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Origins: AMEN (Jester Hairston)

DigiTrad:
MARY'S BOY CHILD


Related threads:
Lyr Req: Mary's Little Boy Child (Jester Hairston) (31)
Tune Req: music for the song Amen (6)


chriscochran@email.com 12 Mar 99 - 09:29 AM
12 Mar 99 - 11:05 AM
catspaw49 12 Mar 99 - 11:23 AM
Ross 12 Mar 99 - 01:01 PM
sail 13 Mar 99 - 10:50 AM
catspaw49 13 Mar 99 - 12:46 PM
katlaughing 13 Mar 99 - 01:04 PM
Banjer 13 Mar 99 - 01:37 PM
AllisonA(Animaterra) 13 Mar 99 - 04:03 PM
Charlie Baum 14 Mar 99 - 01:22 AM
Night Owl 15 Mar 99 - 01:21 AM
Joe Offer 15 Mar 99 - 12:55 PM
Vixen 15 Mar 99 - 02:27 PM
Night Owl 16 Mar 99 - 12:41 AM
Banjer 16 Mar 99 - 06:35 AM
Craig 16 Mar 99 - 11:17 PM
PDiB3 16 Mar 99 - 11:49 PM
Joe Offer 17 Mar 99 - 08:02 PM
Joe Offer 27 Mar 99 - 11:38 PM
catspaw49 28 Mar 99 - 12:15 AM
Joe Offer 20 Sep 01 - 11:58 PM
Escamillo 21 Sep 01 - 12:18 AM
Haruo 21 Sep 01 - 07:27 PM
Haruo 21 Sep 01 - 07:33 PM
GUEST,Genie 21 Sep 01 - 11:51 PM
W y s i w y G ! 22 Sep 01 - 12:13 AM
GUEST,Genie 22 Sep 01 - 04:24 AM
W y s i w y G ! 22 Sep 01 - 04:43 AM
masato sakurai 22 Sep 01 - 04:47 AM
GUEST,Genie 22 Sep 01 - 05:05 AM
masato sakurai 22 Sep 01 - 06:13 AM
Cappuccino 22 Sep 01 - 09:32 AM
W y s i w y G ! 22 Sep 01 - 11:28 AM
Jim Dixon 20 Jan 02 - 11:04 PM
catspaw49 21 Jan 02 - 01:00 AM
Haruo 06 Dec 02 - 02:03 AM
GUEST,teancumsix@aol.com 20 Oct 03 - 05:06 PM
GUEST,kevin_c_fong@yahoo.com 29 Oct 03 - 03:43 AM
GUEST,Susan Pleasure maximumpleasure@shaw.ca 04 Nov 03 - 01:20 PM
Tinker 04 Nov 03 - 05:05 PM
GUEST,Marilyn Miller Campbell 05 Nov 08 - 01:41 AM
GUEST 09 Feb 09 - 12:42 AM
GUEST,Black Hawk on works pc 09 Feb 09 - 03:21 AM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 09 Feb 09 - 11:35 AM
GUEST 19 Sep 09 - 01:00 PM
Q 19 Sep 09 - 01:56 PM
Bettynh 09 May 10 - 10:37 AM
GUEST,Karen 12 Jul 11 - 06:42 AM
GUEST,Karen 12 Jul 11 - 08:00 AM
GUEST,Kathy Aranabanana 08 Mar 13 - 08:22 PM
GUEST 28 Jul 13 - 05:45 PM
Joe Offer 28 Jul 13 - 07:19 PM
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Subject: AMEN
From: chriscochran@email.com
Date: 12 Mar 99 - 09:29 AM

PLEASE HELP

I am looking for the lyrics sung by SIDNEY POITIER in the 1963 Movie "Lilies of the Field" in the song "AMEN"

Please reply by email to ChrisCochran@email.com


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Subject: RE: AMEN
From:
Date: 12 Mar 99 - 11:05 AM

I'm not sure, but as I remember it, you have most of them.


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Subject: RE: AMEN
From: catspaw49
Date: 12 Mar 99 - 11:23 AM

The anon above is NOT me......but I like it a lot!!!

catspaw


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Subject: RE: AMEN
From: Ross
Date: 12 Mar 99 - 01:01 PM

Thanks catspaw49


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Subject: RE: AMEN
From: sail
Date: 13 Mar 99 - 10:50 AM

Add: "Sing it over" and that's probably it!


