John Jacob Niles - Sings American Folk Songs

“Over coffee and liqueurs we would sometimes listen to John Jacob Niles’ recordings. Our favorite was ‘I Wonder As I Wander,’ sung in a clear, high-pitched voice with a quaver and a modality all his own. The metallic clang of his dulcimer never failed to produce ecstasy. He had a voice which summoned memories of Arthur, Merlin, Guinevere. There was something of the Druid in him. Like a psalmist, he intoned his verses in an ethereal chant which the angels carried aloft to the Glory seat. When he sang of Jesus, Mary and Joseph they became living presences. A sweep of the hand and the dulcimer gave forth magical sounds which caused the stars to gleam more brightly, which peopled the hills and meadows with silvery figures and made the brooks to babble like infants. We would sit there long after his voice had faded out, talking of Kentucky where he was born, talking of the Blue Ridge mountains and the folk from Arkansas…” –Henry Miller, Plexus pp. 366-367

Niles is in classic form on this spectral cycle of American ballads released by RCA Camden in 1956. Can’t find much of anything written about this one. I’m wondering if its simply a volume of earlier recordings resourced into a collection. Maybe you’ve noticed that I’m not including a scan of the back cover. That’s because its really just a catalog of Classical and Light Concert LPs available from Camden at the time. Nothing helpful. FYI, Niles is in fact the songwriter of the seminal classics Black Is The Color Of My True Love’s Hair & Go Way From My Window. Never knew that until today. Had simply assumed anonymous authorship on both counts. 320 vinyl rip by yours truly. Enjoy.

Release Information
Year: 1956.
Country: USA.
Label: RCA Camden.
1. You Got To Cross That Lonesome Valley 2:49
2. The Lass From The Cow Countree 2:33
3. Black Is The Color Of My True Love's Hair 2:10
4. Go 'Way From My Window / One Morning in May 3:13
5. The Wife Of Usher's Well 3:22
6. The Death Of Queen Jane 2:45
7. Little Mattie Groves 8:20
8. The Gypsy Laddie 3:27
9. My Little Mohee 2:16
10. I Wonder As I Wander Out Under The Sky 2:16
11. Lulle Lullay 2:25
12. The Seven Joys Of Mary 4:52
13. The Ballad Of Barberry Ellen 4:57
Comments (11)

11 Responses

  1. Anonymous says:

    I just referred to this on the air yesterday! I was playing Len & Judy‘s version of “Go ‘Way From My Window,” and I speculated that they learned it from Niles’ original! This is top stuff.

    Doug S.

  2. Anonymous says:

    I already have this.
    Feels good to finally write this after so many good albums on here that I haven’t even heard of…
    Timeless top stuff, indeed!

    There was a short clip of John Jacob Niles playing “Go ‘way from my window” in the Scorcese Dylan documentary “no direction home”
    I guess j.j niles and Odetta played important roles for the young Bob Dylan.
    Anyway, in that film..the version of “go ‘way from my window” is a bit different to any other I’ve heard…sounds like there’s a backing choir on it and I would love to find it on an album…anyone?
    Thanx for a magnificient blog, by the way. K

  3. Anonymous says:

    Oh oh awesome

  4. Anonymous says:

    Multiupload is down!

    Do you have the mediafire link for this one?

  5. Gabriela says:

    thanks for re-upping this! go away from my window tore me to bits tonight

  6. Anonymous says:

    Fascinating post! Thanks very much. This is certainly one of the most unique (and best) music blogs.

  7. Albert Samson says:

    Thanks indeed for your website, the songs we listened to were just the kind of songs and Music we like !! ( and only seldom are we satisfied …) .

    I would thus like to suggest you and shere with us the pleasure we always have listening to an Harpist & Singer called MANDRAGORE :
    as well as : .
    We wish you to enjoy these inspired melodies the way we do since we discovered this Harpist / singer & Composer from Brittany in Alsace .

  8. Albert Samson says:

    Oh and please ( we were the melomans who wanted to share with you Mandragore (Harpist & Singer : & .) ‘s songs :

    Don’ t forget to let us subscribe to your blog !
    Our address is : scope_org_kulturinfos (hat) yahoo (dot) es .

  9. Hans Kleiger says:

    Well , we were at that MANDRAGORE ‘s concert too !!
    and i fully agree with you and your taste …

  10. Badman says:

    Thanks for this. Love it!!

  11. Now’s our turn ! : We have listened to a Mandragore’s New Year’s Eve Concert in Barcelona , now we understand … :
    You’ll be able to listen to her songs at “reverbnation” , “myspace” , “soundcloud” , and many other websites .
    Now’s your turn to enjoy it .

    Best Wishes & happy new year , Zoetrope from Maastricht .

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