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Gospel Origin-Civil Rights & Labor Songs

Joe Offer 22 Mar 00 - 08:38 PM
Uncle_DaveO 22 Mar 00 - 09:12 PM
canoer 22 Mar 00 - 11:27 PM
Stewie 23 Mar 00 - 12:28 AM
Stewie 23 Mar 00 - 12:35 AM
Amos 23 Mar 00 - 12:41 AM
catspaw49 23 Mar 00 - 12:44 AM
Joe Offer 23 Mar 00 - 02:12 AM
canoer 23 Mar 00 - 11:37 AM
Joe Offer 23 Mar 00 - 02:57 PM
Hollowfox 23 Mar 00 - 03:38 PM
GUEST,Pat Lamanna 23 Mar 00 - 08:25 PM
canoer 23 Mar 00 - 09:58 PM
northfolk/al cholger 23 Mar 00 - 10:24 PM
Stewie 24 Mar 00 - 12:55 AM
GUEST,Dusty Braces Portland IWW 24 Mar 00 - 02:06 AM
Joe Offer 24 Mar 00 - 02:12 AM
Stewie 24 Mar 00 - 03:19 AM
Joe Offer 24 Mar 00 - 03:36 AM
Stewie 24 Mar 00 - 08:23 AM
Stewie 24 Mar 00 - 09:10 AM
Stewie 24 Mar 00 - 09:34 AM
Fountainfox 24 Mar 00 - 12:10 PM
Joe Offer 27 Jul 00 - 10:11 PM
Dani 16 Jan 01 - 02:37 PM
Stewart 16 Jan 01 - 03:03 PM
Stewart 16 Jan 01 - 03:22 PM
McGrath of Harlow 16 Jan 01 - 04:57 PM
Dani 16 Jan 01 - 05:02 PM
GUEST,Amergin@work 16 Jan 01 - 05:23 PM
McGrath of Harlow 16 Jan 01 - 06:22 PM
Haruo 16 Jan 01 - 06:58 PM
sian, west wales 17 Jan 01 - 04:35 AM
McGrath of Harlow 17 Jan 01 - 10:25 AM
Dani 17 Jan 01 - 12:41 PM
Dani 17 Jan 01 - 12:48 PM
Stewart 17 Jan 01 - 02:39 PM
Joe Offer 17 Jan 01 - 09:02 PM
Stewie 12 Feb 01 - 08:30 PM
Joe Offer 18 Mar 01 - 04:04 AM
Dani 18 Mar 01 - 08:31 AM
dick greenhaus 18 Mar 01 - 11:45 AM
Hollowfox 19 Mar 01 - 10:37 AM
GUEST,Ced2 19 Mar 01 - 11:22 AM
George Seto - af221@chebucto.ns.ca 01 Sep 01 - 11:21 AM
masato sakurai 01 Sep 01 - 11:56 AM
Jim Dixon 07 Oct 01 - 12:59 PM
Joe Offer 08 Oct 01 - 03:47 AM
Genie 15 Jan 02 - 03:13 AM
masato sakurai 15 Jan 02 - 10:15 AM
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Subject: Lyr Add: I'LL BE SINGIN' UP THERE^^
From: Joe Offer
Date: 22 Mar 00 - 08:38 PM

We touched on this in a thread with a generic title, and it seemed like it might be an interesting topic to explore. Many U.S. civil rights and labor songs are parodies of early songs, particularly gospel songs. I'm wondering how many we can come up with, and if we can find their original versions.
Here's "I'LL BE SINGIN UP THERE," which is obviously the origin of If You Miss Me At the Back of the Bus

I'LL BE SINGIN UP THERE

CHORUS:
I'll be singing up there,
I'll be singing up there,
Come on up to bright glory,
I'll be singing up there.

If you miss me singing [praying, etc.] down here,
If you miss me singing down here,
Come on up to bright glory,
I'll be singing up there,


Got others?
-Joe Offer-



I'll be adding links to the songs you post, if I find 'em and you haven't.


