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Origins: Bright Morning Star

DigiTrad:
BRIGHT MORNING STARS


Related threads:
Lyr Req: Bright Morning Stars/Bright Morning Star (43)
Bright Morning Star - recordings? (27)
Lyr Req: Bright Morning Star Arising (3) (closed)


In Mudcat MIDIs:
Bright Morning Stars


erick 14 Mar 06 - 06:48 PM
johnross 14 Mar 06 - 07:52 PM
Bonnie Shaljean 14 Mar 06 - 07:59 PM
rich-joy 14 Mar 06 - 09:12 PM
Joe Offer 14 Mar 06 - 09:29 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 15 Mar 06 - 01:47 PM
GUEST,Bob Coltman 15 Mar 06 - 03:14 PM
Haruo 15 Mar 06 - 03:39 PM
erick 15 Mar 06 - 04:18 PM
Joybell 15 Mar 06 - 05:34 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 15 Mar 06 - 09:03 PM
Cats 16 Mar 06 - 04:46 PM
GUEST,Mingulay 16 Mar 06 - 06:40 PM
GUEST,Georgina Boyes 16 Mar 06 - 07:10 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 16 Mar 06 - 08:12 PM
GUEST,Cats 17 Mar 06 - 04:22 AM
MoorleyMan 17 Mar 06 - 04:49 AM
Joe Offer 17 Mar 06 - 12:42 PM
Big Jim from Jackson 17 Mar 06 - 01:03 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 17 Mar 06 - 01:05 PM
WooBerry 17 Mar 06 - 01:40 PM
Cats 17 Mar 06 - 04:54 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 17 Mar 06 - 09:01 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 17 Mar 06 - 09:04 PM
kytrad (Jean Ritchie) 18 Apr 06 - 09:37 PM
Artful Codger 19 Apr 06 - 03:36 AM
Artful Codger 19 Apr 06 - 03:57 AM
kytrad (Jean Ritchie) 19 Apr 06 - 08:49 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 19 Apr 06 - 10:10 PM
M.Ted 20 Apr 06 - 01:05 AM
Mark Clark 20 Apr 06 - 02:24 AM
johnross 21 Apr 06 - 01:16 AM
Dita 22 Apr 06 - 07:11 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 22 Apr 06 - 10:26 PM
Joybell 23 Apr 06 - 12:19 AM
Q (Frank Staplin) 23 Apr 06 - 12:30 AM
kytrad (Jean Ritchie) 23 Apr 06 - 07:39 PM
Joybell 24 Apr 06 - 12:22 AM
Mark Clark 24 Apr 06 - 04:02 PM
GUEST,MGJohn 25 Apr 06 - 03:48 PM
GUEST 16 May 06 - 08:02 AM
GUEST,leeneia 16 May 06 - 10:13 AM
Q (Frank Staplin) 16 May 06 - 01:23 PM
Burke 28 Jun 10 - 06:32 PM
Bill D 28 Jun 10 - 07:01 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 28 Jun 10 - 07:49 PM
LadyJean 28 Jun 10 - 11:48 PM
Arkie 29 Jun 10 - 12:26 PM
Burke 29 Jun 10 - 05:37 PM
Bill D 29 Jun 10 - 06:08 PM
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Subject: Origins: Bright Morning Star
From: erick
Date: 14 Mar 06 - 06:48 PM

I am trying to research the origin of Bright Morning Star. What I am really looking for is proof that it was first composed before 1922. I have searched numerous databases, but haven't come up with any concrete proof. From what I have found, it is a traditional Appalachian Folk song. Does anyone have any other helpful information? Thanks!
Erick


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bright Morning Star
From: johnross
Date: 14 Mar 06 - 07:52 PM

"Bright Morning Stars" appears in Ruth Crawford Seeger's "American Folk Songs for Christmas" (Doubleday, 1953), where she credits it to "AAFS 1379 A1." In other words, she got the song from the Archive of American Folksong at the Library of Congress. I assume that "1379 A1" identifies the original field recording. The source is identified as "Kentucky."

The song also appears on the Folkways LP of the same title (American Folk Songs for Christmas, FC 7553), "Sung and played by her daughters Peggy, Barbara, and Penny, assisted by a group of children from the South Boston Music School."

