Prince featuring Larry Graham “Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child”

“Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child” (or simply “Motherless Child”) is a traditional Negro spiritual. It dates back to the era of slavery in the United States. An early performance of the song dates back to the 1870s by the Fisk Jubilee Singers. Commonly heard during the Civil rights movement in the United States, it has many variations and has been recorded widely.

 Description –

The song is an expression of pain and despair as the singer compares their hopelessness to that of a child who has been torn from her or his parents. Under one interpretation, the repetition of the word “sometimes” offers a measure of hope, as it suggests that at least “sometimes” the singer does not feel like a motherless child.

Renditions –

Multiple recordings of the song were made by Paul Robeson, starting in 1926.

Bessie Griffin and The Gospel Pearls recorded the song on their Portraits In Bronze album in 1960.

Odetta performed the song at Carnegie Hall on April 8, 1960. The song was included on her album, Odetta at Carnegie Hall the same year. This version was part of the soundtrack of Pier Paolo Pasolini’s The Gospel According to St. Matthew (1964). Mary Travers performed the song on Peter, Paul, and Mary’s album: A Song Will Rise (1965) and on Milt Okun’s album: Something to Sing About in 1968. Esther & Abi Ofarim recorded the song for their album Das Neue Esther & Abi Ofarim Album (1966). Richie Havens performed a historical rendition of the song – retitled Freedom (Motherless Child) – on August 15, 1969, at the Woodstock festival (opening for the festival).

Maki Asakawa recorded the song for her debut album The World of Maki Asakawa (1970).

Sister Thea Bowman, FSPA recorded the song in 1988 for the stereo cassette, “Songs of My People.” It was re-released in 2020 for the 30th anniversary of Sister Bowman’s death as part of the digital album, Songs of My People: The Complete Collection.

Boney M. recorded a disco version of the song titled “Motherless Child” on their 1977 album Love for Sale with singer Liz Mitchell taking the lead vocal. Liz had previously recorded the song as part of Les Humphries Singers in 1971.

Martin Gore recorded his rendition of the song (titled only Motherless Child) on his 1989 EP Counterfeit.

Prince performed his rendition of the song at many concerts beginning in 1999. Soprano Barbara Hendricks sang it when she received the 2002 Prince of Asturias Award for the Arts.  John Legend sang the song during the Hope for Haiti Now: A Global Benefit for Earthquake Relief telethon in 2010. The song is also included on his 2004 album, Solo Sessions Vol. 1: Live at the Knitting Factory.

Song Lyrics –

U know there was never any reason 2 argue
There was never any reason 2 fight
From the 1st time Adam made love 2 Eve
The 1st time she took a bite, there was never any reason

Oh mama, mama
Why U put me on the street?
I’m only 12-years-old

Sometimes I feel like a motherless child
Sometimes I feel like a motherless child
Sometimes I feel like a mother… like a motherless child
Come on, cuz U left me
Yes U did
She left me feelin’ alone, left me on my own

Sometimes I feel like I wanna break down and cry
Sometimes I feel like I wanna break down and cry
Sometimes I feel like I wanna break down and cry…
Cuz U left me
Why’d U leave me?
Said U left me 4ever on my own!

Sometimes I feel like a mother… like a motherless child
Sometimes, just like Richie, I feel like a motherless child
Sometimes I feel like a motherless child
Sometimes I feel like a mother… like a motherless child
Sometimes I feel like a motherless child

Yeah, Vegas!
Yeah, Vegas!

Sometimes I feel like a motherless child

Credit: Wikipedia.com

Video Credit: YouTube.com

Song Lyrics: moonbeamlevels4u.info