She visits my grave/when the night wind wails

One of the lovely things about the web is, it lets you get these glimpses of folk processes in action. So when coffeeem mentioned that she and skzbrust sang “Long Black Veil” (a relatively recent song that seems to me to very much fit into the tragic ballad tradition) at Coppercon, I began wondering in just how many ways this song had been covered through the years.

So I went to YouTube to find out.

Lefty Frizzell

The Band

Johnny Rivers

Johnny Cash

Johnny Cash and Joni Mitchell

Bob Dylan

Dave Matthews and Emmylou Harris

Bruce Springsteen and the Seeger Sessions Band

Mike Nesmith

The Chieftains

Squeezebox Sam (on accordion!)

Levon Helm Band

Conclusion: Lefty Frizzell and Johnny Cash still own this song, even after nearly a half century. (I grew up on the Johnny Cash version.) But I like the Levon Helm Band version, too (and hearing female voices dominate this song, which changes it in subtle interesting ways).

And the accordion player gets points for … something. I’m still trying to figure out what. 🙂

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