"Loveless Love" / "Careless Love" is a traditional song of obscure origins.
It was one of the best known pieces in the repertory of the Buddy Bolden band in New Orleans, Louisiana at the very start of the 20th century, and has remained a jazz standard and blues standard. Hundreds of recordings have been made in folk, blues, jazz, country, and pop styles
Mentioned in 1911 in a transcription by Howard Odum in The Journal of American Folk-Lore, as "Kelly's Love", probably named after Chris Kelly, New Orleans trumpet player who like Buddy Bolden never recorded.
THE JOURNAL OF AMERICAN FOLK-LORE
Vol. XXIV. —JULY-SEPTEMBER, 1911— No. XCIII
FOLK-SONG AND FOLK-POETRY AS FOUND IN THE SECULAR SONGS OF THE SOUTHERN NEGROES BY HOWARD W. ODUM
In volume 24 - July/September 1911 - no 93 of the Journal of American Folk-Lore transcription it is song # 42 on page 286.
42. kelly's love
In "Kelly's Love" the note of disappointed love is sounded:
| : Love, Kelly's love, : | (three times)
You broke de heart o' many a girl,
You never break dis heart o' mine.
| : When I wo' my aprons low, : | (three times)
Couldn't keep you from my do'.
| : Now I weahs my aprons high, : | (three times)
Sca'cely ever see you passin' by.
| : Now I weahs my aprons to my chin, : | (three times)
You pass my do', but can't come in.
| : See what Kelly's love have done. : | (three times)
See what Kelly's love have done.
: If I had listened to what my mamma said, : | (three times)
I would a been at home in mamma's bed.
And on page 256 Odum wrote: Likewise there
is abundant material for comparing with well-known folk-songs or
ballads of other origins. One may note, for instance, the striking
similarity between the mountain-song —
"She broke the heart of many poor fellows,
But she won't break this of mine" —
and the negro song " Kelly's Love," the chorus of which is,
"You broke de heart o' many a girl,
But you never will break dis heart o' mine."
Mentioned in 1915 in a transcription by E.C. Perrow in The Journal of American Folk-Lore, as "Careless Love", with a notation "From Mississippi; country whites; MS of R. J. Slay; 1909."
In volume 28 - April/June 1915 - no 108 of the Journal of American Folk-Lore transcription it is song # 3 on page 147.
As "Kelly's" and "Careless" have similar sounds, one is probably a corruption of the other; but which came first is not known.
In the book "Creating Jazz Counterpoint: New Orleans, Barbershop Harmony, and the Blues", there are also a few notes about the history of "Careless Love"
SEE: NOTES ON "Careless Love"
WC Handy was the first to publish this song in 1921 as "Loveless Love" - a Blues Ballad".
In 1926 Handy published it again as "Careless Love".
mudcat.org: Help: Careless Love / Bunch of Thyme
Careless Love (Blues) (William C. Handy & Spencer Williams & Martha E. Koenig? Bessie Smith? Traditional?)
Folk Music Index - Car to Caz
Careless Love - Wikipedia
The first recorded version:
(o) Noble Sissle and his Sizzling Syncopators (1921) (as "Loveless Love")
Recorded January-February 1921 in New York
Released on Pathe 20493 and Actuelle 020493
(c) James P. Johnson (1921) (as "Loveless Love (a 'Blues' Ballad)"
Not a record but a piano-roll on QRS 1340
Recorded May 1921 in Newark, New Jersey.
Riverside Records Discography: early 20th century-1924
James P. Johnson
(c) Katherine Handy (1922) (as "Loveless Love")
Acc by her father's Memphis Blues Band.
Recorded January 1922 in New York
Released on Paramount 12011
(c) Alberta Hunter 1923 (as "Loveless Love")
Acc by Henderson's Dance Orchestra
Recorded February 1923 in New York
Released on Paramount 12019
(c) Bessie Smith (1925) (as "Careless Love Blues")
Bessie’s version used new lyrics by Martha Koenig and Spencer Williams and featured Louis Armstrong on cornet.
Recorded May 26, 1925 in New York City
Released on Columbia 14083-D
(c) Lester McFarland and Robert L. Gardner (1926) (as"Careless Love")
Recorded October 16, 1926 in New York
Released onVocalion 5125
(c) Dodds and Parham (1927) (as "Loveless Love")
Johnny Dodds (clarinet) and Tiny Parham (piano)
Recorded April 1927 in Chicago
Released on the B-side of Paramount 12483 ("19th Street Blues" / "Loveless Love")
(c) Lulu Jackson (1928) (as "Careless Love Blues")
Recorded June 21, 1928
Released on Vocalion 1193
(c) Lonnie Johnson (1928)
Recorded November 16, 1928
Released on Okeh 8635
(c) Eva Parker (1928) (as "Careless Love")
Recorded November 27, 1928 in Chicago.
Released on Victor V-38020.
(c) (Asa) Martin and (James) Roberts (1934) (as "Careless Love")
Recorded August 29, 1934 in New York
Released on Perfect 5-11-63
Martin And Roberts* - Careless Love / Lillie Dale (Shellac) at Discogs
(c) Leadbelly (1935) (as "Careless Love")
Recorded January 20, 1935 in Wilton, Connecticut.
Released in 1991 on the next Rounder-album
Lead Belly* - Midnight Special - The Library Of Congress Recordings, Volume One (CD) at Discogs
(c) Cleoma Falcon (1936) (as "L’Amour Indifferent")
Cleoma Breaux Falcon: Vocals Guitar, Moise Morgan: Fiddle, Joe Falcon: Fiddle.
Recorded on March 12, 1936 in New Orleans.