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Subject: RE: AMEN
From: catspaw49
Date: 13 Mar 99 - 12:46 PM

Thanks to sail and Ross for wrapping up this thread in such a fine manner. Just goes to show that we can come up with even the most complex and obscure lyrics if we work together.

Perhaps now I could get some help on a tune my grandfather used to sing. I can only remember bits and pieces but I think the first line was "99 bottles of beer on the wall" but I can't be sure.

Is anyone familiar with this tune? Please post any lyrics you can...or should I start a separate thread?

catspaw


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Subject: RE: AMEN
From: katlaughing
Date: 13 Mar 99 - 01:04 PM

Catspaw:

Are you sure it was 99 bottles of beer on the wall? Did they have bottles way back then!? It wasn't more like 99 casks with bungholes agape on the cellar floor?

Chrischochran: don't pay these cryptic souls any mind. They're just bein' themselves***smile***.That's why we all love 'em so much!

Seriously, though, I DO believe they are correct. I can't remember any other lyrics other than the title and "say it, again", either. I vaguely recall he may have spoken some words in between, but really don't have a clue as to what they might've been.


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Subject: RE: AMEN
From: Banjer
Date: 13 Mar 99 - 01:37 PM

I'm not sure, but in the version I recall hearing there is a different refrain every other "verse". A series of A-mens variously followed by "Let me hear it now", "Say it again", "Jesus is the Savior" and "I'm a gonna go to Heaven, now". I suppose there could be any number of refrains, or mabey they are the verses and the amens are the chorus.


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Subject: RE: AMEN
From: AllisonA(Animaterra)
Date: 13 Mar 99 - 04:03 PM

I sang this in my college days long ago. Lets see what the memory dredges up:

Aaaaa-men (see the baby)
" " (lying in a manger)
ditto... on Christmas morning Amen X3

....then there's a verse about preaching in the field, but it eludes me...
Amen...(See him on the cross)...
" " (Now he's in the tomb)
" " (But he rose on Easter!) Amen X3

Oh, well, I thought there was more.


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Subject: RE: AMEN
From: Charlie Baum
Date: 14 Mar 99 - 01:22 AM

The "a-mens" are just the repeating chorus while the soloist sings real lyrics about the life of Jesus. It's a little like "I Bid You Good Night"--the chorus just has to sing "Good Night, Good Night, Good Night" over and over again, but the solo line in that piece also has more complex lyrics to sing.

--Charlie Baum


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Subject: RE: AMEN
From: Night Owl
Date: 15 Mar 99 - 01:21 AM

Guess I'm taking a trip down memory lane in the threads I'm reading tonight! Amen was a song we used to sing as often as "We Shall Overcome" back in the sixties. Not sure if you found the verses yet, but in case you haven't, our version was:

(Verses)
See the baby;
Lying in a manger;
On Christmas morning.

(2nd verse)
See him at the seaside;
Talking with the fishermen;
He made them disciples.

(3rd verse)
See him at the Temple;
Talking with the elders;
They marveled at His wisdom.

I don't remember any other verses. The chorus explained previously by Charlie is the way we sang it. The fun of the song was that the chorus could also just be repeated (without verses) if the mood warranted. The song "leader" could add anything after each Amen to keep the song going, including some of the lines in "Goodnight.”

HTML line breaks added. --JoeClone, 20-Jan-02.


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Subject: RE: AMEN
From: Joe Offer
Date: 15 Mar 99 - 12:55 PM

I'm not near my vast collection of bookmarks and my moderately vast collection of songbooks, so I can't find what I came across a while ago on this song. I had always thought the song had been written for the film, but I believe I came across a source that said it was much older than that, perhaps even fitting the term "traditional." Anybody know the history of this song?
I think Night Owl covered all the verses I've heard. I've tried valiantly to master the verses, but I can't get the timing down. It caused me a great deal of embarrassment at a couple of Christmas Midnight Masses, so I finally gave up and sing "Halleluia" between choruses. That "Halleluia" is about the only solo they let me do....
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: AMEN
From: Vixen
Date: 15 Mar 99 - 02:27 PM

WOW--

My partner and I sing this song for a client at a group home sing-a-long we do...now we've got some "real" words to go between the choruses!!!!

