William and Versey Smith were husband and wife American blues and gospel musicians, thought to have come either from Texas or the Carolinas, who recorded four tracks for Paramount Records in August 1927.

Their song “Everybody Help The Boys Come Home” relates to World War I; and “When That Great Ship Went Down” relates to the sinking of RMS Titanic in 1912. Blind Willie Johnson recorded his songs “When the War Was On” and “God Moves on the Water”, which relate to those same topics, and which share lyrics and tunes with them, on December 11, 1929. It therefore seems likely that Johnson knew that record. It seems unlikely that the Smiths composed either song: they relate to events ten and more years earlier, and topical songs are usually written soon after the event.

“Everybody Help the Boys Come Home”  Paramount 12505
“I Believe I’ll Go Back Home” Paramount 12516
“Sinner, You’ll Need King Jesus” Paramount 12516
“When That Great Ship Went Down” Paramount 12505

Leave a Reply