SEE THAT MY GRAVE IS KEPT CLEAN

Latest update on 04/03/2018

Artist: Blind Lemon Jefferson
Author: Lemon Jefferson
Label: Paramount
Year: 1927

Partly based upon folk spiritual Two White Horses In A Line. Blind Lemon must have felt the end coming when he wrote and cut it (under alias Deacon L.J. Bates) one year before he actually died. That grave is in Wortham, Texas, unmarked until some blues buffs financed a marker (and a broom) in 1997, a stone with the logical inscription: "Lord it's one kind favor I'll ask of you, See that my grave is kept clean". Is it 'clean' or 'green'? Bad audio quality of the master doesn't exclude anything. Long as his records are kept clean.

Covers:

1930:

Son House [and in '42 as Mississippi County Farm Blues]

1931:

Two Poor Boys [as Two White Horses In A Line for Perfect and Romeo including part of Blind Lemon's lyrics: did you ever hear the church bell toll]

1935:

Carter Family [same melody in Sad And Lonesome Day]

1938:

Fiddlin' Arthur Smith & his Dixieliners [as A Lonely Day Today]

1940:

Woody Guthrie [same melody in Vigilante Man (see there) and in '44 in Lonesome Day]

1952:

Lightnin' Hopkins [as One Kind Favor]

1961:

Dave Van Ronk [as Please See That My Grave Is Kept Clean]

1962:

Bob Dylan [and in '67 as One Kind Favor, out on The Basement Tapes Complete]

1962:

Staple Singers [as The Dying Man's Plea]

1964:

Peter, Paul & Mary [as One Kind Favor I'll Ask Of You]

1964:

Mississippi Fred McDowell [as Six White Horses]

1966:

Grateful Dead [idem]

1968:

Canned Heat [as One Kind Favor]

1969:

Furry Lewis

1983:

John Hammond Jr. [idem]

1985:

Totta's Bluesband

1988:

Dream Syndicate

1989:

Thelonious Monster

1992:

Diamanda Galas

1995:

James Solberg

1995:

Steve Phillips [as Burning Sand]

1997:

Kelly Joe Phelps

1997:

Mick Clarke & Lou Martin [as One Kind Favor]

1998:

El Fish [as One Kind Of Favor, strongly influenced by Canned Heat's arrangement in One Kind Favor, without being a copy]

2001:

Lou Reed [in film Soul Of A Man and in '06 on The Harry Smith Project Revisited]

2004:

Mavis Staples [in film Lightning In A Bottle]

2005:

Super Seven [with Clarence Gatemouth Brown]

2006:

Meindert Talma & The Negroes [as Hou Alsjeblieft Mijn Graf Schoon]

2008:

B.B. King

The theme is lyrically related to 19th century sea shantee Stormalong, to British folk song Who Killed Cock Robin? and to many spirituals. The song appeared after the Civil War in America, when the land was riddled with hundred of thousand new graves. During the 1870s Gus Williams wrote a See That My Grave Is Kept Green, words & music. Bela Lam & his Greene County Singers cut their own See That My Grave Is Kept Clean in 1927, another song.

Contact


If you noticed blunt omissions, mis-interpretations or even out-and-out errors, please let us know by contacting us:

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