maandag 20 februari 2017

Poor Mourner (1896) / Moanish Lady (1927) / You Shall Be Free (1928) / Oh Mo'nah (1931) / We Shall Be Free (1944) / I Shall Be Free (1962)


The Originals © by Arnold Rypens

Mourner, You Shall Be Free (Moanish Lady)

Mudcat Café message #2931338

Bluegrass Messengers - Shout Mourner- Version 9 Guthrie/Leadbelly


In 1911 Howard W. Odum published "You Shall Be Free" in Vol. 24, No. 94 of "The Journal Of American Folklore", as song No. 86 in "Negro Folk-Song and Folk-Poetry" series
He stated that it 'was originally adapted from a religious song, "Mourner, You Shall Be Free". The song was widespread.

https://www.jstor.org/stable/534593?seq=20#page_scan_tab_contents

https://www.jstor.org/stable/534593?seq=21#page_scan_tab_contents


In 1915 E.C. Perrow published "Oh Mourner" in Vol. 28, No. 108 of "The Journal Of American Folklore", as song No. 1 in "Songs And Rhymes From The South", part VII "Songs of the Plantation"

https://www.jstor.org/stable/534506?seq=7#page_scan_tab_contents

I. OH, MOURNER! (2) (From Mississippi; negroes; MS. of F. R. Rubel; 1909.)

Some folks say that a nigro (sic) won't steal;
I caught two in my corn feild (sic).One had a shovel and the other had a hoe;
If that ain't stealing, I don't know.
Oh, Moana, you shall be free, (twice)When the good Lord sets you free.

Some folks say that a nigro won't rouse;
I caught two in my smoke house.
One had a middling, and the other had a ham;
If that ain't stealing, I'll don't know.

I went to a chicken coop on my knees;
I thought I heard a chicken sneeze.(3)
Way down yonder on Punkin Creek
Where those nigros grow leben feet,

Heels stick out so far behind
Chickens roost there most all the time.
I had a wife and I fed her on grease;
Every time I knocked her down she hollowed "police!"

Ain't no use in me workin' so hard;
I got a gal in the white folks yard.
She fetch me meat and she fetch me lard.
Ain't a bit of use in me workin' so hard.(4)

(2)  This song shows the tendency of a large number of distinct songs to drift together into
one.
(3) This stanza is in the college song "Polly-Wolly-Doodle"
(4) Compare another version from Mississippi:
I got a gal in de white folk's ya'd, She brings me chicgn en she brings me la'd She steals me ham an' she steals me meat She thinks I'm wukkin', but I'm walkin', de street.

In E.C. Perrow's notes, this is typewritten beneath the long version of "Oh, Mourner!": "THIS BALLAD WAS GOTTEN FROM A NIGRO NAMED RASMUS MOORE February 24 1909."


In 1925 the song was published in "On The Trail Of Negro Folk-Songs" by Dorothy Scarborough.
It appereared under different titles:

As "Ole Marse John"

https://archive.org/stream/ontrailofnegrofo00scar#page/162/mode/2up

https://archive.org/stream/ontrailofnegrofo00scar#page/164/mode/2up

As "Po' Mournah!"

https://archive.org/stream/ontrailofnegrofo00scar#page/172/mode/2up

As "Great Big Nigger Sittin' On A Log".

https://archive.org/stream/ontrailofnegrofo00scar#page/176/mode/2up

As "Fragment From Pore Mournah"

https://archive.org/stream/ontrailofnegrofo00scar#page/194/mode/2up

As "There Was An Old Nigger, His Name Was Dr. Peck"

https://archive.org/stream/ontrailofnegrofo00scar#page/196/mode/2up

As "Po' Mona".

https://archive.org/stream/ontrailofnegrofo00scar#page/224/mode/2up

As "Ain't No Use O' My Workin' So Hard"

https://archive.org/stream/ontrailofnegrofo00scar#page/234/mode/2up



In 1928 the songcluster is extensively discussed in Newman I. White's book "American Negro Folk-Songs" on pages 134 -140




In 1926 Sigmund Spaeth published a version in "Read 'Em and Weep" under the title "Mona (You Shall Be Free)" and commented that it 'represents the more sophisticated development of Negro folk music, with only a suggestion of the spiritual in the background'.


