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Origins: Who wrote and sings 'Little Moses'?

DigiTrad:
FINDING OF MOSES
LITTLE MOSES
LITTLE MOSES --- or at least the choruses


Related threads:
Lyr Req: Finding of Moses / Pharaoh's Daughter (33)
(origins) Origins: Finding of Moses (Michael Moran/Zozimus) (21)
Finding of Moses/'Terinachers' (6)
Lyr Req: Pharaoh's Daughter (9) (closed)


In Mudcat MIDIs:
By the Side of a River (Little Moses) (from The Mother's Nursery Songs, by Thomas Hastings, published in 1853)


GUEST,Mrbisok@aol 18 Sep 00 - 08:28 AM
MartinRyan 18 Sep 00 - 08:33 AM
IanC 18 Sep 00 - 08:38 AM
harpgirl 18 Sep 00 - 08:45 AM
Willie-O 18 Sep 00 - 08:49 AM
dick greenhaus 18 Sep 00 - 08:50 AM
MartinRyan 18 Sep 00 - 08:57 AM
SINSULL 18 Sep 00 - 09:17 AM
Giac 18 Sep 00 - 09:21 AM
My name Jo 18 Sep 00 - 09:21 AM
Stewie 18 Sep 00 - 08:19 PM
raredance 18 Sep 00 - 08:55 PM
Jimmy C 18 Sep 00 - 09:00 PM
IanC 19 Sep 00 - 04:42 AM
Joe Offer 19 Sep 00 - 05:51 AM
GUEST,SingSong aka SusanGoo@aol.com 05 Oct 00 - 03:43 PM
GUEST,Bobby Bob, Ellan Vannin 05 Oct 00 - 05:09 PM
harpgirl 22 Mar 04 - 10:45 PM
masato sakurai 23 Mar 04 - 02:42 AM
harpgirl 23 Mar 04 - 07:41 AM
fretless 23 Mar 04 - 09:55 AM
The Fooles Troupe 24 Mar 04 - 02:04 AM
bbc 24 Mar 04 - 07:15 AM
McGrath of Harlow 24 Mar 04 - 08:27 AM
harpgirl 24 Mar 04 - 08:29 AM
Joe Offer 24 Jan 09 - 03:48 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 24 Jan 09 - 04:17 PM
Joe Offer 24 Jan 09 - 04:24 PM
Booklynrose 24 Jan 09 - 04:35 PM
Joe Offer 24 Jan 09 - 05:14 PM
Joe Offer 24 Jan 09 - 06:43 PM
Joe Offer 07 Jan 11 - 04:37 PM
Bill D 07 Jan 11 - 05:31 PM
Joe Offer 07 Jan 11 - 06:36 PM
GUEST,Little Moses 07 Jan 11 - 09:20 PM
Linda Goodman Zebooker 08 Jan 11 - 10:51 AM
GUEST,John Garst 19 Apr 11 - 10:11 AM
GUEST,John Garst 14 May 11 - 05:16 PM
GUEST 09 Jan 13 - 07:41 PM
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Subject: Who wrote and sings 'Little Moses'?
From: GUEST,Mrbisok@aol
Date: 18 Sep 00 - 08:28 AM

I need the singer and the songwriter ID (and appx date of composition) for that stunning poem and tune about the life of Moses. These words begin it: "Away by the war so clear, the ladies were winding their way, when Pharaoh's little daughter, stepped down to the water, to bathe in the cool of the day"-- thanks


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Subject: RE: Who wrote and sings 'Little Moses'?
From: MartinRyan
Date: 18 Sep 00 - 08:33 AM

Sounds like a version of Zosimus's "Finding of Moses" - which is in the DT HERE

Regards


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Subject: RE: Who wrote and sings 'Little Moses'?
From: IanC
Date: 18 Sep 00 - 08:38 AM

Hi!

I know this song and it isn't the one in DT. I'll see what I can get on it.

Cheers!
IanC


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Subject: RE: Who wrote and sings 'Little Moses'?
From: harpgirl
Date: 18 Sep 00 - 08:45 AM

sure does sound like something AP Carter would sing...


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Subject: RE: Who wrote and sings 'Little Moses'?
From: Willie-O
Date: 18 Sep 00 - 08:49 AM

Little Moses was found in the stream
Yeah, Little Moses was found in the stream
Where he floated on water, till old Pharaoh's daughter
Plucked him (she says) from that stream.

But it ain't necessarily so, no it ain't necessarily so
The things that yo're liable to read in the Bible
They ain't necessarily so.

