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Origins: Ezekiel Saw the Wheel

Related threads:
Lyr Req: Ezekiel (Saw the Wheel) (7)
Lyr Add: Ezekiel (swing down) (18)
Tune Req: Ezekiel's wheel MIDI (4)
Tunes: Ezekiel's Wheel, also Dry Bones (6)


Dicho (Frank Staplin) 18 Dec 01 - 03:56 PM
Dicho (Frank Staplin) 18 Dec 01 - 04:12 PM
Dicho (Frank Staplin) 18 Dec 01 - 04:23 PM
wysiwyg 18 Dec 01 - 05:06 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 07 Apr 07 - 11:01 PM
GUEST,tuvya 22 Nov 18 - 02:18 PM
GUEST,Pete from seven stars link 22 Nov 18 - 02:44 PM
GUEST,keberoxu 22 Nov 18 - 04:16 PM
Joe Offer 29 Nov 18 - 03:02 PM
Joe Offer 29 Nov 18 - 03:21 PM
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Subject: EZEKIEL'S WHEEL
From: Dicho (Frank Staplin)
Date: 18 Dec 01 - 03:56 PM

EZEKIEL'S WHEEL

Chorus:
'Zekus' wheel- Oh, my soul!
E'zekus' wheel- Oh, my soul!
Uh "Zekus" wheel- Oh, my soul!
Le's take a ride on -uh "Zekus" wheel.

There's 'ligion in the wheel,
Oh, my soul!
There's 'ligion in the wheel,
Oh, my soul!
'Ligion in the wheel,
Oh, my soul!
Le's take a ride on-a "Zekus" wheel.

There's moanin' in the wheel,
Oh, my soul!
There's moanin' in the wheel,
Oh, my soul!
Moanin' in the wheel,
Oh, my soul!
Le's take a ride on-a "Zekus" wheel.

There's Prayin' in the wheel, etc.

There's shoutin' in the wheel, etc.

There's cryin' in the wheel, etc.

There's laughin' in the wheel,
Oh, my soul!
There's laughin' in the wheel,
Oh, my soul!
Laughin' in the wheel,
Oh, my soul!
Le's take a ride on-a "Zekus" wheel.

Grissom, M. A., 1930 (Dover 1969), The Negro Sings a New Heaven, p. 32-33, with music. Collected in Kentucky. Listed singly in the Cleveland Index.
@religion @spiritual

EZEKIEL SAW DE WHEEL

Chorus:
Ezekiel saw de wheel,
'Way up in de middle ob de air,
Ezekiel saw de wheel,
'Way up in de middle ob de air,
An' de little wheel run by faith,
An' de big wheel run by de grace ob God.
'Tis a wheel in a wheel,
'Way in de middle ob de air.

Some go to church for to sing an' shout,
'Way in de middle ob de air,
Befo' six months dey are all turned out,
'Way in de middle ob de air.

Let me tell you what a hypocrite'll do,
'Way in de middle ob de air,
He'll talk 'bout me an' he'll talk 'bout you,
'Way in de middle ob de air.

One o' dese days, 'bout twelve o'clock,
'Way in de middle ob de air,
Dis ole worl' gwine to reel an' rock,
'Way in de middle ob de air.

R. N. Dett, 1927, Religious Folk Songs of the Negro, p. 60-61. Listed for Fenner in error in the Cleveland Index- should read- Staff, Hampton Institute.
@religion @spiritual

White versions of "Ezekiel Saw The Wheel" are in the Forum Search; by Zeke Manners in threadid 4905; others in threadid 7034 and threadid 7022.
Spirituals
Ezekiel
Ezekiel-Dry Bones

'ZEKIEL SAW DE WHEEL

Wheel, oh, wheel,
Wheel in de middle of a wheel;
Wheel, Oh, wheel,
Wheel in de middle of a wheel.

1. 'Zekiel saw de wheel of time,
Wheel in de middle of a wheel,
Ev'ry spoke was human kind,
Wheel in de middle of a wheel.

'Zekiel saw de wheel,
'Way up in de middle of de air,
'Zekiel saw de wheel,
'Way up in de middle of de air.
De big wheel run by faith,
Little wheel run by de grace of God;
Wheel wid-in a wheel,
'Way in de middle of de air.

2. 'Way up yonder on de mountain top
Wheel in de middle of a wheel,
My Lord spoke an' de chariot stop,
Wheel in de middle of a wheel.

Oh, de big wheel run by faith,
Little wheel run by de grace of God;
Wheel wid-in a wheel,
'Way in de middle of de air.
Wheel, oh, wheel,
Wheel in de middle of a wheel.
Wheel, oh, wheel,
Wheel in de middle of a wheel.

