Belfast Telegraph

Friday 31 October 2014

Titanic: An eerie song

Lord Pirrie, chairman of H&W (left) and Bruce Ismay, chairman of White Star, make a final tour of inspection of Titanic before her launch. 31/5/1911. Photograph © National Museums Northern Ireland. Collection Ulster Folk & Transport Museum
This is an undated photo showing the bow of the Titanic at rest on the bottom of the North Atlantic, about 400 miles southeast of Newfoundland. The first tourists to see the bow up close viewed it from the portholes of a tiny submersible in early September. (AP Photo/Ralph White)
The Titanic Building will immortalise one of history's most enduring tales

Blind Willie Johnson was a travelling preacher who made some eerie sounds on his slide guitar.

Among his bestselling gospel records, produced at the end of the 1920s, was this individual take on the Titanic story.

Blind Willie didn’t write his own material and one of his trademarks was to sing the first half of a line, then finish the phrase on guitar, relying on his audience to fill in the gap.

The lyrics of God Moves on the Water mentioned Captain Smith and stated “many gunshots were fired” but this wasn’t a hellfire and damnation view, suggesting the Almighty sank the Titanic in judgement, more an exploration of His mysterious ways.

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