Thirty years after it was recorded and issued on 78 Blind Willie Johnson’s “Dark Was The Night—Cold Was The Ground” made its first appearance on microgroove via the Folkways LP Blind Willie Johnson and in the decades following, its reputation as one of the most powerful pieces of American recorded music has continued to grow. In 1964 it featured on the soundtrack to Pier Paolo Pasolini’s film The Gospel According to St. Matthew alongside music from Odetta and the Missa Luba. The song was also launched into space on the Voyager Golden Record in 1977. In 2003 it was heard in Wim Wenders’ The Soul of a Man segment of The Blues documentary in a re-creation, by Chris Thomas King, of Blind Willie singing on the street.
Blind Willie Johnson