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Info: Mary had a baby (people keep a-comin'/train)

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MARY HAD A BABY


Related threads:
Lyr Add: Mary had a baby revisited (16)
Lyr Add: Mary Had a Baby (7)


Luke 06 Dec 00 - 09:49 PM
katlaughing 06 Dec 00 - 10:09 PM
Mary in Kentucky 06 Dec 00 - 10:48 PM
GUEST,Becky 07 Dec 00 - 01:09 AM
Crowhugger 07 Dec 00 - 01:22 AM
rabbitrunning 07 Dec 00 - 04:35 AM
Luke 07 Dec 00 - 07:15 AM
Robby 07 Dec 00 - 08:01 AM
GUEST,Brian Hoskin (in new location & computer 07 Dec 00 - 08:54 AM
GUEST,Arkie 07 Dec 00 - 11:46 PM
mousethief 08 Dec 00 - 02:05 PM
black walnut 08 Dec 00 - 07:06 PM
GUEST 19 Dec 10 - 12:45 PM
Desert Dancer 19 Dec 10 - 01:07 PM
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Subject: Mary had a baby
From: Luke
Date: 06 Dec 00 - 09:49 PM

I learned this song when I was 13 frm some younger girls in Muskigon Hts. Michigan. It has the refrain, :The people keep acomin' and the train done gone. I was wondering if anyone knew the origin and or importance of this refrain if any other than the obvious literal ones.

Mary had a baby oh lord Mary had a baby oh my lord Mary had a baby oh lord The people keep a comin and the train done gone

It's a great christmas sing along

Luke


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Subject: RE: BS: Mary had a baby
From: katlaughing
Date: 06 Dec 00 - 10:09 PM

Luke, I don't have time to lok at them, myself, but if you put "mary had a baby", without the quotations marks, in the Super Search box and hit Go, several older threads will come up which talk about this song. You may find some info there.

kat


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Subject: RE: BS: Mary had a baby
From: Mary in Kentucky
Date: 06 Dec 00 - 10:48 PM

Luke, I'm wondering the same thing, but I can't find much information.

If you put "Mary Had a Baby" in SuperSearch, you'll get the song you're referring to, but I believe most (or all) of the discussions refer to another song with the same title.

A quick internet search turned up a couple of links which say that the train image was used in gospel music to mean "the way to a better life."

I always thought it meant "one's journey to salvation."

As far as "the train done gone"...I dunno...

I do like the song though.


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Subject: RE: BS: Mary had a baby
From: GUEST,Becky
Date: 07 Dec 00 - 01:09 AM

That song appears in Ruth Crawford Seeger's "American Folk Songs for Children" (Doubleday 1948) and she cites as her source "Saint Helena Island Spirituals" by N.G.J. Ballanta (Schirmer 1925) and the Penn Normal Industrial and Agricultural School of St. Helena Island, North Carolina. (However, on the song's page it says it's from South Carolina.) Peggy Seeger sings it on the 2 cd set of the American Folk Songs for Children done with Mike Seeger.

~ Becky in Tucson


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Subject: RE: BS: Mary had a baby
From: Crowhugger
Date: 07 Dec 00 - 01:22 AM

I gather from some songs my mother used to sing that the train would be the "gospel train," and its journey and destination are both salvation by believing in Jesus Christ the Saviour. Try southern afro-American religious websites for more. Mom raised us Unitarian-Universalist which is a fairly humanist, so my small Christian knowledge has osmosed from society at large.

CH.


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Subject: RE: BS: Mary had a baby
From: rabbitrunning
Date: 07 Dec 00 - 04:35 AM

My copy of the Seeger book places St. Helena Island in South Carolina. (At least in the bibliographic listing of the abbreviations.) It's interesting that the verses for "Mary had a Baby" are the same as the verses for "Sing Hallelu" isn't it?

There's also a nice version of this song on one of the King's Singer's Christmas albums.


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Subject: RE: BS: Mary had a baby
From: Luke
Date: 07 Dec 00 - 07:15 AM

thanks


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Subject: RE: BS: Mary had a baby
From: Robby
Date: 07 Dec 00 - 08:01 AM

May I just add that if any commercial, PBS or cable television ever rebroadcasts Robert Shaw's Christmas, which was taped in Atlanta watch it. The Morehouse College Choir, one of participating entities in the show does a version of "Mary Had A Baby" that is simply outstanding.

For years I have been taping Christmas specials that have caught my fancy and this is one of my favorites. The Morehouse Choir also performs an African-American song that will just blow you away. It is a fabulous choral group.


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Subject: RE: BS: Mary had a baby
From: GUEST,Brian Hoskin (in new location & computer
Date: 07 Dec 00 - 08:54 AM

There's a long history of trains (and chariots before them) as symbols in African-American songs and sermons. Two good places to read up on this are Norm Cohen's The Long Steel Rail (republished this year!) and McPherson and Williams Railroad: Trains and Train People in American Culture.

Brian

Ps I've been away from the Mudcat for a couple of months, it's nice to come back and read so many threads about music!


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Subject: RE: BS: Mary had a baby
From: GUEST,Arkie
Date: 07 Dec 00 - 11:46 PM

Bruce Cockburn does a good, upbeat version of this song on his "Christmas" CD. He has lots of other good things on the recording as well.


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Subject: RE: BS: Mary had a baby
From: mousethief
Date: 08 Dec 00 - 02:05 PM

Big plug for the Cockburn "Christmas" CD! Excellent album, full of really unusual gems, including the "Huron Carol" in the original Huron, a French-macaronic "Angels We Have Heard on High," and "Riu Riu Chiu" in medieval Spanish. Also some excellent fingerstyle carols, and -- well, GET IT!

Alex


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Subject: RE: BS: Mary had a baby
From: black walnut
Date: 08 Dec 00 - 07:06 PM

another vote for cockburn. i can't get his version of 'Mary had...' out of my mind!

~'nut


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Subject: RE: Info: Mary had a baby (people keep a-comin'/train)
From: GUEST
Date: 19 Dec 10 - 12:45 PM

for anyone still wondering about this song, see this website

http://www.negrospirituals.com/news-song/mary_had_a_baby.htm


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Subject: RE: Info: Mary had a baby (people keep a-comin'/train)
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 19 Dec 10 - 01:07 PM

Mary Had A Baby at negrospirituals.com

No more info than these lyrics, though:

Mary Had A Baby

Mary had a baby
Yes Lord
Mary had a baby
Yes Lord
The people keep-a coming and the train done gone

What did she name him
Yes Lord
What did she
The people keep-a coming and the train done gone

She name him King Jesus
Yes Lord
Name him King Jesus
Yes my Lord
Name him King Jesus
Yes Lord
The people keep-a coming and the train done gone

She name him Mighty Couns'lor
Yes Lord
Name him Mighty Couns'lor
Yes my Lord
Name him Mighty Couns'lor
Yes Lord
The people keep-a coming and the train done gone

Oh, where was he born?
Yes Lord
Where was he born
Yes my Lord
Where was he born
The people keep-a coming and the train done gone

Oh born in a manger
Yes Lord
Born in a manger
Yes my Lord
Born in a manger
The people keep-a coming and the train done gone


~ Becky in Tucson
(was Guest, Becky back in '00)


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