SONG OF THE DAY James Longfeather – Wayfaring Stranger

Over the years there have been countless versions of today’s song released, in many different styles and from many different places, but I’d never heard today’s version until recently!

The Wayfaring Stranger (also known as Poor Wayfaring Stranger or I Am a Poor Wayfaring Stranger) originated from the from the southern Appalachian Mountains and has been traced as far back as the late 1700’s.  It has been collected as number 3339 in the Roud Folk Song – The Roud Folk Song Index being a database of around 250,000 references to nearly 25,000 songs collected from oral tradition in the English language from all over the world.  This extensive library was compiled by Steve Roud, a former librarian in the London Borough of Croydon – hence the name!

There are many variants and interpretations, but the song has been always associated with the Appalachians. To list every cover would take some time, but notable renditions that have stuck firmly in my head includes covers by the likes of, Odetta (1965), H.P. Lovecraft (1967), Tim Buckley (1990), Johnny Cash  (2000), Jack White (2003) and Jamie Woon’s rather individual take in 2007!  The very first version was released in 1939 as the b-side to the Vaughn’s Texas Quartet’s Heaven All The Way For Me and, with its smoky vocals and crackling 78 play back, this early interpretation is worth checking out too!

Today’s version has that extra ‘something’ about it and I love that its such a little hidden gem – it took me a while to track this down!  Defined by its haunting feel and enhanced by the ethereal backing vocals, this ghostly version was recorded and arranged by an artist called James Longfeather.  Issued on Tulsa’s obscure Tribal label ( released date unknown) Wayfaring Stranger appeared on the b-side to a Woody Guthrie cover.  It’s a little beauty! Check it out above.

About The Listening Post Blog

The Listening Post Blog - A place to discover new sounds, where the music speaks for itself..
This entry was posted in Appalachian, Country, cover version, Folk, World and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to SONG OF THE DAY James Longfeather – Wayfaring Stranger

  1. Pingback: SONG OF THE DAY Willie Hays – Walkin’ the Streets After Dark | The Listening Post a blog to discover, listen and enjoy music

Let me know your thoughts, leave comments here:

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.