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Country Blues => Weenie Campbell Main Forum => Topic started by: ratherbwalkn on December 27, 2017, 03:25:21 PM

Title: wayfaring stranger?
Post by: ratherbwalkn on December 27, 2017, 03:25:21 PM
Hi not a regular here but a more often lurker here, but I came across this old goodie.

Ive been trying to work it out, it doesn't seem quite that difficult, but I was wondering
if anyone had leads to the earliest recordings of this song. I have followed this song back to
the 40's but seems to me with its age that someone may have recorded it sooner, I know
it goes by different names (titles) at various times so thought I may ask here, I would like
to say thank you and happy holidays in advance.

Title: Re: wayfaring stranger?
Post by: alyoung on December 28, 2017, 02:34:55 AM
It was a staple of Bill Monroe's repertoire; he made his first recording of it on March 21, 1958. Neil Rosenberg and Charles Wolfe say in their annotated discography "The Music of Bill Monroe": "Although Burl Ives popularized Wayfaring Stranger in the late 1940s when he used it as his theme song, it is one of the oldest, most historically complex of nineteenth-century American gospel hymns. Printed sources have been found as early as 1858 and there are indications that it might well go back another generation or two. There are a number of candidates for its authorship." It's not a difficult song to work out on the guitar; its main idiosyncrasy is that the A part is minor and the B part is major. I play it in Am, so the B part goes to C. Oh, and the second chord after Am is G , not Dm as some people play.
Title: Re: wayfaring stranger?
Post by: Lastfirstface on December 28, 2017, 05:59:38 AM
I think this might be the earliest commercial recording in the "Wayfaring Stranger" family:

https://youtu.be/GFMIR0sIaFs
Title: Re: wayfaring stranger?
Post by: Johnm on December 28, 2017, 06:34:08 AM
Hi all,
It wouldn't vie for the earliest recording, but Clarence "Tom" Ashley recorded the song as "Wayfaring Pilgrim" in a live version from the Ash Grove in Los Angeles that was included on the "The Old-Time Music at Clarence Ashley's" CD re-issue that Smithsonian Folkways put out a while ago.  I remember that he sang one of the refrains as "I'm going there to see my classmates", which really surprised me.  I wonder if "Wayfaring Pilgrim" was the more commonly used title earlier?

Thanks, Pete, for posting the quartet version.  I never heard that before, and it's real pretty.

All best,
John
Title: Re: wayfaring stranger?
Post by: jostber on December 29, 2017, 02:16:37 PM
Here is a site with the lyrics for both Wayfaring Pilgrim and Wayfaring Stranger:

https://maxhunter.missouristate.edu/songinformation.aspx?ID=82
https://maxhunter.missouristate.edu/songinformation.aspx?ID=1355

Some facts and overview of version on the Wikipedia page for the song:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Wayfaring_Stranger_(song)

20 versions:

https://thebluegrasssituation.com/read/i-am-a-poor-wayfaring-stranger-20-versions-of-an-american-classic