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Lyr Req: City of Refuge

Related thread:
Lyr Req: Run Run Run (Chad Mitchell Trio) (11)


NJ_bird 16 Jan 08 - 08:56 AM
GUEST 13 May 10 - 01:09 AM
Joe Offer 13 May 10 - 02:02 AM
Joe Offer 13 May 10 - 02:30 AM
Joe Offer 13 May 10 - 02:48 AM
Joe Offer 13 May 10 - 03:04 AM
Joe Offer 13 May 10 - 03:14 AM
Jim Dixon 15 May 10 - 12:46 PM
Larry The Radio Guy 15 May 10 - 03:03 PM
GUEST 05 Jul 11 - 04:09 AM
Joe Offer 05 Jul 11 - 04:35 AM
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Subject: Song Title & Lyrics - City of Refuge?
From: NJ_bird
Date: 16 Jan 08 - 08:56 AM

Hello. I am new here. I am looking for the title and lyrics to a song that my boyfriend sings. He can only remember part of the lyrics and thinks it's a folk song from the 1960's. I have partial lyrics. It is definitely NOT "City of Refuge" by Nick Cave or Blind Willie Johnson. I have listened to both of those and looked at the lyrics. Here is the little bit of lyrics that my boyfriend can remember:

Me and mama we got a lot to learn
About the troubles that make this world turn
We got em neighbors and we judge em hard
Well you better look around in your own back yard

Better run, run, run
Run to the city of refuge
You better run run run

Joshua marched up to the walls of Jericho
Blew his trumpets and the walls fell down
Well you better not build a wall around
Your own town

Better run, run, run
Run to the city of refuge
You better run run run

Thanks,
NJ_bird

(click here for the song in question)


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Subject: RE: Song Title & Lyrics - City of Refuge?
From: GUEST
Date: 13 May 10 - 01:09 AM

It was recorded by The Chad Mitchell Trio in the early 60's. I think it was from the "Singin' Our Mind" LP. I believe it was credited as traditional--but I don't know it's origins.


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Subject: ADD Version: City of Refuge
From: Joe Offer
Date: 13 May 10 - 02:02 AM

Hi, NJ_bird-
You say this is NOT the song by Nick Cave or Blind Willie Johnson, but the lyrics you furnish match recordings from both of them. So, I take it that your song is a different version of the song recorded by Cave and Johnson. When we cover a song, we cover the whole enchilada, so I'm going to start by posting the Cave and Johnson lyrics, to give others help in finding the song you seek.
I did not find any song titled "City of Refuge" on any of the Chad Mitchell recordings, including Singin' Our Mind - maybe the Chad Mitchell Trio (CMT) used a different title, but I have most of the CMT recordings and the song doesn't sound familiar to me. Then again, I'm proved wrong at least once a week. And yes, I've been proved wrong again - (click here).

CITY OF REFUGE
(Nick Cave version)

You better run You better run and run and run
You better run You better run
You better run to the City of Refuge
You better run You better run
You better run to the City of Refuge

You stand before your maker
In a state of shame
Bacause your robes are covered in mud
While your kneel at the feet
Of a woman of the street
The gutters will run with blood
They will run with blood!

You better run, you better run
You better run to the City of Refuge
You better run, you better run
You better run to the City of Refuge
In the days of madness
My brother, my sister
When you're dragged toward the Hell-mouth
You will beg at the end
But there ain't gonna be one, friend
For the grave will spew you out
It will spew you out!
You better run, you better run
You better run to the City of Refuge
You better run, you better run
You better run to the City of Refuge

You'll be working in the darkness
Against your fellow man
And you'll find you're called to come forth
So you'll scrub and you'll scrub
But the trouble is, bud
The blood it won't wash off
No, it won't come off!

You better run, you better run
You better run to the City of Refuge
You better run, you better run
You better run and run and run
You better run to the City of Refuge


Source: http://www.lyricsmode.com/lyrics/n/nick_cave

from secondhandsongs.com:
    The Originals book says: originally a gospel phrase "Run! Run! Run to the city of refuge, Run! Oh Run! Or else you'll be consumed" And then "You better run" (trad.)

    I wonder what the difference is, but there little information on this.

    First recording possibly in 1923 by the Wiseman Quartet or Sextet. Release information unknown, but reissued on the Document label.

