Click here to READ ALL ABOUT "Mary Don't You Weep"
The ORIGINAL version titled "O Mary Don't You Weep (Don't You Mourn)" by the Fisk University Male Quartette was recorded October 1915 and released on the Columbia-label (Columbia A-1895)
The ORIGINAL is also contained on the next CD:
(c) The Southern 4 (1921) (as "O Mary, Doan You Weep, Doan You Moan") (Negro Spiritual)
Recorded June 1921
Released on Edison 50885.
Listen here (at about 2 min and 12 sec)
(c) Virginia Female Jubilee Singers (1921) (as "Oh Mary, Don't You Weep, Don't You Mourn")
Recorded September 7, 1921
in New York City
Released on Okeh 4430
(c) Alf. Taylor and his Old Timber Quartet (1924) (as "Pharoah's Army Got Drowned")
Recorded August 11, 1924.
Released on Victor 19451
Listen here (at 6 min and 25 seconds in the next YT)
(c) Norfolk Jubilee Quartette (1926) (as "Pharaoh's Army Got Drowned")
Recorded January 1926
Released on the Paramount-label (Paramount 12342)
Contained on the next album:
Or to a sample here:
(c) Birmingham Jubilee Singers (1927) (as "Pharaoh's Army Got Drowned")
Recorded in Atlanta, GA, November 5, 1926
Released 1927 on the Columbia-label (Columbia 14203-D)
Contained on the next album:
Listen here: (the sleeve shown in the Youtube below is the wrong one)
Or to a sample here:
(c) West Virginia Collegiate Institute Glee Club (1927) (as "Oh! Mary Don't You Weep")
Recorded in New York, February 21, 1927.
Brunswick 3500 was canceled before release, it then was released on Brunswick 4027.
Listen to a sample here:
(c) Georgia Yellow Hammers (1927) (as "Mary Don't You Weep") (Bud Landress)
Recorded August 9, 1927 in Charlotte, North Carolina under the supervision of Ralph Peer.
Bud Landress was one of the Yellow Hammers.
Released on the Victor-label (Victor 20928)
(c) Utica Institute Jubilee Singers - O Mary Don't You Weep (Negro Spiritual)
Recorded April 24, 1928, New York
Released on Victor 21373
and Bluebird 1828
(c) Biddleville Quintette - "Pharoah's Army Got Drowned"
Recorded April 1929
Released on Paramount-label (12848) and on QRS label (QRS 7073)
Contained on the next album:
Filmed March 21, 1929 here BELOW is a rare and historical footage of some anonymous workers (named Georgia Field Hands on a Document CD) grouped around an Augusta, GA. stump take, backed by a lone banjo.
(c) Leadbelly - Mary, Don't You Weep
Leadbelly has covered this song on a few occasions.
On January 20, 1935 he recorded "Mary Don't You Weep" (matrix 131-B-1) in Wilton, Connecticut for the Library of Congress.
In October 1948 he recorded "Mary Don't You Weep" in New York, with Martha Promise doing harmony-vocals.
Released a few years later on the Folkways-set "Leadbelly's Last Sessions Volume One".
(c) Frazier Family - Oh Mary, Don't You Weep
On October 16, 1938, Alan Lomax did a field recording for the Library of Congress, in Michigan, Detroit, of The Frazier Family singing "Oh Mary Don't You Weep".
It was released on the next album:
(c) Rosetta Tharpe - Don't You Weep, Oh Mary, Don't You Weep
Recorded in New York City, NY; February 23, 1956
Listen to a sample here:
(c) Pete Seeger - Mary Don't You Weep
Released in 1957 on the first volume of the American Favorite Ballads- series on Folkways FA 2320.
It was this version that inspired the 2006 Bruce Springsteen cover-version.
(c) Tommy Collins - O Mary Don't You Weep
Recorded 12 July 1957 [no. 6138, 10:30-14:00] Capitol Recording Studio, 1710 North Vine St., Hollywood, CA – Tommy Collins (Buck Owens [gt], Lewis Talley [gt], Fuzzy Owen [bass], Pee Wee Adams [drums], Merrill E. Moore [piano], Wanda Collins [harm vcl]. Producer: Ken Nelson)
045 17309-15 O MARY DON’T YOU WEEP unissued
Finally released in 1992 on the Bear Family-label CD "Leonard"( BCD-15577)
During the UK Skiffle-boom period 2 Skiffle-groups recorded a version of the spiritual:
Les Hobeaux - Oh Mary Don't You Weep
Listen to a sample here:
Lea Valley Skiffle Group - Oh Mary Don't You Weep
Listen to a sample here:
(c) Swan Silvertones - Oh Mary Don't You Weep
Recorded August 1958 and released on Vee Jay 867 at the end of the year it became one of the Swan's most succesful and influential songs.
