I like the Dr. John - Odetta version as music, but truly believe Odetta missed the subtleness of it, she just drags it out sad, and it gets a little long. Al Jolson just nailed it, in the over the top style of the day. Rudy Vallee also did a version that just seems sappy, maybe that was style too. Of course my favorite will aways be my daughter Addy's version. She memorized the piano music for it and sang it for me as a gift. The perfect song.
It's too bad this song has to be so appropriate again. Why hasn't Steve Earle, today's voice of the laboring man, done it? Steve, if you're out there, get with it.