Like many classic folk ballads, the authorship of "The House of the Rising Sun" is uncertain. Musicologists say that it is based on the tradition of broadside ballads such as The Unfortunate Rake of the 18th century and that English emigrants took the song to America where it was adapted to its later New Orleans setting. Alan Price of The Animals has even claimed that the song was originally a sixteenth-century English folk song about a Soho brothel.
This famous Blues melody has its origins in the 18th century English folk ballad The Unfortunate Rake. It exists in many different versions, but was made popular in a recording by Louis Armstrong in 1928.
This is a popular American song composed by W. C. Handy in the blues style. It remains a fundamental part of jazz musicians' repertoire. It was also one of the first blues songs to succeed as a pop song. It has been performed by numerous musicians of all styles from Louis Armstrong and Bessie Smith to Count Basie, Glenn Miller, Guy Lombardo, and the Boston Pops Orchestra.
Handy's inspiration for the Memphis Blues came from an encounter he had with a guitarist in the town of Tutwiler in the Mississippi Delta. The guitarist played a simple music based around a three chord repeating chord structure. Handy incorporated some of these ideas into this piece. As Hardy later remarked, "Folks went wild about it," so much so that some music historians consider this piece the means by which the blues style was popularised.
"Worried Man Blues" is a folk song in the roots music repertoire. Like many folks songs passed by oral tradition, the lyrics vary from version to version, but generally all contain the chorus "It takes a worried man to sing a worried song/It takes a worried man to sing a worried song/I'm worried now, but I won't be worried long." The verses tell the story of a man imprisoned for unknown reasons "I went across the river, and I lay down to sleep/When I woke up, had shackles on my feet", who pines for his lost love, who is "on the train and gone."
See See Rider, also known as C.C. Rider or See See Rider Blues or Easy Rider is a popular American 12-bar blues song. It was first recorded by Gertrude Ma Rainey in 1924, and since then has been recorded by many other artists, including Elvis Presley, Mississippi John Hurt, Lead Belly, ,Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Ray Charles, Chuck Berry, Gary Lewis and the Playboys, The Who, The Everly Brothers, Charlie Rich, Ian & Sylvia, Janis Joplin and many more.The song uses mostly traditional blues lyrics to tell the story of an unfaithful lover, commonly called easy riders: See See rider, see what you have done making a play on the word see and the sound of easy.
"Midnight Special" is a traditional folk song thought to have originated among prisoners in the American South. The title comes from the refrain which refers to the passenger train Midnight Special and its "ever-loving light" (sometimes "ever-living light"). The song is historically performed in the country-blues style from the viewpoint of the prisoner and has been covered by many artists.
"The Wabash Cannonball" is an American folk song about a fictional train, thought to have originated in the late nineteenth century. Its first documented appearance was on sheet music published in 1882, titled "The Great Rock Island Route" and credited to J. A. Roff. A rewritten version by William Kindt appeared in 1904 under the title "Wabash Cannon Ball". Many versions have since been sung by Woodie Guthrie, Bing Crosby, Johnny Cash and many others.