Monday, January 29, 2007

John Jacob Niles

Hi! I'm taking this opportunity to link to a song that I think is interesting as a piece of American history. John Jacob Niles (1892-1980, I think) was an American folk musician, composer, and singer. He was actually the author of 'I Wonder As I Wander,' which may surprise you once you hear his eerie vocal style. I've posted about music before, as you'll remember, about Sacred Harp singing, which also had a distinctive sound ('sounds like drunken Gregorian chanting?'). As before, don't expect music that I post to sound particularly pleasant. It's just so cool.

John Jacob Niles - The Maid Freed From the Gallows

PS The link might expire some day.

[update] It's been pointed out that I didn't provide the URL for the music. Here it is!


Shelley said...

that was totaly not russian orthodox chant . you tricked me into listening. but it was awesome never the less.

Anonymous said...

Delighted to see JJN appear in song and image on your blog. yes, the dates are 1892-1980. I am inm the last stages of completing a biography of Niles--taken almost 25 years. The story of I Wonder As I Wander is a complex one, and while he wriote the tune and text, there were elements of traditional music he collected at the core of it, so it is a complicated genesis. Remarkable song, though. And his vocal style is equally remarkable.

Anonymous said...

Hi, I don't mind hotlinking, but you should give people the link of the full post so they can get the other songs as well!