I'm on the road myself as this is published. I'll get to the reason in just a bit.
“The Lonesome Road” was also variously titled "That Lonesome Road" or "Lonesome Road Blues." It was written in 1927, in the style of an African-American folk song, by two white guys (go figure!), Nathaniel Shilkret (music) and Gene Austin (lyrics). Both very successful performers themselves, in the early days of recorded music, many others went on to perform this tune as well.
In the first clip, the character of Rafe Hollister sings it on The Andy Griffith Show (Rafe Hollister Sings, Episode 83).
As to the second clip, we would expect no less than Frank Sinatra to craft our subject -- you guessed it -- his way; in this instance, as replayed on a PBS special. The original date and source of this recording cannot be determined, but it eventually appeared on a latter-day compilation, released in 1990 as a three-disc set entitled The Capitol Years (which would place it between 1953 and 1961), to coincide with his seventy-fifth birthday.
A livelier approach to our subject, to the point that it becomes a different song altogether, is found in the third clip by bluegrass artist Tim O’Brien. That's him on mandolin and lead vocals. He is joined by Jerry Douglas on dobro, Russ Barenberg on guitar, Aly Bain on fiddle, James MacIntosh on percussion, and Todd Parks on bass.
This brings us to why I'm on the road. In light of the recent passing of my dear old friend, Tom O'Rourke, and in light of this announcement:
O'ROURKE Thomas P. loving husband of Cheryl A. O'Rourke (nee Zoz) beloved father of Colin and Kathryn O'Rourke, devoted brother of Kevin (Kim) and Maureen O'Rourke, son of the late William and Shirley O'Rourke, son-in-law of William C. and the late Norma Zoz, brother-in-law of Bill (Sandy) Zoz, uncle of Kendra, Joshua, and the late Kyle. Sept. 12, 2010. Age 55 years. Residence Anderson Twp. Memorial Gathering at T P WHITE & SONS Funeral Home 2050 Beechmont Ave. Mt. Washington on Fri. Sept. 17, from 5:30-8 PM. Memorials to the Tin Roof Foundation.
I decided the night before last to make an appearance. Stay tuned.
“... I hate to say goodbye, so I’ll just say so long.”