And in 1934 it was published as "When De Good Lord Sets You Free" in John and Alan Lomax's "American Ballads and Folk Songs" (pages 254-258)

American ballads & Folk Songs




The first recording seems to be by an anonymous quartet. Unfortunately I haven't heard a sample yet.

(o) Anonymous Male Quartet (pre June 1896)  (as "Poor Mourner")

Released on Berliner Disc # 854

Berliner matrix 854. Poor mourner / Male vocal quartet (unidentified; Berliner Gramophone Co.) - Discography of American Historical Recordings



(c) Standard Quartette (1896)  (as "Poor Mourner")

Released on Columbia Cylinder # 9017

COLUMBIA cylinders numerical listing discography: 8000 - 9999

Listen here:





(c) Cousins and DeMoss (1898)  (as "Poor Mourner")

Released on Berliner Disc # 3010

Berliner matrix 3010. Poor mourner / Cousins and DeMoss - Discography of American Historical Recordings

Listen here:






(c) Dinwiddie Colored Quartet (1902)  (as "Poor Mourner")
Recorded October 29, 1902
Released on Victor Monarch Disc # 1715

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Victor matrix [Pre-matrix A-]1715. Poor mourner / Dinwiddie Colored Quartet - Discography of American Historical Recordings

Victor matrix [Pre-matrix B-]1715. Poor mourner / Dinwiddie Colored Quartet - Discography of American Historical Recordings

Listen here:






(c) Pete Hampton (1904) (as "Poor Mourner")
Recorded February/March 1904 in London, England
Released on Odeon 2438

142: Pete Hampton, American Entertainer 1871-1916 « Jeffrey Green. Historian




(c) Land Norris (1924) (as "You Ought To Be Arrested And Put In Jail")
Recorded August 26, 1924
Released on Okeh 40374

You Ought To Be Arrested And Put In Jail - Land

OKeh matrix 8701. You ought to be arrested and put in jail / Land Norris - Discography of American Historical Recordings

Land Norris - Fox Chase In Georgia / You Ought To Be Arrested And Put In Jail (Shellac) at Discogs




(c) Uncle Dave Macon (1926) (as "Shout Mourner You Shall Be Free")
Recorded September 8, 1926 in New York
Released on Vocalion 15445 and Vocalion 5007

Shout, Mourner, You Shall Be Free - Uncle Dave M

Uncle Dave Macon - Shout, Mourner, You Shall Be Free / My Girl's A High Born Lady (Shellac) at Discogs


Now folks, talk about your gentle in-folks
I'm going to give you the genteel

Banjo instrumental

Hot dog!

I saw Sal when she went out, I saw Sal pick out her route
Seen her lock the door, and I seen her hide the key
She's a mighty sharp nigger, but she can't fool me

Chorus:
Shout mourner, you shall be free
Shout mourner, you shall be free
When the good Lord sets you free

Did you have a song, baby, did you have a song

Oh, Miss Doe said you treated me mean
I'm a-tired of livin' on your pork and beans
You [she] may be warm, but I don't know
She ain't so warm 'til she melts the snow

Did you have a song, baby, did you have a song

Chorus

[Oh my little honey what happened in the lot
Keep out running in the buzzard trot]
The big mule throwed so the little mule kicks
That big nigger throwed the little in a ditch

Did you have a song, baby, did you have a song

Chorus

Me and my partner and two or three more
Hanging around Sam LaFevre's door
Buying whiskey and buying gin
Just a-getting right to go again

Gotta have a song, baby, gotta have a song


Listen here






Though the proper title of the song is "You Shall Be Free", in 1927 Frank Stokes (a Memphis blacksmith and noted songster) and Dan Sane, recorded the song as just "You Shall".
Perhaps the record company didn't like the original title, or some of the verses.
One stanza was collected frequently: "Some Folks Say That A Nigger Won't Steal...But I Caught Twenty In My Cornfield....".
Frank Stokes cut out the offensive term and shifted the target; he sang: "Some Folks Say That A Preacher Won't Steal...I Caught About Eleven In A Watermelon Field...."
They've been altered, but some of Stokes' verses can be traced back at least to 1846 and the publication of The Negro Singers Own Book. This was a songster, in the original use of the term: a collection of song lyrics, intended for the use of minstrel show entertainers. They sold for a dime apiece and thousands of these pocket-sized books were printed.


