SOMETIMES I FEEL LIKE A MOTHERLESS CHILD

Latest update on 21/04/2010

Artist: Edward Boatner
Author: traditional
Label: Broom Special Phonographer
Year: 1919

Comes from an old hymn, first published in 1899 as Motherless Child. Always popular with street musicians. Sentimentality sells. Edward H. Boatner (NO 1898 - NY 1981) was a black composer who wrote many popular concert arrangements of negro spirituals. Reissued on Lost Sounds: Blacks and the Birth of the Recording Industry, 1891-1922 (ARCH).

Covers:

1926:

Paul Robeson [popularised it almost singlehandedly, with Lawrence Brown on piano]

1938:

Golden Gate Jubilee Quartet

1947:

Sarah Vaughan [with lines borrowed from gospel blues Motherless Children Have A Hard Time (see there)]

1950:

Harry Belafonte

1959:

Felix Dukes [with Fred McDowell on guitar]

1960:

Odetta [At Carnegy Hall and in Pasolini film Il Vangelo Secundo Matteo]

1962:

Count Basie

1963:

Helen Merrill

1963:

Jerry Butler

1965:

Peter, Paul & Mary

1969:

Richie Havens [in Freedom at Woodstock]

1976:

Charlie Rich

1977:

Boney M [as Motherless Child]

1987:

Van Morrison [with lines borrowed from gospel blues Motherless Children Have A Hard Time (see there)]

1990:

Crime & The City Solution [as Motherless Child]

1994:

Henry Qualls [idem]

1998:

Sweet Honey In The Rock

1999:

Tom Jones [with Portishead]

1999:

Bobby Womack

2001:

Blind Boys Of Alabama

2002:

Alvin Youngblood Hart [as Motherless Child]

2007:

Beth Nielsen Chapman

Also by Ethel Waters, Fats Waller, Artie Shaw, Jo Stafford, Barbara Hendricks, Julie London, Wynton Marsalis, Jimmy Witherspoon and Nana Mouskouri, all as Sometimes I Feel Like A Motherless Child. Not to be confused with Motherless Children Have A Hard Time (see there).

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