As a 2nd installment of Our Blues Roots for this month, this is a song that I first heard from Alvin Lee & Ten Years After – I Can’t Keep From Crying.
As I looked into it, on one live performance, Alvin attributed it to Al Kooper but later on his last CD entitled The Final Show – Alvin mentioned that it was a song that Al Kooper had stolen. Alvin being a bit of historian of older blues, swing & jazz music was in a position to know so as Ronnie Van Zandt sang – He sent me searching…….
First video is the take from Alvin’s The Final Show;
2nd, is the version that I first heard from Ten Years After from the Recorded Live! album of 1973. If you haven’t heard this album, I think it is 2nd only to the Allman Brothers Band Live At The Fillmore. The version of this song is amazing as is the entire album.
3rd, is Al Kooper’s version from his time with Mike Bloomfield
4th is song by a young performer from the Kansas City area – Danielle Nicole – but her version is lyically closer to the older versions and entitled Lord I Just Can’t Keep From Crying. Danielle’s voice is one of the greatest and impassioned that has come along in quite a while. Check out her You Tube channel
5th, is what may be the original recording – who knows how many times it was done by other musicians – but the recording is Blind Willie Johnson
Many have done this song and versions of it over the years – I included a You Tube search if you are interested in hearing other versions – including Phoebe Snow
Keith, you did a great job tracking down Blind Willie Johnson’s version. I don’t think I ever made the connection that that was a Blind Willie Johnson song.
I’m enjoying the rest of them too. First time Ten Years After recorded that song was on their first album. This live performance is also floating around on YouTube—I’ll bet you posted it here before.
That’s a different recording than I was expecting from Al Kooper. Looks like he’s also done that several times.
It only dawned on me with Alvin saying that Al Kooper had stolen the song that there had to be somewhat of an original and Danielle Nicole’s version was close enough that I had to dig. As I’ve learned from what you’ve done with Our Blues Roots, these old blues tunes have been passed around and lyrics were borrowed and revamped.
Really like Blind Willie’s vocals – I will have to dig up more from him in the future….and I thought that Gregg Allman had a gruff voice LOL
Seems really strange to see Alvin playing a Strat instead of Big Red. I’ve read that he really liked the sound of a Strat but kept hitting the pickup selector switch while playing live so the stuck with Big Red.
He had to retire Red because it had been played so much over the years that it was no longer stable plus someone offered him over a million dollars for the guitar and he didn’t want to chance it being stolen – Alvin is the only player that I know of that had 3 different companies make Signature models of his guitar – Gibson, Heritage and Tokai.
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