(c) Beale Street Sheiks (1927)  (as "You Shall")
Frank Stokes (v/g) and Dan Sane (g)
Recorded August 1927 in Chicago
Released on Paramount 12518

You Shall - Beale Street Sheiks 1927

Listen here:






(c) Carlonina Tar Heels (1927)  (as "When the good Lord sets you free")
Recorded August 15, 1927 in Charlotte, New Carolina
Released on Victor 20931

When The Good Lord Sets You Free - Carolina Tar

Victor matrix BVE-39811. When the good Lord sets you free / Carolina Tar Heels - Discography of American Historical Recordings

Carolina Tar Heels* - When The Good Lord Sets You Free / I Love My Mountain Home (Shellac) at Discogs

Listen here





(c) Lions Quartet (1927)  (as "Moanin' Lady")
Recorded September 27, 1927 in Seattle, Washington
Released on Columbia 1167-D

Columbia matrix 144713. Moanin' lady / The Lions Quartet - Discography of American Historical Recordings



(c) Jules Verne Allen (1928) (as "Po' Mourner")
Recorded April 21, 1928 in El Paso, Texas
Released on Victor 23834

Victor matrix BVE-42195. Po' mourner / Jules Verne Allen - Discography of American Historical Recordings



(c) Bill and Belle Reed (1928) (as "You Shall Be Free")
Recorded October 17, 1928 in Johnson City, Tennessee
Released on Columbia 15336-D

You Shall Be Free - Bill and Belle Reed

Columbia matrix 147210. You shall be free / Belle Reed ; Bill Reed - Discography of American Historical Recordings

This early recording from Bill and Belle Reed was probably the blueprint for Woody Guthrie's "We Shall Be Free", which Bob Dylan updated in 1962 with "I Shall Be Free", released on his "The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan" LP. (SEE FURTHER ON IN THIS TOPIC)

Listen here:

BILL & BELLE REED - YOU SHALL BE FREE : Free Download & Streaming : Internet Archive



(c) Four Dusty Travelers (1929) (as "Po' Mourner")
Recorded October 15, 1929
Released on Columbia 14477-D

Columbia matrix 149144. Po' mourner / Four Dusty Travelers - Discography of American Historical Recordings

Listen here:






(c) World Famous Williams Jubilee Singers (1930)  (as "Po-Mona")
Recorded September 6, 1930 in Chicago
Released on Brunswick 7191

https://tinyurl.com/hrtlbrj



(c) Cotton Pickers Quartet (1931) (as "Pore Mourner")
Recorded January 26, 1931 in New York City
Released on Okeh 8868

https://tinyurl.com/zgjgoag



With new lyrics by Ted Weems and Country Wasburn the song was released on the B-side of the Ted Weems 78 "I Love To Hear A Military Band", which was a small US hit
But the next year the song became very succesfull in the UK through many cover-versions.

(c) Ted Weems and his Orchestra (1931)  (as "Oh! Mo'nah")
Vocals by Country Washburn.
Recorded September 24, 1931 in Chicago
Released on Victor 22822

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Ted Weems And His Orchestra - I Love To Hear A Military Band / Oh! Mo'nah (Shellac) at Discogs

Victor matrix BVE-67548. Oh! Mo'nah / Ted Weems Orchestra ; Country Washburne - Discography of American Historical Recordings

Listen here

http://www.jazz-on-line.com/a/mp3c/VIC67548-1.mp3



(c) Eddie Grossbart (1932) (as "Oh Mo-nah")
Vocals: Eddie Grossbart
Recorded December 16, 1931 in London
Released on Edison Bell Winner 5442






(c) The Masqueraders (=Savoy Hotel Orpheans) (1932)  (as "Oh Mo'nah")
Vocals: Eddie Collis
Recorded December 22, 1931 in London
Released on Columbia CB-401

Oh Mo

Eddie Collis Discography

Listen here:




Next came the first of many versions on which Nat Gonella handled the vocals.
It was pretty much his theme song.

