donderdag 17 september 2015

He Never Said A Mumblin' Word / Crucifixion (1927) / He Just Hung His Head And Died (1927) / They Hung Him On A Cross (1945)

"And He Never Said a Mumblin' Word" (also known as "They Hung Him on a Cross", truncations to as little as "Mumblin' Word" and sometimes "Crucifixion" or "Easter") is an American spiritual folk song.
The song narrates the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, detailing how he was nailed to the cross, "whopped up the hill", stabbed in the side, bowed his head and died, all the while keeping a dignified silence. Like all traditional music, the lyrics vary from version to version but maintain the same story.'_Word

The song's author and origins are unknown. It is noted in John and Alan Lomax's American Ballads and Folk Songs, published in 1934, that the song is known throughout Louisiana, Texas, Mississippi and Tennessee and was titled "Never Said a Mumbalin' Word."

However, the song originates back to when the United States endorsed slavery, assuming the song pre-dates 1865. It is known to be a companion piece to, and possibly holds the same author(s) as, "Were You There", another spiritual. (SEE:

(o) Roland Hayes 1927 ( as "Crucifixion")
Recorded May 4, 1927 (trial recording for the Victor label)

Eventually released but not until years later

(c) Roland Hayes 1939
In October 1939 Hayes again recorded the song. This time for the Columbia label
Released in February 1940 as part of a 78-rpm album titled "A Song Recital" by Roland Hayes (Columbia album set M-393)

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Listen here:

Hayes recorded it again in 1953 and published his arrangement of the song as part of the song cycle Life of Christ. Later performers also often credit his arrangement.

Listen here at 8 minutes and 30 sec in the next YT

(c) Norfolk Jubilee Quartette (as "He Just Hung His Head And Cried")
Recorded October 1927
Released in 1929 on Paramount 12734

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Folklorists John and Alan Lomax collected the song whilst on a visit to Camp C at Louisiana State Penetentiary in the 1933, where they also discovered blues musician, Lead Belly, who later recorded several versions of the song from 1945 onwards.
Recorded July 16-20, 1933 in Louisiana State Penitentiary, Angola, La.
Matrix 116-A-2
Vocals by Prison Blacksmith. (His version is mentioned in John and Alan Lomax's American Ballads and Folk Songs, published in 1934).

SEE HERE: American ballads & Folk Songs - Page 0588

On the same date and same location the song was also recorded by a Convict Group.
Matrix 117-A-2

(c) Golden Gate Quartet 1941 (as "He Never Said A Mumblin' Word")
Recorded December 3, 1941 in New York City
Released on Okeh 6529 and Columbia 30042

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Listen here:

Or here:'%20Word%20-%20Golden%20Gate%20Quartet%20-%20Okeh%206529%20-%201941.wma

(c) Lead Belly (1945)  (as "They Hung Him On A Cross")
According to Lead Belly, the song originated from "down south" and he claimed to have learned it from his mother, Sallie Brown.
At least three versions of the song are known to have been recorded by Lead Belly. His earliest version was recorded on February 15, 1945 as part of the Standard Oil Company-sponsored radio show Let it Shine on Me in San Francisco, California.
It was recorded as the final part of medley along with two other spiritual songs, "Every Time I Feel the Spirit" and "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot", featuring children singing along. The song was recorded under the title "They Hung Him on a Cross".

Listen here (at 1 min and 35 sec in the next YT):

(c) Lead Belly (1948)  (as "He Never Said a Mumblin' Word")
His final two recordings of the song, recorded during his last recording sessions ranging from September 27, 1948 to November 5, 1948 in New York with producer Frederic Ramsey, Jr., list the song as "He Never Said a Mumblin' Word."
An accapella version of the song and a solo acoustic version of the song were recorded and are featured on Smithsonian Folkways 1994 box set Lead Belly's Last Sessions.

Listen here:

And here:

(c) The Jury (1989)  (as "They Hung Him On A Cross")
Members of American alternative rock bands Nirvana and the Screaming Trees formed a side project known as The Jury in 1989, featuring Kurt Cobain on vocals and guitar, Mark Lanegan on vocals, Krist Novoselic on bass and Mark Pickerel on drums. Over two days of recording sessions, on August 20 and 28, 1989, the band recorded four songs also performed by Lead Belly; "Where Did You Sleep Last Night?", an instrumental version of "Grey Goose", "Ain't It a Shame" and "They Hung Him on a Cross"; the latter of which featured Cobain solo.

Cobain was inspired to record the songs after receiving a copy of Lead Belly's Last Sessions' from friend Slim Moon, after which hearing it he "felt a connection to Leadbelly's almost physical expressions of longing and desire."

Listen here:

(c) Marian Anderson (1951)  (as "Crucifixion")

Marian Anderson - Sings Eleven Great Spirituals (Vinyl, LP) at Discogs

Listen here:

And here's some beautiful footage of Marian and Franz Rupp at the piano

(c) Josh White (1952) (as "He Never Said a Mumblin' Word")

Recorded in London March 15, 1951;
Josh White, voc, g; Chick Laval, g; Jack Fallon, b

Here's a version from 1956:

(c) Roger McGuinn 1996 (as "Easter")

Byrds founder Roger McGuinn recorded two versions of the song. In 1996, he made an mp3 quality recording available for free via his Folk Den website. On the website, McGuinn uses the title "Easter" (from the opening line "On Easter morn he rose").

Listen here:

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