Format Audio Recordings
Contributors Desellem, Phillip
Library of Congress
Miller, Elizabeth
Saladini, Robert
Williams, Gus
Dates 1998
Location Washington D.C.
See that my graveís kept green
Contributor Names
Williams, Gus (composer)
Saladini, Robert (conductor)
Miller, Elizabeth (soprano_soloist)
DeSellem, Phillip (pianist)
Created / Published
Library of Congress, Washington, D.C, 1998, monographic.
-  Gus Williams, an important performer during the 1870s, was best known as a "Dutch act"--a comedian with an act in German dialect. However, his most successful song is a straightforward sentimental one dealing with that most affecting of scenes for the nineteenth-century audience, the death-bed. (This particular death-bed is unusual in being that of a spouse rather than of a child.) "See That My Grave is Kept Green" generated several answer and imitation songs during the 1870s. Its title is reflected in Blind Lemon Jefferson's immortal 1927 recording "See That My Grave's Kept Clean." After its first two lines, Jefferson's bluesy song bears no resemblance to Gus Williams's 1878 ballad --the body of Jefferson's song is a version of the text known to folklorists as "The Unfortunate Rake"--but it is the first two lines that appear as epitaph on Blind Lemon Jefferson's grave: "Lord, it's one kind favor I'll ask of you See that my grave is kept clean."
-  The performers are the "Music for the Nation" Singers, and are all Library of Congress staff members. These selections were recorded in the Library's Coolidge Auditorium on September 23, 1998. Robert Saladini, director; Phillip DeSellem, pianist; Carol Guglielm, Elizabeth Miller (sopranos); Laura Lee Fischer, Linda Gill (altos); David Arbury, Thomas A. Howe (tenors); Ralph Gingery, John Oswald Greene (basses).
1 digital file. 2:14
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