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Origins: Rock-a My Soul / Rock My Soul

Related threads:
(origins) Origins: So High (22)
Lyr Req: You Must Come In at the Door (17)


In Mudcat MIDIs:
Rock O' My Soul (from Slave Songs of the United States, 1867)


GUEST,Adrienne 01 Feb 02 - 11:06 PM
Sorcha 01 Feb 02 - 11:22 PM
Sorcha 01 Feb 02 - 11:26 PM
masato sakurai 02 Feb 02 - 03:02 AM
Snuffy 02 Feb 02 - 06:06 AM
masato sakurai 02 Feb 02 - 07:25 AM
Dicho (Frank Staplin) 02 Feb 02 - 12:48 PM
Dicho (Frank Staplin) 02 Feb 02 - 01:34 PM
Joe_F 02 Feb 02 - 02:29 PM
Joe Offer 07 Sep 03 - 03:54 PM
GUEST,Doug, dhs@sofnet.com 08 Jun 04 - 11:21 PM
YorkshireYankee 09 Jun 04 - 07:49 AM
GUEST,MC Fat 09 Jun 04 - 08:16 AM
Rapparee 09 Jun 04 - 08:53 AM
wanderhope 09 Jun 04 - 09:06 AM
JennyO 09 Jun 04 - 09:13 AM
GUEST,A Singer 24 Jun 05 - 03:30 AM
wysiwyg 24 Jun 05 - 09:46 AM
GUEST,Azizi 24 Jun 05 - 04:19 PM
GUEST,Aziz 24 Jun 05 - 04:28 PM
GUEST,Winnie 01 Nov 05 - 08:31 AM
Q (Frank Staplin) 01 Nov 05 - 12:33 PM
GUEST 14 Jan 06 - 06:01 AM
GUEST,mick 14 Jan 06 - 07:21 AM
GUEST 21 Mar 07 - 10:10 AM
SouthernCelt 22 Mar 07 - 08:13 AM
GUEST,F. Bacon 11 Jan 09 - 09:01 PM
Nigel Parsons 12 Jan 09 - 06:28 AM
GUEST 25 Feb 09 - 05:44 PM
wysiwyg 26 Feb 09 - 01:30 PM
GUEST,Su 29 Sep 10 - 02:08 AM
Arthur_itus 29 Sep 10 - 03:13 AM
Brian May 29 Sep 10 - 07:31 AM
GUEST,leeneia 29 Sep 10 - 08:09 AM
Joe Offer 29 Sep 10 - 11:45 AM
wysiwyg 29 Sep 10 - 12:17 PM
GUEST 18 Nov 12 - 08:59 PM
GUEST 18 Nov 12 - 09:01 PM
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Subject: Lyr req: Rock-a my Soul
From: GUEST,Adrienne
Date: 01 Feb 02 - 11:06 PM

I can't find this on the Digitrad lyric links, although it must be in there somewhere... Rocka my soul in the bosom of Abraham (3 times) Oh Rocka my soul. There are verses I can't remember. Please help?


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Subject: Lyr Add:ROCK MY SOUL
From: Sorcha
Date: 01 Feb 02 - 11:22 PM

I'm rather suprised it's not here too, so here it is:

ROCK MY SOUL
^^ Refrain
Rock my soul in the bosom of Abraham,
Rock my soul in the bosom of Abraham,
Rock my soul in the bosom of Abraham,
Oh, rock my soul.

Too high, can't get over it,
Too high, can't get over it,
Too high, can't get over it,
Gotta go through the door.

Refrain

Too wide, can't get round it
Too wide, can't get round it
Too wide, can't get round it
Gotta go through the door.

Refrain

Too deep, can't get under it
Too deep, can't get under it
Too deep, can't get under it
Gotta go through the door.

Refrain

Too high, can't get over it
Too wide, can't get round it
Too deep, can't get under it
Gotta go through the door.

Of course, it could be a spelling problem.......Rock My, RockA My, Rock a My.....


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Subject: RE: Lyr req: Rock-a my Soul
From: Sorcha
Date: 01 Feb 02 - 11:26 PM

I also learned "So low can't get under it". Can't remember that there were any others.


