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Nobody Knows the Trouble I've Seen is a spiritual song. The song is well known and many cover versions of it have been done by artist such as Marian Anderson, Lena Horne, Louis Armstrong, Paul Robeson, among others. Anderson had her first successful recording with a version of this song on the Victor label in 1925. Horne recorded a version of the song in 1946. Deep River Boys recorded their version in Oslo on August 29, 1958. It was released on the extended play Negro Spirituals Vol. 1 (HMV 7EGN 27). The song was arranged by Harry Douglas.
On the late 19th century african-american music begun to appear in classical music art forms, in arrangements made by black composers such as Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, Henry Thacker Burleigh and James Rosamond Johnson. Johnson made an arrangement of "Nobody Knows the Trouble I See" for voice and piano in 1917, when he was directing the New York Music School Settlement for Colored People.
American violinist Maud Powell was the first white solo concert artist in perform classical arrangements of spirituals in concerts where she also interpreted classical and contemporary pieces by composers like Dvorak and Sibelius. After Powell's suggestion, J. R. Johnson made an arrangement of "Nobody Knows the Trouble I See" for piano and violin in 1919. Powell got to play this in a fall program she organized and then died that november. Recent interpretations of the classical version of this spiritual has been made by Chicago's violinist Rachel Barton Pine, who has been working over Powell's legacy.