If I had wings like Noah's Dove...
December 6, 2013 7:51 AM   Subscribe

In 1904, John A. Lomax recorded Dink, a levee worker, singing a folk song. In 1934, Lomax published the song in his book, American Ballads and Folk Songs. It went on to become a folk staple. Recently, the Coen Brothers used a new recording of the song by Marcus Mumford and Oscar Isaac in the trailer for the film Inside Llewyn Davis. (Isaac plays the title role.) Jool's Musical Flowers, a blog dedicated to "the ORIGINAL versions of [mostly blues and gospel music] famous songs and songs covered by famous poeople" has compiled a thorough list of covers. The only two I might add are Jeff Buckley's 1992 performance at WFMU, and Joan Baez's 2004 performance at the Bowery Ballroom. (Previously)
posted by Going To Maine (6 comments total) 26 users marked this as a favorite
The only two I might add...

They also left out my favorite version, from Fred Neil’s terrific second album.
posted by LeLiLo at 8:01 AM on December 6, 2013

Thanks for that blog in general! I actually used this kind of thing as a theme for one of my Mefi Music Swaps - "pop musicians covering folk songs". Would love to see what the blog turns up for "Black Betty".
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:18 AM on December 6, 2013

The first time I heard it was in the Maverick episode "Alias Bart Maverick," sung by former Miss Louisiana and Miss USA Arlene Howell (doing her own vocals) as Cindy Lou Brown, to an appreciative saloon audience headed by Richard Long as sad-eyed rogue Gentleman Jack Darby. It's one of my favorite episodes. There doesn't seem to be a video of just the musical number online*, but her performance is absolutely charming. (I admit to an initial moment of confusion at "Norah's dove," but I got over it.)

*Although, since the Season 2 DVD release, the whole episode is available to download from Amazon for $1.99, if anyone's interested.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 8:46 AM on December 6, 2013 [1 favorite]

I'm looking forward to this movie so fucking much.
posted by h00py at 9:41 AM on December 6, 2013 [1 favorite]

Hold up hold up hold up. This is a post about Dink's Song, referencing Inside Llewyn Davis, which is inspired by Dave Van Ronk, and so far there is no mention of the single greatest vocal performance in recorded history (yeah yeah in my opinion etc etc etc)? I AM HERE TO RECTIFY!!!


His version on Dave Van Ronk and the Hudson Dusters is also great, but I prefer the raw and passionate acoustic one.

Seriously though, my favorite song of all time, and great post about its history. So excited to see the Coen's movie tonight.

(I realize it's in the linked list of covers but I thought it deserved a comment)
posted by SmileyChewtrain at 11:39 AM on December 6, 2013

Many years ago, during The Great Folk Scare, I had the privilege of seeing Josh White sing "Dink's Song" at a small coffee house. Much as I like Fred Neill's rendition, too, nothing will ever top Mr. White's for me.
posted by rdone at 1:13 PM on December 6, 2013

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