(Porgy and Bess)

Gee, methinks I detects a certain stylistic overlap...

W-O


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Subject: RE: Who wrote and sings 'Little Moses'?
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 18 Sep 00 - 08:50 AM

It is in the DT. Claimed by A.P. Carter, but so was a lot of stuff.


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Subject: RE: Who wrote and sings 'Little Moses'?
From: MartinRyan
Date: 18 Sep 00 - 08:57 AM

Ha! SOunds more like Gershwin than Zosimus alright!

Regards


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Subject: ADD 'Little Moses'? ^^^
From: SINSULL
Date: 18 Sep 00 - 09:17 AM

Joan Baez or Judy Collins recorded it, I think:

Little Moses

Away by the water so blue
The ladies were winding their way
When Pharaoh's little daughter
Stepped down to the water
To bathe in the cool of the day
And before it was dark
She looked in the ark
And found sweet infant was there
And before it was dark
She looked in the ark
And found sweet infant was there.

And away from the water so blue
She carried that beautiful child
To his tender mother,
His sister and brother
Little Moses looked happy and smiled.
And she called him her own
Her beautiful son
And sent for a nurse that was near
And she called him her own
Her beautiful son
And sent for a nurse that was near.

And away by the sea that was red, so red
Moses servant of God
Before him subsided
The seas were divided
When upwards he lifted his rod
And the Jews safely crossed
While Pharaoh's host
Was drowned in the water and lost
And the Jews safely crossed
While Pharaoh's host
Was drowned in the water and lost

And away by the mountain so high
The last one that he ever did see
With Israel victorious
His hopes were most glorious
Someday will Jordan be free?
When his spirit did cease
He departed in peace
And rested in the heavens above
When his spirit did cease
He departed in peace
And rested in the heavens above.

Done from memory. I will have to check on accuracy. There is a rather raunchy parody of this in the DT.
Mary
Corrected horse to host. ^^^


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Subject: RE: Who wrote and sings 'Little Moses'?
From: Giac
Date: 18 Sep 00 - 09:21 AM

Think that's right on, Sinsull. That's how I sing it, from an early Joan Baez album. Took me forever to figure out how to thumbpick that melody. I also have it in a Carter Family collection.


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Subject: RE: Who wrote and sings 'Little Moses'?
From: My name Jo
Date: 18 Sep 00 - 09:21 AM

Robin & Linda Williams did this song.

In reading through the Mudcat threads, I've noticed a lot of people dumping on Bob Dylan for his adaptations of traditional folk songs. Dylan's actions in that regard pale next to the likes of A.P. Carter.


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Subject: RE: Who wrote and sings 'Little Moses'?
From: Stewie
Date: 18 Sep 00 - 08:19 PM

In respect of this song, which was recorded by the Carter Family in 1929, Charles Wolfe noted that Sara had learned it from an older relative, Myrtle Bayes, under the title 'Moses in the Bullrushes' and that it had appeared in a 1905 set of folksongs from Missouri.

--Stewie.


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Subject: RE: Who wrote and sings 'Little Moses'?
From: raredance
Date: 18 Sep 00 - 08:55 PM

The song is in "Ballads and Songs Collected by the Misouri Folklore Society" by H M Belden (1940) with the notation: "By The Side of a River" Reported by Miss Lowry in 1905 as known by her aunt in Indiana.

An even older version is found in "Spiritual Folk-Songs of Early America" by George Pullen Jackson (1937). Jackson includes a single verse with the added note: " Recorded from the singing of Miss Will Allen Dromgoole, Nashville, Tennessee, as she remembered it sung in 1890 by Mr Tate, stage driver from Beersheba to Beersheba Springs on Cumberland Mountain in Tennessee". Jackson also printed a full text from another source that was "recorded by Mr. Fred Haun of Newport, Tennessee, from the singing of his mother..." No specific date is given for the longer text.

rich r


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Subject: RE: Who wrote and sings 'Little Moses'?
From: Jimmy C
Date: 18 Sep 00 - 09:00 PM

Here is a slightly different version, probably taken from MartinRyan's above.

FINDING OF MOSES
(Zozimus?)

T'was out in Egypt's land,contagious to the Nile
There the Pharaoh's daughter went to bathe in style
And as She took her dip and she came unto the land
Just to dry her royal pelt, she ran along the strand
She tripped upon a bullrush, whereupon she saw
A smiling little babby lying in a wad of straw
So she took the babby home, to the Pharaoh on the throne
"Oh Da" said she can you give the child a home.
"Sure" said the Pharaoh, "I've often took in worse
But run down to the market place
And find the child a nurse"
When she got to the market, no skivvy couild she find
Only the little young one that left the child behind
And she letting on she was a stranger from afar
She didn't tell teh Pharaoh that she was the Babby's ma
And so Little Moses he got his mommy back
Such a coincidence
Now wasn't that the craic


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Subject: RE: Who wrote and sings 'Little Moses'?
From: IanC
Date: 19 Sep 00 - 04:42 AM

Hi!

Just had a friend check the sleeve notes of the Joan Baez album he got it off.

The song was apparently collected in 1890 "in bluegrass country" and published in "Spiritual Folksongs of Early America" by George Pullen Jackson. This version was apparently recorded in the 1920s by the Carter family

Hope this is useful.

Cheers!
Ian


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Subject: Origins: Little Moses
From: Joe Offer
Date: 19 Sep 00 - 05:51 AM

I've found the best way to search the database is to use the blue search box and search for an exact phrase like [bathe in the cool of the day] (click) in square brackets, so it finds an exact phrase. The version that comes up is just about identical to that which Sinsull posted from memory. Good memory, Sinsull.
-Joe Offer-

Here's the entry on this song from the Traditional Ballad Index:

Little Moses

DESCRIPTION: The story of Moses in brief: Set adrift in a small boat in Egypt, he is found and raised by the daughter of Pharaoh. When grown, he leads his people across the Red Sea to safety while Pharaoh's host is destroyed
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: 1905 (Belden)
KEYWORDS: Bible religious Jew royalty abandonment river rescue hiding Jew
FOUND IN: US(Ap,So)
REFERENCES (6 citations):
Belden, p. 449, "Moses in the Bulrushes" (1 text)
Randolph 662, "Little Moses" (1 text)
Asch/Dunson/Raim, p. 74, "Little Moses" (1 text, 1 tune)
Cohen/Seeger/Wood, pp. 128-129, "Little Moses" (1 text, 1 tune)
Silber-FSWB, p. 361, "Little Moses" (1 text)
DT, LITMOSES

Roud #3546
RECORDINGS:
Carter Family, "Little Moses" (Victor 23641/Victor V-40110, 1929; Bluebird B-5924, 1935; Montgomery Ward M-5010, 1936; on AAFM2)
A. P. Carter Family, "Little Moses" (Acme 992, n.d. but post-WWII)
Harmon E. Helmick, "Little Moses" (Champion 16705, 1934; Decca 5498, 1938)

CROSS-REFERENCES:
cf. "The Finding of Moses" (subject)
ALTERNATE TITLES:
By the Side of a River
NOTES: The story of Moses being abandoned by his parents (who had to hide him to prevent him from being killed) is told in Exodus 2:1-10. These verses also tell of his sister (presumably Miriam, since she is Moses's only known sister, though she is not named in this passage) following him as he floated away (his brother Aaron would have been only three and too young for the task), and of his mother nursing her own child. The crossing of the Red Sea is covered in Exodus chapter 14.
The final lines of the Carter Family version, "When his labors did cease, he departed in peace, And rested in the Heavens above" are more interesting. The only official word on Moses's fate is in chapter 34 of Deuteronomy: "Then Moses went up... to Mount Nebo... and the LORD howed him the whole land.... Then Moses... died... in the land of Moab. He was buried in the land of Moab, opposite Beth-Peor, but no one to this day knows where hs is buried."
At the time of Moses's death, there was no Jewish tradition of an afterlife; all, good or bad, were thought to go to Sheol (which was quite clearly underground). Later, the idea of a heaven became widespread -- and a Jewish legend had it that Moses went there, or that he was taken up bodily to heaven, as was clearly reported of Elijah (2 Kings 2:11) and less clearly of Enoch (Genesis 5:24).
This view seems to be supported by the New Testament account of the Transfiguration (Mark 9:2-8 and parallels), since Jesus is reported to have been talking with Moses and Elijah (though nothing ever makes it clear how Peter and James and John knew that the other two were Moses and Elijah...). - RBW
File: R662

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: Chords Request for Little Moses
From: GUEST,SingSong aka SusanGoo@aol.com
Date: 05 Oct 00 - 03:43 PM

Dear Friends:

Could someone please provide me with guitar chords to the version of Little Moses that Joan Baez recorded lo these many years ago.

"Away by the waters so blue The ladies were winding their way When pharoah's little daughter stepped down to the water To bathe in the cool of the day. And before it was dark, she looked in the ark, And found a sweet infant there lay."

