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Authorship of 'Blind Bartemus' (includes lyrics)

GUEST,Becky Kimmons 15 Apr 08 - 09:10 PM
Kent Davis 15 Apr 08 - 11:37 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 15 Apr 08 - 11:45 PM
Kent Davis 16 Apr 08 - 12:32 AM
Joe Offer 16 Apr 08 - 01:09 AM
Charlie Baum 16 Apr 08 - 02:16 AM
Q (Frank Staplin) 16 Apr 08 - 12:00 PM
Joe Offer 16 Apr 08 - 12:54 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 16 Apr 08 - 02:00 PM
Artful Codger 16 Apr 08 - 02:30 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 16 Apr 08 - 02:32 PM
GUEST,Becky Kimmons 16 Apr 08 - 04:28 PM
GUEST,Becky Kimmons 16 Apr 08 - 04:38 PM
GUEST,Becky Kimmons 16 Apr 08 - 04:42 PM
Charlie Baum 16 Apr 08 - 09:30 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 16 Apr 08 - 11:59 PM
Barry Finn 17 Apr 08 - 12:08 AM
Charlie Baum 17 Apr 08 - 12:56 AM
GUEST,Becky Kimmons 17 Apr 08 - 09:52 AM
Bill D 17 Apr 08 - 11:07 AM
GUEST,Bob Coltman 17 Apr 08 - 07:24 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 17 Apr 08 - 07:58 PM
GUEST,Dani 25 Oct 09 - 02:31 PM
Amos 25 Oct 09 - 09:19 PM
Joe Offer 26 Oct 09 - 02:02 AM
GUEST,Dani 27 Oct 09 - 06:37 AM
GUEST,Bill Siddall 15 Feb 10 - 04:25 PM
katlaughing 02 Apr 12 - 12:17 AM
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Subject: Authorship of 'Blind Bartemus'
From: GUEST,Becky Kimmons
Date: 15 Apr 08 - 09:10 PM

Harry Fox Agency credits A. Coleman as the author of the song "Blind Bartemus" Does anyone know who A. Coleman is, and if he wrote it or merely claims it? Thanks for any info on this song you can give me.


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Subject: RE: Authorship of 'Blind Bartemus'
From: Kent Davis
Date: 15 Apr 08 - 11:37 PM

Welcome to Mudcat. Sorry I can't answer your question.

I am posting just to add this link to your website, for fellow mudcats who might not have recognized you as 1/3 of the former "Missing Person Soup Kitchen Gospel Quartet", latter known as "Soup Kitchen", and now as "Bare Bones": http://soupkitchensings.com/pages/news.htm

P.S. My family and I loved your version of Blind Alfred Reed's "There'll Be No Distinction There" as I noted in this thread: detail.cfm?messages__Message_ID=2256489

Kent


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Subject: RE: Authorship of 'Blind Bartemus'
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 15 Apr 08 - 11:45 PM

Biblically, the name is "Blind Bartimaeus."

Are you after the spiritual, 1st line "The blind man stood on the road and cried"?

I think Coleman can be credited only with his arrangement.


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Subject: RE: Authorship of 'Blind Bartemus'
From: Kent Davis
Date: 16 Apr 08 - 12:32 AM

Here's the version we like (from Elizabeth LaPrelle's new CD): http://www.old97wrecords.com/elizabeth-laprelle/songs/blind-bartimus.htm

Contrary to those lyrics, the account isn't found in the book of James, but rather in Mark 10:46-52 http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=%20mark%2010:46-52;&version=31;

Kent


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Subject: ADD: Blind Bartemus
From: Joe Offer
Date: 16 Apr 08 - 01:09 AM

I'm going to post the words from Elizabeth LaPrelle's Website. The CD notes from Elizabeth's Lizard in the Spring say the song originally came from the gospel group Harps of Melody, but Elizabeth learned it from Ed Norman, who heard it from the Nashville Bluegrass Band. On their CD, the a cappella gospel group "New Hope Harmony" say they got the song from Harps of Melody and the Nashville Bluegrass band (Joe Newberry is part of New Hope Harmony).