(Verses and choruses may be mixed in various ways)
Johnson and Johnson, 1969, The Books of American Negro Spirituals, II, p. 144-146, with music. Also part in Sandburg, The American Songbag, p. 488, as Ezekiel, You And Me, in which he combines five Negro spirituals. These include Inch By Inch, It's Me, Oh Lord, Prayin' in the Valley, Chilly Water, and Ezekiel.
@religion @spiritual


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: EZEKIEL'S WHEEL
From: Dicho (Frank Staplin)
Date: 18 Dec 01 - 04:12 PM

WHEEL IN THE MIDDLE UV DE WHEEL (A)

Chorus:
Move wheel, wheel in the middle uv de wheel.
Move wheel, wheel in the middle uv de wheel.

Ezekiel saw dat wheel uv time
Wheel in de middle uv er wheel
En ev'ry spoke was a human kind
Wheel in the middle uv a wheel.
Cho.
Elijah saw dat chariot comin'
Wheel in de middle of a wheel
He got on board en he never stop runnin'
Wheel in de middle of a wheel.
Cho.
What kind er wheel are you talkin' 'bout?
Wheel in de middle of a wheel
Oh what er wheel er you talkin' 'bout?
Wheel in de middle uv er wheel.
Cho.

Solomon, Jack and Olivia, 1991, Honey In The Rock (Tartt Coll., AL), p. 28, no music.
@religion @spiritual


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: EZEKIEL'S WHEEL
From: Dicho (Frank Staplin)
Date: 18 Dec 01 - 04:23 PM

WHEEL IN THE MIDDLE OF A WHEEL (B)

Wheel, wheel, in the middle of a wheel
Wheel, wheel, in the middle of a wheel.

You must not lie,
You must not steal,
Wheel in the middle of a wheel
Wheel in the middle of a wheel.
You must not lie,
You must not steal,
Wheel in the middle of a wheel.

You may talk about me
Just as much as you please,
More you talk, I'll bend my knees
Wheel in the middle of a wheel
Wheel in the middle of a wheel
Wheel, oh wheel in the middle of a wheel.

Verse 2 is fragmentary? "In (b) the chorus of the Ezekiel spiritual has been attached to migratory preaching stanzas,..."
Solomon, Jack and Olivia, 1991, Honey In The Rock (Tartt Coll., AL), p. 28.
@religion @gospel @spiritual


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: EZEKIEL'S WHEEL
From: wysiwyg
Date: 18 Dec 01 - 05:06 PM

WOW!

~S~


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Ezekiel's Wheel
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 07 Apr 07 - 11:01 PM

Many verses from other spirituals have been used; 'mix and match.'
It all depends upon where the lead singer (or minister) wishes to place emphasis.

Some verses not in the above, pp. 85-88, "Ezekiel Saw the Wheel," from Clarence Cameron White, 1927, "Forty Negro Spirituals, Compiled and Arranged for solo voice." Theodore Presser Co., NY

Some go to church for to sing and shout about
'Way in de middle ob de air;
Befo' six months dey's all turned out-
'Way in de middle ob de air,
Ezekiel saw de wheel, etc.

One o' dese days, 'bout twelve o'clock-
'Way in de middle o de air-
Dis ole world gwine to reel an' rock,
'Way in de middle ob de air.
Ezekiel saw de wheel, etc.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Ezekiel's Wheel
From: GUEST,tuvya
Date: 22 Nov 18 - 02:18 PM

So my question is which wheel runs by faith and which by the grace of god. Some sing one and some sing the other. Is there a theologian in the house?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Ezekiel's Wheel
From: GUEST,Pete from seven stars link
Date: 22 Nov 18 - 02:44 PM

Ezekials strange vision is found in chapter one of his book . It is a vision of God, and not directly related to His grace or our faith. However, v28 speaks of the glory of a rainbow relating to His appearance.rainbows relate back to Noah post flood, who "found grace in the eyes of The Lord genesis6:8


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Ezekiel's Wheel
From: GUEST,keberoxu
Date: 22 Nov 18 - 04:16 PM

From my days working with choruses and church choirs,
I remember a choral arrangement of "Ezekiel Saw The Wheel"
that met with great favor.

The men's parts were put to work chanting
'wheel in a wheel in a wheel in a wheel' to a simple rhythm
and melodic phrase,
and it was like a perpetual motion device.
The men kept this up for several pages straight,
while the women's sections sang the text and the melody.
It was all very stirring.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Ezekiel's Wheel
From: Joe Offer
Date: 29 Nov 18 - 03:02 PM

I'm sorry I missed this discussion earlier. I got an email about it today:
    Hi Joe,
    Is this a question for you? I asked mudcats earlier.

    Which wheel runs by faith and which by the grace of god? I see singers have little consensus on this. And in my limited theological understanding I can see each choice has validity. But why?
    Ted



    Hi, Ted -
    Gee, I'm sorry I missed that thread, and I'm very glad you called it to my attention. My answer is: Neither, or both.