(c) Roy Fox and his Band (1932)
Vocals: Nat Gonella
Recorded December 30, 1931 in London
Released on Decca F-2763 and Rex 9892 and Brunswick 6457

78 RPM - Roy Fox - Oh' Mo'Nah / If I Didn't Have You - Decca - UK - F. 2763





(c) Harry Roy and his R.K. Olians (1932)
Vocals: Harry Roy, Bill Currie and Ivor Moreton
Recorded January 1932 in London
Released on Broadcast 809

Oh Mo

Listen here





(c) Ambrose and his Orchestra (1932)
Vocals: Sam Browne
Recorded January 1, 1932 in London
Released on HMV B-6127

Listen here:





(c) Billy Cotton and his Band (1932)
Vocals Cyril Grantham
Recorded January 2, 1932 in London
Released on Regal MR-494

Listen here:





(c) Ray Starita and his Ambassadors (1932)  (as "Oh Mo'nah")
Vocals: Nat Gonella
Recorded January 5, 1932 in London
Released on Sterno 861

Oh Mo

Sterno

Also released on Solex B-53 (as by The London Rhythm Kings)

Solex

Listen here:





(c) Harry Bidgood (1932)
Vocals: Fred Douglas
Recorded January 9, 1932 in London
Released on Panachord 25158

PANACHORD 25000 – 26049 | The 78 rpm – Club | Preserving The Grooves

Also released on May-Fair G-2075 (as by Al Conway and his Orchestra)

May-Fair

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(c) Bert and John Firman (1932)
Vocals: Cavan O'Connor
Recorded January 29, 1932 in London
Released on Zonophone 6052

Also released on Zonophone 2873 (as by The Rhythmic Eight)

Listen here






(c) Jazz-Sinfonie-Orchester Joe London (= Richard Forst mit Gesang Raimund Gessner)
Recorded December 1931 in Berlin
Matrix 3079
Released on Brilliant #44 and on Silverton #44

Oh! Mo-nah - Jazz-Sinfonie-Orchester Joe London

Foren / Austroton / 40.) Brill 44: Richard Forst / Raimund Gessner, Oh Monah! - Schellackplatten Rundfunk - Musik ab 1900

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(c) Barnabas von Geczy (1932)
Recorded March 4, 1932 in Berlin
Released on Parlophon B.48171

Foren / Austroton / 66.) Pa B 48171: Barnabás von Géczy, Oh Monah - Schellackplatten Rundfunk - Musik ab 1900

Listen here:

schellacksender.grammophon-platten.de/e107_files/public/1452873794_718_FT0_pa_b_48171_geczy_monah.mp3



(c) Irene Ambrus (1932) (as "Die Neue Mo'nah")
Recorded April 20, 1932
Matrix Bi 639
Released on Gloria 10304

Foren / snookerbee / 001 - Die neue Mo'nah - Irene Ambrus & Otto Dobrindt - 1932 - Schellackplatten Rundfunk - Musik ab 1900

Listen here:





(c) Sam Baskini mit seinem Tanz-Orchester (1932)  (German lyrics by Charles Amberg)
Recorded April 28, 1932
Released on Telefunken A 1088

Listen here:





(c) Fred Marley Tanz Orchester (1932) (German lyrics by Charles Amberg)
Recorded May 18, 1932 in Berlin
Released on Polydor 889

Oh! Mo

Listen here:





(c) Bob Scholte (1932) (as "Oh! Kovacs")  (Dutch lyrics by Kovacs Lajos=Louis Schmidt)
Recorded May 1932 in Berlin
Released on Parlophon B.17728

78 RPM - Bob Scholte - Oh! Kovacs (Oh Mo'nah) (1e Deel) / Oh! Kovacs (Oh Mo'nah) (2e Deel) - Parlophon - Netherlands - B 17728

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(c) Windy City Four 1933 ( as "Oh Monah")
Recorded April 13, 1933
Matrix C-549-2
Released on Vocalion 1738

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Also released on Banner 32770 (as by Maple City Four)
Also released on Perfect 15774 (as by Maple City Four)
Also released on Conqueror 8167 (as by Maple City Four)
Also released on Melotone 12699 (as by Maple City Four)

Listen here:





(c) Nat Gonella and his Georgians (1934)
Recorded November 2, 1934 in London
Released on Parlophone R-1982