BLIND BARTIMUS

Well old Blind Bartimus stood on the way blind
Blind Bartimus stood on the way,
Well old Blind Bartimus stood on the way, cryin'
Oh Lord have mercy on me
(repeat)

In my God's bible in the book of James
Christ was a-healin' the crippled and the lame
He gave to the poor and the needy bread,
Healin' the sick and a-raisin' the dead

Well when he came to Galilee
He passed by a man who could not see
The man was blind, he was blind from birth;
They tell me that his name was Blind Bartimus

Well old Blind Bartimus stood on the way blind
Blind Bartimus stood on the way
Well old Blind Bartimus stood on the way, cryin'
Oh Lord have mercy on me

When Bartimus heard that the Lord was nigh
He fell on his knees and began to cry
Oh the man from Galilee
Cryin' Great God Almighty have mercy on me

Cryin' Oh Lord
(Mary's baby)
Oh Lord
(Son of David)
Oh Lord
(Bleeding Lamb)
Lord, my troubles in Bethlehem
(repeat)

Well my God he stopped, he turned around
And he saw Blind Bartimus on the ground
And he touched his eyes with the palm of his hand
Blind Bartimus saw like a natural man

Crying Thank God
(Mary's baby)
Thank God
(Son of David)
Thank God
(Bleeding Lamb)
Lord, my troubles in Bethlehem
(repeat)

Well old Blind Bartimus stood on the way blind
Blind Bartimus stood on the way
Well old Blind Bartimus stood on the way, cryin'
Oh Lord have mercy on me.


This page (click) has a copy of what Joe Hickerson said about the song in his "Songfinder" column in Sing Out! in September, 2007:
    Nicole enquires: "I'm trying to learn more about a song called 'BLIND BARNABUS.' I first heard it on a Laura Love recording years ago and I'm having a hard time tracking down any written lyrics or other recordings of it. Does anyone know more about it?" Bill Brisotti opined, "You probably mean 'Old Blind Barnabas,' an old Johnny Horton song from the 1950s. You should be able to find it on the web." From Bill Roberson came "Jackie Washington [of Canada] sings it on his cd 'Where Old Friends Meet' with Mose Scarlett and Ken Whiteley, Pyramid Records, 1991." Our esteemed Editor Mark Moss had this to offer: "Johnny Horton recorded the song, and claimed ownership to boot, but this one has been around and recorded lots of times, with various titles ('Blind Barnabas' or 'Blind Bartimus' ... with or without the 'Old'), well before Horton put his automatic copyrighting machine to it. It's an old gospel piece, recorded several times by the Blind Boys of Alabama, the Golden Gate Quartet and a number of other classic Gospel groups. (My personal favorite is the recording by the Harps of Melody, a Memphis based women's quartet, captured on Happy in the Service of Our Lord a compilation put together by ethnomusicologist David Evans in the early 1980s, now reissued on CD by Hightone . There are actually two versions on this disc, by two different groups ...) I don't actually have the CD reissue, but the lyrics were included (along with great historical notes by Kip Lornell) with the original LP. Ideally, they'd be included with the reissue as well." Jack Beard added that "Mark 10:46-52 is the story of blind Bartmacus whose sight was restored by Jesus. I assume all the songs about Blind Barnabus et al are based on this story. Until I hear the Harps of Melody, my favorite version is 'The Little Wonders of Havre de Grace Maryland'--Old Blind Bartemus."

I also found that Document Records has a 1927 recording of a song called Blind Bartemus by Rev. T.T.Rose - but it's kind of a "singing sermon," half sung and half spoken. It's not the same song at all.
Becky, on this one, I'd guess that if you paid royalties to the Harry Fox Agency, you're likely to be paying royalties to the wrong party. The authorship is just too heavily clouded. Heck, even Joe Hickerson doesn't have a definitive answer, and I found five files on the song at the Harry Fox Agency - attributed to "Stepney," Willie T. Johnson, Martha Carson, A. Coleman, and 'trad-arranged by.'"
Great song - I especially like the Golden Gate Quartet recording.

I hope you'll come back to the Getaway some day, Becky. It's a treat to sing with you.
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Authorship of 'Blind Bartemus'
From: Charlie Baum
Date: 16 Apr 08 - 02:16 AM

From Joe Hickerson's column in Sing Out!, it's clear that any song search is gong to have to look for "Bartimus" "Bartemas" and "Barnabus"

----

From http://www.naxosdirect.ca/GOLDEN-GATE-QUARTET-Gospel-Train-1937-1942/title/8120731/
Blind Barnabas (more info)
Composed by: Willie Johnson [one of the members of the Golden Gate Quartet]
Recording date: 25 May 1941
Produced by: Lennick, David

Blind Barnabas - 02:11:

Clicking "Read more about this recording" yields a lot more information about Willie Johnson. Willie Johnson can certainly be credited with the Golden Gate Quartet's arrangement, but is the actual composer?