My daughter's third grade class and I thank you!


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Subject: Chords Add: LITTLE MOSES (Carter Family)
From: GUEST,Bobby Bob, Ellan Vannin
Date: 05 Oct 00 - 05:09 PM

Not being a guitar player, this is from SingOut! where they give it as 'a typical song from the vast repertoire of the Carter family . . . from the Smokey Mountains in western Virginia . . .'.

Even as a non-guitar player, the chords are a doddle.

   G          D7       G
Away by the river so clear
G D7 G
The ladies were winding their way
D7 D7
And Pharoah's young daughter
D7 D7
Stepp'd down in the water
G D7 G
To bathe in the cool of the day.
G D7
Before it was dark
G C
She open'd the ark,
G D7 G
And found the sweet infant was there.

Or relative chords in other keys.

Shoh slaynt,

Bobby Bob

Preformat commands <pre> (beginning) and </pre> (end) added to space chords.
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Who wrote and sings 'Little Moses'?
From: harpgirl
Date: 22 Mar 04 - 10:45 PM

richr, can you provide the versions you referred to in your previous post, if you're out there? I would like to know more about it's origin....thanks abby


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Subject: ADD Version: MOSES (Jackson)
From: masato sakurai
Date: 23 Mar 04 - 02:42 AM

From Jackson, Spiritual Folk-Songs of Early America (1937; Dover, 1964, no. 27 [pp. 55-56]), the longer version being without tune:
             MOSES

X:1
T:Moses
M:3/4
L:1/4
N:Hexatonic, mode I A (I II III IV V VI --)
K:C
G|GEG|GEG|AFA|GEE|
w:An' Pha-re-oh's daugh-ter went down to thee wa-ter An'
DDD|DED|C3|G3|GEG|GEG|
w:foun' there thee beau-tee-ful child, A-mong thee tall bush-es thee
AFA|GEC|DDD|DED|C3-|C2|]
w:reeds an' thee rush-es Thee ba-bee look'd sweet-lee an' smil'd.

Recorded from singing of Miss Will Allen Dromgoole, Nashville, Tennessee, as she remembered it sung in 1890 by Mr. Tate, stage driver from Beersheba to Beersheba Springs on Cumberland Mountain in Tennessee. The unusual spelling is an attempt at reproducing the emphatic pronunciation of Mr. Tate. The one stanza given above was all Miss Dromgoole remembered.
The full text, however, was recorded by Mr. Fred Haun of Newport, Tennessee, from the singing of his mother, Mrs. Maggie Haun, and placed at my disposal by Miss Mildred Haun, his sister. This rather defective text is as follows:
MOSES

The ladies were wending their way
As Pharo's daughter stepped down to the water
To bathe in the cool of the day.
Before it was dark she opened the ark
And found the sweet infant was there.

She took him in pity and thought him so pretty;
That made little Moses so glad.
She called him her own, her beautiful son,
And sent for a nurse that was near.

By the side of the river so clear
They carried that beautiful child
To his own tender mother, his sister and brother;
Little Moses looked happy and smiled.

His mother so good done all that she could
To hear [rear?] him and teach him with care.
Then away by the sea that was red
Stood Moses the servant of God.

While in him confided the deed [sea?] was divided
While upward he lifted his rod.
The Jews safely crossed while Pharo's host
Was drounded in the water and lost.

Then away by the mountain so high
Stood Moses with trembling an' awe;
With lightning and thunder, great signs and wonders,
While God was giving the law.
He wrote it down on two tables of stone
Before he returned to the sky.

Then away on the mountain so high
Stood the last one he ever might see.
While Israel victorious, his hope was most gloriest,
Would soon over Jordan be free.
His neighbors did cease, he departed in peace,
And rest-es in heaven above.

To play or display ABC tunes, try concertina.net


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Subject: RE: Who wrote and sings 'Little Moses'?
From: harpgirl
Date: 23 Mar 04 - 07:41 AM

Thank you, Masato. I'm trying to cobble together a version from the extant ones that I really like. I'm getting very close. If you find any other versions, I would like to see them. I appreciate your scholarship, as usual, as well as richr's and our other scholars. Harpgirl


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Subject: RE: Who wrote and sings 'Little Moses'?
From: fretless
Date: 23 Mar 04 - 09:55 AM

The next to last line in the version quoted above by Masato Sakurai from Jackson's Spiritual Folk-Songs of Early America makes more sense with "labors" than it does with "neighbors," but Jackson notes that his transcription is "rather defective." Anyway, labors is how I've always sung/heard it.