Thanks!

Vixen


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Subject: RE: AMEN
From: Night Owl
Date: 16 Mar 99 - 12:41 AM

I've had this song in my head all day today hoping that the rest of the verses would return to my idle brain..so far the only thing I remember is the last line to the last verse...."On Easter morning". Hope that will spark someone else's memory. Also, re origins of the song, I"m certain that the song was not written for the Poitier film, because in 1963 the song was already established in the Civil Rights movements. I was always under the impression that the song was a very old traditional "Negro Spiritual" but have no clue why I thought that...and could be very wrong. Am also trying to figure out how to explain the timing short and simply. I guess the trick to the timing is best explained by having you tap your foot through the chorus Amens and on the last Amen, start the verse on the upbeat before your foot hits the floor again. ???? If I had more courage, I would just send a tape of myself singing it...but that could be painful. Vixen: Curious to know what kind of group home and would you join me in a new thread re: music therapy for Hospice and/or brain injured patients?


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Subject: RE: AMEN
From: Banjer
Date: 16 Mar 99 - 06:35 AM

I, like some others here in this thread, cannot for the life of me remember where I learned about this song, but I too was under the impression that it dated at least to the 1860's and possibly even before. I feel like the CRS bug has hit me....


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Subject: RE: AMEN
From: Craig
Date: 16 Mar 99 - 11:17 PM

I just looked in my TV Guide and lo and behold there is Lilies of the Field being shown on the Turner Classic Movie channel at 9pm Pacific Time. I'll have to check it out.

Craig


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Subject: RE: AMEN
From: PDiB3
Date: 16 Mar 99 - 11:49 PM

Here's how I remember (at least some of) it.

See the Little Baby... (Amen)
Laid in a manger... (Amen)
On Christmas Mornin'!... (Amen Amen, Amen)

See Him in the Temple...(A)
Talking with the elders... (A)
Who marvelled at his wisdom! (A, A, A)

See Him at the riverside ... (A)
Talkin' to the fishermen...(A)
And makin' them disciples!... (A, A, A)

(I know there's at least one more verse, and I can't remember how it starts. It relates the Crucifixion and Resurrection. The last line has a huge crescendo, and goes "BUT HE ROSE ON EASTER!" A-Amen, Amen, Amen!)

Thanks for calling this lovely and simple song of faith to mind. I love "Lillies of the Field"


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Subject: RE: AMEN
From: Joe Offer
Date: 17 Mar 99 - 08:02 PM

Now I remember:
He died to save us.
BUT HE ROSE ON EASTER, HALLELUIA!
Thinking back on this song, I did sing it perfectly one Christmas, when I was directing the children's choir. The priest stopped the Mass and said, "Well, if you weren't in the Christmas spirit before, you sure are now!" Then the whole congregation applauded. It was one of those moments a singer lives for. I tried to do it a couple of times with the adult choir, and it just didn't work. Oh, well.
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: ADD Version: AMEN
From: Joe Offer
Date: 27 Mar 99 - 11:38 PM

Now that I'm back home with my songbooks, I found another version:
AMEN
(Jester Hairston)

See the Baby... (Amen)
Sleepin' in the manger... (Amen)
On Christmas Morning'... (Amen Amen, Amen)

See Him at the Temple...
Talkin' with the elders...
Who marvelled at his wisdom!

See Him at the riverside ...
Talkin' to the fishermen...
And makin' them disciples!...

First He came a preachin'...
Then He came a teachin'...
Tellin' them disciples...

See Him in the garden...
Talkin' to the Father
In deepest sorrow...

Went before Pilate...
Then they crucified Him...
But He rose on Easter!...
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: AMEN
From: catspaw49
Date: 28 Mar 99 - 12:15 AM

Once again...Mudcat at it's best!!!

This is your basic "zipper" song that you can plug a new line into based on need. There are probably hundreds of verses to this already. BUT... I admit when I'm wrong I'm wrong...really wrong!!! I forgot the true spirit and dogged brilliance of the Mudcat mind at work. The tenacity of a bulldog...truly!!!

I predict at least 85-100 posts before this thread wears out, netting about 100 verses. I was willing to blow it off long ago as a zipper, but I stand amazed and humbled.

