Helpless Dancer

The Endless Note

Cover Story – House Of The Rising Sun

Sandi Thom made a pilgrimage to New Orleans to research the origins of her latest single “House Of The Rising Sun” – and discovered it is probably a Scottish folk song.

The singer, from Banff, has recorded a documentary of her travels after seeking out the inspiration and roots of the song made famous by famous artists including The Animals, Bob Dylan and Nina Simone.

Sandi’s research led back to 18th century Scottish church services and the coal mines of Lowestoft.

She said: “My brother Chris and I went out to New Orleans. We talked to historians and librarians who had researched the origins of the song and we interviewed the guy who runs the House Of The Rising Sun B&B and discovered he was an Englishman from Romford, in Essex, who has lived there for 25 years.

“His wife is from the Appalachian mountains and they do historical talks. He has about 50 versions of the song, including my own, on his website. These people are all fanatical about the song and its origins.”

Sandi’s journey took her right back to the late 1700s.

She said: “Bob Dylan was fascinated with the version by Georgia Turner back in 1937 and she heard it from her grandmother.

“The song goes back as far as the late 1700s and is most likely to be Scots Irish. So much of the music that arrived with all the Scots-Irish migrants came from Scotland and became the foundation for popular music.”

Sandi’s latest version of the song is available on the deluxe version of her current album Merchant & Thieves and as a download single.

To buy the Sandi Thom version click HERE

Sandi’s fascination for the Sixties classic is down to Sandie Shaw, who asked her to sing it at a festival.

Sandi said: “Sandie Shaw invited me to sing House Of The Rising Sun at the Vintage music festival in Surrey alongside Sophie Ellis Bextor and Micha Paris.

“We did it with the Heritage Orchestra. I’d sang it on my own on guitar but I had never sung it with an orchestra and it sounded great. Micah was adamant I should record it. I got the band together and went into a studio in North London.

“When you release a song, you have to register it. The song is listed as traditional which means it is public domain. I was like, ‘who the hell did write it?’ Nobody knows. Something in me said, ‘let’s go to New Orleans.’

“We interviewed dozens of people about it from hobos to bands busking in the street. It is really colourful and very cool. The whole thing has grown arms and legs.”

Despite her transatlantic search, the origins of the song remain shrouded mystery – and no-one is more pleased than Sandi.

She said: “The song has been covered by so many people and stands the test of time. It is very mysterious. I met Eric Burdon of The Animals. He has done a lot of research and believes it is a Scots-Irish song too.

“We just concluded in the end that it is better not to know, because the intrigue keeps it alive.

Article Original Source :-

February 10, 2011 Posted by | Blast from The Past, Blues, Cover Stories, New Releases, Video | , , , , , , | Leave a comment


%d bloggers like this: