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Folk Music & Faith/A study in song

CupOfTea 20 Jan 12 - 03:38 PM
WindhoverWeaver 20 Jan 12 - 04:40 PM
Joe Offer 20 Jan 12 - 06:23 PM
Paul Burke 20 Jan 12 - 07:25 PM
catspaw49 20 Jan 12 - 08:48 PM
Elmore 20 Jan 12 - 09:00 PM
Phil Cooper 21 Jan 12 - 12:18 AM
glueman 21 Jan 12 - 02:45 AM
WindhoverWeaver 21 Jan 12 - 03:50 AM
cetmst 21 Jan 12 - 08:15 AM
cetmst 21 Jan 12 - 08:54 AM
Phil Cooper 21 Jan 12 - 08:59 AM
Phil Cooper 21 Jan 12 - 09:56 AM
CupOfTea 03 Feb 12 - 02:38 PM
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Subject: Folk Music & Faith/A study in song
From: CupOfTea
Date: 20 Jan 12 - 03:38 PM

After years of contemplating the subject, I've stuck my neck out and put my reputation on the line. I've offered to do this year's Lenten study for my (Episcopal) parish. We get together on Wednesday nights during Lent for soup and some sort of study. I've been an active part of the music ministry for Sunday worship for about a decade. I've been saturated in folk music a few decades longer. The more I play, the more I pay attention to the overlap. What I've proposed is
an exploration of songs of faith in everyday life - singing of belief outside the context of Sunday Worship

So far, I've cataloged nearly 100 "possible" songs of faith, belief, scriptural reference & the like. I have a couple other musicians who are working on this with me, but mostly, *I* am going to be doing the presentation. Even where I have others playing with me, I'll still have to teach them the songs, so these must be, in the main, songs I KNOW. I'm hoping to get some help on areas I'm clueless/unable to perform but feel are significant, like Shapenote hymns. I'm not excluding songs that come from hymnals and ARE sung during worship, because many of them show up in a folk music context.

I'm now officially terrified.

I've spent the last 9 hours consulting Mudcat, writing, consulting Mudcat, copying, consulting Mudcat, and then, consulting Mudcat. I haveta say it's been an education and a half. I feel like I volunteered to write a grad school term paper. (I'm so glad I don't have to know how to footnote a Mudcat entry from GUEST). It's all too easy to get distracted and go off on tangential links.

So, I decided to be public about my search for songs, information, meanings, scriptural correlations. The general groupings I'm working with so far are:
--Departing life/ Meeting God/That sweet bye and bye
--Negro/African American/Black tradition (there's a puzzler -what's a white chick to call this?)
--Personal Relationship with God
--Praise / Expressions of Belief
--Lives /Events of Apostles & Saints/Bible Stories

I plan on talking about the songs, the people who *I* have heard sing them, giving plenty of context where I can. My mission is to give these songs to members of my congregation - lyric sheets will be provided for anything we have them singing along with on the nights of the presentations - in hopes to have them think about being able to incorporate song in daily life and sing of their faith. Evangelization working both ways here - getting some converts to folk music is significant concept here, as well.

I would be greatful for any constructive feed back on this topic. In particular, I would dearly love to know what songs YOU have gotten from the world of folk music that speak to your Christian faith? (I am actually interested in other faith paths in song, feel free to tell me, but I have to concentrate here. Lent is a month away!) Were do these songs come from? Scout or Church Camp? Folk Festivals? Scouting? Hootenannies/Song Circles/Whatever you em? Family? Friends?

Links to previous Mudcat threads about a particular song that resonate with you are very welcome as well. A broad thank you to the hundreds of people whose Mudcat comments have already helped shape this project.

cheers c\_/

Joanne in Cleveland

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Subject: RE: Folk Music & Faith/A study in song
From: WindhoverWeaver
Date: 20 Jan 12 - 04:40 PM

For songs from a faith perspective but that cover the whole human experience, I don't think you can do any better than the works of Bob Franke. He was (perhaps still is) artist in residence at St Andrews Episcopal church in Marblehead Mass. Some of his songs are very explicitly Christian, but others are less so, but still reflect his beliefs.

Some suggestions that might work for the people to join in on would be:
"Alleluia, the great storm is over"
"Stir up your power, O Lord"
"Gypsy Davey"
"Thanksgiving Eve"

There are just too many others worth citing.

God bless, sounds like it could be a great Lent study!