-----

From http://www.allmusicguide.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=11:3ifoxqq5ldje~T3, a listing that calls it "Traditional":

[song title:] Blind Barnabas         [composer:] Traditional         [on the album:] Warrior on the Battlefield: A Capella Trail Blazers -- 1920s-1940s

----

Sorry to present resources with no conclusion, but the next researcher can refine these bits of information further.

--Charlie Baum


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Subject: RE: Authorship of 'Blind Bartemus'
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 16 Apr 08 - 12:00 PM

Document has issued the songs of the Golden Gate Quartet in chronological order; Blind Barnabas appears in Vol. 4, 1939-1943, track 9.
It has the 'stood on the way' chorus (clip at Amazon.com).


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Subject: RE: Authorship of 'Blind Bartemus'
From: Joe Offer
Date: 16 Apr 08 - 12:54 PM

Oh, and just to be pedantic, I have to say there are no stories in the book of James. As Wikipedia succinctly puts it,
    Bartimaeus (more accurately Bar Timaeus, "Son of Timaeus") is the name given in the Gospel of Mark to a blind man healed by Jesus as he exited Jericho (Mark 10:46-52).
That's it - the name appears just that once, and in the Gospel of Mark. Matthew and Luke also tell the story, but don't name names.

Charlie pointed out that there is a long list of variations of the name, but I thought I'd highlight them:
  • (Old) Blind Barnabas/Barnabus - most notably by the Golden Gate Quartet
  • Blind Bartemus
  • Blind Bartimus (seems to be the most common)
  • Blind Bartemaus (Stepney, whoever Stepney is)
  • Old Blind Bartimaeus
-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Authorship of 'Blind Bartemus'
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 16 Apr 08 - 02:00 PM

Interesting little story of 'Barnabas,' at this site; "Trees That Move Around," originally "Arboles que caminan," in English.
Also audio, but only Spanish.
www.untaljesus.net website.

Trees that move around


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Subject: RE: Authorship of 'Blind Bartemus'
From: Artful Codger
Date: 16 Apr 08 - 02:30 PM

I think I remember that from Macbeth...or was it Babes in Toyland?


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Subject: Lyr. Add: Blind Man Lay Beside the Way (Spiritual)
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 16 Apr 08 - 02:32 PM

BLIND MAN LAY BESIDE THE WAY
Spiritual

Blind man lay beside the way,
He could not see the light of day...
The Lord passed by and heard him say:
"O Lord, won't you help-a me!
O Lord, won't you help-a me!
2
A man he died, was crucified,
They hung a thief on either side;
One lifted up his voice and cried:
"O Lord, won't you help-a me!
O Lord, won't you help-a me!
3
A blind man lay by the way and cried,
"O Lord, won't you help-a me."
And the thief cried out before he died,
"O Lord, won't you help-a me!
O Lord, won't you help-a me!"

With score, p. 452-453, Carl Sandburg, 1927, "The American Songbag," Harcourt, Brace & Co., NY.
Printed without attribution. "A brief story... compact in diction... useless to add or subtract words." Arr. A. G. W.

Listed as a spiritual in "Index to Negro Spirituals," Cleveland Public Library.
This one uses 'way' rather than road, which is found in the well-known old spiritual, "Blind Man Stood on the Road and Cried," versions published by Johnson, Kennedy and White, among others.


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Subject: RE: Authorship of 'Blind Bartemus'
From: GUEST,Becky Kimmons
Date: 16 Apr 08 - 04:28 PM

You 'Cats are just the greatest. Thanks so much for the scholarly input leavened with a dash of absurdity--that's a note to you, Codger. The Nashville Bluegrass Band attributes the song to the public domain, so I think I'll trust that. We're doing the song on our forthcoming CD, "Put Your Loving Arms All Around Me," and I must add that we were inspired to sing it by none other than Elizabeth and Sandy LaPrelle. We heard them do it a couple of years ago, and we must have asked them to sing it again at least five times! Couldn't get enough of it! Our mutual benefactor Ed Norman also sent me the Melody Harps version as well as the Dixie Hummingbirds version. They're all pretty intimidating, but we sing on. :)

Thanks for the kind words, Kent and Joe, and to Q for the reference and yet another song to think about. Rise up, fellow pedants! Isn't there a nicer word for us?

