A Special Request: 'Birmingham Jail'

Jun 10, 2017
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SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

John Paul White, what a pleasure to have you here today. You've been providing some music for us. And I made a request, "Birmingham Jail." The song's often known as "Down In The Valley." Lead Belly, Slim Whitman, many greats have recorded it. Jimmie Tarlton wrote the song when he was jailed for moonshining in this city, imagine, in 1925.

But to hear it nowadays, you inevitably think of the letter that Dr. King wrote to religious leaders and the world from his cell here. It's a song from the heart of a man whose thoughts soar beyond jail walls Live from the Lyric Theatre in Birmingham, this is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. John could you play it for us?

JOHN PAUL WHITE: (Singing, playing guitar) Down in the valley, the valley so low. Hang your head over, hear the wind blow. Hear the wind blow, love. Hear the wind blow. Hang your head over, hear the wind blow. Roses love sunshine. Violets love dew. Angels in heaven, know I love you. And if you don't love me, love whom you please. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.