Gloomy Tunes: Dark Was The Night, Cold Was The Ground

Blind Willie Johnson’s “Dark Was The Night, Cold Was The Ground” might be the scariest recording we know. Released in 1927 for Columbia Records, it’s three minutes of wordless moaning, his lone slide guitar (using a knife in place of the usual bottleneck, giving it a raspy, craggy sound) adding to the sense of hopeless desperation . It never fails to send a shiver. We’ve also included Kronos Quartet’s recording of the song, done for a Red Hot benefit album, that samples the original.


We’d say enjoy, but that hardly seems right word…

Steven Mirkin

Steven Mirkin’s diverse career has taken him from politics to pop culture to high art, offering him a front row seat to some of the most fascinating events and personalities of our time: writing speeches, fundraising appeals and campaign materials for Ed Koch, John Heinz and independent presidential candidate John B. Anderson; chronicling the punk/new wave scenes in New York and London; interviewing musicians such as Elton John, John Lydon and Buck Owens; profiling modern masters Julian Schnabel, Paul Schrader and Jonathan Safran Foer; and writing for TV shows including 21, The Chamber, Let's Make A Deal, and Rock Star: INXS.

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