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Subject: RE: Gospel Origin-Civil Rights & Labor Songs
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 22 Mar 00 - 09:12 PM

Two that come immediately to mind:

Pie in the Sky, of course
We Shall Not be Moved (as a union song)

Dave Oesterreich


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Subject: RE: Gospel Origin-Civil Rights & Labor Songs
From: canoer
Date: 22 Mar 00 - 11:27 PM

"I'm so glad, I'm fighting for my rights,
Singing Glory Hallelujah, I'm so glad."

To the tune Wayfarin' Stranger: "They Say that Freedom is a Constant Struggle"

To the tune You've Got to Walk that Lonesome Valley: "You've Got to Go Down, and Join the Union"

Keep Your Eyes on the Prize, Hold On & Keep Your Hands on the Plow

"Ain't Gonna Let No-Body Turn Me A-Round"

Nice thread. Maybe I'll come up with some more. I know they're out there. "Pharoah's Army got Drownded" (O Mary Don't You Weep) .

L.C.


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Subject: RE: Gospel Origin-Civil Rights & Labor Songs
From: Stewie
Date: 23 Mar 00 - 12:28 AM

Fowke and Glazer 'Songs of Work and Protest' refer to quite a number. To cite a few:

Solidarity Forever - John Brown's Body which in turn was from 'Say Brother Will You Meet Us'

'Union Train' - 'The Old Ship of Zion' (this one?)

We Shall Not be Moved - I Shall Not be Moved

Casey Jones (trad) - Casey Jones - Union Scab (Joe Hill)

Roll the Union On - 'Roll the Chariot On'

Which Side Are You On - 'Lay Lily Low'/'Jack Munro'

'We Are Building a Strong Union' - We Are Climbing Jacob's Ladder

Dump the Bosses off Your Back - What a Friend we have in Jesus

There Is Power in the Union' -There Is Power in the Blood of the Lamb

--Stewie.


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Subject: RE: Gospel Origin-Civil Rights & Labor Songs
From: Stewie
Date: 23 Mar 00 - 12:35 AM

Sorry, 'Casey Jones' shouldn't be there - forgot Joe referred only to gospel. The others fit the bill though.

--Stewie.


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Subject: RE: Gospel Origin-Civil Rights & Labor Songs
From: Amos
Date: 23 Mar 00 - 12:41 AM

I believe "A Miner's Life Is Like a Sailor's" also comes from a Protestant hymn, but I don't recall which.


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Subject: RE: Gospel Origin-Civil Rights & Labor Songs
From: catspaw49
Date: 23 Mar 00 - 12:44 AM

I was enjoying this thread and your excellent list Stewie, and when I read Casey Jones, I thought "What?" Thanks for the second post. I mean really Stewie, so much of your stuff is so great that I was willing to believe there was some way that Casey WAS a hymn!!!

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Gospel Origin-Civil Rights & Labor Songs
From: Joe Offer
Date: 23 Mar 00 - 02:12 AM

The challenge goes a little farther - I'm looking for the original lyrics, and not just for their titles. If you can find the lyrics and they're not in the database, please post 'em. It can be a lot of fun (and impress a lot of audiences) if you can sing the original version of a familiar song.
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Gospel Origin-Civil Rights & Labor Songs
From: canoer
Date: 23 Mar 00 - 11:37 AM

Joe, you mean the original _gospel_ lyrics, right?


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Subject: RE: Gospel Origin-Civil Rights & Labor Songs
From: Joe Offer
Date: 23 Mar 00 - 02:57 PM

Yup.


