Unsinkable” Molly Brown who settled nearby in Denver.

    Thanks for your continued excellence, Gadaya

  3. Jim Abbott says:

    Hi. Variations part 2 won’t download—message says it is an invalid file. Otherwise, this is the best blog ever! Thanks so much!

  4. Dan says:

    Phil Alvin (ex-Blasters) also did a ‘Titanic’ song on his great album “Un-‘Sung’ Stories” (Rounder, 1986?)

  5. melissa says:

    titanic was the most favorite cruise is the world it was the best intil that big gigantic ice hited the boat

  6. Sawbones says:

    Thanks so much for the William & Versey Smith collection! As always, I’m very thrilled to enjoy your research.

  7. This is a fabulous site post, im pleased I uncovered it. Ill be back again later on to check out other posts that you have on your blog.

  8. Howard Bonner says:

    Don Ross of kingston, Ontario performs a much different version(THE TITANIC) on a release called: LIVE – The Art Of The Steel String Guitar.
    Thanks for all the help!!!

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