Riding out the storm

1 wildhunt 5Until the end of Epiphany-tide, around about Jan. 17, the ghost riders of the Wild Hunt are still likely to be about.

The classic Western song about them, Ghost Riders in the Sky, has gone through numerous incarnations, in various languages, often as an instrumental.

Here is an incredible recording by Korean jazz artist Youn Sun Nah (H/T Rosashills):

Historical versions

The first commercial recording,  by Burl Ives, of Christmas Special fame, in 1949 here.  There is a compendium here with several dozen artists, from crooners to folk singers — you can use the playlist to select a particular artist.  Elvis attempts it and laughs his way through after missing the high note.

Here is the very first ever recording, done in 1949 at 78 rpm, by the songwriter, Stan Jones and his Death Valley Rangers. It has been preserved at the Internet Archives.  Can you imagine what Wikipedia’s deletionists would do to it if they could get their hands on it?

Here is another one from the archives, a scratchy and not very humorous drunk parody from 1953-ish by Spike Jones and his City Slickers, but at 2:10 it breaks into a wonderful ragtime instrumental of the tune.

Italian opera tenor Mario del Monaco, with a score for tuba:

 

The tune went mariachi as “Jinetes en el Cielo”: here is a supposedly rock instrumental from the 60s by “Los beatnicks”, complete with horse sound effects, but it comes off more as “Rawhide”.

Here it is from “Los Babys”, a Mexican group from 1958 that survived through the rock era, this is worth watching for the showmanship alone:

The Doors’ song “Riders on the Storm” came out of a jam session where the band was messing around with “Ghost Riders In the Sky.” Jim Morrison’s overdubbed whispered vocals were the last thing he did as an artist.

Now for the coloring:

 

 

 

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