Pete from seven stars link gives a pretty good answer above: neither. In Chapter 1 of Ezekiel, Ezekiel describes the vision that started him off on his career as a prophet. As with many mystical experiences, Ezekiel's vision is very graphic, but it doesn't make a whole lot of sense. It is not meant to be interpreted literally - perhaps it is not meant to be interpreted at all. It is Ezekiel's attempt to describe his experience of the divinity. The main part of the vision is Ezekiel 1:15-21:
    15 Now as I looked at the living creatures, I saw a wheel upon the earth beside the living creatures, one for each of the four of them. 16 As for the appearance of the wheels and their construction: their appearance was like the gleaming of a chrysolite; and the four had the same likeness, their construction being as it were a wheel within a wheel. 17 When they went, they went in any of their four directions without turning as they went. 18 The four wheels had rims and they had spokes; and their rims were full of eyes round about. 19 And when the living creatures went, the wheels went beside them; and when the living creatures rose from the earth, the wheels rose. 20 Wherever the spirit would go, they went, and the wheels rose along with them; for the spirit of the living creatures was in the wheels. 21 When those went, these went; and when those stood, these stood; and when those rose from the earth, the wheels rose along with them; for the spirit of the living creatures was in the wheels.


You can see above that Frank Staplin posted two very legitimate texts for the song. One says:
    An' de little wheel run by faith,
    An' de big wheel run by de grace ob God.
And the other one says:
    De big wheel run by faith,
    Little wheel run by de grace of God
And as you can see from the actual text of Ezekiel, the prophet doesn't talk about faith or the grace of God at all in this passage. I wouldn't even try to go to the source of 19th-century "Negro spirituals." Most of these are true folk songs, and it's well-nigh impossible to trace their origins because they didn't start out as published songs. I usually go to my Fisk Jubilee Singers songbook to find at least a common text for spirituals because the Jubilee Singers were the ones who popularized so many spirituals - but this one isn't in their songbook.

So, the answer is that there is no answer, But hey, it's a fascinating question to explore; and it takes us to one of the most colorful passages in the Bible.

-Joe-


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Subject: Origins: Ezekiel Saw the Wheel
From: Joe Offer
Date: 29 Nov 18 - 03:21 PM

I didn't find this song in the Digital Tradition. Here's the Traditional Ballad Index entry on this song:

Ezekiel Saw the Wheel

DESCRIPTION: "Ezekiel saw the wheel, Way up in the middle of the air... And the big wheel (run/turn) by faith, and the little wheel (run/turn) by the grace of God. (There's) a wheel in a wheel, Way in the middle of the air."
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: 1909 (Dett)
KEYWORDS: religious Bible nonballad
FOUND IN: US
REFERENCES (7 citations):
Dett, pp. 60-61, "Ezekiel Saw de Wheel" (1 text, 1 tune; pp. 164-165 in the 1909 edition)
Courlander-NFM, p. 52, (no title) (1 text, probably partial)
Sandburg, pp. 488-492, "Ezekiel, You and Me" (1 heavily composite text, 1 composite tune; this song produces stanza 1)
Warren-Spirit, pp. 34-35, "Ezekiel Saw the Wheel" (1 text. 1 tune)
Messerli, pp. 30, "Ezekiel Wheel" (1 text)
Silber-FSWB, p. 357, "Ezekiel Saw The Wheel" (1 text)
ADDITIONAL: Harold Courlander, _A Treasury of Afro-American Folklore_, Crown Publishers, 1976, p. 31`5, "(no title)" (1 text)

Roud #12241
RECORDINGS:
Biddle University Quartet, "Ezekiel Saw de Wheel" (Pathe 22400, 1920/Perfect 11225, 1925)
Elkins-Payne Jubilee Singers, "Ezekiel Saw de Wheel" (OKeh 40250, 1925; rec. 1924)
Fisk University Jubilee Quartet, "Ezekiel Saw de Wheel" (Columbia A3370, 1921; Silvertone 3283 [as Border Male Quartet], n.d.; rec. 1920)
Hall Johnson Negro Choir, "Ezekiel Saw de Wheel" (Victor 36020, 1930)
Hampton Institute Quartette, "Exekiel Saw de Wheel" (Musicraft 232, prob. 1939)
Norfolk Jubilee Quartette, "Ezekiel Saw de Wheel" (Paramount 12217, 1924)
Pace Jubilee Singers w. Hattie Parker, "Ezekiel Saw De Wheel" (Victor 21582, 1928)
Paul Robeson & Lawrence Brown, "Ezekiel Saw de Wheel" (Victor 20604, 1927)
West Virginia Collegiate Institute Glee Club, "Ezekial Saw de Wheel" (Brunswick 3498, 1927; Supertone S-2126 [as Harmony Glee Club], 1930)

CROSS-REFERENCES:
cf. "Rock, Chariot, I Told You to Rock"
cf. "John Done Saw That Number"
cf. "A Wheel in a Wheel" (theme)
cf. "I Wouldn't Mind Dying" (Ezekiel's wheel theme)
NOTES [8 words]: This is based on Ezekiel's vision in Ezekiel 1. - RBW
Last updated in version 4.3
File: CNFM052

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The Ballad Index Copyright 2018 by Robert B. Waltz and David G. Engle.


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