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Origins: Spelling Gospel, [Oak, Ash and Thorn]

Related threads:
Salvation Army comic song (51)
Lyr Add: It's G-L-O-R-Y to know I'm S-A-V-E-D (27)
(origins) Origins: Salvation Army/Throw a Nickel on the Drum (47)
Lyr Req: salvation army girls (4)
(origins) Origins: S-A-V-E-D (58)


Jacqk 23 Nov 03 - 03:46 PM
Joybell 23 Nov 03 - 04:18 PM
Joybell 23 Nov 03 - 04:23 PM
Joybell 23 Nov 03 - 04:49 PM
Jacqk 23 Nov 03 - 05:12 PM
Dave Swan 23 Nov 03 - 05:44 PM
Jacqk 23 Nov 03 - 06:46 PM
Joybell 23 Nov 03 - 07:00 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 23 Nov 03 - 08:09 PM
Joybell 23 Nov 03 - 08:26 PM
Bat Goddess 24 Nov 03 - 01:38 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 24 Nov 03 - 02:52 PM
open mike 24 Nov 03 - 03:26 PM
Joybell 24 Nov 03 - 05:09 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 24 Nov 03 - 05:24 PM
Dave Swan 24 Nov 03 - 09:41 PM
Jacqk 24 Nov 03 - 10:23 PM
GUEST,Anton Sherwood 03 Jun 18 - 04:57 AM
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Subject: Origins: Spelling Gospel, [Oak, Ash and Thorn]
From: Jacqk
Date: 23 Nov 03 - 03:46 PM

I have been unable to find anything about the origins of this song, sung by the Oakland, California group, Oak, Ash and Thorn.

I would like to put an author name to the song, and possibly a year or decade. They lyrics are below. Words in brackets are my estimation of the word sung. Dashes indicate a pause between the letter named.


Spelling Gospell

There lived a man in our town
I think his name was [Lem]
He prayed for prohibition
But he voted R -- U -- M
He helped to put the poison
In neighbor's C -- U -- P
And now he laughs at us
Because we're S -- A -- V -- E -- D

Oh G -- L -- O -- R -- Y
We are S -- A -- V -- E -- D
H -- A -- P -- P -- Y
To be F -- R double E
Oh V -- I -- C -- T -- O -- R -- Y
From the bonds of S -- I -- N
Glory, Glory, Hallelujah
Tra La La, Amen

Some people go on weekdays
To D -- A -- N -- C -- E
They go to church on Sundays
To show their H -- A -- T
Some people dab their faces up
With P -- A -- I -- N -- T
And now they laugh at us
Because we're S -- A -- V -- E -- D

Oh G -- L -- O -- R -- Y...

I stand here on the corner
With my D -- R -- U -- M drum
It brings to us the drunkards
And the B -- U -- M bum bums
They come to us from [hubble]
And from D -- I -- T -- C -- H
While we march on to victory
Without H -- I -- T -- C -- H

Oh G -- L -- O -- R -- Y...


Thanks for any ideas you might have,
Jack


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Subject: ADD Version: S-A-V-E-D
From: Joybell
Date: 23 Nov 03 - 04:18 PM

I have different words for this one. It was not credited in my source. I learned it about 20 years ago.

S-A-V-E-D

         It's G L O R Y to know I'm S A V E D

Some folks jump up and down all night and D A N C E.
While others go to church to wear their brand new H A T.
And on their face the wear great globs of P A I N T.
And then they have the brass to say they're S A V E D.

Cho.
It's G L O R Y to know I'm S A V E D.
I'm H A P P Y because I'm F R double E.
I once was B O U N D with the chains of S I N.
But it's V I C T O R Y to know I've Christ within.

I've seen some girls in our town who are so N I C E.
They wear their hair in the latest style that's B O B E D. (sic)
They go to parties every night drink W I N E.
And then they have the nerve to say they're S A V E D.

I've seen some boys lean back and puff their S M O K E.
While others chew and spit out all their J U I C E.
They play their cards they shoot their dice and drink thier P O P.
And then they'll have the brass to say they're S A V E D.