78 RPM - Nat Gonella And His Georgians - Troublesome Trumpet : Dinah : Let Him Live / Oh Monah : Georgia : Sing (It's Good For Ya) - Parlophone - UK - R 1982

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(c) Bill Boyd and his Cowboy Ramblers 1936 (as "You Shall Be Free Monah")
Recorded October 27, 1936 in San Antonio, Texas
Released on Bluebird BB-6694

78 RPM - Bill Boyd And His Cowboy Ramblers - Ain't She Coming Out Tonight? / You Shall Be Free, Monah - Bluebird - USA - B-6694

Listen here:





(c) Nat Gonella and his Georgians (1941)
Vocals: Nat Gonella
Recorded February 7, 1941 in Leeds
Released on Columbia FB-2581

Oh! Mo

Listen here:





(c) Woody Guthrie and Friends (as "We Shall Be Free")
Woody Guthrie (vocals) Leadbelly (vocal-guitar) Sonny Terry (Harmonica-wooos! and vocals) and Cisco Houston( guitar vocals)
Recorded April 25, 1944
Matrix # MA124-1

Woody Guthrie discography - Wikipedia

Released in 1962 on Folkways 2483

Woody Guthrie With Leadbelly, Cisco Houston, Sonny Terry And Bess Hawes - Sings Folk Songs (Vinyl, LP, Album) at Discogs

http://media.smithsonianfolkways.org/liner_notes/smithsonian_folkways/SFW40007.pdf

Lyrics: WE SHALL BE FREE

In the morning . . . we shall be free
All day . . . we shall be free
Hear me say . . .'we shall be free
When the good Lord sets you free.

I was down in the hen house the other night
Awful dark I didn't have no light
I reached for a chicken, got me a goose
A man come out, I had to turn him loose.

I jumped a gully . . . we shall be free
I jumped a rose bush . . . we shall be free
Got some flapjacks . . . we shall be free
When the good Lord sets you free.

Preacher and the rooster had a terrible fight
Preacher knocked the rooster clean out of sight
Preacher told the rooster that would be all right
Meet ya at the hen house tomorrow night.

In the mornin' . . . we shall be free
In the mornin' . . . we shall be free
In the mornin' . . . we shall be free
When the good Lord sets you free.

I was down in the hen house on my knees
I thought I heard a chicken sneeze
Only the rooster sayin' his prayers
Thanking his God for the hens up stairs.

Here‘s to the preacher . . . we shall be free
He's a-singin' . . . we shall be free
Take up collection . . . we shall be free
When the good Lord sets you free.

Oh some folks say you think too hard
Put all your faith and trust in God
Matter's no difference, don't you see
A hog can't run too fast for me.

Get my hepes up . . . we shall be free
Get that hog eye . . . we shall be free
Get them chitt'lin's . . . we shall be free
When the good Lord sets you free.

Some people say a preacher won‘t steal
But I caught two down in my corn field
One had a bushel, the other had a peck
The other had a roastin' ear down his neck.

In the kitchen . . . we shall be free
Gettin' roastin' ears . . . we shall be free
Gettin' dried corn . . . we shall be free
When the good Lord sets you free.

Listen here:




Only a few weeks later a little shorter version of the same song with slightly different lyrics was recorded by Leadbelly and friends

(c) Leadbelly and Friends (1944) (as "We Shall Be Free")
Leadbelly (vocal-guitar), Woody Guthrie (vocals), Sonny Terry (Harmonica-wooos! and vocals)
Recorded May 1944 in New York City
Matrix # MA196
This version was released in 1962 on a Leadbelly album on Folkways 2488

Leadbelly - Leadbelly Sings Folk Songs (Vinyl, LP, Album) at Discogs

http://media.smithsonianfolkways.org/liner_notes/smithsonian_folkways/SFW40000.pdf

Lyrics:

In the mornin' ... we shall be free
I done tol' you ... we shall be free
I said it ... we shall be free
When the Good Lord sets you free.