Released on Decca 17024
Cleoma Falcon - Pin Solitaire / L'Amour Indifferent (Shellac) at Discogs
(c) Georgia White (1937) (as "Careless Love")
Recorded November 9, 1937 in Chicago
Released on Decca 7419
Careless Love / Strewin' Your Mess by Georgia White (Single; Decca [USA]; 7419): Reviews, Ratings, Credits, Song list - Rate Your Music
Some 20 months earlier Georgia White had recorded "Tell Me Baby", which had the same melody as "Careless Love"
(c) Georgia White (1936) (as "Tell Me Baby")
Recorded January 16, 1936
Released on Decca 7152
(c) Delmore Brothers (1938) (as "Careless Love (Bring My Baby Back)"
Recorded January 26, 1938 in Charlotte, NC
Released on Bluebird B-7436
Delmore Brothers* - Goodbye Booze / Careless Love (Bring My Baby Back) (Shellac) at Discogs
And here's the "composer", WC Handy, himself.
Recorded on December 26, 1939 in New York City
W. C. Handy - Loveless Love : W. C. Handy : Free Download & Streaming : Internet Archive
(c) Josh White (1940) (as "Careless Love")
Recorded March 7, 1940 in New York
Released on the 78 RPM album "Harlem Blues" on the Musicraft label (album #N3)
(c) Billie Holiday (1941) (as "Loveless Love")
Recorded October 15, 1940 in New York
Released on Okeh 6064
1940 sessions | Billie Holiday Songs
Billie Holiday - St. Louis Blues / Loveless Love (Shellac) at Discogs
(c) Fats Domino (1950)
Antoine Domino(v/p), Dave Bartholomew(tp), Joe Harris)as), Clarence Hall(ts), Herbert Hardesty(ts), Alvin "Red" Tyler(bs), Ernest McLean(g), Frank Fields(b), Earl Palmer(d)
Recorded September 1950 in New Orleans
Released September 1951 on Imperial 5145
(c) Anita Carter (1950) (as "Careless Love")
Anita Carter (vcl), Chet Atkins [gt], Harold Bradley [gt], W. Robinson [steel], Ernie Newton [bass], John Gordy [piano]
Recorded 22 October 1950 (unissued at the time)
Released in 2004
(c) Pete Seeger (1958) (as "Careless Love")
(c) Nat King Cole (1958) (as "Careless Love")
(c) Dave Van Ronk (1959)
(c) Joan Baez and Bill Wood (1959) (as "Careless Love")
Recorded May 1959
Released on Veritas XTV 62202-3
(c) Connie Francis (1961) (as "Careless Love")
(c) Ray Charles (1962) (as " Careless Love")
(c) Bob Dylan and Johnny Cash (1969) (as "Careless Love")
Recorded on February 18, 1969 in Nashville
(c) Quincy Jones Orchestra (1986) (as "Careless Love")
Vocals: Tata Vega
From the movie "The Color Purple"
(c) Madeleine Peyroux (2004) (as "Careless Love")
(c) Wynton Marsalis and Eric Clapton (2011) (as "Careless Love")
Live from Jazz at the Lincoln Center
(c) Hugh Laurie (2013) (as "Careless Love")
Many coverversions here:
The Originals © by Arnold Rypens - CARELESS LOVE
The following songs also took the melody from "Loveless Love"/ "Careless Love".
(c) Kelly Harrell and Henry Norton (as "I Have No Loving Mother Now")
Recorded August 12, 1927 in Charlotte, NC
Released on Victor 20935
Kelly Harrell - Henry Norton With Virginia String Band* - Row Us Over The Tide / I Have No Loving Mother Now (Shellac) at Discogs
(c) Ma Rainey And Her Georgia Band (1928) (as "Blues Oh Blues")
Shirley Clay (tp) Kid Ory (tb) unknown (tu) Claude "Hop" Hopkins (p) unknown (bj) Ma Rainey (vo) unknown male talking
Recorded in Chicago, IL, circa August, 1927
Joshua White (1933) and Blind Willie McTell (1935) both recorded versions of "Lay Some Flowers on My Grave", which is melodically identical to "Careless Love". The lyrics are similar to "See That My Grave Is Kept Clean"
(c) Joshua White (1933) (as "Lay Some Flowers on My Grave")
Recorded November 13, 1933 in New York City
Released on Banner 32918, Conqueror 8271, Melotone m 12861, Oriole 8289, Romeo 5289
and Perfect 0264
(c) Blind Willie McTell (1935) (as "Lay Some Flowers On My Grave")
Recorded April 25, 1935
Released on Decca 7810
(c) Robert Johnson (1936) (as "Last Fair Deal Gone Down")
Recorded Novemer 27, 1936 in San Antonio, TX
Released on Vocalion 03445
Also issued on Perfect 7-04-60 (900 copies) and Oriole 7-04-60 (60 copies) in April 1937.
78 RPM - Robert Johnson - 32-20 Blues / Last Fair Deal Gone Down - Vocalion - USA - 03445
Papa Charlie Jackson uses the melody for his guitar-solo on "Mumsy Mumsy Blues"
Recorded February 1926 in Chicago
Released on Paramount 12366
Listen here (at 1 min and 25 sec in the Spotify-clip below)
NOTE: musically speaking "Loveless Love" / "Careless Love" has also a little resemblance to "Fare Thee, Honey, Fare Thee Well" / "I'll See You In The Spring, When The Birds Begin To Sing".
And there's also a little resemblance to "See That My Grave Is Kept Clean".
SEE: ----Joop's Musical Flowers: See That My Grave Is Kept Clean (1927)