Nirvana may no longer exist, but their timelessness is undeniable.
The album “MTV Unplugged in New York” has remained in their history, from which real diamonds emerged, exceptional covers, played in their own unique way.
One of them is “Where Did You Sleep Last Night?”.
The song, however, does not have only one name and a simple story.
This is a traditional American song also known as “In the Pines” and/or “Black Girl”.
It basically comes from two other songs, “In the Pines” and “The Longest Train”, of which the composer is unknown and dates back to at least the 1870s.
It is a song that stems from the musical tradition of Appalachian culture, a mountainous area around the Mississippi River.
The songs of the area were known as protest songs and the banjo played a major role in the musical part.
Its first recording was “In the Pines” in 1917, by Cecil Sharp.
A beautiful musical journey…
Beyond that, the musical journey of the song has many variations, but it is also confused with other songs.
In a 1970 dissertation, Judith McCulloh cites 160 different variations.
Lyrically the faces change often, the only thing that remains common is the suspicion of some illegal act and the pines!!!
According to many interpreters, it is a sexual implication. Some other interpretations refer to the Great Recession of the 1920s.
Nirvana’s performance is influenced by Lead Pelly’s cover of “In The Pines,” which Kurt Cobain has described as his favorite.
At the same time, Cobain uses a variation of Louisiana’s Cajun, a French-speaking local dialect with its own musical tradition.
The title is “Pine Grove Blues” or “Ma Negresse”, as it is in this French dialect.
The original verse “Hey, black girl, where did you sleep last night?” as translated into English he also gave the title to the performance of Nirvana.
Nirvana, although they left us very early, gave us beautiful songs full of stories…