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Subject: Lyr Add: ROCK O' MY SOUL
From: masato sakurai
Date: 02 Feb 02 - 03:02 AM

Strange that it's not in the DT, though it's on the list of Fifty Songs Everyone Should Know. An earlier (earliest?) version in Slave Songs of the United States (1867, p. 73; with music)is:

ROCK O' MY SOUL

1. Rock o' my soul in de bosom of Abraham,
Rock o' my soul in de bosom of Abraham,
Rock o' my soul in de bosom of Abraham,
Lord, Rock o' my soul. (King Jesus)

2. He toted the young lambs in his bosom, (ter)
And leave the old sheep alone.

~Masato


Click to play


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Subject: RE: Lyr req: Rock-a my Soul
From: Snuffy
Date: 02 Feb 02 - 06:06 AM

Didn't Lonnie Donegan record this in the 50s/60s?


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Subject: RE: Lyr req: Rock-a my Soul
From: masato sakurai
Date: 02 Feb 02 - 07:25 AM

Yes, his "Rock My Soul" (sound clip) is HERE.
~Masato


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Subject: RE: Lyr req: Rock-a my Soul
From: Dicho (Frank Staplin)
Date: 02 Feb 02 - 12:48 PM

A related version, Rock-er Ma Soul, is listed from McIlhenny, "Befo' de War Spirituals," p. 196 (Cleveland Index). Does anyone have the lyrics to this version?


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Subject: Lyr Add: ROCK MY SOUL
From: Dicho (Frank Staplin)
Date: 02 Feb 02 - 01:34 PM

Lyr Add: ROCK MY SOUL

Chorus:
Why don't you rock my soul
Down in the bosom of Abraham, you rock my soul
Down in the bosom of Abraham, you rock my soul
Down in the bosom of Abraham, good Lord, you rock my soul
Lord, you rock my soul.

1. Lord, you rock my soul (well the rich man lives)
Well glory and honor (and he lives so well)
Why don't you praise the Lord (yet and when he died)
Well glory and honor (had a home in Hell)
Why don't you praise the Lord.

Chorus:

2. Lord, you rock my soul (well a poor man Lazarus)
Well glory and honor (was as poor as I)
Why don't you praise the Lord (yet when he died)
Well glory and honor (had a home on high)
Why don't you praise the Lord.

@religion @gospel
This unattributed version, combining Rock My Soul and parts of Poor Lazarus, is from the Gary Dodee website.
Song Lyrics
Select R under Gospel Bluegrass. I have given the index page since there are many interesting songs in the lists.
Does anyone know who originally sang this version?


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Subject: RE: Lyr req: Rock-a my Soul
From: Joe_F
Date: 02 Feb 02 - 02:29 PM

When I went down in the valley to pray,
My soul got happy and I stayed all day.

When I was a mourner just like you,
I mourned and mourned till I come through.


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Subject: ADD Version: Rock My Soul
From: Joe Offer
Date: 07 Sep 03 - 03:54 PM

Rock My Soul in de Bosom of Abraham

Well, rock er my soul in de bosom of Abraham,
Rock er my soul in de bosom of Abraham,
Rock er my soul in de bosom of Abraham,
O, de rock er my soul.

Ole Satan is er liar en er conjurer, too,
Oh, de rock er my soul.
Ef you don't mind he'll conjure you.
Oh, de rock er my soul.

O, rock er my soul in de bosom of Abraham,
Rock er my soul in de bosom of Abraham,
Rock er my soul in de bosom of Abraham,
O, de rock er my soul.


source: Honey in the Rock: The Ruby Pickens Tartt Collection of Religious Folk Songs from Sumter County, Alabama.