And...JOE OFFER>>>You need to be more careful while traveling. I suspect it may have been YOU that unwittingly transported Cletus and his CIA backed, crazed tiple band back west. See the Alvarez,Seagull,Washburn guitar thread for details.

catspaw


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Subject: RE: AMEN
From: Joe Offer
Date: 20 Sep 01 - 11:58 PM

Do I remember a version that went:

See the baby
Wrapped in the manger
On Christmas mornin....

Seems to me I musta heard it. The "wrapped" doesn't make sense, but it's the kind of thing that sticks in a person's mind.
Actually, I'll bet the "wrapped in the manger" comes from some translation of the New Testament - but not the New Revised Standard Version we liberals use...
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: AMEN
From: Escamillo
Date: 21 Sep 01 - 12:18 AM

Spaw, this is one that I was searching for years, and even Joe Offer could not find: "Love Song" , from the movie "Sanders of the river" (details of the film in http://www.reel.com/movie.asp?MID=6251 ). Was recorded by Paul Robeson in 1935 and I DO HAVE the re-processed CD ! However I don't understand some parts of the lyrics, and the only time I sung it in public, I MUMBLED AND INVENTED (shame on me). Fortunately there were no English language experts in the audience, except one who suspiciously got up and left. The song is extremely beautiful and I would love to obtain that obscure lyrics.

Un abrazo - Andrés (from Buenos Aires, Argentina)


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Subject: RE: AMEN
From: Haruo
Date: 21 Sep 01 - 07:27 PM

Pretty sure the "wrapped in the manger" phrase is just a conflation of the King James "wrapped ... in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger ..." (doing this from memory, but it can easily be checked in Luke 2 at Blue Letter Bible if you don't have an AV=KJV lying about. (And if any Christian fundies saw that, no, I am not saying the Bible is lying about anything ;-).)

Liland


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Subject: RE: AMEN
From: Haruo
Date: 21 Sep 01 - 07:33 PM

Here are the precise verses (2:7 and 2:12) in the King James Version; possibly the definite article comes from the Greek (which you can check by clicking on the little blue C to the left of the verse you want hellenized) but more likely it's just a random sloppy unmotivated corruption of the sacred text. I.e. good folk song material.

Liland


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Subject: RE: AMEN
From: GUEST,Genie
Date: 21 Sep 01 - 11:51 PM

I have seen sheet music for this song which credit Jester Hairston for having written this. He is also credited with having written "Mary's Boy Child."
(Some of you may also remember him as having played Rolly Forbes on the old TV sitcom about a congregation in Harlem, I think. The sitcom may also have been called "Amen," but I am not sure.)

What I don't know is whether he actually originated the song or just wrote an arrangement of it, perhaps with some new couplets, and copyrighted that.
Does anyone know?

Genie


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Subject: RE: AMEN
From: W y s i w y G !
Date: 22 Sep 01 - 12:13 AM

Genie,

It is possible that what Hairston copyrighted was his ARRANGEMENT of the material-- this is done all the time with traditonal/public domain music. Or, if he varied the melody any, or added words, it might have been shown as "music by" or "words by" him.

On the other hand, there is also a body of music we have yet to define that comes from the tradition of the spirituals, but which was either composed or arose spontaneously later in time, well after slave times. There are some people still writing them today-- both as deliberate compositions or as transcriptions of spontaneous creations.

An ongoing discussion of the history of spirituals in general goes on in the thread "History of Spirituals," but I think that for each specific song the best place to work out its history is in threads exactly like this, where the song and discussion about it can appear. So I hope people will review the general history discussions and add to that, but also add to the knowledge about each song, as in this thread.

Genie, you could make a big contribution in this whole subject by spending some time sifting through search results on Hairston, using Google or some other search engine. Although others are looking at other aspects of the spirituals, no one (at Mudcat) is really looking yet at contemporary applications separate from "black gospel." And I think there may be an important distinction there, between "contemporary spirituals" and "black gospel."

So, if you learn anything about this piece, would you post it here? And if Hairston's contributions are relevant to spirituals' history in general, would you add them to the History thread?

Thanks!

~Susan


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Subject: RE: AMEN
From: GUEST,Genie
Date: 22 Sep 01 - 04:24 AM

Yeah, Susan, that's one of the possibilities I was entertaining--that his copyright was for an arrangement or modification. (I have seen, for example, sheet music of Blackjack Davey that says "words and music by Woody Guthrie," but that has most verses either straight out of Child Ballads or just slightly altered! People not only copyright the modified public domain song, but they claim (or their publishers claim) that they "wrote" the "words and music.")