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Subject: RE: Gospel Origin-Civil Rights & Labor Songs
From: Hollowfox
Date: 23 Mar 00 - 03:38 PM

(Slight thread creep warning) It's been a while since I read this, so I'm not sure if this takes the song from the labor movement to the civil rights movement, but I think it does: Hold the Fort! the story of a song from the sawdust trail to the picket line (1971, Smithsonian Institution Press; part of the Smithsonian Studies in History & Technology series (#9)


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Subject: RE: Gospel Origin-Civil Rights & Labor Songs
From: GUEST,Pat Lamanna
Date: 23 Mar 00 - 08:25 PM

"Life Is Like a Mountain Railroad" (Life's Railway to Heaven)/Miner's Lifeguard


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Subject: RE: Gospel Origin-Civil Rights & Labor Songs
From: canoer
Date: 23 Mar 00 - 09:58 PM

Joe, I want you to know that I like the idea of this thread very much. I just don't have time to do the work necessary to contribute right now!

Sorry -- Larry C.


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Subject: RE: Gospel Origin-Civil Rights & Labor Songs
From: northfolk/al cholger
Date: 23 Mar 00 - 10:24 PM

Stewie, I'll support the Trad. Casey Jones link to the Casey Jones, Union Scab...may fit the category,

as possibly one of the...

this may be a stretch...

but I'm willing to go there...

Battle Hymns of the REPUBLICANS...


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Subject: RE: Gospel Origin-Civil Rights & Labor Songs
From: Stewie
Date: 24 Mar 00 - 12:55 AM

Norfolk, right on, comrade!

--Stewie.


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Subject: RE: Gospel Origin-Civil Rights & Labor Songs
From: GUEST,Dusty Braces Portland IWW
Date: 24 Mar 00 - 02:06 AM

It's not so much a matter of gospel origins per se, as tunes everyone knows.I know at least three sets of lyrics set to the old fiddle tune Red Wing, Workingmen Unite, Union Maid, and Earth First Maid. Almost every song in the traditional Wobblie canon is set to either a Hymn (which in those days were commonly sung by the majority of people), or a well known popular song. Battle Hymn of the Republic is a perfect example, from John Brown's Body through the UFW version of Solidarity Forever. Having spent a fair amount of time trying to stir up a ruckus at actions and pickets, I'm here to testify, they gotta be comfortable with the tune and they gotta have the lyrics in front of em or they aint gonna sing! But oh, when they do there's no finer noise made by human throat
For the One Big Song Circle, Dusty


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Subject: RE: Gospel Origin-Civil Rights & Labor Songs
From: Joe Offer
Date: 24 Mar 00 - 02:12 AM

Here's Preacher and the Slave (Pie in the Sky), a parody of In the Sweet Bye and Bye.

This is fun. You can see that I've linked to many of the songs above. The ones that aren't linked means we probably don't have the lyrics. If you can provide, I'm sure the Digital Tradition would be grateful.

-Joe Offer-


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Subject: Lyr Add: UNION TRAIN^^
From: Stewie
Date: 24 Mar 00 - 03:19 AM

Here's the lyrics to Union Train:

UNION TRAIN (Lee Hays/Almanac Singers)

Oh, what is that I see yonder coming, coming, coming
Oh, what is that I see yonder coming, coming, coming
What is that I see yonder coming, coming, coming
Get on board! Get on board!

It's that union train a-coming, coming, coming (3)
Get on board! Get on board!

It has saved a-many a thousand, thousand, thousand (3)
Get on board! Get on board!

It will carry us to freedom, freedom, freedom (3)
Get on board! Get on board!

What is that I see yonder coming, coming, coming
Get on board! Get on board!

It's that union train a-coming, coming, coming (3)
Get on board! Get on board!

Copyright People's Songs Inc 1947.

Inspired by Southern Tenant Farmers Union organising sharecroppers and farm labourers in the cotton country of the Mississippi Delta. Many of them were black workers who sang their childhood hymns at union meetings. At a meeting in Memphis, after they had sung 'The Old Ship of Zion', a woman sang a new verse to the tune. Later, Lee Hays added more verses and the 'Union Train' began to roll. [Paraphrase of note by Fowke and Glazer].

I found an 'Old Ship of Zion' at the shape note site, but I doubt if it's the right one.

--Stewie.


