Ain't No Grave
Claude Ely describes composing the song while sick with tuberculosis in 1934 when he was twelve years old. His family prayed for his health, and in response he spontaneously performed this song. Originally recorded by Bozie Sturdivant in 1941 in a slower, African American gospel style and in 1946-7 by Sister Rosetta Tharpe with barrelhouse piano; the song in Ely's version was recorded in 1953 but composed in 1934. Many notable artists have performed the song, including Johnny Cash on the posthumous album American VI: Ain't No Grave. The slower, black gospel melody was used by Tharpe into the 1960s, and covered by folksinger Rolf Cahn, and gospel artist Liz McComb. In 1967 the song was featured in the film Cool Hand Luke while Luke (Paul Newman) is digging a grave, performed by Harry Dean Stanton.
The lines "Meet me, Jesus, meet me / Won't you meet me in the middle of the air / And if my wings should fail me, Lord / Won't you provide me with another pair" in some recorded versions (including the one by Johnny Cash) are shared with some recorded versions of the traditional song "In My Time of Dying" (including those by Bob Dylan and by Led Zeppelin).
In 1989 Russ Taff covered this song on the album The Way Home and also as an extended version on the 1991 album Under Their Influence.
In 2015 Tom Jones recorded the song on his Praise and Blame album.
In 2017, Bonfire Records Bluegrass recording artists, Wilson Banjo Co. recorded a cover of "Ain't No Grave" on their album Spirits in the Hills.
In 2017, a version of the song performed by Bror Gunnar Jansson was used over the end credits of Episode 1 of Damnation.
In 2018, the song was used as the end credits to the final episode of the first season of Altered Carbon.
Johnny Cash's version
In 2017 Cash's version was featured in the 2017 BBC television documentary The Scottish Bounty Hunter starring Christian Matlock.
- "Sister Rosetta Tharpe, Complete Recorded Works, Vol 3 1946-1947, track 21". all music.com. Retrieved 1 April 2016.
- Radio Diaries (5 May 2011). "A Nephew's Quest: Who Was Brother Claude Ely?". National Public Radio. https://www.npr.org/2011/05/05/136019632/a-nephews-quest-who-was-brother-claude-ely. Retrieved 6 May 2011.
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