I'll see what I can find out about Jester Hairston's contributions. For one thing, I am an acquaintance of his niece (or great niece), Jackie, who is a choir director in the Bay area. Perhaps she has info on this or has other leads to pursue. I'll also check Google, etc., and post what I find.

Genie


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Subject: RE: AMEN
From: W y s i w y G !
Date: 22 Sep 01 - 04:43 AM

Great!!! Thanks, Genie!

~S~


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Subject: RE: AMEN
From: masato sakurai
Date: 22 Sep 01 - 04:47 AM

John Lovell, Jr. writes with no further information on the song: "Jester Hairston did the choral music of the motion picture, Lilies of the Field. His arrangement of 'Amen' was the one used by Sidney Poitier in winning the Academy Award for best actor" (Black Song, p. 455). Jester Hairston--Spirituals (CASPARO GSCD-269) contains "Amen" with no notes to it. Whatever its origin may be, the Hairston arrangement (or composition) is more spiritual-like than many "authentic" spirituals.

Masato


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Subject: RE: AMEN
From: GUEST,Genie
Date: 22 Sep 01 - 05:05 AM

Thanks for the info, Masato.
Genie


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Subject: RE: AMEN
From: masato sakurai
Date: 22 Sep 01 - 06:13 AM

The name of the record label is GASPARO (Nashville-based). The Hairston spirituals CD by Belmont Chorale (Sherry Hill Kelly, Director) was released in 1989.

Masato


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Subject: RE: AMEN
From: Cappuccino
Date: 22 Sep 01 - 09:32 AM

Oh blast, and a thousand curses... now you've put this song back into my head, and I've decided to do it next week, I can't remember the blasted arrangement or how many beats in the verse lines!

Anyone got a line to a decent arrangement, either score or chart or tab?

- IanB


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Subject: RE: AMEN
From: W y s i w y G !
Date: 22 Sep 01 - 11:28 AM

If no other resources turn up, PM me and I'll try a bare-bones NWC for ya.

~S~


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Subject: Lyr Add: AMEN (Jester Hairston)
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 20 Jan 02 - 11:04 PM

Would you believe I found these lyrics in the Cardozo Law Review in an article called "Lilies of the Field: A Critique of Adjudication"?

This article from the UMass Campus Chronicle, credits the song "Amen" to black actor Jester Hairston, who also dubbed Sidney Poitier's voice in "Lilies of the Field."

AMEN
(Jester Hairston)

A-a-a-men a-a-a-men a-a-a-men, amen, amen
A-a-a-men a-a-a-men a-a-a-men, amen, amen
Sing it over!
A-a-a-men a-a-a-men a-a-a-men, amen, amen
A-a-a-men a-a-a-men a-a-a-men, amen, amen
See the baby,
Wrapped in the manger,
On Christmas morning.
A-a-a-men a-a-a-men a-a-a-men, amen, amen
A-a-a-men a-a-a-men a-a-a-men, amen, amen
See him in the temple,
Talking with the elders,
Who marveled at his wisdom.
A-a-a-men a-a-a-men a-a-a-men, amen, amen
A-a-a-men a-a-a-men a-a-a-men, amen, amen
Down at the Jordan,
Where John was baptizing
And saving all sinners.
A-a-a-men a-a-a-men a-a-a-men, amen, amen
A-a-a-men a-a-a-men a-a-a-men, amen, amen
See him at the seaside,
Talking with the fishermen
And making them disciples.
A-a-a-men a-a-a-men a-a-a-men, amen, amen
A-a-a-men a-a-a-men a-a-a-men, amen, amen
Marching in Jerusalem,
Over palm branches,
In pomp and splendor.
A-a-a-men a-a-a-men a-a-a-men, amen, amen
A-a-a-men a-a-a-men a-a-a-men, amen, amen
See him in the garden,
Praying to his Father,
In deepest sorrow.
A-a-a-men a-a-a-men a-a-a-men, amen, amen
A-a-a-men a-a-a-men a-a-a-men, amen, amen
Led before Pilate,
Then they crucified him,
But he rose on Easter.
A-a-a-men a-a-a-men a-a-a-men, amen, amen
A-a-a-men a-a-a-men a-a-a-men, amen, amen
Hallelujah!
He died to save us!
And he lived forever!
A-a-a-men a-a-a-men a-a-a-men, amen, amen
A-a-a-men a-a-a-men a-a-a-men, amen, amen
Hallelujah!
He died to save us!
And he lived forever!


