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I got Sonny up to Harlem, and we started street playin' in New York. We did that for three or four years and survived. We brought it back to the streets again - Brownie McGhee

Author Topic: wayfaring stranger?  (Read 738 times)

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Offline ratherbwalkn

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  • Posts: 5
wayfaring stranger?
« 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.

Offline alyoung

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Re: wayfaring stranger?
« Reply #1 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.

Offline Lastfirstface

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Re: wayfaring stranger?
« Reply #2 on: December 28, 2017, 05:59:38 AM »
I think this might be the earliest commercial recording in the "Wayfaring Stranger" family:

Offline Johnm

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Re: wayfaring stranger?
« Reply #3 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,
« Last Edit: December 28, 2017, 09:06:40 AM by Johnm »

Offline jostber

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Re: wayfaring stranger?
« Reply #4 on: December 29, 2017, 02:16:37 PM »


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