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> Eliza Carthy > Songs > Poor Wayfaring Stranger
> Norma Waterson > Songs > Poor Wayfaring Stranger

(Poor) Wayfaring Stranger

[ Roud 3339 ; Ballad Index FSC077 ; trad.]

Martin Carthy sang the traditional American folk song Wayfaring Stranger in 1966 on Sydney Carter's Songs from ABC Television's “Hallelujah” album.

Cathy Lesurf sang Wayfaring Stranger in 1984 at the Albion Band's show An Easter Garland. This recording was included in 1991 on their anthology Songs from the Shows Volume 2.

Norma Waterson and Eliza Carthy sang Poor Wayfaring Stranger in 2010 on their CD Gift. This recording won the best traditional track award at the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards 2011. A live recording from the Union Chapel in November 2010 was released in the following year on the DVD and CD The Gift Band Live on Tour. Eliza Carthy commented in the original album's liner notes:

Poor Wayfaring Stranger comes from a number of places, mostly out of Mam's head and originally, of course, mostly from America. The great Almeda Riddle, who when Mam along with the other Watersons met her at the American Bi-Centennial celebrations in Washington in 1976 insisted everyone call her “granny”, was a great performer and they all got along like a house on fire. She made them a present of her album and her book, and sadly is no longer with us. Ask Mam how she would sing with her hands one day—it's lovely.

Almeda did a version of it, as does Emmylou Harris and Jack White, but this one comes from Mam and Aidan sitting having a tune one night. Aidan led the arrangement, right down to trying to tell Danny Thompson what to play without being too scared.

Andy Turner sang Poor Wayfaring Stranger as the February 22, 2015 entry of his project A Folk Song a Week, referring to Almeda Riddle's version as his source.

Sam Kelly sang Wayfaring Stranger on his 2015 CD The Lost Boys.

Lyrics

Martin Carthy sings Wayfaring Stranger

I am a poor wayfaring stranger
Travelling through this world of woe.
And there's no sickness, no toil or danger
In that fair land to which I go.

I'm going there to meet my father,
I'm going there no more to roam;
I'm only going over Jordan,
I'm only going over home.

I know dark clouds will gather round me,
I know my way will be rough and steep;
But golden fields lie out before me
Where all the saints their vigils keep.

I'm going there to meet my mother,
I'm going there no more to roam;
I'm only going over Jordan,
I'm only going over home.

Norma Waterson and Eliza Carthy sing Poor Wayfaring Stranger

I am a poor wayfaring stranger
Travelling through this world of woe.
There is no sickness, toil or danger
In that fair land to which I go.

I'm going home to see my mother,
I'm going home no more to roam;
I'm just a-going over Jordan,
I'm just a-going over home.

I know dark clouds will hover on me,
I know my pathway is rough and steep;
But golden fields lie out before me
Where weary eyes no more shall weep.

I'm going home to see my father,
I'm going home no more to roam;
I'm just a-going over Jordan,
I'm just a-going over home.

I'll soon be free from every trial,
This form shell rest beneath the sun.
I'll drop the cross of self-denial
And enter in that home with God.

I'm going home to meet my saviour,
I'm going home no more to roam;
I'm just a-going over Jordan,
I'm just a-going over home.

(repeat last verse)

Links

See also the Mudcat Café thread Req/Add: I Am a Poor Wayfaring Stranger.