(c) Caravans - Mary Don't You Weep
Recorded December 30, 1958
unknown (org, p, d) Albertina Walker, Shirley Caesar, Inez Andrews, Eddie Williams, and others? (vocal group)
Released in 1959 on the Gospel-label (a sub-label of Savoy) this was another influential version (for Aretha Franklin ao)
Gospel 1017 Mary Don't You Weep, Pt. 1 / Mary Don't You Weep, Pt. 2
(c) Jimmy Witherspoon - Oh Mary, Don't You Weep
Released in 1959 on the album "Feelin' The Spirit"
Label: HiFi Records – R 422
(c) Nat King Cole - Oh Mary, Don't You Weep
Recorded at The First Church Of Deliverance, Chicago, IL, September 29, 1958
Nat King Cole (vo) The First Church Of Deliverance Choir (choir) Gordon Jenkins (arr, cond)
Released in 1959 on the album "Everytime I Feel The Spirit" (Capitol SW 1249)
(c) The Harmonizing Four - Mary Don't You Weep
Just as the Caravans and The Swan Silvertones, The Harmonizing Four were also a black gospel group recording a version of this spiritual.
The Harmonizing Four version was released in 1960 on the album "God Will Take Care Of You" (Vee Jay LP-5009)
(c) Stonewall Jackson - Mary Don't You Weep (Marijohn Wilkin - Mel Tillis)
Recorded 21 July 1959 [14:30-17:30, 18:00-21:00] Bradley Film & Recording Studio, 804 16th Ave. South, Nashville, TN - Stonewall Jackson (Arnie Derkson [gt], Grady Martin [gt], Alvin Sutton [gt], Paul Williams [gt], Harold Bradley [banjo], Little Roy Wiggins [steel], Junior Huskey [bass], Buddy Harman [drums], Marijohn Wilkin [piano]. Producer: Don Law)
First release October 1959 on album "The Dynamic Stonewall Jackson" (Columbia CS 8186).
On November 16, 1959 "Mary Don't You Weep" was released on a 45 on the Columbia-label (4-41533).
Stonewall's version reached the #12 position on the C&W Charts.
(c) Kingston Trio - Don't You Weep, Mary
Recorded 17 August 1961 [no 10255, 15:00-18:00/18:30-21:30/21:30-23:30] Capitol Recording Studio, 1750 North Vine St., Hollywood 28, CA – Kingston Trio (John Stewart [vcl/gt/banjo], Nick Reynolds [vcl/gt], Bob Shane [vcl/gt] + Morris "Buck" Wheat [bass]. Producer: Voyle Gilmore)
Released September 1961 on album: "Close Up" (Capitol ST-1642)
The Kingston Trio had recorded the song earlier on October 4, 1960 in the same studio with the same personnel, but that version was not released until the Bear Family Box: Kingston Trio: The Capitol Years.
(c) Mel Tillis - Mary, Don't You Weep
Recorded ca. March 1962 Columbia Recording Studio, 804 16th Ave. South, Nashville 3, TN – Mel Tillis (Producer: Don Law)
Released in 1962 on the album "Heart Over Mind" on the Columbia-label (CS-8524).
3 years before, in 1959, Stonewall Jackson had a big C&W hit with Mel Tillis and Marijohn Wilkin's arrangement of "Mary, Don't You Weep". This was recorded in the same studio and with the same producer.
(c) Mississippi John Hurt - Oh Mary Don't You Weep
Recorded July 15, 1963 at the Ontario Place coffee house in Washington DC.
(c) The Halifax Three - Oh Mary Don’t You Weep (Arr by Richard Byrne)
Released in 1963 on the album: The Halifax Three (Epic 26038)
Produced by Bob Morgan
The Halifax Three with Denny Doherty (before he became a Papa (in the Mamas and Papas)
(c) Bobby Darin - Mary Don't You Weep
Released November 1963 on album: "Golden Folk Hits" (Capitol ST-2007).
