House of the Rising Sun, The

DESCRIPTION: The singer laments, "There is a house in New Orleans / They call the Rising Sun / It's been the ruin of many a poor girl / And me, O God, I'm one." She tells of her troubled childhood, laments that she cannot escape her life, and warns others against it
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: 1933 (recording, Ashley & Foster)
KEYWORDS: whore lament gambling drink husband father mother
REFERENCES (10 citations):
Randolph/Legman-RollMeInYourArms I, pp. 250-253, "The House of the Rising Sun" (5 texts, 1 tune)
Lomax/Lomax-OurSingingCountry, pp. 368-369, "The Rising Sun Blues" (1 text, 1 tune)
Lomax-FolkSongsOfNorthAmerica 151, "The Rising Sun Blues" (1 text, 1 tune)
Cohen-AmericanFolkSongsARegionalEncyclopedia1, pp. 348-349, "Rounder's Luck" (1 text)
Seeger-AmericanFavoriteBallads, p. 18, "House Of The Rising Sun" (1 text, 1 tune)
Cray-AshGrove, pp. 31-32, "House of the Rising Sun" (1 text, 1 tune)
Silber/Silber-FolksingersWordbook, p. 184, "House Of The Rising Sun" (1 text)
Averill-CampSongsFolkSongs, p. 234, "The House of the Rising Sun" (notes only)
ADDITIONAL: Moses Asch and Alan Lomax, Editors, _The Leadbelly Songbook_, Oak, 1962, p. 57, "House of the Rising Sun" (1 text, 1 tune)

Roud #6393
Roy Acuff & his Smoky Mountain Boys, "The Rising Sun" (Vocalion 04909, 1939)
Almanac Singers, "House of the Rising Sun" (General 5020B, 1941; on Almanac01, Almanac03, AlmanacCD1)
Clarence Ashley & Doc Watson, "Rising Sun Blues" (on Ashley03, WatsonAshley01)
[Clarence] Ashley & [Gwen] Foster, "The Rising Sun Blues" (Vocalion 02576, 1933)
Homer Callahan, "Rounder's Luck" (Melotone 6-02-59, 1936; rec. 1935)
Dillard Chandler, "Sport in New Orleans" (on Chandler01)
Tom Darby & Jimmie Tarlton, "Rising Sun Blues" (Columbia 15701-D, c. 1931)
Woody Guthrie, "House of the Rising Sun" (on AschRec2) (on WoodyFolk)
Esco Hankins, "The Rising Sun" (King 650, 1947)
Daw Henson, "The Rising Sun Blues" (AAFS 1508 B2)
Roscoe Holcomb, "The Rising Sun" [LP] or "House in New Orleans" [CD] (on Holcomb-Ward1, HolcombCD1)
Bert Martin, "The Rising Sun Blues" (AAFS 1496 B2)
Pete Seeger, "House of the Rising Sun" (on PeteSeeger18)
Georgia Turner, "The Rising Sun Blues" (AAFS 1404 A1)

The Ballad of Jackhammer John (by Woody Guthrie; tune conjectured by Pete Seeger) (Woody Guthrie, __Roll On Columbia: The Columbia River Collection_, collected and edited by Bill Murlin, Sing Out Publications, 1991, pp. 70-73, with Seeger's notes on p. 69)
NOTES [91 words]: Legman offers extensive, if rambling, notes in Randolph/Legman-RollMeInYourArms I. - EC
While this song is generally associated in the public mind with African-American tradition, it clearly circulated in the Anglo-American community extensively; Clarence Ashley said he learned it from his grandmother. - PJS
Tex Alexander in 1928 recorded a song with the "Rising Sun" title, which we took for a time to be the earliest reference. But Mark R. Fletcher sends me information making it clear that this is a different piece with the same name. - RBW
Last updated in version 6.3
File: RL250

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