Motherless Children



Home Articles STARK REALITIES About This Site My PGP Public Key


After Hours Ordinary Hero A Season in Methven Our Host Send Me Mail


Home Articles STARK REALITIES About This Site My PGP Public Key


After Hours Ordinary Hero A Season in Methven Our Host

Since Blind Willie Johnson and the Rev. Gary Davis recorded "Motherless Children" in 1927, there've been dozens, perhaps hundreds of versions of this traditional gospel spiritual. Among the notable rock arrangements are Steve Miller's druggy, echo-laden track from "Your Saving Grace" and Eric Clapton's galloping, slide-guitar-driven rendition from "461 Ocean Boulevard".

I always thought Clapton's version was profoundly wrong-headed. Sure, the slide scorches, but the tempo is all wrong. By the same token, the psychedelic production on Miller's recording sounds dated and silly -- but the tempo is right down the bowling alley and I like his stripped-down version of the lyrics a lot.

So I copied his tempo and pared the words down even further for my version.

I'm really proud of the slide guitar solo.

I produced, arranged and engineered the song and, in addition to the electric slide, I sing lead and play acoustic guitar, DR-770 and Korg Triton. My wife, Judy, sang both backup vocal parts -- plus a couple others I decided not to use.

Motherless Children
(Traditional, arrangement and revised lyrics
copyright© 2002 by Thom Stark - all rights reserved
)
A
Motherless children have a hard time
When their mother is gone.
Motherless children have a hard time
When their mother is gone.
E
Motherless children have such a hard time.
        D
There's all that weepin' and all that cryin'.
A                              E
Motherless children, they have such a hard time
           A
When their mother is gone.

Father will do the best he can
When the mother is gone.
Father will do the best he can
When the mother is gone.
Father will do the best he can,
But there's so many things he just don't understand.
Motherless children, they have such a hard time
When their mother is gone.

People say a sister will do
When your mother is gone.
People say a sister will do
When your mother is gone.
People say a sister will do,
But she'll get married and turn her back on you.
Motherless children, they have such a hard time
When their mother is gone.

You may find comfort in your husband or your wife
When your mother is gone.
You may find comfort in your husband or your wife
When your mother is gone.
You may find comfort in your husband or your wife,
But you'll be your mother's child for the rest of your life.
And nobody treats you like your mother did
When your mother is gone.

(Web page copyright© 2002 by Thom Stark
all rights reserved
)