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Origins: Deep River (Spiritual)

DigiTrad:
DEEP RIVER
STEAL AWAY


Related threads:
Origins: Steal Away (spiritual) (9)
Lyr Req: Deep River in Japanese (2)


Mary in Kentucky 15 Aug 00 - 07:34 AM
Mary in Kentucky 15 Aug 00 - 07:39 AM
Joe Offer 15 Aug 00 - 09:06 PM
Mary in Kentucky 15 Aug 00 - 09:57 PM
GUEST,John in Brisbane 16 Aug 00 - 09:00 AM
Timehiker 16 Aug 00 - 11:12 AM
Mary in Kentucky 16 Aug 00 - 11:16 AM
Mary in Kentucky 16 Aug 00 - 11:37 AM
Joe Offer 16 Aug 00 - 02:33 PM
Joe Offer 16 Aug 00 - 03:35 PM
Mary in Kentucky 16 Aug 00 - 05:47 PM
wysiwyg 24 Sep 01 - 01:47 PM
Burke 24 Sep 01 - 05:54 PM
Dicho (Frank Staplin) 02 Oct 01 - 10:52 PM
Sorcha 19 Jan 02 - 05:51 PM
Mary in Kentucky 19 Jan 02 - 06:02 PM
Dicho (Frank Staplin) 19 Jan 02 - 06:04 PM
Dicho (Frank Staplin) 19 Jan 02 - 06:11 PM
Dave Bryant 20 Jan 02 - 06:37 AM
Dicho (Frank Staplin) 20 Jan 02 - 08:36 PM
bradfordian 14 Dec 07 - 01:11 PM
wysiwyg 14 Dec 07 - 01:45 PM
bradfordian 15 Dec 07 - 07:34 PM
Barry Finn 15 Dec 07 - 11:38 PM
Mr Happy 16 Dec 07 - 11:57 AM
Q (Frank Staplin) 16 Dec 07 - 01:25 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 16 Dec 07 - 03:03 PM
GUEST,chrisbbanfi 29 Sep 10 - 03:22 AM
GUEST,Bob Coltman 16 May 11 - 08:18 AM
GUEST,Bob Coltman 16 May 11 - 08:47 AM
GUEST,Bob Coltman 16 May 11 - 08:50 AM
GUEST,Bob Coltman 16 May 11 - 08:53 AM
GUEST,Bob Coltman 16 May 11 - 09:19 AM
Q (Frank Staplin) 16 May 11 - 01:41 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 16 May 11 - 05:24 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 16 May 11 - 07:20 PM
Joe Offer 22 Apr 17 - 02:47 AM
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Subject: Deep River or Steal Away?
From: Mary in Kentucky
Date: 15 Aug 00 - 07:34 AM

I think I know why I was having so much trouble sequencing a midi of Deep River for the DT. It appears that the DT version here has the Steal Away chorus. Am I right?

I'm trying to help MMario gather missing tunes for the DT and always try to get the most authentic version I can. For me this is usually just checking out the sheet music at Levy and Duke. I told MMario last night that the words in the DT and the sheet music just didn't seem to fit. Malcolm Douglas stated a few days ago that often when the words and tune are from different sources they don't fit, so I'm a bit cautious here.

I haven't checked for Steal Away in the DT yet.

Mary


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Subject: RE: Deep River or Steal Away?
From: Mary in Kentucky
Date: 15 Aug 00 - 07:39 AM

Yep. Steal Away is here.


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Subject: ADD: Deep River ^^
From: Joe Offer
Date: 15 Aug 00 - 09:06 PM

Hi, Mary - Click here for a "Deep River" MIDI. The verses from "Steal Away" do work in "Deep River," but I'm guessing the database is wrong on the song. Here are the lyrics I have for "Deep River." Might you be able to adapt the MIDI so we have just the melody?
Thanks.
-Joe Offer-
DEEP RIVER
(traditional black spiritual)

CHORUS
Deep River, my home is over Jordan,
Deep River, Lord I want to cross over into campground.


Oh, don't you want to go to that gospel feast
That promised land where all is peace?
Oh, don't you want to go to that promised land where all is peace?
Deep River, Lord I want to cross over into campground.
CHORUS

I'll go up to Heaven and take my seat
And cast my crown at Jesus' feet
I'll go up to Heaven and cast my crown at Jesus' feet
Deep River, Lord I want to cross over into campground.
CHORUS

Oh, when I get to Heaven I'll walk about
There's nobody there to turn me out
When I get to heaven there's no one there to turn me out.
Deep River, Lord I want to cross over into campground.
CHORUS

JRO ^^
source: This Is My Song! (Vi Higginsen, 1995); Rise Up Singing Songbook and The Odyssey of Paul Robeson (CD)


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Subject: RE: Deep River or Steal Away?
From: Mary in Kentucky
Date: 15 Aug 00 - 09:57 PM

Hi Joe, thanks for those words. I had to look at the Levy Collection, and it didn't have all the verses.

As far as getting a midi for the melody--I've found it's just easier for me to write out the midi from scratch than to delete stuff from another midi. I've already done most of Deep River and will be sending it to Alan.

I suspect the mistake occurred in the DT because the two songs were probably used in a medley. They go together so well, it took me a long time to realize that there were actually two songs in the DT posting.

BTW, I'm trying to get a copy of Rise Up Singing on a library loan. Is this possible?

Another thread creep alert...I'm facinated with the River Jordan (pronounced Jur-den) image. Is this just a Southern thing?

Mary


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Subject: RE: Deep River or Steal Away?
From: GUEST,John in Brisbane
Date: 16 Aug 00 - 09:00 AM

I have a beautiful four part harmony score for Deep River and I've performed it in the last week or so - expect to have a CD from the live performance soon. I'd be more than happy to have a look at your MIDI if you think that there may be confusion or more than one version, but I've only ever heard one. Regards, John


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Subject: RE: Deep River or Steal Away?
From: Timehiker
Date: 16 Aug 00 - 11:12 AM

Mary,
The reference to the Jordon River was often a code word among escaping slaves for the Ohio River, the boundary between slave and free states. Other times it was symbolic of crossing over into freedom, either physically or spiritually.
Take care
Timehiker


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Subject: RE: Deep River or Steal Away?
From: Mary in Kentucky
Date: 16 Aug 00 - 11:16 AM

I know it symbolizes Death and the final journey, but why the Jordan River? Are there more biblical references than just the obvious geography?


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Subject: RE: Deep River or Steal Away?
From: Mary in Kentucky
Date: 16 Aug 00 - 11:37 AM

Oh, I think I get it now. Wasn't the Promised Land across the Jordan River?


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Subject: The Jordan River
From: Joe Offer
Date: 16 Aug 00 - 02:33 PM

There ya go, Mary. When Moses and the Hebrews finally got to the Promised Land (Israel/Canaan) after their years of wandering, they approached from the east, through what is now Jordan. In the last chapter of Deuteronomy, Moses climbs Mount Nebo and looks across the Jordan River to Jericho and the rest of the Promised Land, a land Moses was not to be permitted to enter. After the death of Moses at the end of Deuteronomy, the first chapters of the next book, Joshua, tell how Joshua led the people across the Jordan River and captured Jericho.

I guess the Jordan was a mighty river at the time - or maybe its significance was just because it was a natural boundary. Nowadays, it's just a trickle as it runs past Jericho and goes south another ten miles (16 km) or so into the Dead Sea - the river is used to irrigate the entire area, so there isn't much water left by the time it gets to its end. As we were driving through Jericho last November, our tour guide pointed down a side street to the river- I couldn't see anything, which was a bit of a disappointment. The river ends at the Dead Sea, which has no outlet. I made the mistake of diving head first into the Dead Sea - the chemicals and salts in the water burned my eyes and nose and every place where I had shaved. I started growing my beard right after that, because my face was so sore.

I could see the river from a distance as it entered the Sea of Galilee from the north - it's a little mountain stream up there. The river flows through the Sea of Galilee, a freshwater lake that is about 6 miles (10 km) wide and 13 miles (21 km) long.

We went into the Jordan River at the south end of the Sea of Galilee for a baptism ceremony. John the Baptist probably did his baptizing in the desert maybe a hundred miles (160 km) farther south, near Jericho - but that area isn't as hospitable to tourists for political and esthetic reasons (and land mines). Where we had our ceremony, the river was maybe 30 meters across and 3 meters deep. It seemed we were the only Catholics at the baptismal site - everybody else seemed to be evangelical Christians, mostly from the U.S. Before we went into the water, some men from South Carolina told us to watch out for the piranhas. I baptized the priest, and then he baptized me and a woman we were using as a lifeguard, and then the three of us spent about half an hour dunking the rest of the group. I'm glad we got a chance to watch the evangelicals first - we sedate Catholics didn't quite know how to do this total immersion stuff - you kind of tilt the people back so the back of their head hits the water first. The whole event was a lot of fun, and we laughed and cheered and sang - but I think we all were deeply moved from a religious perspective, too.
So, anyhow, all the time I was in the water, something was nibbling on the back of my legs. Didn't break the skin or anything, but it sure was a strange sensation. The priest and the lifeguard got nibbled, too.

So, nowadays, the Jordan River is kind of a dumpy little creek that feeds the Sea of Galilee and then flows south to the Dead Sea and stops. The tourist buses stay away from the West Bank, so you can't see the main expanse of the river. Still we saw enough. The Sea of Galilee is absolutely gorgeous, especially as the sun rises over the Golan Heights and sparkles over the lake (moonrise is cool, too). The Dead Sea, the lowest place on earth, has a misty, haunting beauty to it. Once you've visited the area, you get a sense of the significance of the Jordan River, and you begin to understand why so many wonderful songs have been written about it. The river has layer upon layer of meaning, most significantly the ideas of freedom and of going to a better place. No wonder it has so much meaning for the slaves in the United States.

But I still wonder what was nibbling at the back of my legs…

-Joe Offer-


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Subject: Lyr Add: DEEP RIVER
From: Joe Offer
Date: 16 Aug 00 - 03:35 PM

Mary in Kentucky transcribed the 1917 H.T. Burleigh arrangement of Deep River (click) from The Lester S. Levy Collection of Sheet Music. This is the version that Paul Robeson used. Lyrics that fit Mary's transcription are as follows, although the Burleigh arrangement has only the first verse.
The tune should appear soon at Mudcat MIDIs.
-Joe Offer-

DEEP RIVER
(traditional black spiritual)

CHORUS
Deep River, my home is over Jordan,
Deep River, Lord I want to cross over into campground.


Oh, don't you want to go to that gospel feast
That promised land where all is peace?
Deep River, Lord I want to cross over into campground.
CHORUS

I'll go up to Heaven and take my seat
And cast my crown at Jesus' feet
Deep River, Lord I want to cross over into campground.
CHORUS

Oh, when I get to Heaven I'll walk about
There's nobody there to turn me out
Deep River, Lord I want to cross over into campground.
CHORUS

JRO ^^
source: The Odyssey of Paul Robeson (CD)
I'm still curious - has anybody heard "Deep River" sung with the "Steal Away" verses, like what we have in the database?


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Subject: RE: Deep River or Steal Away?
From: Mary in Kentucky
Date: 16 Aug 00 - 05:47 PM

Joe-that was beautiful about the Jordan River. Now I need to get my atlas out and refresh a bit what I should have learned in Sunday School.

When my dad was dying he often spoke about crossing the river, so that has special meaning for me. He even requested a song about crossing the river at his funeral (forgot the name of it).

On a lighter note...my husband's relatives in Eastern Kentucky own some land on the Rockcastle River (LEJ and I talked about this), and one day there was a baptizing in the river. Some canoers rounded the bend and found themselves right in the middle of a ceremony. As it was related to us, people didn't know whether to laugh or what. The canoers just dropped oars and drifted past the crowd.

Mary


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Subject: ADD: Variant, Deep River
From: wysiwyg
Date: 24 Sep 01 - 01:47 PM

See also:

Deep River, Book Of American Negro Spirituals
Deep River, Books Of American Negro Spirituals
Deep River, Everybody's Favorite Songs
Deep River, Let's All Sing
Deep River, My Songs
Deep River, Song Fest
Deep River, Misc Choral Sheet Music
Deep River, Songs Of Zion (Nix)
Deep River, Ev'ry Time I Feel The Spirit
Deep River, Lift Every Voice And Sing
Deep River, Arr.Carol Barnett (Plymouth Music: The Dale Warland Folk Series) Deep River, Roy Ringwald, Arr., Mcmxlviii (Renewed Mcmlxxvi), Shawnee Press, Waring Choral Series

CLICK HERE to hear a choral version from the Park New Choir in France.

