I’m up on a secluded wooded hilltop in Virginia, listening for ghosts on a dark and spooky Halloween, and just listened to a haunting performance of song called “In the Pines” — just the mood music to be playing in this little cabin in the Blue Ridge Mountain foothills tonight — performed by a quartet called the Parkington Sisters.

It’s good to know that some 21st century musicians still know and appreciate the music of Huddie Ledbetter, who went by the name of Leadbelly, and who is probably best known for his songs “Good Night Irene” and “Rock Island Line,” and sometimes gave “In the Pines” the alternate title “Where Did You Sleep Last Night?”

I knew this song via Leadbelly, but also through a great rendition by the classic country duo the Louvin Brothers, who give the song their own Hank Williams-esque sound. And, in fact, it’s origins are as a Appalachian folk ballad, at least 150 years old.

It’s a great old song, worth a triple-listen:

Here are the very sincere, very country and very authentic Louvin Brothers:

And here’s the legendary Leadbelly’s definitive version:


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