"When That Great Ship Went Down"
The song, “The Titanic” (sometimes called “"It Was Sad When That Great Ship Went Down") has been documented as early as 1915, but probably emerged shortly after the incident in 1912. According to American Negro Folk-Songs (Newman I. White, original publication 1928) “The Titanic” is a children’s nursery rhyme sung at summer camps. Judging by the strangely upbeat tone of the song I tend to believe this account. Other versions of the song have been documented to the early 1920s.
Some texts mistakenly credit a 1927 recording by William and Versey Smith of Chicago, Illinois as the first recording of “The Titanic”. I have no clue who Will and Versey Smith are, but Pop Stoneman recorded the song in 1925. I’ve included Pop’s early recording along with Patsy Stoneman’s recent recording. (Ha! I’ve managed to slip two Autoharp songs into the same post.)
Leadbelly recorded a different version of “The Titanic” during his last sessions with Folkways.
And the last selection is a self-penned tribute to the Titanic by a Dutchman that lives in Vienna and is a master of American blues and folk. Hans Theessink (pronounced Tay-sink) like many of us, was taken by the blues in the 1960s and has turned his love of American roots music into an impressive career. His beautiful voice and artistic guitar work are worth further listening if you aren’t familiar with his work.
from the wonderful 3 cd set Autoharp Legacy available from Autoharp Quarterly.
for more info about Hans visit theessink.com.