Monday, October 11, 2010

"Hello, Stranger" - The Carter Family


Set Four: The "Lost" Volume; Disc Two; Track One: "Hello, Stranger" performed by The Carter Family. Recorded in New York on June 17, 1937.

For biographical information on the Carter Family, see the entry for "John Hardy Was a Desperate Little Man."

"Hello, Stranger" is a basic 12-bar blues performed as a duet between Sara and Maybelle Carter, the two vocalists alternating overlapping lines.

Hello stranger, put your loving hand in mine.
Hello stranger, put your loving hand in mine.
You are a stranger, and you're a pal of mine.

Get up rounder, let a working man lay down.
Get up rounder, let a working man lay down.
You are a rounder, but you're all out and down.

Every time I ride Six and Fourth street car.
Oh, every time I ride Six and Fourth street car.
I can see my baby peeping through the bars.

She bowed her head, she waved both hands at me.
She bowed her head, she waved both hands at me.
I'm prison bound, I'm longing to be free.

Oh, I'll see you, when your troubles are like mine.
Oh, I'll see you, when your troubles are like mine.
Oh, I'll see you, when you haven't got a dime.

Weeping like a willow and mourning like a dove.
Weeping like a willow and mourning like a dove.
There's a girl up the country that I really love.

Hello stranger, put your loving hand in mine.
Hello stranger, put your loving hand in mine.
You are a stranger, and you're a pal of mine.


"Hello, Stranger" marks the second appearance by the Carter Family on volume four and their sixth appearance overall on the Anthology. The Carter Family will turn up one last time on this disc.

"Hello, Stranger" tells the story of a man on his way to prison. The speaker never says what he's going to jail for, but we know that he's leaving his girl behind. The speaker appears to be addressing most of the song to a fellow convict.

A.P. Carter was a close friend and associate of African-American songster Leslie Riddle (1905-1980). Riddle frequently accompanied Carter on his "song collecting" trips and is frequently cited, along with Jimmie Rodgers, as a primary influence on the Carters when it came to recording blues songs.

"Hello, Stranger" went on to become one of the Carter Family's signature songs and is today regarded as a Country Music standard.

This track kicks off the last disc of the Anthology.

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Here's a very dapper singer/guitarist who calls himself "The Rooster" performing a soulful version of "Hello, Stranger."



This is the Dry Bones Band performing a version of "Hello, Stranger" with two guitars and percussion.



Download and listen to The Carter Family - "Hello, Stranger"

2 comments:

  1. EmmyLou Harris covered this nicely with Nicolette Larson in duet.

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  2. I'm not so sure about your interpretation. Would someone write about prisoners holding hands in the 20's?.And he is "prison bound," not yet in jail.It looks like its his girl friend who is already in jail.
    I think this is about a laborer who is greeting an old friend, sleeps in a place where they sleep in shifts, and who knows he is likely to be arrested.

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