I was down in the hen house, on my knees
Thought I heard a chicken sneeze
Nothin' but a rooster, sayin' his prayers
Thankin' his God for the pullets upstairs

He's a-preachin' ... we shall be free
Takin' up collection ... we shall be free
Prayin' on th' knees ... we shall be free
When the Good Lord sets you free

Now you tell it

Now, there's some folks says that the times is hard
Preacher said to put your trust in God
Matters no difference, don't you see
A hog can't run too fast for me

Gettin' my hopes up ... we shall be free
I done told ya ... we shall be free
Oh, preacher ... we shall be free
When the Good Lord sets you free

Ain't no use in me a-workin' so hard
I got a woman in the rich folks' yard
When they kill a chicken, she sends me the head
Thinks I'm a-workin', I'm a-layin' up in bed

Takin' it easy ... we shall be free
Two other women ... we shall be free
I thought you noticed ... we shall be free
When the Good Lord sets you free

Now you tell it

Oh, you see that preacher, sittin' on a log
Eyes on his trigger and his eyes on the hog
The gun said boom, lose his grip
He jumped on him with all of his zip

Gettin' my hopes up ...we shall be free
Gettin' a hog eye ... we shall be free
Gettin' them chit'lins ... we shall be free
When the Good Lord sets you free

Ain't no use in me a-workin' so hard
I got a woman in the rich folks' yard
When they kill a chicken, she sends me the feet
Thinks I'm a-workin', I'm a walkin' down the street

Havin' a big time ... we shall be free
Havin' a good time ...we shall be free
Seein' the women go by ... we shall be free
When the Good Lord sets you free

Listen here:





(c) Bob Dylan (1963)  (as "I Shall Be Free")

"I Shall Be Free" is a rewrite of Lead Belly's "We Shall Be Free", which was performed by Lead Belly, Sonny Terry, Cisco Houston, and Woody Guthrie. According to Todd Harvey, Dylan's version draws its melody from the Guthrie recording but omits its signature chorus ("We'll soon be free/When the Lord will call us home"). But I think the harmonica-frase replaces that chorus in Dylan's version.

I Shall Be Free | The Official Bob Dylan Site

Listen here





(c) Carl Sandburg (1951)  (as "Moonish (Moanish) Lady")
Previously published in Carl Sandburg's "American Songbag" (1927)

https://archive.org/stream/americansongbag029895mbp#page/n37/mode/2up

Carl Sandburg - A Visit With Carl Sandburg (Vinyl, LP, Album) at Discogs

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(c) Bill Haley (1958)  (as "Whoa Mabel!")
Lyrics adapted by Bill Haley, Milt Gabler, Rusty Keefer, Catherine Cafra
Recorded June 12, 1958 at Decca Studios, New York
Released on Decca 30741

Bill Haley And His Comets - Whoa Mabel! / Chiquita Linda (Un Poquito De Tu Amor) (Vinyl) at Discogs

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(c) The Cherokees (1967) (Hit in Australia)
Released December 1966 on the Go!!-label

45cat - The Cherokees [Australia] - Oh, Monah / Ain't Gonna Cry No More - Go!! - Australia - G-5045

The Cherokees (4) - Oh, Monah (Vinyl) at Discogs

Oh, Monah - THE CHEROKEES (1967) - Pop Archives - Sources of Australian Pop Records from the 50s, 60s and 70s

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(c) Nat Gonella With Ted Easton's Jazzband (1970)  (Nr 6 Hit in The Netherlands in 1975)

Nat Gonella with Ted Easton's Jazzband* - Oh Monah at Discogs

Listen here:





(c) Havenzangers (1987)  (as "Oh Mona!") (Hit in The Netherlands)
Dutch lyrics by Tom Peters.

45cat - De Havenzangers - Oh Mona! / Nog Eentje Tot Besluit - Philips - Netherlands - 870 035-7

De Havenzangers - Oh Mona! (Vinyl) at Discogs

Listen here:








More versions

Cover versions of Poor Mourner by Standard Quartette | SecondHandSongs

78 RPM - Pee Wee King And His Golden West Cowboys - Oh! Mo'nah / Juke Box Blues - RCA Victor - USA - 20-2841



78 RPM - Shelton Brothers - Oh Monah / If I Ever Cry Again - King - USA - 729

78 RPM - The Miccolis Sisters - Oh Mo'nah / Up, Up, Up - DeLuxe - USA - 5027

78 RPM - The Dinning Sisters - Once In A While / Oh! Mo'nah! - Capitol - UK - CL.13192






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