In 1968, Robin Christenson rediscovered the song in the Seeger book and arranged it for four voices. Robin & Ellen Christenson and Tony & Irene Saletan (Ellen and Irene were -- still are -- the Kossoy Sisters) sang it at the 1968 Fox Hollow Festival, where it was picked up by many other singers. It rapidly entered the common repertoire. Within a few years, it was recorded by The Pennywhistlers, The Young Tradition and on Tony & Irene's Folk Legacy LP.

Meantime, it had also been widely sung in Kentucky. It was recorded by the Stanley Brothers, and also by the Kentucky singer George Tucker. Tucker once told me he got the song from a hymnbook called "The Baptist Sweet Songster."

The only "Sweet Songster" I can find is a collection called "The Sweet Songster, a Collection of the Most Popular and Approved Songs, Hymns and Ballads," by Edward W. Billups, published in Catlettsburg, Kentucky in 1854. This seems to have been one of the standard hymnbooks used by the Old Regular Baptists.

I can't guarantee that "Bright Morning Stars" is in the Billups collection, but it would be worth a look if you can find a copy.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bright Morning Star
From: Bonnie Shaljean
Date: 14 Mar 06 - 07:59 PM

I don't have my copies to hand so can't check, but isn't it in one of the shape note hymnbooks, either Sacred Harp or Southern Harmony? (I haven't seen Baptist Sweet Songster - great title - so I don't know whether it's also a shape note book.)


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bright Morning Star
From: rich-joy
Date: 14 Mar 06 - 09:12 PM

for what it's worth, I think Peter Parkhill is credited with bringing the song to Australian folk audiences, in the late 60s ...


Cheers! R-J


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bright Morning Star
From: Joe Offer
Date: 14 Mar 06 - 09:29 PM

Roud lists three versions:
  • A 1934 Library of Congress recording of singers Walter & Lola Caldwell,Ashland, Kentucky (click)

  • A 1940 Library of Congress Recording sung by Elizabeth Carter of Norton, Virginia (click)

  • Ruth Crawford Seeger's American Folk Songs for Christmas, 1953

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    Subject: RE: Origins: Bright Morning Star
    From: Q (Frank Staplin)
    Date: 15 Mar 06 - 01:47 PM

    From the Martin Simpson notes for his cd "A Closer Walk With Thee."
    http://www.gourd.com/117L.HTML
    Closer Walk
    Re: "Bright Morning Stars"
    "From another British a capella group, Sweet Arcade. I learned "Bright Morning Stars," an optimistic melody with a warm and hopeful lyric: "Bright morning stars are rising... Day is a-breaking in my soul." This Appalachian hymn is now very widespread in the modern folk music repertoire. An Appalachian hymn, "Bright Morning Stars," is played in a medley with the curious and beautiful tune "Watch the Stars."
    "I learned this from Mike Seeger's version on "American Folk Songs for Christmas", although a more widely known version was recorded by Pentangle.
    "The song was collected from the people of St. Helena Island, South Carolina, and was originally published in a 1925 collection of spirituals by N. G. J. Balanta-Taylor, through the Penn Normal Industrial and Agricultural School. It is a gem both lyrically and melodically, beginning "Watch the stars, see how they run."

    Balanta-Taylor's book, "St. Helena Island Spirituals," is hard to find and expensive; I have not seen it, so I don't know how close "Watch the Stars" is to "Bright Morning Stars."

    In the "Traditional Ballads Index," under "We Have Fathers Gone to Heaven," a cross reference is made to this song:
    "cf. "Bright Morning Stars" (theme, floating lyrics)"

    Previous Mudcat- "Bright Morning Stars" is in the DT. See threads 70273 and 55272:
    70273: Bright
    55272: Bright

    Judy Collins recorded a fine version in 1962. Her lyrics are here: Bright Morning Stars


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    Subject: RE: Origins: Bright Morning Star
    From: GUEST,Bob Coltman
    Date: 15 Mar 06 - 03:14 PM

    "Watch the Stars" and "Bright Morning Star" are not the same song.

    Compare:
    Watch the stars, see how they run (2)
    The moon comes up at the setting of the sun,
    Watch the stars, see how they run.

    This one can be heard sung by Peggy Seeger, on (I think) the Folkways set "American Folk Songs for Christmas"?? also maybe on another of her records, not sure.

    "Bright Morning Star," after being intro'd at the Fox Hollow Festival in '68, because something of a theme song there. I remember hearing it sung out beautifully by Sunday morning gatherers and others at the Festival in the '70s. As you'll see, it's not the same at all.

    Bright morning star's a-rising,
    Bright morning star's a-rising,
    Bright morning star's a-rising,
    Day is a breaking in my soul.