Another variant: Robin and Linda Williams' recording gives the line "And the Jews sneaked across..." in place of the more common "The Jews safely crossed..." Can anyone provide a source for R&L's variant?


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Subject: RE: Who wrote and sings 'Little Moses'?
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 24 Mar 04 - 02:04 AM

Dunno about 'Little Moses', but I've always been a fan of 'Little Egypt'.

:-)


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Subject: RE: Who wrote and sings 'Little Moses'?
From: bbc
Date: 24 Mar 04 - 07:15 AM

John McCutcheon sings it, nicely, on his "Barefoot Boy with Boots on" recording put out by Front Hall Enterprises (the Old Songs folks).

bbc


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Subject: ADD Version: Little Moses (Neil Morris)
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 24 Mar 04 - 08:27 AM

There's a lovely version by Neil Morris of Mountain View, Arkansas, which was recorded by Alan Lomax (with Shirley Collins assisting) on a field trip back in 1959. It came out on a record called "White Spirituals" issued by Atlantic as part of a Southern Folk Heritage series.

And here is a transcription of the words (basically the same as the Carter version, but with a few little differences. And it's little differences that make the magic in this kind of music) - Little Moses (But I've adjusted it to match the record in a couple of places - because that's how it's always stuck in my mind.)

LITTLE MOSES

By the side of the river so clear,
The ladies were winding their way,
When Phareoh's daughter stepped down to the water,
To bathe in the cool of the day.

Before it was dark, she opened the ark,
And found the sweet infant was there.
Before it was dark, she opened the ark,
And found the sweet infant was there.

By the side of the river so clear,
This infant was lonely and sad,
She took him in pity, and thought him so pretty,
Which made little Moses so glad

She called him her own, her beautiful son,
And sent for the nurse that was near.
She called him her own, her beautiful son,
And sent for the nurse that was near.

By the side of the river so clear,
They carried that beautiful child,
To his own tender mother, his sister and brother,
And Moses looked happy and smiled.

His mother so good, done all that she could,
To rear him and teach him with care.
His mother so good, done all that she could,
To rear him and teach him with care.

Then away by the sea that was red,
Stood Moses the servant of God,
While Aaron confided the deep was divided,
As upward he lifted his rod.

The Jews safe across, while Phareoh's horse,
Was drownded in the waters and lost.
The Jews safe across, while Phareoh's horse,
Was drownded in the waters and lost.)

Then away on that mountain so high,
The last one he ever might see,
With Israel's victorious, his hope was most glorious,
He'd soon over Jordan would be free.

His labours did cease, he departed in peace,
And rested in the heavens above.
His labours did cease, he departed in peace,
And rested in the heavens above.


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Subject: RE: Who wrote and sings 'Little Moses'?
From: harpgirl
Date: 24 Mar 04 - 08:29 AM

thanks Kevin. Neil Morris is Jimmy Driftwood's father and a folk hero of mine....


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Subject: ADD Version: Little Moses (Silber & Silber)
From: Joe Offer
Date: 24 Jan 09 - 03:48 PM

Here's the version from Silber & Silber:

LITTLE MOSES

Away by the river so clear,
The ladies were winding their way,
And Pharaoh's young daughter stepp'd down in the water,
To bathe in the cool of the day.
Before it was dark she opened the ark
And found the sweet infant there.
Before it was dark she opened the ark
And found the sweet infant there.

Away by the waters so blue,
The infant was lonely and sad,
She took him in pity and thought him so pretty,
And made Little Moses so glad.
She called him her own her beautiful son
And sent for a nurse that was near.
She called him her own her beautiful son
And sent for a nurse that was near.

Away by the river so clear,
They carried the beautiful child,
To his tender mother, his sister and brother,
And Moses looked happy and smiled.
His mother so good did all that she could
To rear him and teach him with care,
His mother so good did all that she could
To rear him and teach him with care,

Away by the sea that was red,
Little Moses the servant of God,
While in him confided, the sea was divided,
As upward he lifted his rod.
The Jews safely crossed
while King Pharaoh's host Was drowned in the waters and lost.
The Jews safely crossed
while King Pharaoh's host Was drowned in the waters and lost.

Away on a mountain so high,
And the last one that ever might see.
While in him victorious, his hope was most glorious,
He'd soon over Jordan be free.
When his labor did cease, he left there in peace,
And rested in Heaven above.
When his labor did cease, he left there in peace,
And rested in Heaven above.



