This song has such a badass history attached to it, and it’s mythology has become more and more exaggerated throughout history, that it’s hard to separate the truth from the legends. According to most sources, this song was adapted from a song Leadbelly heard from his relatives growing up, so it’s exact origins are unknown. The most interesting part about this song is that after Leadbelly was arrested and incarcerated for attempted murder, he used this song to charm the prison governor enough to be released, then, jailed again for a knife fight he once again performed this song to his jailers who released him and recorded his version of ‘Goodnight Irene’ and ‘The Midnight Special’. The song is so heartbreaking and, according to legend, powerful enough to get a man released from jail. That’s why this is today’s SOTD

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