DEEP RIVER
Traditional Negro Spiritual

Deep river
My home is over Jordan
Deep river, Lord
I want to cross over into camp-ground

O God's children, why don't you want to go
To the heavenly feast, in the Promised Land
The land where all is peace ;
Walk right into Heaven and take my seat
And throw myself at Jesus' feet...

Deep river
My home is over Jordan
Deep river, Lord
I want to cross over into camp-ground


SOURCE :
Park New Choir, http://parknewchoir.free.fr/

@spirituals


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Subject: Lyr Add: THE PROMISED LAND
From: Burke
Date: 24 Sep 01 - 05:54 PM

I was going to say there were lots of songs in the Sacred Harp that use the theme of Jordan & crossing over it to the Promised Land.

When I checkedI found that I was really thinking of half a dozen settings of the same Samuel Stennett, 1787, hymn. Stennett was English, but his words were definitely popular in the southern US and may have influenced other popular songs. Here's one of the best known versions, I doubt that the chorus is by Stennett & the Sacred Harp has versions with different choruses or none at all.

THE PROMISED LAND
Samuel Stennett, 1787

On Jordan's stormy banks I stand,
And cast a wishful eye
To Canaan's fair and happy land,
Where my possessions lie.

Refrain:
I am bound for the promised land,
I am bound for the promised land;
Oh who will come and go with me?
I am bound for the promised land.

O the transporting, rapturous scene,
That rises to my sight!
Sweet fields arrayed in living green,
And rivers of delight!

Refrain

There generous fruits that never fail,
On trees immortal grow;
There rocks and hills, and brooks and vales,
With milk and honey flow.

Refrain

O'er all those wide extended plains
Shines one eternal day;
There God the Son forever reigns,
And scatters night away.

Refrain

No chilling winds or poisonous breath
Can reach that healthful shore;
Sickness and sorrow, pain and death,
Are felt and feared no more.

Refrain

When I shall reach that happy place,
I'll be forever blest,
For I shall see my Father's face,
And in His bosom rest.

Refrain

Filled with delight my raptured soul
Would here no longer stay;
Though Jordan's waves around me roll,
Fearless I'd launch away.

Refrain

Words from Cyberhymnal
Music by Miss M. Durham Southern Harmony


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Subject: RE: Deep River or Steal Away?
From: Dicho (Frank Staplin)
Date: 02 Oct 01 - 10:52 PM

Spiritual, of course, is an old word, but its first general application to Negro religious song probably occurred after the tours by Fisk and Hampton singers, and may have resulted from an article in Harpers Mag. 1866, May 775/1. A brief entry in the OED under Negro 7, spiritual reads "Maum Rima flavored all her dishes with these 'spirituals' as they are called among the Negroes." If someone has access to a library with a Harpers Mag. file, this article would be worth looking up.


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Subject: RE: Deep River or Steal Away?
From: Sorcha
Date: 19 Jan 02 - 05:51 PM

Fascinating stuff, here, friends, even for me! Joe, lovely description of your Jordan experience. Are there any River Jordans in the US???? Ought to be, I would think. Rivers themselves have some special meaning to me...must have to do with crossings, going places, etc. Thanks!


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Subject: RE: Deep River or Steal Away?
From: Mary in Kentucky
Date: 19 Jan 02 - 06:02 PM

Sorcha, isn't there a Western Tradition of throwing your hat across the river? I can't remember what it means though. Commitment maybe. In the South, you throw your hat in the door, (into someone's house.) If it doesn't come back, then you know you're welcome! A neighbor's cows once ate my corn in the garden, so the threw his hat in the door when he came to see me!


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Subject: RE: Deep River or Steal Away?
From: Dicho (Frank Staplin)
Date: 19 Jan 02 - 06:04 PM

Jordan River in Utah, named by the Latter Day Saints. Also one in Nova Scotia, named after a man.
In the southern Negro mind of the 19C, the Jordan River of the spirituals took on the characteristics of whatever larger river was nearby.


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Subject: RE: Deep River or Steal Away?
From: Dicho (Frank Staplin)
Date: 19 Jan 02 - 06:11 PM

Mary, throwing the hat in the door went west with the pioneers. Another way was to stand by the side of the door and wave the hat in the opening. Both were greeted with jokes and mock threats.
When you come up to a Navajo hogan, you wait at a distance until someone comes out. It is very bad manners to go right up to the door.