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Subject: RE: Gospel Origin-Civil Rights & Labor Songs
From: Joe Offer
Date: 24 Mar 00 - 03:36 AM

Hi, Stewie - I'll betcha the tune for "Old Ship of Zion" and "Union Train" is This One (click). Am I right?
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Gospel Origin-Civil Rights & Labor Songs
From: Stewie
Date: 24 Mar 00 - 08:23 AM

I am afraid not, Joe - nothing so complicated. It wasn't the one I found either. There seems to be a number of hymns with that title. However, with the help of a mate, I have tracked it down. There's a version on Leadbelly's 'Last Sessions' on Folkways. It has the same simple structure as the union song with verses like:

It has landed many thousand (3) Get on board! Get on board!

I will sit right down when I get home(3) Get on board! Get on board!

I am sure someone will be able to post the full lyrics. I do not have the album, but I can borrow it from my friend if no one can supply.

--Stewie.


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Subject: Lyr Add: WE ARE BUILDING A STRONG UNION^^
From: Stewie
Date: 24 Mar 00 - 09:10 AM

The lyrics to 'We are building a strong union' are:

WE ARE BUILDING A STRONG UNION

We are building a strong union
We are building a strong union
We are building a strong union
Workers in the mill!

Every member makes us stronger (3)
Workers in the mill!

We won't budge until we conquer (3)
Workers in the mill!

We shall rise and gain our freedom (3)
Workers in the mill!

We are building a strong union (3)
Workers in the mill!

This song came out of a strike in Marion, North Carolina, in 1929.

[The mention of the name of that town reminds me of a humorous song called 'Entering Marion']

--Stewie.


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Subject: Lyr Add: THE ABOLITIONIST HYMN^^
From: Stewie
Date: 24 Mar 00 - 09:34 AM

Here's another one:

THE ABOLITIONIST HYMN

We ask not that the slave should lie
As lies his master, at his ease
Beneath a silken canopy
Or in the shade of blooming trees

We ask not 'eye for eye' that all
Who forge the chain and ply the whip
Should feel their torture while the thrall
Should wield the scourge of mastership

We mourn not that the man should toil;
'Tis nature's need, 'tis God's decree;
But let the hand that tills the soil
Be, like the wind that fans it, free

This was from Abolitionist anti-slavery singing circles in the years just before the Civil War. It was set to an old hymn: 'Old Hundred'.

--Stewie.


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Subject: Lyr Add: IN THE PIT FROM SIN SET FREE^^
From: Fountainfox
Date: 24 Mar 00 - 12:10 PM

How about a song that's almost union and gospel in one?

IN THE PIT FROM SIN SET FREE

1. In the pit from sin set free, sudden death would glory be,,
That is why we sing with glee, "Jesus saves.",
We black diamonds for them get, though they cause us all to sweat,,
There's salvation for them yet, Jesus saves.,

CHORUS: Jesus saves, Jesus saves, Jesus saves, Jesus saves,
from the fear of pit explosion, Jesus saves.,
When our work on earth is done and our race on earth is run,
We'll go singing 'round the Throne, Jesus saves.,

2. In spite of all their rubs, and the deputy who snubs,,
As we wait for empty tubs, Jesus saves.,
Whether the coal be soft or hard, working by by the hour or yard,,
perfect peace is our reward, Jesus saves.

I Xeroxed this at our library seven or eight years ago, but am pretty much quoting it here from memory. (I think quoting from memory is one way songs accrete variations over the years) The notes accompanying the song, which was in a book in the Christian rather than folk music section, said it had appeared in at least one Baptist Hymnal in the earlier twentieth century. The coal-mining connections and sentiments are obvious.

I have no facility for putting the melody in. In fact, this is my first venture with HTML breaks and I'm curious to see whether I understood it.


