Sunday, April 17, 2011

Three Interpretations

The original, by Brother Claude Ely, a Pentecostal preacher:

Johnny Cash's interpretation, which slows a joyful praise song into a mournful dirge:

And finally, Aoife O’Donovan and Crooked Still, which give it a bluegrass turbocharger treatment, speeding it up until it's at dance tune pace:

Three interpretations of "Ain't No Grave" by three totally different artists. Same words in each case, but the presentation makes it mean entirely different things... just one reason why poetry and music are *not* the same, even if the lyrics to many songs do work as poetry.

-- Badtux the Music Penguin


  1. I love the song There Ain't No Grave Gonna Hold My Body Down by Brother Claude Ely. It was my favorite song growing up as a child. I've heard it done by many people, but no one ever sang it like Brother Claude Ely. I just finished reading his biography that I found on his official website ... Wow! What a great man with a great life story! Thank you for your blog ... It was refreshing to see someone talk about this great song and great man!!!

  2. In ancient times, poetry and song were the same thing.

    You could find vastly different interpretations of music alone. A dance comp this week end one girl danced to a solo piano rendition of Sunday, Bloody Sunday. Gave the song a very different feel.


    WV: No Singst


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