We really look forward to coming back to the Getaway one of these days--sooner rather than later.

Becky


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Subject: RE: Authorship of 'Blind Bartemus'
From: GUEST,Becky Kimmons
Date: 16 Apr 08 - 04:38 PM

PS to Charlie Baum--Thanks for your input, too. I'll have to go back and look--maybe what Ed Norman sent me was the Golden Gate version, and Vic Lukas sent me an excerpt from Great God A'Mighty that mentions the Dixie Hummingbirds--yike, that's what it is. I'm also scrambling to get info on "Every Humble Knee Surely Must Bow." Oops.


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Subject: RE: Authorship of 'Blind Bartemus'
From: GUEST,Becky Kimmons
Date: 16 Apr 08 - 04:42 PM

...and apropos of nothing--my final word on "pedant" would be John Dunne's, in reference to the sun disturbing him and love: "Sawcy pedantique wretch, goe chide Late schooleboyes." :)


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Subject: RE: Authorship of 'Blind Bartemus'
From: Charlie Baum
Date: 16 Apr 08 - 09:30 PM

And while we're at it, we might take note of the telling of the Bartimeus story in the set of lyrics usually sung to the shape note hymn of "Villulia" (56b in the Sacred Harp):, a VERY different tune:

"Mercy, O Thou Son of David,"
Thus poor blind Bartimeus prayed,
"Others by Thy grace are saved,
Now to me afford Thine aid."

Money was not what he wanted,
Though by begging used to live;
But he asked, and Jesus granted,
Alms that none but He could give.

"Lord, remove this grievous blindness,
Let mine eyes behold the day,"
Straight he saw and, won by kindness,
Followed Jesus in the way.


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Subject: Lyr. Add: De Blin' Man (Spiritual)
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 16 Apr 08 - 11:59 PM

DE BLIN' MAN
Arr. Clarence Cameron White

1
Oh, de blin' man stood on de way an' cried,
Oh, de blin' man stood on de way an' cried,
Cryin', "O ... Lordy, save me!"
Oh, de blin' man stood on de way an' cried.
2
Cryin' dat he might receib' his sight,
Cryin' dat he might receib' his sight,
Cryin', "O... Lordy, Save me!"
Oh, de blin' man stood on de way an' cried,
"Save me!"

pp. 92-93, Clarence Cameron White, 1927, "Forty Negro Spirituals, Compiled and Arranged for Solo Voice with Pianoforte Accompaniment," Theodore Presser Co., Philadelphia. Quarto, sheet music.

C. C. White taught at the West Virginia Collegiate Institute, but his collection came from a broader area. Started by the State in 1891 as the West Virginia Colored Institute, it initiated a collegiate program in 1915, at which time it became the West Virginia Collegiate Institute. It is now known as West Virginia State University; the student body of 7000 is now 90 percent white; commuter students and mostly part-time, but students on campus are mostly African-American.


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Subject: RE: Authorship of 'Blind Bartemus'
From: Barry Finn
Date: 17 Apr 08 - 12:08 AM

Ya Becky, I heard Elizabeth and Sandy LaPrelle do this a few yrs back & found my socks rolling up & down like window shades, got me pretty excited.

If you liked Elizabeth doing this & the others that you mentioned give the song "Live Humble" aka "The Bell Done Rung" by the Georgia Sea Island Singers, another soul lifting knock out of a song.

Good Luck

Barry


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Subject: RE: Authorship of 'Blind Bartemus'
From: Charlie Baum
Date: 17 Apr 08 - 12:56 AM

It may be the only Elizabeth and Sandy LaPrelle on YouTube, but here it is!:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9ooLK949IeM
Not a very good recording--somebody's cellphone no doubt, and the acoustics of an outdoor porch, but it IS a portion of "Blind Bartimus."

--Charlie


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Subject: RE: Authorship of 'Blind Bartemus'
From: GUEST,Becky Kimmons
Date: 17 Apr 08 - 09:52 AM

Thanks again, everybody, for the lively discussion, references and new songs to explore. Our new website, BTW, is www.barebonesare.us, but you can still get to it through soupkitchensings.com. The barebones domain is down right now; I'm working to get it back up ASAP. Hope to see you soon.


