♫ The House Of The Rising Sun ♫ (Redux)

I know I’ve been reduxing a lot lately, but I’ve just not had the energy at the end of the day to delve into new material.  Please bear with me … I promise to do better soon!   I’ve only played this one once, about a year-and-a-half ago, so I’m hoping you won’t mind listening again today!

According to Wikipedia …

Like many classic folk ballads, ‘The House of the Rising Sun’ is of uncertain authorship. Musicologists say that it is based on the tradition of broadside ballads, and thematically it has some resemblance to the 16th-century ballad “The Unfortunate Rake”, yet there is no evidence suggesting that there is any direct relation.  According to Alan Lomax, “Rising Sun” was the name of a bawdy house in two traditional English songs, and it was also a name for English pubs.[5] He further suggested that the melody might be related to a 17th-century folk song, “Lord Barnard and Little Musgrave”, also known as “Matty Groves”, but a survey by Bertrand Bronson showed no clear relationship between the two songs. Lomax proposed that the location of the house was then relocated from England to New Orleans by White Southern performers. However, folklorist Vance Randolph proposed an alternative French origin, the “rising sun” referring to the decorative use of the sunburst insignia dating to the time of Louis XIV, which was brought to North America by French immigrants.

“House of Rising Sun” was said to have been known by miners in 1905.[6] The oldest published version of the lyrics is that printed by Robert Winslow Gordon in 1925, in a column “Old Songs That Men Have Sung” in Adventure magazine. The lyrics of that version begin:

There is a house in New Orleans, it’s called the Rising Sun
It’s been the ruin of many poor girl
Great God, and I for one.

The oldest known recording of the song, under the title “Rising Sun Blues”, is by Appalachian artists Clarence “Tom” Ashley and Gwen Foster, who recorded it on September 6, 1933 on the Vocalion label (02576). Ashley said he had learned it from his grandfather, Enoch Ashley. Roy Acuff, an “early-day friend and apprentice” of Ashley’s, learned it from him and recorded it as “Rising Sun” on November 3, 1938. Several older blues recordings of songs with similar titles are unrelated, for example, “Rising Sun Blues” by Ivy Smith (1927) and “The Risin’ Sun” by Texas Alexander (1928). There is a common perception that prior to The Animals the song was about and from the perspective of a woman. This is incorrect, as the narrative of the lyrics has been continually whipped back and forth from a female to a male cautionary tale. The earliest known printed version from Gordon’s column is about a woman’s warning. The earliest known recording of the song by Ashley is about a rounder, a male character. The lyrics of that version begin:

There is a house in New Orleans
They call the Rising Sun
Where many poor boys to destruction has gone
And me, oh God, are one.

This song has been recorded by Woody Guthrie, Glenn Yarbrough, Joan Baez, and Bob Dylan, to name a few, but the most famous version remains that of The Animals.  According to The Animals’ drummer John Steel …

“We Played Liverpool on May 17, 1964 and then drove to London where Mickie had booked a studio for ITV’s Ready Steady Go! Because of the reaction we were getting to ‘Rising Sun,’ we asked to record it and he said, ‘Okay we’ll do it at the same session.’ We set up for balance, played a few bars for the engineer – it was mono with no overdubs – and we only did one take. We listened to it and Mickie said, ‘That’s it, it’s a single.’ The engineer said it was too long, but instead of chopping out a bit, Mickie had the courage to say, ‘We’re in a microgroove world now, we will release it.’ A few weeks later it was #1 all over the world. When we knocked The Beatles off the top in America, they sent us a telegram which read, ‘Congratulations from The Beatles (a group)’.”

House Of The Rising Sun
The Animals

There is a house in New Orleans
They call the Rising Sun
And it’s been the ruin of many a poor boy
Dear God, I know I was one

My mother was a tailor
She sewed my new blue jeans
And my father was a gamblin’ man
Way down in New Orleans

And the only thing a gambler needs
Is a suitcase in the trunk
And the only time he’s satisfied
Is when he’s on a drunk

Oh mother, tell your children
Not to do what I have done
Don’t spend your life in sin and misery
In the House of the Rising Sun

I got one foot on the platform
And another on the train
And I’m goin’ back to New Orleans
To wear that ball and chain

There is a house in New Orleans
They call the Rising Sun
And it’s been the ruin of many a poor boy
Dear God, I know I was one
Dear God, I know I was the one

Source: LyricFind
Songwriters: Alan Price
House Of The Rising Sun lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

12 thoughts on “♫ The House Of The Rising Sun ♫ (Redux)

  1. Great choice Jill. Like most of the music of that era the original versions of the song came over with the early settlers and became a mountain classic, sung by the people who seldom left the hollers of their grandparents and great grandparents. I’ve heard this one by several artists, including some who have never left the hollers. The best version though was by a friend, one of my kids teachers, sung while playing my dulcimer in the teachers lounge once when I was substitute teaching. I had never heard it done so well back then and still have never heard a better version. so many songs that became famous and brought fame to so many people during the folk revolution of the late
    60’s and early 70’s, often contributed to Dylon, were actually imports from the English areas, brought over by the immigrants who moved on to the Appalachian Mountains taking their music with them. The Carter family made some of them famous but Jeannie Ritchie made the first recordings of most of them. The latest ones I have heard were by Joan Baez who had several albums of them. I first saw a few of them back in the late ’40’s when I was learning to read music and fell in love with these old “mountain” songs, later known as “Child ballads”.

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  2. Hello jill. There are song songs that either the lyrics or the music or both have an haunting of the mind. They echo there long after you hear them. This is one. Gordon Lightfoot’s The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald is another that has this same effect. Good selection for the night, I hope you get rested up and feel more energetic. But please don’t over stress yourself. Remember there will be a tomorrow to post in. Hugs

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  4. A bona fidelity classic. Whilst they never quite hit the same heights again they had quite a few more top ten hits here, though fewer elsewhere. My other favourite of theirs is one that didn’t do all that well in the charts: a slowed down, bluesy version of Ring Of Fire. Another great record 😊

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  5. There is so much to say about this song, because while it brought themamazing fame, it ultimately destroyed The Animals. I notice Alan Price is still listed as songriter, and therein lies the cause of the destruction. But that is old news.
    The problem with this song is that it was such a big hit, it has almost made the rest of Eric’s canon seem somehow diminished, never up to the standard set by “House,” and thus The Animals and Eric himself with all his following groups are mostly ignored, except by fanatics such as myself. And even I have not heard every song he has recorded, there are just too many in too many different places and eras to collect them all together.
    The sad part of “House”? With Eric’s voice and Price’s driving organ, they could have been bigger than the Rolling Stones if they had not had such a horrendous falling out. But that train fell off the bridge so many years ago.
    I cannot count the number of times I have seen Eric sing live during my lifetime, but it would be more than I have all other groups put together. I cannot say I am his biggest fan, but I love him more than any other rock talent, including Jimi, Jim, John, Janis, and even George Harrison, who is my number 1A. He can make any song better than great, in my not-so-humble opinion.
    And yes, it all started with House of the Rising Sun, but it definitely did not stop there.
    Folliwing is the latest recording I “can find” of Mr. Eric Burdon. (You can read about why he decided to record this at http://www.ericburdon.com)

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