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Subject: Origin: We Shall Overcome
From: Joe Offer
Date: 27 Jul 00 - 10:11 PM

My Sing Out! reprints book says "We Shall Overcome" is an adaptation of an African American gospel song - adaptation was by Lucille Simmons and members of the Food & Tobacco Workers Union (Charleston, SC), Zilphia Horton, Frank Hamilton, Guy Carawan, Pete Seeger, and the Southern Civil Rights Movement.
This song, which has become almost an unofficial theme song of the integration movement in the South, is an adaptation of an old hymn. A number of years ago, members of the CIO Food and Tobacco Workers Union introduced the song at the Highlander Folk School in Monteagle, Tennessee. At the height of the successful Montggomery (Alabama) bus boycott led by Rev. Martin Luther King, a few years back, it was sung by Negroes in the face of a hostile mob - and television cameras caught the simple, moving dignity of the song and the people who sang it for the entire nation to see and hear.
My question: what gospel song did "We Shall Overcome" come from, and can somebody post the lyrics?
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Gospel Origin-Civil Rights & Labor Songs
From: Dani
Date: 16 Jan 01 - 02:37 PM

Let me finish the job I'm working on and I'll fill in some blanks!

Dani

ps - refresh if I forget!


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Subject: Lyr Add: I'LL BE ALL RIGHT^^
From: Stewart
Date: 16 Jan 01 - 03:03 PM

I'll Be All Right was an old gospel song that got adapted by the Food & Tobacco Workers, as a strike song in Charleston, SC, 1946, sung by Lucille Simmons. Zilphia Horton introduced it to the Highland Folk School, where later Pete Seeger published it in "Peoples Songs", and with Guy Carawan and Frank Hamilton it evolved to We Shall Overcome.

I"LL BE ALL RIGHT

I'll be all right, well, I'll be all right,
Well, I'll be all right some day,
All of my troubles will be over,
And I'll be free at last,
Well, I'll be all right some day.

I'll be all right, I'll be all right,
I'll be all right someday.
If in my heart,
I do not yield,
I'll be all right some day.

I'll sing my song.....
I'll overcome....
I'll fly away....
I'm going home....

Cheers, S. in Seattle


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Subject: RE: Gospel Origin-Civil Rights & Labor Songs
From: Stewart
Date: 16 Jan 01 - 03:22 PM

Here's the tune to I'LL BE ALL RIGHT. CLICK HERE.

This is in "Freedom Is a Constant Struggle" by Guy and Candie Carawan, Oak Pub. 1968, p. 138.

Cheers, S. in Seattle


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Subject: RE: Gospel Origin-Civil Rights & Labor Songs
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 16 Jan 01 - 04:57 PM

Miner's Lifeguard, from Life is Like a Mountain Railroad, and then becoming John Brunner's H Bomb's Thunder - and there were other CND songs with simlar roots.

For example "Ban Ban Ban the bloody H-Bomb" from John Brown's Body - with the last line sometimes, after 3 repeats of the title line "and we won't have to march no more". But there were other verses, written by Alex Comfort - that was before he got into the Joy of Sex and made a packet.


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Subject: RE: Gospel Origin-Civil Rights & Labor Songs
From: Dani
Date: 16 Jan 01 - 05:02 PM

In his "Where Have all the Flowers Gone" Pete Seeger says that the Rev. Charles Tindley's "I'll Overcome Someday" may.... or may not have come first. It is dated 1903. This book contains words and music. I can do words later... music would have to wait for more gifted hands!

Also, Pete's book is dated 1993. Any new scholarship since then?

Having sung the current version more than a little yesterday :) I'm just glad it's around in ANY form. It's good for what ails ya.

Dani


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Subject: RE: Gospel Origin-Civil Rights & Labor Songs
From: GUEST,Amergin@work
Date: 16 Jan 01 - 05:23 PM

I'm going to have to look up my Wobbly Songbook, when I get home...to see if there are any not mentioned here that fit this bill....


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Subject: RE: Gospel Origin-Civil Rights & Labor Songs
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 16 Jan 01 - 06:22 PM

Well of course there's Hallellulah I'm a bum, in two versions - what I take to be the earlier versiobn and tye and the Wobbly version in the Little Red Songbook, which may or may not have been by Joe Hill.