I know a man I think his name is B R O W N.
He prays for prohibition and he works for G I N.
He helps to put the poison in his neighbours C U P.
And then he'll have the brass to say he's S A V E D.

I will try to find my source. If someone doesn't come up with it beforehand.
Joy


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Subject: RE: Origins: Spelling Gospel, [Oak, Ash and Thorn]
From: Joybell
Date: 23 Nov 03 - 04:23 PM

The line about the bobbed hair (spelt BO B E D) in verse 2 would seem to date it at around 1930, I believe, and then there's the reference to prohibition.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Spelling Gospel, [Oak, Ash and Thorn]
From: Joybell
Date: 23 Nov 03 - 04:49 PM

The Blue Sky Boys. That's where I learned it. Found a link on Google by typing in the first line but I can't make the link work. Sorry.   There's word change in verse 3. I heard "dice" not "guns".


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Subject: RE: Origins: Spelling Gospel, [Oak, Ash and Thorn]
From: Jacqk
Date: 23 Nov 03 - 05:12 PM

Joy,

Thanks for the different version.   I think that "Pop" should also be useful in putting a date to your version.

My wife just pointed out to me that "drum" from the last verse of my version seems to indicate the "Salvation Army". I don't know if this will be useful to date the song, but I can't say I have ever heard a drum used by the Salvation Army; just bells. However, a webpage confirms that they did use drums to "beat people into a salvation meeting."

http://www.salvos.org.au/SALVOS/NEW/me.get?site.sitelayouts.body&FFFF308


Jack


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Subject: RE: Origins: Spelling Gospel, [Oak, Ash and Thorn]
From: Dave Swan
Date: 23 Nov 03 - 05:44 PM

Hi Jack,

Dale Hill brought this song to OAT. It's a temperance song Dale's mother learned as a young girl in the South. Mrs. Hill was a member of the WCTU. I don't know whether the song came from the Women's Christian Temperance Union or not.

There's an e-mail link to Dale, who now lives in the state of Maine, on our website at Oak Ash & Thorn. I'm sure he'll be glad to fill you in on the details.

Dave


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Subject: RE: Origins: Spelling Gospel, [Oak, Ash and Thorn]
From: Jacqk
Date: 23 Nov 03 - 06:46 PM

Wow,

Thanks for answering Dave. I have been savoring your album for a while now, and am haing fun trying to trace the different pieces.

On the note of a temperance song, I wonder if it doesn't express something else as well. I wrote this a few minute ago, playing with both the OAT and Blue Sky Boys versions:

Are these two songs reversals of one another? I am curious as to the tone of the Blue Sky Boys performance. OAT's version is sung in a distinctly irreverent manner.

The Blue Sky Boys version seems more sincere, more religious. It addresses hypocrisy: I read it as chastising those who do all these immoral things but then have the nerve to call themselves Christians. The chorus brings us back to Christ each time it is sung.

The OAT version seems a satire of the first. I read it as talking to the "holier than thou" religious, making fun of those who put others down for their vices. At first it seems to start out sincerely religious, but then it turns. Its chorus line "tra la la, amen" marks the turning point. The song contrasts people who dress up for church against people living in ditches.

The last stanza really makes me wonder, was this from the point of view of the Salvation Army? Especially telling is the point of view, of someone calling in the street people and then "marching on to victory".

I don't know if my reading is confusing or even wrong. Pairing these two together made them even more interesting.


Thanks Dave,
Jack


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Subject: RE: Origins: Spelling Gospel, [Oak, Ash and Thorn]
From: Joybell
Date: 23 Nov 03 - 07:00 PM

Thanks from me too Dave. I have an idea that I first found it in one of Vance Randolph's collections, but I don't have his books at hand. I always sing it as a bit tongue-in-cheek, but I try not to actually make fun of the sentiments. I've always believed that it was originally meant to be sincere. It's always received as quaint and old-fashioned by audiences here in Australia. They are so busy concentrating on trying to sing along on the chorus anyway to take much notice of the words. My American husband knew it from childhood.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Spelling Gospel, [Oak, Ash and Thorn]
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 23 Nov 03 - 08:09 PM

"The Spelling Song" was removed from the religious section, second edition, vol. 4 of Randolph's Ozark Folk Songs, for reasons of copyright. No indication of author(s).