    Two lovely songs, both well worth singing and hearing. Bob


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    Subject: RE: Origins: Bright Morning Star
    From: Haruo
    Date: 15 Mar 06 - 03:39 PM

    And, as Q's source suggests, well worth medleying.

    "Q's source". Sounds redundant, doesn't it?

    Haruo


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    Subject: RE: Origins: Bright Morning Star
    From: erick
    Date: 15 Mar 06 - 04:18 PM

    thank you all for the help!!! i will look into your leads.


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    Subject: RE: Origins: Bright Morning Star
    From: Joybell
    Date: 15 Mar 06 - 05:34 PM

    Thank you from me too. By a happy coincidence I'm using both "Watch the Stars" and "Bright Morning Star" in a play we're doing in our local community. There's a going-to-sleep scene and a waking one. I could find very little about "Watch the Stars". Thank you Q for that info. Hildebrand knew it from an unremembered source and it's phrased differently from the way Pentangle sang it. Cheers, Joy


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    Subject: RE: Origins: Bright Morning Star
    From: Q (Frank Staplin)
    Date: 15 Mar 06 - 09:03 PM

    Posting of "Watch the Stars" as the African-American spiritual is given in Balanta-Taylor would be appreciated, if anyone can access this book. The song as sung by the Seeger's could be quite different.
    I can't find it listed in the Cleveland Index of Spirituals (CBMR Monographs No. 3, Cleveland Public Library), which lists the spirituals in Balanta-Taylor, so I am not sure of the validity of Martin Simpson's note. Or has the song a different name in the original publication?


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    Subject: RE: Origins: Bright Morning Star
    From: Cats
    Date: 16 Mar 06 - 04:46 PM

    When we were researching Shaker music a friend and I found a copy of it in the Shaker Magazine, but I cannot remember the date for it. The words were similar to what has been recorded but had minor alterations. It referred to the hymn as an old shaker hymn dedicated to Mother Anne. In the shaker religion she was also called the bright morning star, but, there again, so was god. I love singing this song, it can be incredibly powerful. When we had the total eclipse here in Cornwall, I stood with many friends, a fair few catters, and hundreds of others to watch it from the top of Kit Hill. When the sun came back there was total silence, then an expectancy. Cllr leant over and quietly said, sing Bright Morning Star. I did and the effect was phenomenal. A never to be forgotten moment.


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    Subject: RE: Origins: Bright Morning Star
    From: GUEST,Mingulay
    Date: 16 Mar 06 - 06:40 PM

    A favourite and sung in the Sunday morning sing in the chapel at Talbot House, Poperinghe, Belgium every November at the Flanders Experience gathering and led admirably by The Admiral. As is The Good Old Way, which sends us on our way home.


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    Subject: RE: Origins: Bright Morning Star
    From: GUEST,Georgina Boyes
    Date: 16 Mar 06 - 07:10 PM

    Rather than 'Sweet Arcade', I think 'Bright Morning Star' was sung by Swan Arcade.


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    Subject: RE: Origins: Bright Morning Star
    From: Q (Frank Staplin)
    Date: 16 Mar 06 - 08:12 PM

    I looked in "The Shaker Spiritual," 1979, Daniel W. Patterson, Princeton Univ. (Dover reprint). It is not mentioned there.


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    Subject: RE: Origins: Bright Morning Star
    From: GUEST,Cats
    Date: 17 Mar 06 - 04:22 AM

    Q - It wasn't in a psalmody, it was in a magazine.


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    Subject: RE: Origins: Bright Morning Star
    From: MoorleyMan
    Date: 17 Mar 06 - 04:49 AM

    Re Bright Morning Star - as opposed to Watch The Stars (that's a red herring as far as this thread is concerned):
    Yes indeed, Swan Arcade it was - also there was Peter Bellamy's wondrous rendition. And there's a live acappella version by the Incredible String Band which ain't bad too.

    Haven't heard the Judy Collins version, but it appears to have significant differences - curious. Anyone know which LP it was released on?


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    Subject: ADD Version: Bright Morning Stars (Judy Collins)
    From: Joe Offer
    Date: 17 Mar 06 - 12:42 PM

    The song was on the 1995 Judy Collins Shameless CD, and on her 1980 LP, Running for My Life. Somebody above refers to an earlier recording, but I didn't find one.

    Her Website (click) has these lyrics:

    BRIGHT MORNING STARS
    Traditional Song - arranged and adapted by Judy Collins
    Universal Music Group (ASCAP)/The Wildflowers Company (ASCAP)
    (Administered by Universal Music Corp.)

