The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #80912   Message #3686245
Posted By: GUEST,Coltman
16-Dec-14 - 11:39 AM
Thread Name: Origins: Wandering (Early and Late)
Subject: RE: Origins: Wandering (Early and Late)
To the Guest who cited sheet music above: is a composer/lyricist listed for Wanderin'?
And what's the date of the sheet music?

Any slightest origin information on this song would be valuable. Wanderin' is one of the big mysteries. It was first reported by Sandburg, 1927. He shares no insights about where his two informants got the song.

I've seen only one copy of Dalhart's 1928 recording—one year after Sandburg and likely to have been based on Sandburg's versions. It gives no composer/lyricist credit. My guess is that Carson Robison may have composed a few of the verses that differ from Sandburg, but that's only a guess.

Gus Meade, in his authoritative Country Music Sources, can find no origin for this song. His earliest source is Sandburg, the next oldest is much later, from the 1960s.

So who wrote Wanderin', and when? It sounds clearly not traditional, and was not reported by any traditional music collector of that era but Sandburg. It does not sound as old as World War I.

In fact, it doesn't sound as old as it is; its melody has a 1930s-40s sound. At a guess it could be a moody pop song from the early 1920s. Any sheet music version from *before* 1927 would be a real find.

Sandburg's informant A, from Rochester, NY, learned the song on an American Relief expedition to the Near East. That could suggest a non-American origin, but it sounds more like an American song than anything else. The truth is, it doesn't sound *like* anything; it's one of a kind.

It's possible that Sandburg's informant B, another New York Stater, may have composed his two verses as an add-on after having heard Sandburg sing the original.

Ideas, anyone?