For Nathan and Seth, and for my mother and late grandparents…
I always thought this song was by Woody Guthrie, but it turns it out it is by Goebel Reeves. Here’s Woody’s version:
Here’s a snippet from a Woody Guthrie documentary (not sure which one), with the beautiful Emmylou Harris singing, taken from the brilliant Folkways A Vision Shared tribute to Woody and Leadbelly:
Here’s a nice version by Woody’s son Arlo Guthrie:
This is the version I was brought up with, by the old Stalinist Pete Seeger, and it’s this version that I sing to my kids at bedtime:
Finally, a more recent version by Bruce Springsteen:
Lyrics and variations here.
Previously: Arlo; Woody.