Parallel Anthology Track 13

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Icon Public Domain.jpg Track 13: G B Grayson - Ommie Wise   Victor 21625; Recorded in Atlanta, Georgia, 18.10.1927

Anthology Track 13 label.jpg

Record label assigns authorship to "G B Grayson", as does and Harry Smith's Anthology booklet, although does not assign authorship.

However, according to the Where Dead Voices Gather blog, "'Ommie Wise' marks the first song on the Anthology based on a verifiable historical event. In 1807, Naomi Wise was drowned by her lover Jonathan Lewis […] 'Ommie Wise' is a slightly fictionalized account of the murder, reportedly written shortly after the event itself. An early 19th century version of the text has been discovered."

The Roud Folksong Index classifies this song as a version of Roud 447, and a Roud number search obtains a number of versions collected prior to the recording of Grayson's version, dating as far back as 1874, and across a wide geographical area (N Carolina, Kansas, Missouri, Kentucky).

In any case, according to wikipedia, Grayson died in 1930, meaning that this composition is public domain either as a traditional folk song or since 1st January 2001.

Parallel anthology main index page

Alternative Versions

Omie Wise by Obray Ramsey    album released in 1961 (according to discogs): Spotify
The album's sleeve notes treat this composition as traditional. No arrangement credit is claimed.
Naomi Wise by Paul Clayton    recorded in 1956 (according to this site): Spotify
According to the album's liner notes, "The text sung here is the oldest known version of the ballad and first appeared in the Greensboro (N.C.) Patriot, April 29, 1874; the tune
Mr. Clayton sings is one he has known to the ballad for many years, and the one to which it is most commonly sung by folk-singers and others." No arrangement credit claimed.
Little Omie by Harrison Burnett    recorded in 1961: Max Hunter Collection
Field recording