Many people, including myself, say that if you are going to cover someone else’s song, you may as well do it in such a way that brings something new to the table. However, there are exceptions, particularly if you are tackling something which has been a musical standard for about one hundred years, as Wade In The Water has.
If it has survived this long, pretty much in the style it was first conceived in, then perhaps it is safe to say that it has already found its perfect form and it is better that the artist to stay faithful and pay tribute rather than tinker with it. Miss Freddye is smart enough to know this to be true and her cover of this classic is all about gentle sonic evolution rather than anything as crass and calculated as musical revolution.
For whilst her recording of this gospel icon benefits from all the trappings of modern studio production and all which that implies, her rendition of the song itself feels almost like time travel, both an artistic way of capturing a part of the past to be saved for a new generation to celebrate and also sounding like you have found yourself in a southern church a century ago.
Some might see this as playing the nostalgia card, I see it as a way of keeping the sonic riches and musical traditions of a simpler time alive in the modern age. I’m sure Miss Freddye sees it that way too.