Monday, August 17, 2009
An Unusual One
When I started listening to today's featured track for the first time, a few weeks ago, I had to start it over again to make sure I'd actually heard the lyrics right.
Because this one goes into a new category, at least among song-poems that I've heard. There are a few cases I'm aware of in which a friend of mine - a song-poem collector of some reknown - has deliberately submitted lyrics of someone else's song, in some cases a famous song by a famous performer, to the current song-poem companies to see what they would do.
But this is different. What we have here is someone who took an existing song, used the key lyrics from the chorus and a few of the other lyrics, as well as a specific detail from the existing song, added new lyrics, and submitted the whole creation as her own.
"Nobody's Child" would not have been a terribly famous piece in the 70's (when this was likely released), but would have been known by country fans, due to a version by Hank Snow, or Beatles obsessives, due to a fairly different version done by the fabs in Hamburg, before their fame.
Olive M. Peterson took the haunting first two lines of the chorus:
"I'm nobody's child, I'm nobody's child
Just like a flower, I'm growing wild"
She adjusted those lines a bit, took a few other lines and rearranged them as well, and threw in a key aspect of the original song, that the orphan in question is blind, then built a lyric around it, which Gene Marshall sang for her and for posterity.
Again, I'm not sure I've seen this particular conceit among song-poem records, prior to this find. Please enjoy Gene's touching rendition.
Here's Gene singing the flip side, "Come Walk With Me":