Actually in a way I've always thought the earlier version has the more revolutionary message. "How the hell can I work when the skies are so blue." Puts the work ethic in its place.

Anyway they're both parodies of a revivalist hymn I believe, called Revive Us - but I've never come across it.


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Subject: RE: Gospel Origin-Civil Rights & Labor Songs
From: Haruo
Date: 16 Jan 01 - 06:58 PM

One that I don't see here that I would say qualifies (though I'm not sure what your definition of Gospel is) is "Hold the Fort". Both the Christian and the Labor versions are in the DT, with a melody MIDI; a fuller, faster MIDI provides the background music at The Cyber Hymnal's version, which also has a page on Bliss, author of the Christian text and composer of the tune. Incidentally The Cyber Hymnal has yet another new URL (the last one, tch.wordnic.com, automatically rolls over to the new one, but who knows how long that will last...).

Liland


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Subject: RE: Gospel Origin-Civil Rights & Labor Songs
From: sian, west wales
Date: 17 Jan 01 - 04:35 AM

McGrath, I always thought the blue skies referred to the drought (ie. Dust Bowl) - no rain, no farm. I could be wrong ... I was going to mention this one, too, but couldn't for the life of me, remember how the hymn goes. I grew up on the "I'm a Bum" version and had a shock when I first heard it in church as a hymn! Had a very stern look from Mum, warning me not to DARE sing the words I knew ...

sian


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Subject: RE: Gospel Origin-Civil Rights & Labor Songs
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 17 Jan 01 - 10:25 AM

You could be right about the blue sky origins. But as sung mostly, I think think it means that on a beautifrul day like today, you'd need to be a slave to work, and I'm no slave - and that's subversive in a work-obsessed culture. Increasingly so in fact, and seen as subversive by the left and the right. (Willy Hague or Tony Blair, words they just don't like to hear)

So farSolidarity Forever has had a couple of mentions, but I think noone has put in its less respectable brother, The Red Revolution, with its memorable chorus:

Arson rape and bloody murder,
Arson rape and bloody murder,
Arson rape and bloody murder,
When the Red Revolution comes.


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Subject: Lyr Add: I'LL OVERCOME SOME DAY and...BE ALL RIGHT
From: Dani
Date: 17 Jan 01 - 12:41 PM

Stewart, what you posted seems to be a conglomerate of what's in Pete's book as the two separate songs:

I'll Overcome Some Day (Tindley, 1903)

This world is one great battlefield with forces all arrayed;
If in my heart I do not yield, I'll overcome some day.
I'll overcome some day (someday) I'll overcome some day;
If in my heart I do not yield I'll overcome some day.

and

I'll Be All Right (trad. African American gospel hymn)

I'll be all right
I'll be all right
I'll be all right some day
Deep in my heart
I do believe
I'll be all right some day

I'll be like Him (3x, etc)

I'll overcome (3x, etc)


What do you think, Joe?
Joe thinks he's gotta teach Dani how to do Line Breaks
[grin]
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: Origins: We Shall Overcome
From: Dani
Date: 17 Jan 01 - 12:48 PM

Also interesting to note: Pete Seeger credits Zilphia Horton with changing the 'I' to 'WE'. The wording is significant.

Bernice Johnson-Reagon (Sweet Honey in the Rock, The Freedom Singers) discussed the history of the song We Shall Overcome with Noah Adams on NPR:

The song was changed from an earlier I Shall Overcome to We Shall Overcome when white students began working with black students in the civil rights movement. But of the version she knew, Johnson-Reagon says, "In the Black community, to EXPRESS THE GROUP, you say I. If you say WE are gonna have a picnic, I have no idea who's gonna be there. But if you say, "I'm going to bring some cake and someone ELSE says, "I'll bring the chicken", then you actually know you're gonna get a dinner!"


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Subject: RE: Gospel Origin-Civil Rights & Labor Songs
From: Stewart
Date: 17 Jan 01 - 02:39 PM

I found my version of I'll Be All Right in "Freedom Is a Constant Struggle" by Guy and Candie Carawan, Oak Pub. 1968, p. 138. They give a short history if it there. Guy Carawan was also involved in the evolution of We Shall Overcome.

