“Baby Please Don’t Go” has been covered by many artists over the years and has been labelled as “one of the most played, arranged, and rearranged pieces in blues history” by music historian Gerard Herzhaft.
It’s origins have been traced back to an old folk theme called ‘Long John’ which dates back to the times of slavery and the songs roots goes back to nineteenth century American songs which dealt with themes of imprisonment.
It’s rise to fame came when Delta blues musician Big Joe Williams poplularised it in 1935, (click on link to listen, it’s a great version!), but it has since been recorded by several other blues musicians including Papa Charlie McCoy, Leonard “Baby Doo” Caston, Lightnin’ Hopkins, John Lee Hooker, Muddy Waters and Big Bill Broonzy.
I’m also rather partial to the 1960’s version performed by Them, I love it in fact, but have chosen Rose Mitchell’s 1954 cover for today’s song because its powerful rendition is simply fantastic! Listen above
Big Joe Williams’ “Baby, Please Don’t Go” is included in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame list of “500 Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll”.