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Iconic song has links to Lowestoft?

PUBLISHED: 13:34 26 April 2016 | UPDATED: 13:34 26 April 2016

The Harpoon Blues Band perform at Ness Point

The Harpoon Blues Band perform at Ness Point

Archant

It is a song which topped the charts across the world, telling the tale of life gone wrong in New Orleans, but do its true origins lie in Lowestoft?

Through the decades The House of the Rising Sun has been performed by artists such as Bob Dylan, Woody Guthrie, Leadbelly and British rock group The Animals.

But Lowestoft group, The Harpoon Blues Band, learnt more of its possible connection to the seaside town when contacted by the BBC to appear on The One Show.

As part of the popular magazine show’s weekly article, Green and Pleasant Land, the band were filmed at Ness Point on April 14, performing their rendition of the song at sunrise.

Paul Gillings, 37, bass player in The Harpoon Blues Band, said: “Filming was not nerve racking, so much as exciting, and good to feel part of something culturally significant attached to our town.”

The iconic song’s link to Lowestoft is The Rising Sun pub- formerly known as The Japanese Embassy – which was located in the north of the town until closing in November 1968.

“The Rising Sun pub was located on the old beach village and the original folk version of the song talked of wayward women frequenting the place; the song made its way to New Orleans and was adopted as such,” added Mr Gillings.

In 1953 musicologist Alan Lomax visited East Anglia to record balladeers, as detailed in the 2007 book Chasing the Rising Sun: The Journey of an American Song by Ted Anthony.

Mr Lomax met farm labourer Harry Cox, 68, who had an extensive repertoire of songs and a version of the song which began with the lines “If you go to Lowestoft, and ask for the Rising Sun.”

How the song arrived in Lowestoft is unknown, with Lomax discovering origins dating back to the 17th century; before its evolution into a cautionary tale of excess in the big city as described in The Animals’ 1964 hit.

The feature, presented by Carrie Grant, will be shown tonight at 7pm on BBC One.

For further information about The Blues Harpoon Band visit: www.facebook.com/theharpoonbluesband.


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