January 23rd, 2012

Bass me

O' Death

Another song post, been saving this set of links up for about a year now...

O' Death. Author unknown, traditional Appalachian dirge.

Repopularized by the incomparable Ralph Stanley on the soundtrack of "O Brother, Where Art Thou?" (won a Grammy '06), and then more recently on the TV show Supernatural (which has Death as a character), sung by Jen Titus.
I knew the song, but it was forcefully re-entered into my lexicon by Molly Zenobia when two other upright bassists and I accompanied her singing it. One of the more powerful musical moments of my life/career.
Wikipedia entry with lyrics.

Mentioned above:
Ralph Stanley, live version, wonderful.
The scene from Oh Brother Ralph singing (Lynching scene, fyi.)
Jen Titus, video is the scene in Supernatural. Base for most present time pop-culture knowledge of it. Stunning version, well deserved fame for it.
Clean version of Jen T., no dialogue and street sounds.
Molly Zenobia, Yours Truly, Tony Leva, and Mike Leggio at Lizard Lounge. (direct mp3 link)

Traditional takes
Bessie Jones, solo vocals.
Dock Boggs, banjo and vocals, recorded in '63.
Charley Patton & Bertha Lee, 1934! Scratchy transfer off a 45rpm, WELL worth a listen. (I may audio-grab and try to clean this up...)
Random woman doing a really good acapella version.
Gregory Paul doing a clawhammer banjo arrangement. Non-dirge.
Tim Eriksen, solo fiddle and vocals. Awesome.
Tim E. with Tony Trischka, two stunning musicians. (Fiddle, banjo respectively.)
Luke and Kyle Abbot, guitar, tuvan throat singing. Spine tingling moments, wish recording quality were better.
Bellyache Ben and his Steamgrass Boys. Tasty "steamgrass" (I guess) rendition.
Rising Appalachia, beautiful harmonies, 2 voices with upright bass and faint drums.

Drums + instruments + vocals
Samm Bennett, drone + percussion and vocals, very nicely done.
Lauren O'Connell,more modern Americana take. Multi-track solo, well done.
Kaleidoscope, 1967. American psychedelic folk band from the 60's.
Camper Van Beethoven, solid version.
Pearl and the Beard, quite a different take on it.
Barrelhouse, 60-70's blues style, recorded 2010. Pretty excellent.
Obligatory metal version

Alan Lomax, samples from Bessie Jones ('59) with bass and hammond organ. Traditional feeling remix.
Jen Titus, dubstepped. Quite good, try it out even if you hate dubstep. (Soundcloud version.)
Jen Titus, chill. Quite good as well, sounds almost like ethereal triphop.
Skinny Fists, electronic drone w/multiple voices.
Ralph Stanley dubstepped. Wonder what he'd think? I think meh. (Good idea tho.)
Industrial remix of Jen Titus. Not bad, but rather generic.

Also, youtube playlist for "o death", lots more there, but I think I culled the best ones out.