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Subject: RE: Deep River or Steal Away?
From: Dave Bryant
Date: 20 Jan 02 - 06:37 AM

One of the connections I know between DEEP RIVER and STEAL AWAY is that they're both used in the oratorio "A child of our time" by Michael Tippett. He also uses versions of NOBODY KNOWS THE TROUBLE I SEE, GO DOWN MOSES, and BYE AND BYE I'M GOING TO LAY DOWN MW HEAVY LOAD.

Besides the versions in the oratorio which are for Solists plus four-part choir plus orchestra, Tippett also arranged a cappella versions for eight vocal parts (S1,S2,A1,A2,T1,T2,B1,B2). These are great to sing as he transfers some of the orchestral lines into the vocal parts. GO DOWN MOSES (described as "A spiritual of Anger" in the oratorio) is very powerful. DEEP RIVER is beautiful.


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Subject: RE: Deep River or Steal Away?
From: Dicho (Frank Staplin)
Date: 20 Jan 02 - 08:36 PM

Michael Tippett has written symphonies. operas, instrumental pieces, and a number of choral works.
See www.michael-tippett.com for listing and samples of some of his works.


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Subject: RE: Deep River or Steal Away?
From: bradfordian
Date: 14 Dec 07 - 01:11 PM

So insofaras its 7 years since this debate was raised, could someone summarise where we stand with the version of Deep River which remains in the DT unmodified?

My choir sings Steal Away as in the DT & I'm happy with the way it is.

I heard a choir called Body of Sound sing Deep River with the "gospel feast" words and would like to add my vote to change the words of the version in the DT. Any comments?

bradfordian


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Subject: RE: Deep River or Steal Away?
From: wysiwyg
Date: 14 Dec 07 - 01:45 PM

IMO there's no real point modifying any of the spirituals listed in the DT except possibly to clarify that whatever is listed (tune or text) is "just one way" of doing that piece-- because they are so endlessly combinable and have often been so conflated in choral arrangements, and can be further conflated for any style of performance, that it just doesn't matter.... the genre is based on improvisation anyway, and there is no "right" version-- no one, no where, no how.

~Susan


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Subject: RE: Deep River or Steal Away?
From: bradfordian
Date: 15 Dec 07 - 07:34 PM

Point taken!
Just out of interest, for those not familiar with the song, clique ici
brad


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Subject: RE: Deep River or Steal Away?
From: Barry Finn
Date: 15 Dec 07 - 11:38 PM

Joe thanks for that visual of the Jordan, I never would've known.

For the southern black convicts, rivers also held a special spiritual place on freedom in their hearts, of which they sang plenty of, the same as the slaves before them. If they could cross a river (which bordered most of the southern prison work farms) they'd have at least a hope of escape from a system that stilled dealt in slavery more than 100 yrs after it was abolished.

Barry


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Subject: RE: Deep River or Steal Away?
From: Mr Happy
Date: 16 Dec 07 - 11:57 AM

http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=aPr-f9VCZRM


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Subject: Lyr. Add: Deep River
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 16 Dec 07 - 01:25 PM

Deep River, as posted in the DT, is a mess. It should be replaced. Verses may vary, but here is an old version from Dett:

Lyr. Add: DEEP RIVER

Deep river, my home is over Jordan,-
Deep river, Lord,
I want to cross over into campground,
Lord, I want to cross over into campground,
Lord, I want to cross over into campground,
Lord, I want to cross over into campground.

1.
O don't you want to go to that gospel feast,
That promised land where all is peace?
Lord, I want to cross over into camp ground,
Lord, I want to cross over into campground,
Lord, I want to cross over into campground.
2.
I'll go into heaven and take my seat,
Cast my crown at Jesus' feet.
Lord, I want etc.
3.
O when I get to heav'n I'll walk all about,
There's nobody there for to turn me out.
Lord, I want etc.

p. 167, with score, R. Nathaniel Dett, ed., 1927, "Religious Folk-Songs of the Negro, as Sung at Hampton Institute," Hampton Institute Press.

The deeply felt lyrics sung by Paul Robson follow closely the arrangement by William Arms Fisher, a close friend of Robson's.
Thanks, Mr. Happy.
I will post that lyric arrangement a little later.


