Deja Vu All Over – “Sinner’s Prayer”
Editor’s Note: Welcome to Deja Vu All Over. Each week we examine a different song, and its various cover versions. This week, we look at one of our favorites.
Lowell Fulson was kind enough to bless the blues with several of his compositions that have become standards, including “Three O’Clock Blues,” and “Reconsider Baby.”
One of our favorite Fulson compositions is “Sinner’s Prayer,” written by Lowell Fulson, and Lloyd C. Glenn. Fulson released his recording of the song in 1950. The song is piano driven, with brilliant guitar lines by Fulson, and has an overall melancholy about it.
Fulson’s former piano player, Ray Charles, issued his rendering of “Sinner’s Prayer” in 1954 on the Atlantic label. This version, also piano driven, showcases a vocal from Charles that is more gritty than Fulson’s recording.
Eric Clapton’s 1994 album, From the Cradle, features a guttural performance of “Sinner’s Prayer” wherein the piano is still showcased, but Clapton’s gritty vocal, and pointed guitar lift this version to a whole new level. This is truly a stunning performance.
Another guitar hero, Leslie West, performed a stellar, hard edged interpretation on his 2006 album, Blue Me. This forceful, blues-rock performance is enhanced with a killer vocal by West, along with his usual far-beyond-driven guitar sounds, which he keeps just this side of restrained, unreleased, pre-chaotic mayhem.
As with most blues standards, listeners are sure to find a version of “Sinner’s Prayer” that suits their own unique spirit; all they have to do is go looking. It’s out there.