G            D7       G
A-way by the river so clear,
                  D7          G
The ladies were winding their way,
    D7
And Pharaoh's young daughter stepp'd down in the water,
    G            D7          G
To bathe in the cool of the day.
               D7       G          C
Before it was dark she opened the ark
      G             D7      G
And found the sweet infant there.
               D7       G         C
Before it was dark she opened the ark
      G               D7
And found the sweet infant there.



Source: Silber & Silber, Folksinger's Wordbook (Oak Publications, 1973), page 361


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Subject: RE: Origins: Who wrote and sings 'Little Moses'?
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 24 Jan 09 - 04:17 PM

Two versions in the Max Hunter Collection:
Little Moses


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Subject: ADD Version: Little Moses (Carter Family)
From: Joe Offer
Date: 24 Jan 09 - 04:24 PM

Here's my transcription of the Carter Family recording, with help from the Carter Family Songs Website:

LITTLE MOSES

Away by the river so clear, the ladies were winding their way;
And Pharaoh's little daughter stepped down in the water
To bathe in the cool of the day.
   Before it was dark she opened the ark
   And found the sweet infant was there.
   Before it was dark she opened the ark
   And found the sweet infant was there.

And away by the waters so blue, the infant was lonely and sad,
She took him in pity and thought him so pretty,
And it made little Moses so glad.
   She called him her own, her beautiful son,
   And sent for a nurse that was near.
   She called him her own, her beautiful son,
   And sent for a nurse that was near.

   [INSTRUMENTAL BREAK]

And away by the river so clear, they carried the beautiful child
To his own tender mother, his sister and brother,
Little Moses looked happy and smiled.
   His mother so good done all that she could
   To rear him and teach him with care.
   His mother so good done all that she could
   To rear him and teach him with care.

   [INSTRUMENTAL BREAK]

And away by the sea that was red, little Moses, the servant of God,
While in Him confided, the sea was divided,
As upward he lifted his rod.
   The Jews stepped across while Pharaoh's host*
   Was drownded in the waters and lost.
   The Jews stepped across while Pharaoh's host
   Was drownded in the waters and lost.

And away on the mountain so high, the last one that ever might see,
While in Him victorious, his hope was most glorious,
He would soon o'er the Jordan be free.
   When his labor did cease, he departed in peace,
   And rested in the heavens above.
   When his labor did cease, he departed in peace,
   And rested in the heavens above.


From the Carter Family recording on the Harry Smith Anthology of American Folk Music
This version is almost the same as the unattributed version in the Digital Tradition, with just a few words different.

*could be: "The Jews they could cross while Pharaoh's host..."

This version can be found, with tune, in Asch/Dunson/Raim, Anthology of American Folk Music (Oak Publications, 1973), p. 74, "Little Moses" (1 text, 1 tune)

Also in John Cohen, Mike Seeger, and Hally Wood; Old Time String Band Songbook (Oak Publications, 1964, 1976). Previously published as The New Lost City Ramblers Songbook., page 128, with tune.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Who wrote and sings 'Little Moses'?
From: Booklynrose
Date: 24 Jan 09 - 04:35 PM

Interesting children's book telling this story from a different perspective: "Pharoah's Daughter" by Julius Lester


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Subject: ADD Version: Moses in the Bulrushes (Belden)
From: Joe Offer
Date: 24 Jan 09 - 05:14 PM

Here's the version from Belden:

MOSES IN THE BULRUSHES

By the side of a river so clear
They carried the beautiful child;
Mid the flags and the bushes in an ark of bulrushes
They left him so lonely and wild;
For the ruffians would come if he tarried at home
And murder that infant so dear.

By the side of the river so clear
The ladies were winding their way,
When Pharaoh's daughter stepped down to the water
To bathe at the close of the day.
Before it was dark, she opened the ark
And found a sweet infant was there.

By the side of the river so clear
That infant was lonely and sad.
She took him in pity and thought him so pretty
And made little Moses so glad.
She called him her own, her beautiful son,
And sent for a nurse that was near.

Away from the river so clear
They carried the beautiful child
To his own tender mother, his sister and brother,
And then he looked happy and smiled.
His mother so good did all that she could
To nurse him and teach him with care.

Notes: Another biblical narrative, which I have found reported elsewhere only from Tennessee (SFSEA 55-6). Miss Lowry's text covers only the first half of the song reported by Jackson.

'By the Side of a River.' Reported by Miss Lowry in 1905 as known by her aunt in Indiana.