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Subject: Lyr. Add: Deep River (Arr. Fisher)
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 16 Dec 07 - 03:03 PM

Lyr. Add: DEEP RIVER
Arr. William Arms Fisher, 1916

Deep river, my home is over Jordan,-
Deep river, Lord,
I want to cross over into camp-ground.

Deep river, my home is over Jordan,-
Deep river, Lord,
I want to cross over into camp-ground.

Oh, don't you want to go to the gospel feast,
That promised land where all is peace,
Oh! don't you want to go to that promised land,
that land where all is peace?

Deep river, my home is over Jordan,-
Deep river, Lord,
I want to cross over into camp-ground.

Full score, pp. 20-23, with closely followed piano transcription by Coleridge-Taylor. William Arms Fisher, Opus 19, no. 1, Nov. 28. 1916; William Arms Fisher, "Seventy Negro Spirituals" ed. for low voice, Oliver Ditson Company, 1926.
Fisher comments: "This melody first appeared in Jubilee Songs, Part II, compiled by Theodore F. Seward and George L. White in 1884. Here, without harmonization, it lay unrecognized until 1904, when the late Samuel Coleridge-Taylor transcribed it for the piano as one of "Twenty-four Negro Melodies, issued in the Musicians Library [Ditson]. .... The opening section with the words "Deep River, my home is over Jordan" is marked "Chorus" in Jubilee Songs, but the "Verse" section beginning- "Oh, don't you want to go to that gospel feast?" etc., consists largely of a four-times repeated phrase, and Coleridge-Taylor, in order to avoid its monotony and secure sufficient contrast, substituted for it a theme of his own invention. In 1916 Mr. Harry Burleigh issued his song arrangement of "Deep River" with an independent secont theme, and a few months later the Editor of this volume issued the version included in it, which follows closely the Coleridge-Taylor transcription. The original melody is pentatonic."

The lyrics from Dett, in the previous post, is essentially the version in Seward 1884. The Coleridge-Taylor revision is the one followed by many singers and choruses.

Notes by William Arms Fisher, to his arrangement of "Steal Away," p. 170-171, "Seventy Negro Spirituals."
"This pentatonic melody with a compass of a sixth was printed first in "Jubilee Songs, part I, 1872, and has seemed indidpensable to every collection published since. Mrs. Stella May Hill writes: "The song 'Steal away to Jesus' was one of the songs that would give notice of a religious meeting to be held at night after their masters had retired. They would in truth steal away to the woods or some unfrequented place to serve God and seek for consolation when burdened with sorrow and depression." This much loved song has a compass of but a sixth."


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Subject: RE: Deep River or Steal Away?
From: GUEST,chrisbbanfi
Date: 29 Sep 10 - 03:22 AM

does anyone know what camp ground refers to? Does it have special significance? Thanks


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: Deep River or Steal Away?
From: GUEST,Bob Coltman
Date: 16 May 11 - 08:18 AM

Chris, the meaning of "camp ground" could refer to the camp meeting ground, which provided an oasis away from daily cares and, i slavery times, unremitting work.

But I don't think that's the answer.

"Deep River" is often found with the alternate last line:

"I want to cross over in a calm time."

In other words, the singer wants to cross Jordan into the Promised Land, not in the storm referred to in so many gospel songs, but in calm water. My suggestion is that "camp ground" began as a misunderstanding of "calm time."

Bob


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Subject: Origins: Deep River
From: GUEST,Bob Coltman
Date: 16 May 11 - 08:47 AM

As a result of "Deep River's" incorporation into the choral canon early on, we seem to have no version of that is likely to be anywhere near traditional, or in its original folk form.

My question is, can anyone turn up genuine traditional folk sources for "Deep River?"

Such sources should NOT be the Fisk University Jubilee Singers or any other such choir, as those organizations radically changed the songs they sang.

I am looking for some clue to what the song was like before it was hijacked by the educators and classicists like quite a few early spirituals (Swing Low, Old Ark's a-Moverin', Steal Away, etc).

The usual verses, given in the only DT thread substantially dealing with this song (which itself deals mostly with "Steal Away"), seem clearly the product of educated composition, not slave (or free) traditional singers.