Cheers, S. in Seattle


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Subject: Lyr Add: REVIVE US AGAIN^^
From: Joe Offer
Date: 17 Jan 01 - 09:02 PM

Kevin, Revive Us Again is quite common. I should have thought to post it before.
-Joe Offer (who prefers the "I'm a bum" version)-
^^
REVIVE US AGAIN
(words: William P. Mackay, Music: John J. Husband)

We praise Thee, O God!
For the Son of Thy love,
For Jesus Who died,
And is now gone above.

Refrain

Hallelujah! Thine the glory.
Hallelujah! Amen.
Hallelujah! Thine the glory.
Revive us again.

We praise Thee, O God!
For Thy Spirit of light,
Who hath shown us our Savior,
And scattered our night.

Refrain

All glory and praise
To the Lamb that was slain,
Who hath borne all our sins,
And hath cleansed every stain.

Refrain

All glory and praise
To the God of all grace,
Who hast brought us, and sought us,
And guided our ways.

Refrain

Revive us again;
Fill each heart with Thy love;
May each soul be rekindled
With fire from above.

Refrain


[words: William P. Mackay (1839-85), Music: John J. Husband (1760-1825)]
Mackay wrote this hymn in 1863 and revised it four years later. The original text for Husband's tune is unknown. (Source: Companion to Baptist Hymnal,, Reynolds)

-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Gospel Origin-Civil Rights & Labor Songs
From: Stewie
Date: 12 Feb 01 - 08:30 PM

There is a bit on the provenance of 'We Shall Overcome' at the following link. It cites Tindley's 'I'll Overcome Some Day' as the original inspiration. The full text of Tindley's hymn may be found at the Cyber Hymnal site.

Click Here

Evidently the great gospel singer, Marion Williams, did a belter of a version taking the civil rights song back to its gospel roots, but I cannot find it among the recordings I have of her.

--Stewie.


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Subject: RE: Gospel Origin-Civil Rights & Labor Songs
From: Joe Offer
Date: 18 Mar 01 - 04:04 AM

In another thread (click) Mark Clark posted "In Union There Is Strength," which is based on "Do Lord, O Do Lord."

-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Gospel Origin-Civil Rights & Labor Songs
From: Dani
Date: 18 Mar 01 - 08:31 AM

While we're over there translating Latin, let's do a motto that say's something like, "Ignorance only through laziness, only through busyness."

Mea Culpa, Joe, Mea maxima culpa! I know the info is onsite somewhere, I've just never taken the time to pay attention.

Dani


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Subject: RE: Gospel Origin-Civil Rights & Labor Songs
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 18 Mar 01 - 11:45 AM

Hold The Fort, For We Are Coming is one such (Fine tune; great chorus song)


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Subject: RE: Gospel Origin-Civil Rights & Labor Songs
From: Hollowfox
Date: 19 Mar 01 - 10:37 AM

(Blush!) I just looked at my above posting of a year ago, and just now noticed that I left out the title and author: "Hold the Fort! : the Story of a Song, from the Sawdust Trail to the Picket Line. (Better late than never, she mumbled)


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Subject: RE: Gospel Origin-Civil Rights & Labor Songs
From: GUEST,Ced2
Date: 19 Mar 01 - 11:22 AM

The "get the tune from gospel" theme was not a purely American idea. The point was to identify what tunes were known in an era when there was no radio gramaphone tape cd etc.,etc. The British Labour Movement employed the same tactic, church tunes were used as a backdrop to many socialist songs. The Indepndent Labour Party published ( for fourpence) "Labours Song Book",the 1926 edition contains 75 songs but no tunes,nor unfortunately does it contain a reference to the tune. Similarly "Labour's Church Hymn Book of 1915 contains 178 songs but no music or reference to music. However that book does contain a refeence to the "Labour Church Tune Book, first published in May 1912. "Bound in stiff cloth covers it comprises words, Staff Notation and Tonic Solfa for 178 hymns and is on sales for 4s 6d (carriage paid 5s)." George Lansbury also produced (at least) two books Sixteen Songs for Sixpence and Sixteen More Songs(?). Both these have music.