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Subject: RE: Authorship of 'Blind Bartemus'
From: Bill D
Date: 17 Apr 08 - 11:07 AM

"...somebody's cellphone no doubt, and the acoustics of an outdoor porch,..."

Interesting! This was last Oct., at a restored old farm near where the LaPrelle's live,. I was there at that performance, and have photographs...including a few of the audience, and I don't see anyone using a camera or cellphone. I guess it was someone who just wandered in, got part of the song, and left again.


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Subject: RE: Authorship of 'Blind Bartemus'
From: GUEST,Bob Coltman
Date: 17 Apr 08 - 07:24 PM

Joe:

It was always my understanding that the song "Old Blind Barnabas," which is closest to the text you posted early in the thread, was composed by Martha Carson. Undoubtedly she was influenced by some of the earlier songs above, but that specific song, I think, is all hers.

Neon, Kentucky's Martha Carson was the wife of James Roberts, son of fellow Kentuckian Fiddlin' Doc Roberts. He backed his father and recorded duets with Asa Martin too. He soloed as James Carson. When he and Martha married they recorded as James and Martha Carson on on White Church and other labels during the 40s.

I believe she was one of radio's Amburgey Sisters, serious competition to the Coon Creek Girls in their day. She was certainly Marthie of Mattie, Marthie and Minnie, "The Sunshine Girls," who did a rousing record of "You Can't Live With 'Em and You Can't Live Without 'Em," and ought to have been more widely recorded.

She did a blazing version of "Barnabas," too, on "Martha Carson's Greatest Gospel Hits," Gusto-Starday (1978), which I think was a reissue of earlier stuff. She gets composer credit, though that, as we know, is not necessarily evidence that she wrote it. But -- correct me if I'm wrong, please -- I know of no "Blind Barnabas" at all similar previous to her version. Provisionally, minus any other evidence, I'd say the song is hers.

Bob


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Subject: RE: Authorship of 'Blind Bartemus'
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 17 Apr 08 - 07:58 PM

When did Martha Carson write it? It would have to be before 1941, and that group (Golden Gate Quartet) cited it as traditional (Their title was "Blind Barnabas.". Johnny Horton recorded in 1956-1960, and again in 1969, also referred to it as traditional.

It seems to me that all the versions are slightly different, but so similar that they are clearly the same song; however, I haven't heard Carson.


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Subject: RE: Authorship of 'Blind Bartemus'
From: GUEST,Dani
Date: 25 Oct 09 - 02:31 PM

http://www.npr.org/templates/player/mediaPlayer.html?action=1&t=1&islist=false&id=99190314&m=99094842


Good to hear you again, Becky!

Dani


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Subject: RE: Authorship of 'Blind Bartemus'
From: Amos
Date: 25 Oct 09 - 09:19 PM

There's a recording of it on videos from the FSGW Getaway 2009 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QdwlBIvU_-M. It is one of several La Prelle numbers captured at that event and posted to YouTube.


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Subject: RE: Authorship of 'Blind Bartemus'
From: Joe Offer
Date: 26 Oct 09 - 02:02 AM

Today's reading in the Common Lectionary was the story of Blind Bartemus. Does that mean that since she's the one who refreshed this thread, Dani went to church today?

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Authorship of 'Blind Bartemus'
From: GUEST,Dani
Date: 27 Oct 09 - 06:37 AM

I am SO busted, Joe : )

Sat right straight up in my seat, I did! Going tomorrow night to try to lead the song. Guess I better learn it, huh? Wish me luck.

Dani


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Subject: RE: Authorship of 'Blind Bartemus'
From: GUEST,Bill Siddall
Date: 15 Feb 10 - 04:25 PM

Re: book of James vs. book of Mark. I'd bet "book of James" refers to the King James bible.


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Subject: RE: Authorship of 'Blind Bartemus'
From: katlaughing
Date: 02 Apr 12 - 12:17 AM

Glad to have found this thread. Joe, thanks for all of the info. I've had Laura Love's album "Octoroon" and listened to it for years. Just recently got enough air back that I can sing along and have been wanting to learn the lyrics. I love the way Laura sings it, but then hers was the first version I'd ever heard, so that's way I've learned it.:-)

I also found them HERE.

kat


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