Death Letter blues

Son House      

~~~  LISTEN  ~~~

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Casandra Wilson

     ~~~  LISTEN  ~~~

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“Death Letter,” is heard during True Detective Season 3 in the first few moments and was recorded by singer Cassandra Wilson in 1995. T Bone Burnett, who handles the soundtrack and writes the scores for each season of the HBO series, told Esquire  that Wilson “is the greatest living jazz singer, and maybe the greatest singer living right now in the United States.”

Wilson’s haunting version of the song actually isn’t the original. It was first written and performed by blues icon Son House during the 1960s.  The lyrics aren’t exactly upbeat. The original words — gender-flipped for Wilson’s cover — come from the perspective of a man who receives a letter in the mail telling him the women he loves is dead. The song follows him all the way through her funeral, and into the aftermath of life without her.

 

~~~

Death Letter Blues ~ Son House

I got a letter this morning, how do you reckon it read?
Say, “Hurry, hurry! The gal you love is dead.”

I got a letter this morning, I say how you reckon it read?
It say, “Hurry, hurry! The gal you love is dead.”

You know I grabbed up my suitcase, took off down the road
When I got there, she was laying on the cooling board
I grabbed up my suitcase, I said I took off down the road
I said when I got there, she was laying on the cooling board

You know, I walked up close, looked down in her face
She’s a good old girl, and today had her Judgment Day
I say I walked up close, and I looked down in her face
I say she’s a good old girl and today had her Judgment Day

You know, looked like 10,000 people
Were standin’ around the buryin’ ground
I didn’t know I loved her, until I let her down
Looked like 10,000 standin’ around the buryin ground
You know I didn’t know that I loved her
UntiI I began to let her down

You know I didn’t feel so bad
Till the good Lord’s sun went down
I didn’t have a soul to throw my arms around
I didn’t feel so bad until the good Lord’s sun went down
I say I didn’t have a soul to throw my arms around

You know it’s so hard to love when someone don’t love you
Don’t look like satisfaction, don’t care what you do
It’s so hard to love someone that don’t love you
You know you don’t get no satisfaction
Don’t care what you do

You know love had a fault
Make you do things you don’t want to do
Love sometimes leave you feelin sad and blue
Love had a fault, make you do things you don’t want to do
Love sometimes leave you feelin sad and blue

 

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