Hello and happy Monday my fellow kilSters!! (… Or is it not so happy BECAUSE it is Monday? Either way, welcome.) This is a very special Got You Cover’d we have in store for you. “House Of The Rising Sun” is a song that has been covered more times than any other song that I can think of. Every one has been putting their own spin on the song forever and ever.
using the blood from one of his left fingers he left a small piece of parchment paper… he scrawled the words detailing his experience at Ma Maybelle’s. He titled that experience “House of the Rising Sun“.
The song itself has no official author, so being the purist that I believe I am, I’m going to say that the fallen angel, Lucifer came down (or up, depending on your view) to earth some time in the early 20th century and graced us with the song. There is no other explanation. It had to be Satan who wrote the song after getting his rocks with a female or six while he was in his human form. The story goes like this: Lucifer, (or “Lu” as he was known to his earthly brethren and sistren) liked to visit the world inhabited with so many of his subjects every once in a while just to see what was what in the land of Odd. One day in the early 1930’s, “Lu” was strolling through the French Quarter in New Orleans when he came upon Ma Maybelle’s House of the Rising Son (this is not a typo, that’s just how it was spelled. Double entendre and all that.) So in “Lu” went. He ordered six nubile P.Y.T’s and he had his way with each of them from sun down to sun up when he crept out just before the sun shone in all its heavenly glory. Before he descended back to his Kingdom of Black; using the blood from one of his left fingers he left a small piece of parchment paper on which he scrawled the words detailing his experience at Ma Maybelle’s. He titled that experience “House of the Rising Sun“. “Lu” took that piece of parchment and let it be taken by the four winds. And thus “House of the Rising Sun” was born.
We’ll never truly know where the song originated from and who its true earthly author was…
The first known recording of “House of the Rising Sun” was by Appalachian artists Clarence “Tom” Ashley and Gwen Foster. Tom Ashley stated that he first heard the song when his grandfather sung it to him. There are some like Alan Price of The Animals claimed that the song dates back to the 16th century and that it was originally an English folk song about a brothel in Soho. We’ll never truly know where the song originated from and who its true earthly author was (that’s why my interpretation of the origins of the song seems most appropriate…), but the fact remains, with every passing decade, the song keeps coming back.
Distortion when done right always speaks to me clearly than all the angels in heaven.
Notable artists who have covered “House Of The Rising Sun” are as follows: Woody Gurthie (1944), Leadbelly (1950), Pete Seeger (1958), Andy Griffith (of Mayberry fame) (1959). Bob Dylan covered “House Of The Rising Sun” on his 1961 debut album, Bob Dylan. Nina Simone put her own spin on the song in 1962, and The Animals came out with their version of “House Of The Rising Sun” in 1964, and for whatever reason people lost goddamn minds! The Animals version is alright. Not great. Just alright. Blasphemy? People will deal in their own sweet time. More so than The Animals, it was Detroit rockers, Frijid Pink‘s 1969 version of “Rising Son“, that spoke to my heart when I first heard it a few years back. It was the distortion. Distortion when done right always speaks to me clearly than all the angels in heaven.
It’s dark, it’s bare bones and it’s haunting. It straight gives me a good case of the “willies”.
Where do we go from here? Which version of “House Of The Rising Sun” shall we showcase today? There have been a billion different versions of the song and none of them bad, just different. Lauren O’ Connell covered “House Of The Rising Sun” for the latest soundtrack to FX’s hit show, American Horror Story: Coven, and I have never heard like her version before. It’s dark, it’s bare bones and it’s haunting. It straight gives me a good case of the “willies”. I mean, have you guys heard this version? It’s fantastic. For me it paints a very vivid picture of time way back without the luxuries of today. A time when people had nothing but constant toil, pain, and a song in their hearts to alleviate said pain, albeit momentarily. Lauren’s version is quite spacious and in that space is a void that each individual listener fills with their “head movies”, or imaginations, if you will. Simply fantastic. I like the type of songs that make me go somewhere in my mind, and Lauren’s version does that just fine.
This version of the song is somber in tone… it suits the feel of the show like a velvet glove.
The other version I wanted to shine a light on is from, surprise, surprise, another soundtrack. This one come from White Buffalo and the Forest Rangers (the Forest Rangers pretty much being the house band for that other FX hit, Sons of Anarchy). The arrangement for this version of “Rising Son” incorporates lyrical elements that are specific to the show, but it doesn’t make it any less bad ass. In this version of the song, “the House” is situated in the make-believe town of Charming, California, which is Sons’ territory. This version of the song is somber in tone much like Lauren O’ Connell’s version and it suits the feel of the show like a velvet glove.
In the 1,100 words it took to express the many facets this one song has gone through, I know that we won’t agree specifically on the two versions which I feel reign supreme, but that’s what’s so great about opinions, there are many of them, and all of them are different. The song is “House Of The Rising Sun“, the versions are many. Which one is your favorite? Let kilScene know. Please feel free to post your opinion in the comments section at the end of this post. Did I miss any that are worth my while? Let me know. I await your comments.