Blind Willie Johnson (1897-1945), “God Don’t Never Change,” recorded 12/10/1929 (New Orleans)
Within this temporal body composed of a hundred bones and nine holes there resides a spirit which, for lack of an adequate name, I think of as windblown.
—Matsuo Basho (1644-1694), The Knapsack Notebook (translated from Japanese by Sam Hamill)
“Nobody’s Fault but Mine” (aka “It’s Nobody’s Fault but Mine”)
Ry Cooder, 2018
Pops Staples, 2015 (recorded 1998)
Willie Nelson, 2010
Nina Simone, 1969
Sister Rosetta Tharpe, 1949
Blind Willie Johnson, 1927
last night, Oak Park, Ill.
His music, which I’ve been listening to for over forty years, never grows old. If anything, the opposite is true. Year after year, it gets stronger, deeper, fresher.
Blind Willie Johnson, “Trouble Will Soon Be Over” (with Willie B. Harris), 1929
I love the past tense, but you can’t live there.
—John Koethe, “Stele” (fragment; ROTC Kills, 2012)
“If I Had My Way I’d Tear The Building Down,” AKA “If I Had My Way,” “Samson and Delilah”
Blind Willie Johnson, recording, 1927
Reverend Gary Davis, live (TV show)
Peter Paul & Mary, live (TV show)
Grateful Dead, live, New York (Radio City Music Hall), 1980
Bruce Springsteen, live, Italy (Verona), 2006