LOVE IN VAIN

Posted on Posted in Breedloves's Folk Songs
LOVE IN VAIN
Love in Vain” is a 1937 blues song written by Robert Johnson, and can be found on a
number of compilation albums of Johnson’s work (most notably on the vinyl album
King of the Delta Blues Singers, Vol. 2”, that, along with Vol. 1, introduced Johnson to
many later musicians); and on its original (and extremely rare) 78rpm single release. It
has since been covered by many other musicians, most famously by The Rolling Stones
on their 1969 album, Let It Bleed” The song is noted for its melancholic lyrics and tone,
and extremely sad overall feeling and style, especially on Johnson’s version. In the 1992
film “The Search For Robert Johnson”, John P. Hammond plays Robert’s recording of
“Love In Vain” for the elderly Willie Mae Powell, the woman for whom it was
supposedly written. Johnson moans “Oh, Willie Mae” in his last verse. Johnson was an
admirer of blues singer/pianist Leroy Carr who, solo and with guitarist Scrapper
Blackwell, cut some popular and influential recordings. ‘Love In Vain’ takes its musical
structure from Carr’s classic ‘In the Evenin’ When the Sun Goes Down’. Both songs
express a yearning and sorrow for the loss of a lover.
I followed her to the station with a suitcase in my hand
And I followed her to the station with a suitcase in my hand
Well it’s hard to tell it’s hard to tell, when all your love’s in vain
All my love’s in vain
When the train rolled up to the station, I looked her in the eye
When the train rolled up to the station, and I looked her in the eye
Well I was lonesome I felt so lonesome, and I could not help but cry
All my love’s in vain
When the train it left the station, ‘t was two lights on behind
When the train it left the station, ‘t was two lights on behind
Well the blue light was my blues and the red light was my mind
All my love’s in vain
Ooh… [vocalized verse]
All my love’s in vain