A Morbid Bluesy Number with a “Spanish Tinge”

We ran across Soup Greens the other day, Lucas Gonze’s Web site. Lucas works on Internet music, both as a technologist and as a musician. He led the creation of XSPF, the dominant Internet playlist format for music and he also helped to craft formats for embedding Creative Commons license statements in MP3, OGG and SMIL. Further, he was a Director of Product management at Yahoo! Music, where he created the Yahoo! Media Player and led the lineup of media players, including Launchcast.

While Lucas’ achievements are lengthy, we were struck by the devotion that this Los Angeles-based guitarist and folk music historian has to Blues and to finding songs that have been stuffed away in musty archives and breathing new life into that music.

Hence, this “morbid bluesy number with a Spanish tinge” first published in 1857. Lucas writes about his performance shown above in the video:

I discovered it because Jelly Roll Morton quotes it in “Dead Man Blues.” This song is still around in the New Orleans funeral style that Jelly Roll was riffing on – you hear this tune as the Gothic minor snippet before things get happy.

But in that context you never get to hear the whole thing, just a little snatch of it, so what I did here is let it keep rolling out all the way to the end. Then at the end I quote the beginning of “Yellow Dog Rag” by W. C. Handy, as if that was going to be the uptempo number the whole thing was setting up.

In addition, he supplies the lyrics to this song from his site:

Flee as a bird to your mountain
Thou who art weary of sin
Go to the clear flowing fountain
Where you may wash and be clean
Fly, for th’avenger is near thee
Call, and the Savior will hear thee
He on His bosom will bear thee
O thou who art weary of sin
O thou who art weary of sin

He will protect thee forever
Wipe ev’ry falling tear
He will forsake thee, O never
Sheltered so tenderly there
Haste, then, the hours are flying
Spend not the moments in sighing
Cease from your sorrow and crying
The Savior will wipe ev’ry tear
The Savior will wipe ev’ry tear

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