    Other early recording on December 5, 1928 by Blind Willie Johnson as "I'm Gonna Run to the City of Refuge" released on Columbia 14391D

    Also recorded on August 23, 1939 by The Norfolk Jubilee Singers as "You Better Run" and possibly released on Decca. This version was possibly the inspiration for Elvis Presley's version recorded March 31, 1972 (called "You Better Run").

    In 1988, Nick Cave used similar lyrics in his song "City of Refuge", so I guess this would be a partial cover.

    In 2006, Grant Lee Phillips covered "City of Refuge" by Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds.


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Subject: ADD Version: City of Refuge?\
From: Joe Offer
Date: 13 May 10 - 02:30 AM

I'M GONNA RUN TO THE CITY OF REFUGE
(Blind Willie Johnson Version)

CHORUS:
I'm a run, I'm a run,
I'm a run to the city of refuge,
I'm a run. (Repeat twice)

Oh the preacher was preachin' the gospel,
He sat with the 'leven men,
I'll show you the one that's in heaven
If you would just only come in.

CHORUS (varied on repeat to "Help me run" etc.)
Repeat 1. Repeat chorus in first form.

Let me tell you my sinner,
If you want to join his band
You got to be converted
And give the preacher your hand.

CHORUS (varied on repeat to "I'm gonna run" etc.)

Well, the holy ghost is a mystery
God sent it in the land,
But strugglin' hard at the master
Tryin' to stay in Jesus's hand.
CHORUS (repeated in first form)

Well the twelfth chapter of revelation
Along in the thirteenth verse,
The dragons that John did preach about
Drag us off to death in hell.
CHORUS (repeated in first form)

Well round that -- table,
When Jesus was about to leave,
And the holy ghost set you free.
CHORUS

from album notes, Blind Willie Johnson, 1927-1930
Here's the Traditional Ballad Index entry on this song:

    City of Refuge

    DESCRIPTION: "There is coming a time and it won't be long, You will attend to your business and let mine alone." "You better run." ("Run to the city of refuge.") "Paul and Silas bound in jail."
    AUTHOR: unknown
    EARLIEST DATE: 1925 (Scarborough)
    KEYWORDS: religious Bible
    FOUND IN: US(SE)
    REFERENCES (2 citations):
    BrownIII 560, "City of Refuge" (1 fragment)
    Scarborough-NegroFS, pp. 208-209, "City of Refuge" (1 fragment of the chorus, 1 tune (which includes the verse even though the informant did not remember the words))

    Roud #11828
    RECORDINGS:
    Blind Willie Johnson, "I'm Gonna Run to the City of Refuge" (Columbia 14391-D, 1929; on BWJ01)
    Notes: Brown's version is not at all clear why this should be considered a "City of Refuge" text; it never mentions those words, and is a fragment. But there isn't much else to go on.
    The mention in song of "cities of refuge" is strange in any case: The cities of refuge were for "the manslayer who kills any person without intent" (Numbers 35:11).
    Nor is there any mention of the cities of refuge ever actually being used; they are not mentioned outside Exodus-Deuteronomy, and the few Biblical instances of people wanting sanctuary involve the criminal fleeing into the temple and seizing the horns of the altar (e.g. Joab in 1 Kings 2:28) - RBW
    File: Br3560

    Go to the Ballad Search form
    Go to the Ballad Index Instructions
    Go to the Bibiography
    Go to the Discography

    The Ballad Index Copyright 2009 by Robert B. Waltz and David G. Engle.


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Subject: ADD Version: Run To the City of Refuge
From: Joe Offer
Date: 13 May 10 - 02:48 AM

One more version, still not the right one.

RUN TO THE CITY OF REFUGE
(version by Rev. C.J.Johnson and Family)

CHORUS:
You better run, run, run
You better run, better run, better run
You better run to the city of refuge, you better run

Verse:
Oh, God called Moses on the mountain top
And He placed his Torah in Moses heart
And He stamped the commandments in Moses mind
And said, "Moses, don't you leave My children behind."

If you don't believe that I'm singing it right
You can take up the Bible and read it tonight
You can read in Genesis and you'll understand
That Methuselah he was the oldest man
He lived nine hundred and sixty—nine
And then he died and gone to heaven in good due time.

There was a man of the Pharisees
Old Nicodemus, the ruler of the Jews
Nicodemus, he came to Jesus and came by night
He said, "I want to be born into Thy heavenly sight"
Christ spoke to Nicodemus as a friend,
He said, "You want to get to heaven,
You must be born again"
Well, old Nicodemus didn't understand
How a man could be born when he was so old.