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Subject: RE: AMEN
From: catspaw49
Date: 21 Jan 02 - 01:00 AM

Geeziz.......Ain't this one helluva' place?

An oldie but a goodie here......and thank you Jim for posting that "find." Simply amazing!

Spaw


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Subject: Lyr Req: Amen (Jester Hairston)
From: Haruo
Date: 06 Dec 02 - 02:03 AM

In the thread on "Mary's Little Boy Child / Stille Nacht" I found out that Jester Hairston (1901-2000) either "wrote" or "arranged" or "harvested" or "composed" or "dubbed" or some combination thereof the spiritual "Amen" for the movie Lilies of the Field. What's the story here? I am interested in both what lyrics he supplied for the film, and whether the song is completely composed, or arranged from a traditional spiritual, or what.

Haruo
I moved this message here from another thread on the same topic.
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: AMEN (Jester Hairston)
From: GUEST,teancumsix@aol.com
Date: 20 Oct 03 - 05:06 PM

This is really intriguing to me. I am in the process of doing a selected annotated bibliography of Jester's works; that's how I stumbled upon this "thread."

Jester was a good friend of our family's. His voice was dubbed for Poitier's in "Lilies of the Field" and his arrangement (yes, arrangement) was used for the film. The copyright date is 1957, and Bourne Music still carries it in many different voicings.

You'd have had to see Jester in person doing this "call and response" piece to truly appreciate the sheer joy of it. He was amazing.

Teancum


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Subject: RE: AMEN (Jester Hairston)
From: GUEST,kevin_c_fong@yahoo.com
Date: 29 Oct 03 - 03:43 AM

Does anyone have a link to a public domain wave or mp3 file of "Amen"? Can't find this song anywhere on the web.


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Subject: RE: Origins: AMEN (Jester Hairston)
From: GUEST,Susan Pleasure maximumpleasure@shaw.ca
Date: 04 Nov 03 - 01:20 PM

I am also looking for the sheet music for Amen, or any links that can help me locate it, can anyone help, Its ok for my husband as he knows the song and lyrics, but I have to teach a choir, so please help


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Subject: RE: Origins: AMEN (Jester Hairston)
From: Tinker
Date: 04 Nov 03 - 05:05 PM

I can't link to the exact page, but Sheet Music Available here. if you search the cataloge for Amen as title there are several different arrangements based on the voice of the soloist.


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Subject: RE: Origins: AMEN (Jester Hairston)
From: GUEST,Marilyn Miller Campbell
Date: 05 Nov 08 - 01:41 AM

Jester Hairston was a very dear friend of mine . . . my mentor in American history, American folk music and much more. I met Jester in my 1st year of college when he used my college choir to demonstrate his song/arrangements for music educators and church groups. It would take 100 pages to write about him, but Jester is certainly singing "AMEN" tonight as am I on this momentous night when America has chosen its first African American President, President Elect Barack Obama. My heart has been singing alternately all day "Praise God ...." and "AMEN". Jester brought the richness of spirituals and his hundreds of personal stories to Americans and people all over the world from Sweden to China.

Note: It was Jester's voice singing "AMEN" in "Lilies of the Field", not Sidney Poitier's -- You may find the printed music if you search choral music publishers. I must have sung "AMEN" with Jester hundreds of times and with my choirs over the years even more. Sadly, most music educators of today do not know Jester's music and teach very few spirituals (in some authentic manner) to their students. What a loss!


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Subject: RE: Origins: AMEN (Jester Hairston)
From: GUEST
Date: 09 Feb 09 - 12:42 AM

Thank you all, and thank the Lord, for allowing me to find the lyrics to this song. I have been looking for some time. All your hard work & reseach is truly a blessing, and greatly appreciated.

GOD BLESS YOU ALL!
Martha Montes


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Subject: RE: Origins: AMEN (Jester Hairston)
From: GUEST,Black Hawk on works pc
Date: 09 Feb 09 - 03:21 AM

Recorded by Johnny Cash on one of his early LPs
Possibly 'Ring of Fire' LP

I used to play this track as loud as possible to get the full impact.
Neighbours never complained.