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Subject: RE: Folk Music & Faith/A study in song
From: Joe Offer
Date: 20 Jan 12 - 06:23 PM

Hi, Joanne-
Sounds like quite a challenging project. If you feel motivated, post your 100-song list.

I think I'd cheat and use hymnals for suggestions. There are two books from Abingdon Press, Songs of Zion (1981) and Zion Still Sings (2007) that should give you ideas. Lift Every Voice and Sing II: An African American Hymnal (1993, Church Publishing, Inc.), is another great resource. You'll find songs closer to the folk genre in Worship in Song: A Friends Hymnal (Friends General Conference, 1996), and you'll find some good songs in Singing the Living Tradition (1993: Beacon Press / Unitarian Universalist Association).

I love gospel music, but seldom use it in religious settings because my (progressive Catholic) theology doesn't jive with the evangelical roots of many of the old songs.

Good luck.

Keep us posted on your progress.


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Subject: RE: Folk Music & Faith/A study in song
From: Paul Burke
Date: 20 Jan 12 - 07:25 PM

Unless only Christians have faith, I'd like to bet that Muslim and Hindu religious folk song whups the good old C of E. Without disturbing the Khassids.

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Subject: RE: Folk Music & Faith/A study in song
From: catspaw49
Date: 20 Jan 12 - 08:48 PM

I'd think about doing something else for Lent. Living in Cleveland will destroy brain cells. Move to Ohio. Its very close by.

Perhaps a study in the relationship over the past 40 years between Big Time TV Religion and Big Time TV Wrestling.   Then you could give up BOTH of them for lent and head over to Great Lakes Brewery and meet the wacko who names their great libations.   "Burning River" in the land of the Cuyahoga is classic!


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Subject: RE: Folk Music & Faith/A study in song
From: Elmore
Date: 20 Jan 12 - 09:00 PM

Attn: Windhover Weaver. Gypsy Davy? excuse me, but I think the title of the song is Beggars To God. Regards, Elmore

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Subject: RE: Folk Music & Faith/A study in song
From: Phil Cooper
Date: 21 Jan 12 - 12:18 AM

Gentle Soldier of My Soul, Gentle Arms of Eden, or a lot of other Dave Carter songs. Lay the Old Man Down, Origin of Species, and No Love Today by Chris Smither. Dimming of the Day by Richard Thompson. Lay Down Brother, by trad arr.

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Subject: RE: Folk Music & Faith/A study in song
From: glueman
Date: 21 Jan 12 - 02:45 AM

Interesting project. Songs like Wayfaring Stranger or New Britain from The Sacred Harp are well known and easily memorable. It may be worth looking at Northern Harmony on YouTube, they perform various religious (and secular) song genres out of their traditional settings.

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Subject: RE: Folk Music & Faith/A study in song
From: WindhoverWeaver
Date: 21 Jan 12 - 03:50 AM

Hi Elmore.

You are right, of course, mea culpa. That's what comes of trying to respond to a post at 11:30 at night!

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Subject: RE: Folk Music & Faith/A study in song
From: cetmst
Date: 21 Jan 12 - 08:15 AM

Some books in my collection, can be accessed online or in libraries:

Books by Albert E. Brumley:
All Day Singing
America's Memory Valley
Christian Hymnsongs
Great Inspirational Songs
Lamplighting Time in the Valley
Olde Time Camp Meeting

Books by George Pullen Jackson:
Down-East Spirituals and Others
Spiritual Folksongs of Early America
White Spirituals of the Southern Uplands

Gospel Hymns Consolidated @ 1886, Bigelow and Main, combines hymns by Moody, Samkey, P.P.Bliss and others

Heavenly Highway Hymns, Shape Note Edition, Stamps-BaxterMusic and Printing Co., 1956 printing

Johnson and Johnson, Book of American Negro Spirituals

John Work, American Negro Songs and Spirituals

Jeremiah Ingalls, Christian Harmony, 1805, 2005 reprint

Rise Up Singing has several categories, lyrics and chords, reference to recorded works


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Subject: RE: Folk Music & Faith/A study in song
From: cetmst
Date: 21 Jan 12 - 08:54 AM

Some of my favorites:

Where All Thy Names Are One, Bob Zentz
Balm In Gilead
Be Thou My Vision
Because I Could Not Stop for Death, Emily Dickinson
Blood of the Lamb
Bright Morning Stars Are Rising
By'm Bye, I'm Goin' to See the King
Christ Be Beside Me (St. Patrick's Breastplate)
Come and Go With Me to That Land
Come Life, Shaker Life
Cross Jordan's River
David's Lamentation (O Absolom)
Deep Settled Peace
Dives and Lazarus
Dona Nobis Pacem
Dwelling in Beulah Land
End of Life's Trolley Line
Every Time I Feel the Spirit
Farther Along
Fifty Miles of Elbow Room
Go Wash in the Beautiful Pool
Going Up Home to Live in Green Pastures
Grace of God Is Over Us All
He Turned the Water Into Wine
I Am the Rose of Sharon
I Bid You Goodnight, Joseph Pindar
I Don't Intend to Die in Egypt Land
I Dreamed I Saw St. Augustine
I Shall Not Be Moved
I Will Guide Thee With My Eye
I'll Meet You in the Morning
If You Need Me
It's Not Just What You've Been Given
Joy, Love and Peace
Julian of Norwich
Land Where We'll Never Grow Old
Let the Lower Lights Be Burning
Let Us Cross Over the Rivr
Life Is Like a Mountain Railway
Lily of the Valley
Live in Green Pastures
Lord I Want More Religion
Lord of the Dance
Methodist Pie
Midnight Prayerlight, Cathy Fink
Mother's Advice (Hold Fast to the Right)
My Lord What a Morning (When the Stars Begin to Fall)
Ninety and Nine
No Hiding Place Down There
Not Made With Hands
Now Is the Cool of the Day, Jean Ritchie
Old Time Religion
Open the Window Noah
Out on the Rolling Sea, Pindar Family
Palms of Victory
Place in the Choir
Seasons of Peace
Searching for Lambs
Shadrack, Meshak and Abednigo
Seek and Ye Shall Find
Sheep May Safely Graze, J.S.Bach
Simple Gifts
Sinner Please Don't Let This Harvest Pass
Sister Clarissa
Stonewall Jackson's Prayer
Study War No More
There Is More Peace Somewhere
There's a Meeting Here Tonight
This Little Light of Mine
This World Is Not My Home
Time to Remeber the Poor
Turn, Turn, Turn
Twelve Gates to the City
Two Little Fishes and Five Loaves of Bread, Josh White
Up in My Father's House
Vicar of Bray
Walk in Jerusalem Just Like John
Walking Across Egypy
Walls and Windows, Judy Small
We Are Going Down the Valley
We Are the Trueborn Sons of God
We Believe
We Gather Together
We Will Gather By the River
We Will Understand It Better By and Bye
We're Going to See the King
Were You There?
What Can We Do With Our Days?
What Will I Leave Behind?
When I Die, Doc Watson
When I Reach Home
When He Sets the World on Fire
When the Roll Is Called Up Yonder
Where O Where Is Old Elijah?
Where the Soul of Man Never Dies
Where Will I Shelter My Sheep Tonight?
Who Shall Come For Thee?
Who Will Bow and Bend Like a Willow?
Will the Circle Be Unbroken?
Will There Be Any Stars?
Wintergrace, Jean Ritchie
With God On Our Side, Dylan
World Is Turning Toward the Morning, Gordon Bok
You Better Let That Liar Alone
You Can't Buy Your Way Into Heaven
You Must Come In at the Door
Your Long Journey

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Subject: RE: Folk Music & Faith/A study in song
From: Phil Cooper
Date: 21 Jan 12 - 08:59 AM

Everything is holy now by Peter Mayer.

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Subject: RE: Folk Music & Faith/A study in song
From: Phil Cooper
Date: 21 Jan 12 - 09:56 AM

Oh yeah, David Francey's Saints & Sinners.

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Subject: RE: Folk Music & Faith/A study in song
From: CupOfTea
Date: 03 Feb 12 - 02:38 PM

So, I'm a couple weeks into writing, reading, organizing, playing, singing, correlating, thinking. I've found Mudcat and the members a huge resource leading me tither and yon to all manner of information that enriches my concept. I had typed up a long post two weeks ago, with a song list, but my browser crashed on me, and I lost the lot. Thanks for those who have commented or sent me messages & encouragement. Since then I've been spending all my nonobligated time on this, and have come up with the framework:

The series will consist of five Wednesday evenings, with soup at 6 pm and a one hour presentation starting at 7. In one hour I'm figuring 10-12 songs or song fragments. The sessions:
****What Folk Music is- (I'm using a practical "ain't never heard no horse sing it" approach here to keep it simple) where it touches on Faith & how it got into my life. How it has influenced political movements
****That sweet bye and bye - Departing life/ Meeting God
****Getting Personl-   personal expressions of belief with particular attention to African American/tradition & more recently composed songs
****Humor & Child-oriented- too much fun for Lent, but eh!think about the end goal here!
****Churchy - the large overlap between church music and unchurched singing

I've gone through an extensive stack of books and songbook like things online. If there is interest, I can post my final bibliography. Besides Mudcat I've waded through:
American Negro Songs -John W. .Work
American Negro Spirituals Johnson & Johnson
Christmas Revels Songbook
Country Gospel USA
Hymn Fake Book
Lift Every Voice and Sing
Rise Up Singing (for good, for ill, and for to argue with)

The list I started with is below. I've had to do without a number of songs I'm FAMILIAR with, but can't lead myself. I'm working up a couple to get to performance level for this series. Any song with an asterisk is one I'm planning on using at this point:

Ain't a-gonna Grieve My Lord No More *
All My Trials
Alleluia the Great Storm is Over *
Amazing Grace (New Britian) *
Angel Band*
Angels Hovering Around*
Babylon is Fallen
Balm in Gilead
Battle Hymn of the Republic
Be Thou My Vision / Slane*
Bitter was The Night
Bitter Withy
Blessed Assurance
Bound for the Promised Land (Sweet Prospect)*
Bringing in the Sheaves
Call Down A Blessing*
Cherry Tree Carol*
Children of the Heavenly Father*
Come Thou Font (Olney)*
Cowboy's Dream*
Crossing the Bar*
David's Lamentation
Day is Past and Gone
Dese Bones*
Dives and Lazarus
Do Lord
Dona Nobis Pacem
Down by the Riverside
Down in the Valley to Pray (I went down)
Down in Yon Forest / Corpus Christi Carol*
Ezekiel Saw the Wheel*
Farewell My Friends (Parting Friends)*
Farther Along*
Fathers Now Our Meeting is Over
Green Grow the Rushes, Ho
Go Where I Send Thee*
He's Got the Whole World in His Hands*
How Can I Keep From Singing?
I Bid You Goodnight*
In Christ there is no East or West
I Saw the Light
I shall Not be Moved*
I Want to be Ready*
I will arise*
I wonder as I wander
I'll Fly Away
In the Garden/He walks with me
Is Your Lamps Burned Low
Jesus Loves Me
John the Revelator
Joshua Fit Battle of Jerico*
Julian of Norwich*
Let the Lower Light be Burning*
Life is like a Mountain Railroad
Lord of the Dance*
Lord's Prayer from Jamaica*
Mary Don't You Weep*
Master of the Sheepfold
Michael Row the Boat Ashore*
Morning Has Broken*
Never Grow Old (Land where)*
Nobody knows the Trouble I've Seen
Old Time Religion*
On Christmas Night
Only Remembered
Revive us Again
Rise and Shine*
Rock- a My soul in the bosom of Abraham*
Seven Joys of Mary
Simple Gifts*
Spirit Of God*
Stars in My Crown (Will there be any)*
Study War No More
Sunday School Song*
Swing Low Sweet Chariot
The King of Love/ St. Columba
This Little Light of Mine
This Train
To Canaan's Land I'm on my way
Turn Turn Turn*
Turn Your Radio On
Twelve Gates to the City
Unicorn Song (Green Alligators)*
Walk that Lonesome Valley*
Wayfaring Stranger*
We are Climbing Jacob's Ladder*
What a Friend We have in Jesus
What are they doing in Heaven today? *
When the Saints go Marching In*
Were You There
We Shall Overcome/ I'll overcome*
Whole World in his Hand
Will the Circle be Unbroken*
Wondrous Love*
You Don't Love God*

The above choices subject to change & some only have a passing reference - a chourus or a few lines as a sample. I'm excited. The musicians I have supporting me are enthusiastic. As this is a presentation/lecture as much as a performance, with a subject & puropose, in the Churchy section I intend to play recordings of a shape note hymn sing and a Black Gospel Choir. Both of these manifestations depend on the "wall of sound" that multiple voices make, and can't be reproduced by a quartet of folk who aren't either black or shapenote singers. I'm still interested in hearing about people's own interaction with songs of faith encountered in the folk world- I'm still writing and editing.

Joanne in Cleveland singing in the Spirit

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