Yeah, you read about Samson from his birth,
He was the strongest man that ever lived on this earth
Samson went down and he wandered about
And the secret of his strength was never found out
'Til Delilah came to him on her knees,
She said, "Please tell me where your strength might be"
She talked so sweet and she talked so fair
'Til Samson said "You can shave my hair,
You can shave my head just as clean as my hand,
And my strength will become just like a natural man."


Source: Wade in the Water: African American Community Singing (Vol. 2), Smithsonian Folkways - printed in liner notes


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Subject: ADD Version: City of Refuge
From: Joe Offer
Date: 13 May 10 - 03:04 AM

CITY OF REFUGE

There is coming a time and it won't be long,
You will attend to your business and let mine alone.
The time is coming, is coming very soon,
For the graveyard land is all in bloom.
You better run.

Old Paul he prayed and he did prevail.
They caught him in Jerusalem and put him in jail.
He stood his trial in the name of the Lord,
Because he had a building not made with hands.
But he had to run.

Go on, I'll forgive you for what....

the above fragment is all that was available of verse 3

from the Frank C.Brown Collection of North Carolina Folklore, #564, Volume III
from an anonymous contributor


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Subject: ADD: You'd Better Run
From: Joe Offer
Date: 13 May 10 - 03:14 AM

YOU'D BETTER RUN

You'd better (He had to) run, run, run-a-run
You'd better run, run, run-a-run
You'd better run to the city of refuge
You'd better run, run, run.

God sent ol' Jonah to the Nineveh land
He didn't obey my God's command
The wind blew the ship from the shore to shore
A whale swallowed Jonah and he wasn't no more.
He had to run....

Read about Samson from his birth
He was the strongest man on earth
He lived way back in ancient times
He killed about a thousand Philistines.
He had to run....

Source: John W. Work, American Negro Songs, p 93.

tune available upon request - joe@mudcat.org


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Subject: Lyr Add: CITY OF REFUGE
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 15 May 10 - 12:46 PM

From The Religious Development of the Negro in Virginia: A Dissertation... by Joseph Brummell Earnest (Norfolk, Va.: University of Virginia, 1914), page 154:

[THE CITY OF REFUGE]

1. The decree was signed by Darius, and then,
Daniel was cast in the lion's den;
God sent an angel on his accord,
He came and locked the lion's jaw.

CHORUS. I am going to run, I am going to run,
I am going to run to the City of Refuge,
I am going to run.

2. Job was a man whom God did love.
God gave Job a home above.
The time came he had to die,
Then Job was taken up in the sky. CHORUS.

3. Elijah and Elisha they went together.
God took one and left the other.
Elijah looked and did aspire.
He saw the chariot and the horses of fire. CHORUS.

[Verses 4-8 omitted in the text.]

9. They put John in a kettle of oil.
God was with him and he never got soiled.
With hallowed power, the angel came,
Went into the kettle and cooled the flame. CHORUS.

[The text also has this interesting observation:]

Anyone who will take the trouble to attend a Negro church during big meeting times will hear community authorship of hymns going on in his very presence. For instance, in certain songs the mere substitution of a different name enables them to sing again the whole stanza without feeling that they are repeating. The most ignorant kitchen servant might by such means contribute to the most beautiful songs. That this has often happened no student of Negro church music can deny.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: City of Refuge
From: Larry The Radio Guy
Date: 15 May 10 - 03:03 PM

NJ Bird: The song you're looking for is Run Run Run by The Chad MItchell Trio, off the "In the Wind" lp. But I think you already discovered that.

Thank you Joe Offer for the reference to the CJ Johnson song from Smithsonian Folkways. It seems obvious to me that this is where the Chad MItchell Trio got their version from, and probably re-wrote the verses themselves (although I'm not sure of that and would be interested to find out).\

The Chad Mitchell Trio lyrics have been posted on another MudCat post. If you can't find it, I can post it here. Just let me know.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: City of Refuge
From: GUEST
Date: 05 Jul 11 - 04:09 AM

that's not the lurics i want to know..


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: City of Refuge
From: Joe Offer
Date: 05 Jul 11 - 04:35 AM

Hi -
Tell us a bit about the song you want, and maybe we can help you. Titles don't always work - we've already found a song fitting the requested title. So, tell us more - the general story of the song, phrases or lines you remember, the name of the artist and style of music - all that you know about the song. Unless you can tell us more, there's no use in us looking....and I halfway suspect we'll never hear from you again.
-Joe-


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