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Subject: RE: Origins: AMEN (Jester Hairston)
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 09 Feb 09 - 11:35 AM

I wrote a piece on my website about the song, Jester and the book & film "Lillies of the Field" - www.ronolesko.blogspot.com


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Subject: RE: Origins: AMEN (Jester Hairston)
From: GUEST
Date: 19 Sep 09 - 01:00 PM

Lilies of the Field movie clip form original movie, with Amen.mp3 sound, very nice: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rn6w255CGkk&feature=related


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Subject: RE: Origins: AMEN (Jester Hairston)
From: Q
Date: 19 Sep 09 - 01:56 PM

ASCAP cites "AMEN," Title Code:010032529, Writer: HAIRSTON, JESTER J.,
Publisher/Administrator: Bourne Co., 5 West 37th St., NYC.

Many performers are listed, including Harry Belafonte, Teresa Brewer, Jerry Butler, Johnny Cash, Floyd Cramer, Jester Hairston and Choir, Jordanaires, Elvis Presley, Staple Singers, Otis Redding.

Hairston is listed with ASCAP for 79 songs, arranger/composer, including
Angels rolled de stone away
Calypso Christmas
Caroline, me pretty Caroline
Crucifixion
Deep river
Dis ol hammer
Dis train
Free at last
Go down in de lonesome valley
Gossip, gossip
Hold my mule while I dance
Sakura sakura
That old house is hanted
etc., etc.


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Subject: RE: Origins: AMEN (Jester Hairston)
From: Bettynh
Date: 09 May 10 - 10:37 AM

And this is the youtube video


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Subject: RE: Origins: AMEN (Jester Hairston)
From: GUEST,Karen
Date: 12 Jul 11 - 06:42 AM

I sang this with Jester in 1964 when he came to our high school to help us prepare to sing his songs in concert and record them on an album at the Long Beach Municipal Auditorium. Jim Dixon has posted the most correct lyrics above. I recall all the verses very well and have taught this song to several choirs, most recently our little quartet with our song leader doing the verses. Still trying to get him to get the phrasing correct. lol He's black, but just ain't got no rhythm. Oh well, the Lord knows his heart is in it.

The choral version is available still from Sheetmusicplus.com for $1.56 minimum 6 copies. It's well worth the price.   

Jester changed keys with each verse, up a half step each time I believe using an Amen to make the change. And when we got to the part "See Him in the garden" Jester would have us sing it more reverently and softly and then bring it back up with "but He rose on Easter!" It was written to be sung a cappella but we used the piano while learning it.

It's almost impossible for me to sing it any other way than the way Jester directed it except that now I play the piano most of the way through doing a few verses of Amens a cappella with clapping at the end and then come back in and finish it with the piano accompaniment for a big ending since the whole church now likes to sing along.

I can still hear him trying to get our mostly white kids to get the rhythm correct on his songs like anticipating the beat on "In that great gettin' up mornin'." He'd clap the rhythm and get so disgusted with us if we weren't right on. At one point I was afraid he was gonna give up on us and walk out, but we finally got it, thank God! At the end of the concert a few of us kids got him to sign our programs. He was sitting way up in the balcony with his wife and seemed kind of amazed that we would ask him. I still have it in my piano bench. I'm the one who was so amazed that he would take so much time with us in teaching us the songs. What a blessing he was!


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Subject: RE: Origins: AMEN (Jester Hairston)
From: GUEST,Karen
Date: 12 Jul 11 - 08:00 AM

Praise Jesus!

Here it is with Jester himself teaching it to a crowd of people. I'm elated!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=37nQRpAhDjM

just 3 key changes here


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Subject: RE: Origins: AMEN (Jester Hairston)
From: GUEST,Kathy Aranabanana
Date: 08 Mar 13 - 08:22 PM