From H. M. Belden, Ballads and Songs Collected by the Missouri Folk-Lore Society (University of Missouri Press, 1940, 1955, p. 449; without tune)


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Subject: ADD Version: Little Moses (Randolph)
From: Joe Offer
Date: 24 Jan 09 - 06:43 PM

Here's the version from Randolph, which is a bit different.

662
LITTLE MOSES

Sung by Mr. Arlie Freeman, Natural Dam, Ark., Dec. 10, 1941.

Away the river so clear
The ladies were winding their way,
And Pharaoh's little daughter stepped down in the water
To bathe in the cool of the day.

Before it was dark she opened the ark
And found the sweet infant was there,
Before it was dark she opened the ark
And found the sweet infant was there.

Away by the waters so blue
The infant was lonely and sad,
She took him in pity and thought he was so pretty
And it made little Moses so glad.

She called him her own, her beautiful son,
And sent for a nurse that was near,
She called him her own, her beautiful son,
And sent for a nurse that was near.

Away by the river so clear
They carried the beautiful child
To his own tender mother, his sister and brother,
Little Moses looked happy and smiled.

His mother so good done all that she could
To raise him and teach him with care,
His mother so good done all that she could
To raise him and teach him with care.

And away by the sea that was red,
Little Moses, the servant of God,
While he was confided the sea was divided
As upward he lifted his rod.

The Jews stepped across while Pharaoh's folks
Was drownded in the waters and lost,
The Jews stepped across while Pharaoh's folks
Was drownded in the waters and lost.

Away on the mountain so high,
The last one that ever might be,
While he was victorious his hopes was so glorious
He stood o'er Jordan and preached.

When his labors did cease, he departed in peace,
And rested in the heavens above,
When his labors did cease, he departed in peace,
And rested in the heavens above.

from Ozark Folksongs, collected and edited by Vance Randolph (University of Missouri Press, 1980), Volume IV, pp 97-98, without tune


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Subject: ADD Version: By the Side of a River (Little Moses)
From: Joe Offer
Date: 07 Jan 11 - 04:37 PM

It sure is nice to have Google Books. You'll find "Little Moses" there in many different books - (click).
I found a copy of this song (with music notation) in a book titled The Mother's Nursery Songs, by Thomas Hastings, published in 1853 by M.W. Dodd, New York.

Page 72
and
Page 73

BY THE SIDE OF A RIVER

By the side of the river so clear,
They carried the beautiful child,
Mid the flags and the bushes,
In an ark of bulrushes,
They left him so lonely and wild.
For the ruffians would come,
If he tarried at home,
And murder that infant so dear.

By the side of the river so clear,
The ladies were winding their way,
When Pharaoh's daughter
Came down to the water,
Perhaps at the close of the day.
Before it was dark,
She opened the ark,
And found a sweet infant was there.

By the side of the river so clear,
That infant was lonely and sad;
She took him in pity
And thought him so pretty,
And made little Moses so glad;
She called him her own—
Her beautiful son,
And sent for some nurse that was near.

Away from the river so clear,
They carried the beautiful child
To his own tender mother,
His sister and brother,
And then he looked happy and smiled.
His mother so good,
Did all that she could
To nurse him and teach him with care.

Once more by that river so clear,
When Moses was aged and good,
He saw the king tremble,
Relent, and dissemble,
And the waters all turning to blood.
The king would abuse
And trouble the Jews,
And turn to the Lord a deaf ear.

And soon by the sea that was red,
Stood Moses, the servant of God;
While in him he confided,
The deep was divided,
As upward he lifted his rod.
The Jews safely crossed,
While Pharaoh's host
Were drowned in the waters and dead.

And soon on a mountain so high,
Stood Moses, all trembling with awe,
Mid the lightnings and thunders,
And great signs and wonders,
For God was then giving his law.
The Lord wrote it down
On two tables of stone,
Before he went back to the sky.

Once more on a mountain he stood,
The last one he ever might see;
The prospect was glorious,
Where Israel victorious,
Would soon over Jordan be free.
Then his labors did cease;
He departed in peace,
And now rests in the heavenly abode.


Questions and details relating to the history of Moses are very profitable and instructive to children. Bible histories, well told, have a powerful influence upon their minds.


No songwriter attribution, but this dates the song at least back to 1853.

Click to play


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Subject: RE: Origins: Who wrote and sings 'Little Moses'?
From: Bill D
Date: 07 Jan 11 - 05:31 PM

Yep, Joe... I found that version when I searched a couple of years ago, and have sung it several times since... I think I did it at some point at the Getaway... I really like the 'rounding out' of the story.