"Deep River" is absent from almost all the early folk song studies in which spirituals appear in numbers, starting with Allen et al, Slave Songs of the United States, and continuing with Dorothy Scarborough, Odom and Johnson, and Work's American Negro Songs and Spirituals. It does, however, appear in Lomax & Lomax, American Ballads and Folk Songs, 594-5. Lomax gives no source, so we're left with a song that seems rootless.

Note that Lomax gives what sound like traditional verses. I don't know if we can take them at face value, for the Lomaxes often cobbled together verses to complete fragmentary songs. (Note also the Lomax rather facetious addendum concerning the father, aunty, etc. verses).

Clearly Lomax&Lomax did not think much of this song, probably because it was being sung, not by the genuine folk, but by the Marian Andersons of the haute couture spiritual business.

DEEP RIVER

CHO:
Deep river,
Deep river, Lawd,
Deep river, Lawd,
I want to cross over in a ca'm time.

I'm gonna meet death smilin',
I'm gonna meet death smilin', Lawd,
I'm gonna meet death smilin', Lawd,
I want to cross over in a ca'm time.

My mother's done crossed over,
My mother's done crossed over, Lawd,
My mother's done crossed over, Lawd,
I want to cross over in a ca'm time.

And sometimes, it seems, one's father "has done crossedover," and one's sister, brother, aunty, and cousins, along with the elders and the deacons of the church. —John A. and Alan Lomax.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Deep River
From: GUEST,Bob Coltman
Date: 16 May 11 - 08:50 AM

For comparison, here is Paul Robeson's version, which seems pretty clearly fixed up by a composer. It is quoted in the Mudcat thread cited above:

http://mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=24379#279020

DEEP RIVER

CHORUS
Deep River, my home is over Jordan,
Deep River, Lord I want to cross over into campground.

Oh, don't you want to go to that gospel feast
That promised land where all is peace?
Deep River, Lord I want to cross over into campground.
CHORUS

I'll go up to Heaven and take my seat
And cast my crown at Jesus' feet
Deep River, Lord I want to cross over into campground.
CHORUS

Oh, when I get to Heaven I'll walk about
There's nobody there to turn me out
Deep River, Lord I want to cross over into campground.
CHORUS

JRO ^^
source: The Odyssey of Paul Robeson (CD)


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Subject: RE: Origins: Deep River
From: GUEST,Bob Coltman
Date: 16 May 11 - 08:53 AM

As evidence of the song's scarcity in actual traditional singers' repertoires, my copy of "Check-List of Recorded Songs in the English Language in the Library of Congress Archive of American Folk Song to July, 1940" (NY, Arno, 1971) lists no field recordings of "Deep River."

Nor am I aware of any other field recordings of "Deep River" anywhere that have not most probably been influenced by the classical performance of Robeson and similar singers.

Do any of you know of any relatively un-classical-influenced field recordings of "Deep River?"

Bob


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Subject: RE: Origins: Deep River
From: GUEST,Bob Coltman
Date: 16 May 11 - 09:19 AM

To clarify:

If I seem a bit unkind to the Jubilee Singers, Robeson, Marian Anderson et al, I do not mean to be. We owe the art singers of spirituals an enormous debt for putting spirituals front and center before the world public, and performing them dramatically and memorably.

They aren't suitable, however, as a source for traditional versions of the songs they sang. Their repertoires were recomposed, often drastically, to suit the assumptions of the classical composers and the expectations of their concert audiences. They used folk material as a starting point only, revising or discarding the traditional lyrics, style, and even sometimes melody.

Thus our quandary. How to get back to a "Deep River" that doesn't show their influence?

Bob


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Subject: RE: Origins: Deep River
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 16 May 11 - 01:41 PM

This is a difficult one, in that "Deep River" may be an added verse to "Steal Away," or floater collections. The 'deep river-campground' chorus may be quite late (20th c., my speculation).
I believe that the known versions are pretty well covered in thread 24379:

Deep River or Steal Away

The song, with Deep River in one of the verses, appears in Dann, Dett (Hampton Singers), Fisher, Frey, Grey, Johnson, White. To this list from the Cleveland Index, add Wier, 1929, "Songs of the Sunny South."
In the latter, the verse is
Oh, chillun, don't you want to go to the gospel feast
along with the usual 'cross over into campground'.

Quite a few floaters in the versions.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Deep River
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 16 May 11 - 05:24 PM

There are a number of 19th C. camp meeting songs, some in Negro dialect, that I have been meaning to post.
(I will post them in full in another thread).