I add my praises to Jesus and all you nice people who have taken the time to contribute your thoughts and knowledge concerning this song called, Amen, along with its talented arranger, Jester Hairston. From Jim Dixon, I learned and copied down all the lyrics; from Marilyn Miller Campbell, I learned of her high regard for Mr. Hairston; and from Karen, I learned the youtube address to watch and hear this great composer/singer,director as he instructed and led a large chorus in singing Amen. It was fun for me to learn that Karen had been instructed by Mr. Hairston when she was in school, helping me to feel closer to him as I am a retired classroom teacher and my husband a retired band director. I sing at church and in a barbershop group for women and would still be interested in finding the sheet music for a quartet, which I also sing in and our chorus. On Sunday, I will lead our church congregation in this song and pray that I don't embarrass myself or anyone if I mess up. Thanks for this website. It is wonderful! Blessings to all! Kathy


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Subject: RE: Origins: AMEN (Jester Hairston)
From: GUEST
Date: 28 Jul 13 - 05:45 PM

How do I download/print the song?


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Subject: RE: Origins: AMEN (Jester Hairston)
From: Joe Offer
Date: 28 Jul 13 - 07:19 PM

We don't have an arrangement of the song available here. It is still under copyright protection. You can purchase sheet music from any of a number of sources. One I like is sheetmusicplus.com.

Hope that helps.

-Joe Offer-

Jim Dixon linked to this text from the University of Massachusetts above, but I thought I'd post it so it doesn't get lost.

Alumnus Jester Hairston Dies at 98: Actor-Composer Helped Preserve Negro Spirituals

by Chronicle staff

January 28, 2000

Jester Hairston, who gave up studies at Massachusetts Agriculture College in the 1920s before going on to a career than spanned movies, television, radio, composing, arranging and choral conducting, died Jan. 18 in Los Angeles. He was 98.

Best known in recent years for playing Rollie Forbes on the NBC sitcom "Amen" in the 1980s, Hairston's earlier acting roles including long-running parts on the radio and television versions of "Amos 'n' Andy" as well as bit parts in Tarzan films.

Although many of his early acting jobs portrayed less than flattering images of blacks, Hairston never apologized for playing racial stereotypes. "We had a hard time then fighting for dignity," he said years later. "We had no power. We had to take it, and because we took it the young people today have opportunities."

Opportunities also expanded for Hairston during his acting career. His films credits included "The Alamo," "To Kill a Mockingbird," "In the Heat of the Night," "Lady Sings the Blues," "The Last Tycoon" and "Lilies of the Valley," for which he composed the song "Amen."

That song, which he dubbed for Sidney Poitier in the movie, reflected Hairston's lifelong dedication to preserving old Negro spirituals. He was a sought-after choral director who organized Hollywood's first integrated choir and composed more than 300 spirituals.

Even in his 90s, Hairston continued to conduct choirs, crisscrossing the world as a goodwill ambassador for the U.S. State Department.

The grandson of a slave, he was born in Belews Creek, N.C., but grew up in the Homestead section of Pittsburgh, where generations of his family worked in the steel mills. Through a scholarship from his Baptist church, he enrolled at Mass Aggie in 1920 to study Landscape Architecture.

At MAC, he briefly quarterbacked the freshman football team and also sang in the glee club as well as several area choirs. He dropped out for several years when his money ran out, returning to school after a woman impressed by his singing offered to finance his education in music. He enrolled at Tufts University and graduated in 1929.

Making his way to New York, he met Hall Johnson, a popular conductor of Negro spirituals who hired Hairston as his assistant. It was Johnson who taught Hairston to respect the Negro spiritual. Shedding his Boston accent, Hairston dedicated himself to preserving the music of the slaves and memorializing the conditions that gave birth to it.

Later in his life, when working with students at college workshops, Hairston would tell them, "You can't sing legato when the master's beatin' you across your back."

When Warner Brothers bought the Johnson show "Green Pastures" in 1935, the conductor and Hairston began their film careers. Hairston's big break came in 1936, when Russian-born composer and conductor Dmitri Tiomkin asked him to conduct the choir in the film "Lost Horizon," which won an Oscar for best score. That began a 20-year collaboration with Tiomkin, who inspired him to form the first integrated choir used in films, including "Red River," "She Wore a Yellow Ribbon" and "Land of the Pharaohs."

Although he never completed his studies at MAC, Hairston maintained strong ties with the University. In 1972, he was awarded an honorary doctorate. Twenty years later at age 91, he returned to campus again to receive the Distinguished Alumnus Award from the Department of Music and Dance.



Source: http://www.umass.edu/chronicle/archives/00/01-28/Hairston18.html


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