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Subject: ADD Version: The Infant Moses (Little Moses)
From: Joe Offer
Date: 07 Jan 11 - 06:36 PM

Here's one more version, even earlier, from Third Reading-Book in the Primary School, by Josiah Freeman Bumstead (Boston: William Ticknor & Co., 1843), pp. 125 and 126.

THE INFANT MOSES. His Exile from Home, and his Restoration.

1. By the side of the river so clear,
They carried the beautiful child ;
'Mid the flags and the bushes,
In an ark of bulrushes,
They left him, so lonely and wild:
For the wicked ..would come,
If he tarried at home,
And murder that infant so dear!

2. By the side of tfie river so clear,
The ladies were winding their way,
When Pharaoh's kind daughter
Stepped down to the water
To bathe, at the close of the day:
Before it was dark,
She opened the ark,
And, lo! a sweet infant was there!

3. By the side of the river so clear,
That infant was lonely and sad;
She took him in pity,
And thought him so pretty,
And made little Moses so glad!
She called him her own —
Her beautiful son —
And sent for a nurse who was near.

4. Away from the river so clear,
They carried the beautiful child,
To his own tender mother,
His sister and brother;
And then he looked happy, and smiled.
His mother, so good,
Did all that she could,
To nurse him and teach him with care.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Who wrote and sings 'Little Moses'?
From: GUEST,Little Moses
Date: 07 Jan 11 - 09:20 PM

I was at my friend Carl's house in 1960. We were both fifteen, He pulled this strange album of Joan somebody out from underneath his pile of Del Shannon, Everly Brothers, Dee Dee Sharp and I don't rememeber what else and droppped the needle on "Little Moses', "Silver Dagger" "El Preso Numero Nueve".. I thought at the time that was the weirdest stuff I had ever heard-thus the sixties started for me right then and there......


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Subject: RE: Origins: Who wrote and sings 'Little Moses'?
From: Linda Goodman Zebooker
Date: 08 Jan 11 - 10:51 AM

I first heard "Little Moses" when the Bluegrass Band STRAIGHT DRIVE performed it wonderfully well at a New Jersey Folk Project spring festival. It's on their album "I'll Take a Page From Your Book". Here's a YouTube of them performing it somewhere.

When I was four, five and six years old I had a babysitter, Mrs. Knoop, who was the amazing age of eighty years old. Every time she sat for me I insisted she read me the same story from a beautifully illustrated book from the Twenties that I still have: the story of finding Moses in the Bulrushes.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Who wrote and sings 'Little Moses'?
From: GUEST,John Garst
Date: 19 Apr 11 - 10:11 AM

Here it is from 1840, *The School Reader, Second Book*, by Charles Walton Sanders (Google Books). Attributed therein to *Nursery Songs*, which I suspect is an earlier edition of the book by Thomas Hastings, cited here earlier in an edition of 1853. This is an abbreviated version, only four stanzas, with music.

1. By the side of a river so clear,
They carried the beautiful child,
Mid the flags and the bushes,
In an ark of bulrushes,
They left him so lonely and wild;
For the ruffians would come
If he tarried at home,
And murder that infant so dear.

2. By the side of the river so clear,
The ladies were winding their way,
When Pharaoh's daughter
Stepped down to the water,
To bathe at the close of the day:
Before it was dark,
She opened the ark,
And found a sweet infant was there.

3. By the side of the river so clear,
That infant was lonely and sad,
She took him in pity,
And thought him so pretty,
And made little Moses so glad,
She call'd him her own—
Her beautiful son,
And sent for a nurse that was near.

4. Away from the river so clear,
They carried the beautiful child,
To his own tender mother,
His sister and brother,
And then he looked happy and smil'd;
His mother so good,
Did all that she could,
To nurse him and teach him with care.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Who wrote and sings 'Little Moses'?
From: GUEST,John Garst
Date: 14 May 11 - 05:16 PM

The presence of "By the Side of a River" in 1840, citing *Nursery Songs*, implies that the Hastings version (perhaps the original, perhaps not) was included in the 1834 edition of *The Mother's Nursery Songs*.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Who wrote and sings 'Little Moses'?
From: GUEST
Date: 09 Jan 13 - 07:41 PM

It *does* appear in the 1835 edition of *The Mother's Nursery Songs* (Thomas Hastings). There is has eight stanzas. The tune is close to the familiar one. No author or composer is given.


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