Notes:
    The New Testament story of the rich man (called "Dives" after the Vulgate translation of the adjective rich) and the beggar Lazarus (Luke 16:19-31) has had wide appeal for impoverished masses who have seen in it grim justice and hope for the rectification of their suffering. In Afro- American folk religious tradition, the parable is given expression by hundreds of sermons and folk narratives and many spirituals, particularly the Lazarus-Dives ballad and this famous "rocking' chorus to which various migratory stanzas are attached.
    Rock has numerous imagistic associations: the rhythms of lullaby which croon the child to sleep, as here the soul, the child of Christ, is clasped to the bosom of the guardian Abraham; the swaying movements of worshippers; the reeling and rocking of Noah's ark, and by exten sion the stormy tumult of conversion from sin; and the analogical sexual connotation in blues and other secular folk music.
    Lomax recorded an extraordinary performance of "Rocky my soul" from Richard Brown in Sumter County which points up the startling differences between folk and concert styles. (Brown-Owens, Toting the Lead Row, 30-32, briefly relates the recording session, and includes some of Rich's text along with a photograph of Rich and John Lomax.) See also the version of this chorus offered by Allen, Ware, and Garrison, Slave Songs of the United States, 73.


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Subject: RE: Lyr req: Rock-a my Soul
From: GUEST,Doug, dhs@sofnet.com
Date: 08 Jun 04 - 11:21 PM

Re ROCK-ER MA SOUL in "Befo' De War Spirituals" I do have that book if you need the lyrics. There are quite a few verses beginning with "I know ma Gawd as a man ob war,".....


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Subject: RE: Lyr req: Rock-a my Soul
From: YorkshireYankee
Date: 09 Jun 04 - 07:49 AM

I know pretty much the same version as Sorcha, only instead of: "Too high, can't get over it" I learned "So high, you can't get over it" and "You gotta go through the door."


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Subject: RE: Lyr req: Rock-a my Soul
From: GUEST,MC Fat
Date: 09 Jun 04 - 08:16 AM

Isn't there a line in 'Bouldr to Birmingham' by Emmylou that's just the same.


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Subject: RE: Lyr req: Rock-a my Soul
From: Rapparee
Date: 09 Jun 04 - 08:53 AM

I learnt it in Boy Scout Camp in the version of Yorkshire Yankee, way back in the 1950s.


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Subject: RE: Lyr req: Rock-a my Soul
From: wanderhope
Date: 09 Jun 04 - 09:06 AM

Peter Paul and Mary had a version of this (I think on the big concert album)which was audience participation and I've used it from time to time. They divided the audience into three groups (An "in" group, an "out" group, and this other group for a descant -- naturally Peter took the lead on the third group). The first group sand the "Rock-a My Soul ...", the second the "So High,So Low, So Wide..." and the third a third above, just singing "Rock My Soul" four times.


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Subject: RE: Lyr req: Rock-a my Soul
From: JennyO
Date: 09 Jun 04 - 09:13 AM

Yes, I have a double LP of that concert, which was a pretty faithful representation of their concerts around that time. I bought it right after I had gone to see them. That song was one of the highlights of the concert. I seem to remember I was in the "out" group. Some things never change :-)


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Rock-a my Soul
From: GUEST,A Singer
Date: 24 Jun 05 - 03:30 AM

I had to do this song in a choir, so i know the lyrics off by heart. I have no problem with the verses, but the different versions of the chorus are making me sick.

"Rocka my* soul in the bosom of Abraham!
Oh Rocka my soul in the bosom of Abraham!" etc.

*The my is typically pronounced 'mah' to help choir stay on key and give them that real nice Gospel tonal quality.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Rock-a my Soul
From: wysiwyg
Date: 24 Jun 05 - 09:46 AM

Above all indexed in permathread.

~S~


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Rock-a my Soul
From: GUEST,Azizi
Date: 24 Jun 05 - 04:19 PM

The song begins the same as above {Rocka my soul etc.}

But the verses that I grew up singing for that song are:

I may be weak
Rocka my soul
But Thou art strong
Rocka my soul
I'm leaning on
Rocka my soul
I'm leaning on His mighty arm

I went to the valley
Rocka my soul
But I didn't go to stay
Rocka my soul
My soul got happy
Rocka my soul
And I stay all day

If you don't believe
Rocka my soul
I been redeemed
Rocka my soul
just follow me down
Rocka my soul
to Jordan's stream

If you get to heaven
Rocka my soul
Before I do
Rocka my soul
Just tell my friends
Rocka my soul
I'm comin too

-snip-

Come to think of it, I remember my Baptist church using those last three verses for a large number of other spirituals...