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Subject: RE: Gospel Origin-Civil Rights & Labor Songs
From: George Seto - af221@chebucto.ns.ca
Date: 01 Sep 01 - 11:21 AM

Jacob's Ladder


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Subject: RE: Gospel Origin-Civil Rights & Labor Songs
From: masato sakurai
Date: 01 Sep 01 - 11:56 AM

Concerning "We Shall Overcome," I'll quote some comments from James J. Fuld, The Book of World-Famous Music, 4th ed. (Dover, pp. 622-628):

The music and words of We Shall Overcome, the unofficial Negro freedom anthem which was given prominent recognition by President Johnson, are derived from a number of sources.
The simple melody of the first four bars of We Shall Overcome is almost identical with that of the hymn whose opening words are "O Sanctissima."
The words of We Shall Overcome seem to have had their source in an original hymn by C. Albert Tindley, entitled I'll Overcome Some Day,...
The first printed confirmation of the wedding of the above introductory music and the above title is in the Negro gospel song I'll Overcome Someday, published May 1, 1945, by Martin & Morris Music Studio, Chicago.

Masato


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Subject: Lyr Add: I'LL OVERCOME SOME DAY^^
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 07 Oct 01 - 12:59 PM

Here is the complete text of "I'll Overcome Some Day" from The Cyber Hymnal. They also have a midi file at this link.
^^
I'LL OVERCOME SOME DAY
(Charles A. Tindley, 1901)

This world is one great battlefield
With forces all arrayed,
If in my heart I do not yield
I'll overcome some day.
I'll overcome some day,
I'll overcome some day,
If in my heart I do not yield,
I'll overcome some day.

Both seen and unseen powers join
To drive my soul astray,
But with His Word a sword of mine,
I'll overcome some day.
I'll overcome some day,
I'll overcome some day,
But with His Word a sword of mine,
I'll overcome some day.

A thousand snares are set for me,
And mountains in my way,
If Jesus will my leader be,
I'll overcome some day.
I'll overcome some day,
I'll overcome some day,
If Jesus will my leader be,
I'll overcome some day.

I fail so often when I try
My Savior to obey;
It pains my heart and then I cry,
Lord, make me strong some day.
Lord, make me strong some day,
Lord, make me strong some day;
It pains my heart and then I cry,
Lord, make me strong some day.

My mind is not to do the wrong,
But walk the narrow way;
I'm praying as I journey on,
To overcome some day.
To overcome some day,
To overcome some day;
I'm praying as I journey on,
To overcome some day.

Though many a time no signs appear,
Of answer when I pray;
My Jesus says I need not fear,
He'll make it plain some day.
I'll be like Him some day,
I'll be like Him some day;
My Jesus says I need not fear,
He'll make it plain some day.


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Subject: RE: Gospel Origin-Civil Rights & Labor Songs
From: Joe Offer
Date: 08 Oct 01 - 03:47 AM

I thought Frank Hamilton wrote something about his participation in writing "We Shal Overcome," but I can't find it. Can anyone find that thread?
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Gospel Origin-Civil Rights & Labor Songs
From: Genie
Date: 15 Jan 02 - 03:13 AM

What about "Keep Your Lamps (Trimmed And Burning)?" The lyrics seem applicable both to the underground railroad and Christianity. Was it originally a code song or was it a gospel song that was used in the fight against slavery and/or for civil rights?


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Subject: RE: Gospel Origin-Civil Rights & Labor Songs
From: masato sakurai
Date: 15 Jan 02 - 10:15 AM

The tune of "Which Side Are You On" is said to come from a hymn (see this thread: Lyr Req: Lay the Lily Low), but I haven't found it. Does anyone know the original?
~Masato


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