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Subject: RE: Origins: Spelling Gospel, [Oak, Ash and Thorn]
From: Joybell
Date: 23 Nov 03 - 08:26 PM

Thanks Q, I thought I'd seen it connected with Randolph.
In Australia in the 1950s we sang a song at Sunday School that might have some connection. The tune was loosely based on the one used for "There Ain't no Bugs on Me" or "Gang Bang Lulu"

I'm H A P P Y
I'm H A P P Y
I know I am I'm sure I am
I'm H A P P Y.

I'm L O V E D
I'm L O V E D
I know I am I'm sure I am
I'm L O V E D.

By J E S U S
By J E S U S
I know I am I'm sure I am
By J E S U S.

I seem to remember that we sometimes went on with I'm S A V E D in the same way too. There are bound to be parodies I imagine. Joy


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Subject: RE: Origins: Spelling Gospel, [Oak, Ash and Thorn]
From: Bat Goddess
Date: 24 Nov 03 - 01:38 PM

The first version posted I found in a mass market paperback of folksongs back in the mid-'60s and have sort of sung it ever since. ("Sort of" meaning not really on a regular basis.) Recently I've been hearing Jeff Warner sing the second version posted, so I've trotted out the version I knew.

Now I suppose I'll have to go and find the book and see what it says . . .

Linn


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Subject: RE: Origins: Spelling Gospel, [Oak, Ash and Thorn]
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 24 Nov 03 - 02:52 PM

Its appearance in the 1946-1950 volumes of Randolph pushes it back that far.
Does anyone have the first edition? I would like to know what the notes printed with the song say.
Has anyone found the copyright that caused its removal from the Second edition of 1980?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Spelling Gospel, [Oak, Ash and Thorn]
From: open mike
Date: 24 Nov 03 - 03:26 PM

previous s-a-v-e-d link


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Subject: RE: Origins: Spelling Gospel, [Oak, Ash and Thorn]
From: Joybell
Date: 24 Nov 03 - 05:09 PM

Well there you go. It's a hard one to look up. The Melbourne library has an edition of Randolph with this song in it, but I'm a long way off. If no one comes up with this reference in the next few weeks I'll be able to take a look at it.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Spelling Gospel, [Oak, Ash and Thorn]
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 24 Nov 03 - 05:24 PM

The other thread pushes the recordings of the song back to 1926.
Who done it?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Spelling Gospel, [Oak, Ash and Thorn]
From: Dave Swan
Date: 24 Nov 03 - 09:41 PM

Now I've got to find the Blue Sky Boys version. I hadn't heard of it.

OAT does so many drinking songs that once in a while we like to give time to the opposition. If it's necessary to place tongue in cheek to sing a song, then we do so. We aren't satirizing another group's version of a song, or necessarliy commenting on anybody's beliefs, as those things require a lot more thought than we can muster. Just a little fun with an amusing little song is about all we're good for.

D


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Subject: RE: Origins: Spelling Gospel, [Oak, Ash and Thorn]
From: Jacqk
Date: 24 Nov 03 - 10:23 PM

Oops,

After reading the link from Open Mike above, I am not sure how to read the song, as a religious reform song, a temperance song, or a spoof on the Salvation Army. I can see it all ways, just depending on how I read it. I think OATs delivery is more as a temperance song, now that I have considered all three possiblilities.

As far as checking Randolf, the first edition at my univeristy is checked out. Will pursue it.

Jack


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Subject: RE: Origins: Spelling Gospel, [Oak, Ash and Thorn]
From: GUEST,Anton Sherwood
Date: 03 Jun 18 - 04:57 AM

I just noticed that it has the same tune as “My Old Man's a Dustman”.


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