BTW, the 'a' at the end of "Rocka" is pronounced 'ah' which leads me to this OFF TOPIC subject:

I've found that if I use the vowel pronunciations for Spanish,
a=ah
e=a
i=e
o-oh
u=oo

I usually won't go wrong in pronouncing those 'different' traditional African, Arabic, and African American personal names. For example: "Azizi" =ah-ZEE-zee [Kiswahili female}
             "Kwame"=KWAH=may {Akan male}
             "Kofi"=KOH-fee {Akan male}
             "Latifa"=lah-TEE-fah {Arabic female}
             "Jamar"= JAH-MAHR {African American male
             "Shante' {usually written with ith accent usually with an accent mark
             over teh 'e'=   

In the United States, these names are usually said with the accent on the 2nd to the last syllable.

Notable exception to the 'a'=ah rule are the popular contemporary "Day" names; male names such as "Dashon=DAY-shon" {"DaShawn", "DaShaun"} "Davon", and "Daquon". With those name the 'a' is a long 'a' as in the English word "day". "Day Day" is the widely used nickname for all of these male names.

****

I know this has nothing to do with the spirtual "Rocka My Soul", but I did write that I was going off topic...

{smile}


Azizi


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Rock-a my Soul
From: GUEST,Aziz
Date: 24 Jun 05 - 04:28 PM

Oh dear, not that it has ANYTHING to do with the spiritual "Rocka My Soul", but I fogot to add the pronunciation that I most often hear for "Shante" ={SHAWN-tay}.

"Shante'" is most often a girls' name, but I know of one male with this name.

And BTW, usually tell people that this name is an African American variant of the male name "Shawn" which comes from the Hebrew name "Yehokhanah" {"John" }which is a very respectable Biblical name meaning "God is gracious" so I've come full circle back to church.

So there!

LOL!!!



Azizi


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Rock-a my Soul
From: GUEST,Winnie
Date: 01 Nov 05 - 08:31 AM

Does anyone knows what year this song was written? And who the composer was? Thanks a lot..


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Rock-a my Soul
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 01 Nov 05 - 12:33 PM

Like most traditional spirituals, the composer and time of origin are unknown; published versions date to Allen's 1867 "Slave Songs of the United States."


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Rock-a my Soul
From: GUEST
Date: 14 Jan 06 - 06:01 AM

rock my soul
rock my soul in the bosom of Abraham
so high I can't get over it
so low I can't get under it
so wide I can't around it
oh rock a my soul


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Rock-a my Soul
From: GUEST,mick
Date: 14 Jan 06 - 07:21 AM

There's a Carribean version with :
O the river is deep ,I can not swim o'er
O the river is deep ,I cannot swim o'er
O lord hear my cry when I call on you
O lord hear my cry when I call on you
Rock my soul etc


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: My God is so high
From: GUEST
Date: 21 Mar 07 - 10:10 AM


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Rock-a my Soul
From: SouthernCelt
Date: 22 Mar 07 - 08:13 AM

Dicho's lyric addition from back in '02 reminds me a of mid-way variation between "Rock-a My Soul" and "Live-a-Humble" (one of two or three "spirituals" that were on Ian & Sylvia's first Vanguard album way back around 1960-61.

"Live-a-Humble" has a frequently repeated phrasing that says (sounds like anyway):
Glory and Honor
Praise King Jesus
Glory and Honor
Praise the Lord

I've never tried to research this one (not even here) so if I find the whole thing anywhere I'll try to get it in the database.

SC


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Rock-a My Soul
From: GUEST,F. Bacon
Date: 11 Jan 09 - 09:01 PM

I can't remember where I could have learned it, but I am guessing it was in a public elementary school before 1973. Were there a set of music books called "It's Music 1-6"?

O rocka my soul in the bosom of Abraham,
rocka my soul in the bosom of Abraham,
rocka my soul in the bosom of Abraham....
O rocka my soul.