These camp meetings, some held for and orby Blacks, were commom across the country. These meetings and songs could have had an influence on spirituals.
Here are three (in addition to the well-known Tenting on the Old Camp Ground that have campground in the title.

We Pitch Our Tents on the Old Camp Ground, 1857
(A song by the Tribe of Jessie)

1st verse.
We'll pitch our tents on the old Campground
Few days. few days,
And give old slavery another round.
On freemen on
Old slavery's a liar and conjurer too
Few days, few days
He'll conjure me and he'll conjure you,
On freemen on.
(many verses).

We'll Gather on the Old Camp Ground, jubilee song, Fred Lyons 1884

Chorus:
Den shout, shout de jubilee,
And let your voice rebound.
I'm so glad we all are free
To gather on the old camp ground.
Yes, shout, shout de jubilee
And let your voice rebound.
I'm so glad we all are free
To gether on the old campground.

Down on de Camp Ground, 1882, Fred Lyons.
1st verse.
O some will shout den take a little rest,
Down on dde Campground;
But when I shout I shout my best,
Way down on de ole camp ground;
Ole Satan tried to make me hush,
Down on de ole camp ground.
Wid my gospel gun I run hi in de bush,
Way down in de ole camp ground.

These are in American Memory.


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: Deep River or Steal Away?
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 16 May 11 - 07:20 PM

"calm time" is rare. Where did you find it? An article by Sterling Brown mentions it as a variant, and a fictional story by Elizabeth Yates, "Amos Fortune, Free Man," contains it.
It does not occur in any of the versions in collections I am familiar with.
The other way around seems more logical to me.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Deep River (spiritual)
From: Joe Offer
Date: 22 Apr 17 - 02:47 AM

Here is the version of "Deep River" that is currently in the Digital Tradition. There is no DEEPRVR1. Up above, Frank Staplin makes mention of what a mess the DT version was - I imagine it was deleted, leaving only this version 2:

DEEP RIVER

Deep river, my home is over Jordan,
Deep river, Lord, I want to cross over into camp ground.

My Lord, he calls me
He calls me by the thunder.
The trumpet sounds within my soul:
I ain't got long to stay here.

Deep river, my home is over Jordan,
Deep river, Lord, I'm gonna cross over into campground.

@religion @spiritual
filename[ DEEPRVR2
JY

Deep River

DESCRIPTION: "Deep River, "(My home is over Jordan), I want to cross over (to the campground)." The singer hopes to cross (the Jordan) to heaven , there to meet family, friends, etc.
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: 1875 ("The Story of the Jubilee Singers")
KEYWORDS: religious death river
FOUND IN: US(SE)
REFERENCES (6 citations):
Dett, p. 167, "Deep River" (1 text) (1 tune)
Lomax-ABFS, pp. 594-595, "Deep River" (1 text, 1 tune)
Warren-Spirit, p. 29-30, "Deep River" (1 text, 1 tune)
Silber-FSWB, p. 370, "Deep River" (1 text)
Fuld-WFM, p. 195, "Deep River"
DT, DEEPRVR2

Roud #12332
RECORDINGS:
Marian Anderson, "Deep River" (Victor 19227, 1924) (Victor 22015, 1929; Victor 2032, 1940)
Carroll Clark w. Fletcher Henderson [Orch.?] "Deep River" (Columbia 128-D, 1924)
Commonwealth Quartet, "Deep River" (Conqueror 7079, 1928)
Hampton Institute Quartette, "Deep River" (RCA, unissued, 1941)
The King's Heralds, "Deep River" (Chapel CR 23, n.d.)
Lions Quartet, "Deep River" (Columbia 1167-D, 1927)
Oriole Male Quartette, "Deep River" (Oriole 893, 1927)
Randolph's Kentucky Jubilee Choir, "Deep River" (Brunswick 4063, 1928)
Paul Robeson, "Deep River" (Victor 20793, 1927)

NOTES: Not to be confused with either of two songs called "Deep River Blues" (one traditional, with the opening "Let it rain, let it pour; Let it rain a whole lot more..."; the other coming from the W. C. Handy tradition and beginning "Deep river, deep river, Mississippi River, so deep and wide my heart is breaking"). - RBW
Last updated in version 4.0
File: LxA594

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