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Revelatory covers (3rd in series): Dick Gaughan/Si Kahn

Si Kahn’s Gone, Gonna Rise Again is a great American song, much covered.  But there is just one absolutely definitive, great, recorded version. It’s not American!

Remember this?


If you were to hear many of the recorded versions of  Gone, Gonna Rise Again – including, even, some by its author – you might well find the song a tad tedious, “worthy”, saccharine, preachy, bland, a suitable target for Tom Lehrer.

You would be dead wrong if you were to assume that Si Kahn is a smug, self-congralutory, armchair socialist “folkie”.  He has in fact always “walked”, not just “talked” – a veteran organiser, activist, author and scholar…and he has written more than one superb song.

However, on recordings at least, Si is not his best songs’ best conveyor.

His original recording of Gone, Gonna Rise Again appeared in 1974, on Si’s debut LP, New Wood.

Nearly a quarter of a century later a Scotsman “owned” the song, with an uncanny solo version – much more intimate and “personal”,  and at the same time immensely more powerful, vivid.

Here, the song’s greatness becomes inescapably evident:


The performance is on Dick Gaughan‘s 1998 album Redwood Cathedral; this is but one of a considerable number of examples of Gaughan’s uncanny ability to “get more out of a song” than has any other singer – its author included.







Published in 'western' musics music songs, in English

One Comment

  1. Joe Petralia Joe Petralia

    I agree Doug, my following of Dick Gaughsn’s music started when I was first introduced to his brilliant interpretation of Willie O’winsbury by Sunday Folk, I remember trying to explain his style to the patrons of the first ever Nation Folk Festival in Canberra held at the Canbrerra UNi and could not find one person there rhat hat even heard of it. At least Dick has toured in OZ since so I now have heard it live ….Cheers.. Joe

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