Monday, January 22, 2007

Steel Drivin' Man

The story of John Henry, the man, may never be resolved, but the story of John Henry, the legend, with inspire working people for generations to come.

There are just too many great versions of "John Henry" to post in just one day.

Let's start with a couple of incredible instrumental versions. Etta Baker passed away this past September leaving us with a wealth of her wonderful finger-picked guitar artistry. Glen Smith of Elizabeth, West Virginia is primarily known for his fantastic Old Time fiddle, but can impress an audience with his clawhammer banjo as well.

Joe Uehlein gained a respect for the songs of workin’ folks when he was employed at an aluminum mill in central Pennsylvania. His band, The U-Liners, have a more rock-tinged roots sound. On this version of “John Henry” Joe is joined by John Uehlein, Mike Auldridge, and Phil Rosenthal.

Etta Baker - John Henry.mp3
Available on the great 6 cd set "Anthology of American Folk Music" from Smithsonian/Folkways.

Glen Smith - John Henry.mp3
From another influential and essential collection: "Clawhammer Banjo, Vol. 3" on County Records.

Joe Uehlein & The U-Liners - John Henry.mp3
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