12 March 2021 (released)
12 March 2021
‘In The Pines’ originally goes back to the US slave chants of the mid 1800’s (although it may have origins in Scotland and Breton from the 17th century) but it was made famous by Leadbelly (Huddie Ledbetter) in the 1930’s. The most common versions seem to combine two separate songs – the one about the young girl lost in the trees and the other about a head found in a train wheel.
Over the years, I must have heard a hundred different versions of the song ranging from banjo to metal but the most common are Delta Blues style and this is where Ms Hammond ploughs her furrow.
The resonator playing here (by Hammond herself) is superb, dark and chilling and creating a macabre aural image. Her vocals are less dark which reduces the impact a little but not so much as to negate the depth and darkness of the number.
KK Hammond says of the song: “There is something so deeply captivating and haunting to me about old folklore that gets passed down through the generations. The frightened girl spending a harrowing night in a forest on her own. I wonder why? Who was the poor fella’s whose head found in a locomotive’s driving wheel many moons ago? These are enthralling stories and images: a little window into the despair, loneliness, sexuality and tragedy of these unfortunate souls.”
The video for the song was made on a tiny budget but captures a lot of the mystery and intensity of the song.