"Golden Folk Hits" was Darin's second album of folk songs, produced by Nik Venet. Playing in the sessions were Glen Campbell, James Burton, Phil Ochs and Roger McGuinn (who would record his own version in 2005 in the context of his Folk Den project.
(c) Freedom Singers (led by Betty Mae Fikes) - If You Miss Me from the Back of the Bus
With liberation as one of its themes, the song again become popular during the 1950s and 1960s American Civil Rights Movement. (Additionally, a song that explicitly chronicles the victories of the Civil Rights Movement, "If You Miss Me from the Back of the Bus", written by Charles Neblett of The Freedom Singers, was sung to this tune and became one of the most well-known songs of that movement.
Recorded in Selma, AL, October 1963 by the Freedom Singers led by Betty Mae Fikes.
Released on the next album:
(c) James Brown - Oh Baby Don’t You Weep (Part 1) / Oh Baby Don’t You Weep (Part 2) -
adapts elements from the gospel song ‘Oh Mary Don’t You Weep.’
RECORDING DATE:OCTOBER 4,1963
RECORDING PLACE:KING STUDIOS,CINCINNATI,OH.
Released January 1964 on the King-label [King 5842]
(c) Soul Stirrers - Oh Mary Don't You Weep
Recorded January 28, 1964
Studio: RCA Studios in Los Angeles
Producer: Sam Cooke
Released as the B-side of "Looking BACK" on the SAR-label (SAR 150)
(c) Johnny Nash - Oh Mary Don't You Weep
Groove 58-0030 - I'm Leaving / Oh Mary Don't You Weep – 1964
(c) Justin Hinds - Jump Out Of The Frying Pan
In 1964, Jamaican artist Justin Hinds had a ska hit with "Jump Out Of The Frying Pan", whose lyrics borrowed heavily from the spiritual.
(c) Laurel Aitken - Mary Don't You Weep
And the Godfather of Ska, Laurel Aitken, also covered this spiritual, in 1964.
(c) Staple Singers - Mary Don't You Weep
The Staple Singers version of "Mary Don't You Weep" was contained on the album "Amen" (Epic-label 24132)
(c) Shilos - Mary Don't You Weep (Dennis Hupp)
For all of their activities in and around South Carolina, and despite the best efforts of Freeman to boost the group's profile, The Shilos never made the jump to a recording contract. They made one body of nine songs as a demo, cut in March of 1965 at the radio station at Bob Jones University, in the hope of securing a recording contract.
The music on that tape, later released as an album by Sierra Records called Gram Parsons & the Shilos: The Early Years, Vol. 1
Gram Parsons: guitar, vocals
Paul Surratt: guitar, banjo, vocals
Joe Kelly: bass, vocals
George Wrigley: guitar, banjo, vocals
(c) Skip James - Oh Mary Don't You Weep
Recorded March 22-24, 1967 - New York City
Skip James cover-version was finally released in 1998 on a Vanguard CD: " Rare and Unreleased" (Vanguard 79715-2)
(c) Aretha Franklin - Mary Don't You Weep (Inez Andrews)
Recorded 'Live' at the New Temple Missionary Baptist Church in Los Angeles, January 13–14, 1972.
Aretha Franklin (p, cel, vo) Rev. James Cleveland (p, dir) Kenneth Lupper (org) Cornell Dupree (g) Chuck Rainey (el-b) Bernard Purdie (d) Pancho Morales (cga) Rev. C.L. Birden (pastor) Rev. C.L. Franklin (comments) The Southern California Community Choir (choir) Alexander Hamilton (assistant dir)
Released June 1972 on the next album:
As we see Aretha's version credits Inez Andrews of the Caravans.
Paul Simon was impressed by the version of the Swan Silvertones.
The Swan Silvertones gospel standard "Mary Don't You Weep" became famous beyond their expectations when Blood, Sweat, and Tears member Al Kooper, a fan of the Swans, introduced their music to a young Paul Simon.
An inspiration for his hit "Bridge Over Troubled Water" supposedly came from a line in "Mary" : "I'll be a bridge over deep water".
Simon also borrowed the Swans' "Mary" chord progressions for his "Loves Me Like a Rock" hit with the DIXIE HUMMINGBIRDS.