So high, you can't get over it,
so low, you can't get under it,
so wide you can't get around it...
You must go in at the door.

I seem to recall the girls sang the "high" verse while the boys sang the "low" one. I don't recall whether anyone ever did the motions that would go with it, such as holding the hand high, low, then both held wide apart for the "wide" part of the song.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Rock-a My Soul
From: Nigel Parsons
Date: 12 Jan 09 - 06:28 AM

from memory, from "The Faber Book of Comic Verse":

Mary-Anne has gone to rest
Safe at last on Abraham's breast,
Which may be nuts to Mary-Anne
But it's certainly tough on Abraham!


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Rock-a My Soul
From: GUEST
Date: 25 Feb 09 - 05:44 PM

rocka my rocka my rocka my soul
rocka my rocka my rocka my soul
rocka my rocka my rocka my soul
oh rocka my soul rock rock rocka my soul im gonna rock rock rockamysoul oh rocka my soul
solo when i went down in the valley to pray
all oh rocka my soul
solo my soul got happy and i stayed all day
all oh rocka my soul
solo when i was mourner just like you
all oh rocka my soul
solo i mouned and i mourned till i came through
all oh rocka my soul
so high you cany get over it so low you cant get under it so wide you cant get around it you must ro in at the door oh rocka my soul ROCK


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Rock-a My Soul
From: wysiwyg
Date: 26 Feb 09 - 01:30 PM

"So High" is also another song sometimes known by that title and sometimes as "You Must Come In By and Through the Lamb."

The Spirituals often were often conflated as wanted. Sometimes just text and sometimes tunes, too. A good one made the rounds every which way.

I'm glad to know some of them made it into print where kids could access them. I like 'em better raw, myself.

~S~


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Subject: Please, tell me the meaning of song Rock-a My Soul
From: GUEST,Su
Date: 29 Sep 10 - 02:08 AM

Rock a my soul in the bosom of abraham~~
I can't understand the meaning of this sentence.
Someone says "in the bosom of Abraham" means the heaven.
Is that right????

Anyone knows about it, please answer my question asap!!!

My e-mail is sio2-sj@hanmail.net
I need your help


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Rock-a My Soul
From: Arthur_itus
Date: 29 Sep 10 - 03:13 AM

The most plausible answer to your question that I could find on the Internet was this.

Abraham was a prophet who was very close to Jesus/God.

So the singer is asking to be rocked/held close to Abraham, who was close to Jesus/God.

HTH


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Rock-a My Soul
From: Brian May
Date: 29 Sep 10 - 07:31 AM

So then, it is fair to assume that God (being a rocker) has a motorbike.

Mod/Skinheads . . . eat your heart out :o)


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Rock-a My Soul
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 29 Sep 10 - 08:09 AM

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eoWNGvxWBIk

Such joy, it brought tears to my eyes to watch it.

Go ahead, watch it!


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Rock-a My Soul
From: Joe Offer
Date: 29 Sep 10 - 11:45 AM

The phrase comes from the story of Dives and Lazarus in the Gospel of Luke, 16th chapter. It was the Gospel reading from the Common Lectionary for this past Sunday - (click). "Bosom of Abraham" is also translated "side of Abraham." Since Abraham is presumably in heaven, "bosom of Abraham" is generally thought to mean "heaven."

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Rock-a My Soul
From: wysiwyg
Date: 29 Sep 10 - 12:17 PM

"To take (or hold) someone in your bosom" is also understood to mean being in prayer for the person. It can be construed, thus, that one wishes Abraham to pray for oneself from "up there." We Anglicans call that the communion of saints-- the everliving fellowship of believers who can intercede as well from up there as down here.

See MJH lyric Blessed Be the Name of the Lord:

If you don't love your deacon, don't spread her name around. Just hold her in your bosom, and carry her home to God.

~Susan


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Rock-a My Soul
From: GUEST
Date: 18 Nov 12 - 08:59 PM

So can anyone actually tell me what all these lyrics mean because I don't understand...


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Rock-a My Soul
From: GUEST
Date: 18 Nov 12 - 09:01 PM

The verse "and leave de old sheep alone" what does that mean??


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