9c) Taj Mahal & The Pointer Sisters - Mary Don't You Weep
In 1973 Taj Mahal & The Pointer Sisters were coupled to record a few songs. "Mary Don't You Weep" was one of the songs recorded.
Unissued at that time but included on the next Taj Mahal album (released in 1998)
(c) Pete Seeger & Arlo Guthrie - Oh, Mary Don't You Weep
On May, 9 1974, the late singer and songwriter Phil Ochs organized a concert to benefit the Friends of Chile. Chile, of course, was a country in peril; one that badly needed friends after their democratically-elected President, Salvador Allende, was Suicided by the military (with an assist from their "friends" the Central Intelligence Agency) in Santiago on September 11, 1973.
One day later, on September 12, Victor Jara, who had met Phil Ochs during Ochs tour in South-America, was arrested and held captive at a sports stadium. Jara died on Sept 16, after being tortured by his captors.
On September 22, 1973, the Soviet/Russian astronomer Nikolai Stepanovich Chernykh named a newly found asteroid 2644 Víctor Jara, in honor of Víctor Jara's life and artistic work.
Pete Seeger and Arlo Guthrie's cover-version of "Oh, Mary Don't You Weep" is on the next album:
(c) Prince - Mary Don't You Weep
In 1983 during the rehearsals for the "Purple Rain" album, Prince recorded a piano rehearsal of "Mary Don't You Weep".
Included on the next bootleg:
And here's John Fogerty at Chaplin Stage, Hollywood,CA, January 31, 1985
An a cappella version by Take 6, simply called "Mary", received wide airplay after appearing on the group's eponymous debut album in 1988.
(c) Mumtaz Mahal - Mary Don't You Weep
In 1995 Taj Mahal covered "Mary Don't You Weep" with two Indian Musicians on the next album:
Taj Mahal (Vocal and Guitar)
Narasimhan Ravikian (Chitra Veena)
Vishwa Mohan Bhatt (Mohan Veena)
The song is also sung briefly at the beginning of the music video for Bone Thugs N Harmony's 1996 "Tha Crossroads".
(c) Trin-I-Tee 5:7 - Oh Mary, Don't You Weep
Trin-I-Tee 5:7 self titled debut project was released in 1998 with production credits including R. Kelly and T.D Jakes. With preorders of 100,000 copies and an aggressive urban marketing campaign, the project debuted at No. 3 on the gospel charts and eventually stepped up to the top slot. It also reached the R&B Top 20 charts and was eventually certified gold. The album created three gospel radio hits in "You Can Always Call His Name," "Mary Don't You Weep" and "God's Grace."
(c) Natalie Merchant - Mary Don't You Weep
Cover in 2000 on album "Folk Tour".
Recorded live on July 15, 2000 at the KBCO Rockfest, Winterpark, Colorado
(c) Long John Baldry - Oh Mary Don't You Weep
Released in 2002 on the next album
(c) Ronnie Earl - Mary Don't You Weep
Released in 2003 on the next album
(c) Roger McGuinn - Oh Mary Don't You Weep
Released on the next album
(c) Aaron Neville - Mary Don't You Weep
Aaron Neville covered "Mary Don't You Weep" in 2005 on the album "Devotion"
(c) Bruce Springsteen - O Mary Don't You Weep
Released in 2006 on album "We Shall Overcome. The Seeger Sessions" (Columbia 82876)
And here is a video of Bruce recording the song for the Seeger Sessions.
Further Recordings (NOT included here)
•Richmond Starlight Quartette 1929, "Mary, Don't You Weep" (OKeh, unissued)
•Morris Family 1930, "Oh Mary Don't You Weep" (Vocalion 5465, 1930)
•Leo Boswell & Merritt Smith 1931, "Oh Mary Don't You Weep" (Supertone 2825, Champion 16344)
•Golden Gate Quartet 1940, "Pharaoh’s Army Got Drowned" (Library of Congress)
•Tennessee Ramblers 1941, "Oh Mary Don't You Weep" (Bluebird B-8941)
•Mahalia Jackson 1947, (Apollo 194) ??????
•Clara Ward 1959, (Dot LP 3223) ??????
•James Cleveland 1960 (Hob LP 237)
•Robert Patterson Singers 1965, (Vee Jay LP 18006)
•Shirley Caesar 1969, (Hob 1320)
•Holly Near, Arlo Guthrie, Ronnie Gilbert & Pete Seeger 1985 (on the album H.A.R.P)