    Bright morning stars are rising.
    Bright morning stars are rising.
    Bright morning stars are rising.
    Day is breaking in my soul.

    Bright morning stars are rising.
    The night is almost gone.
    The sycamores are bending their branches to the dawn.
    The wind sighs on the river.
    The willows bend to pray.
    And dawn is breaking gently upon a brand new day.
    Day is breaking in my soul.

    Bright morning stars are rising.
    Bright morning stars are rising.
    Bright morning stars are rising.
    Day is breaking in my soul.

    Bright morning stars are rising.
    The promise comes again,
    That heals the broken hearted
    That pleads our wars to end.
    The silver moon light scatters like tears upon the lawn,
    But eases sorrow.
    We greet a bright new dawn.
    Day is breaking in my soul.
    Bright morning stars are rising.
    Bright morning stars are rising.
    Bright morning stars are rising.
    Day is breaking in my soul.

    Bright morning stars are rising.
    My soul is now renewed.
    My love ones safe in heaven,
    A better world in view.
    And all our pain and pleasure,
    Our struggles to break free,
    Can lead us in this new dawn
    To true serenity.

    Day is breaking in my soul

    Bright morning stars are rising.
    Bright morning stars are rising.
    Bright morning stars are rising.

    Day is breaking in my soul.

    Wildflower Records
    WWW.JUDYCOLLINS.COM


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    Subject: RE: Origins: Bright Morning Star
    From: Big Jim from Jackson
    Date: 17 Mar 06 - 01:03 PM

    On the LP recording that Jimmy Driftwood et al did for National Geographic this song is included. In the notes that Jimmy wrote with the record he indicates that he was not familiar with the song and that he got it from someone with the group of singers who helped in recording the LP.


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    Subject: RE: Origins: Bright Morning Star
    From: Q (Frank Staplin)
    Date: 17 Mar 06 - 01:05 PM

    Guest Cats- What magazine? Author and supporting data (is the article reliable?).
    This is a hard one on which to verify source and age. Most sources say 'Appalachian', but no evidence is cited. Patterson's "Shaker Spiritual" is a well-researched study of Shaker song, not a psalmody.
    Like Erick, I would like reliable evidence of the song before the 1920's.

    I agree that "Watch the Stars" is a different song, but it is commonly associated in a medley, hence bears mention here. If it was collected by Balanta-Taylor, as Simpson avers, its occurrence as an African-American spiritual is proven; but so far I have been unable to verify Simpson's assertion.


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    Subject: RE: Origins: Bright Morning Star
    From: WooBerry
    Date: 17 Mar 06 - 01:40 PM

    Both of these songs are on American Folk Songs for children, both the record and the book.

    Diana


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    Subject: RE: Origins: Bright Morning Star
    From: Cats
    Date: 17 Mar 06 - 04:54 PM

    Q ~ As I said it was in The Shaker Magazine which we found in a box of shaker music, including hymnbooks and psalmodies, but I can't remember the date. Why it stuck and I didn't take note of the date was that I have been singing it for years and there it was, so we sat and sang it there and then. I'll try and find my notes as there may be something else that will give me a clue as to a date, but it might take me a few days.


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    Subject: RE: Origins: Bright Morning Star
    From: Q (Frank Staplin)
    Date: 17 Mar 06 - 09:01 PM

    The only "Shaker Magazine" I can find is published in Shaker Heights, Ohio, and has nothing to do with the Shaker (religious) Society.
    The Shaker Society of Sabbathday Lake, Maine, started to issue "The Shaker Quarterly" in 1971, an organ for devotional writings and also for scholarly essays on Shakerism. I lack access to this journal.

    "The Checklist of "Shaker Song Manuscripts" (in Patterson) doesn't help since each MS. may contain from one to a large number of songs.

    The Library of Congress has a recording, one of twelve tracks, Call Number Greenhays GR703. It is sung by Happy Traum, issued 1980.

    "Bright Morning Stars," as sung by the Stanley Brothers,is the single verse plus the 'typical calling of the mornners', as Lomax phrases it (fathers, mothers, etc.) which appears in several related songs, including "The Other Bright Shore," "Some Have Fathers Over Yonder," etc.
    The most complete and independent version is the one under copyright by Judy Collins (1962), quoted above by Joe Offer.


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    Subject: RE: Origins: Bright Morning Star
    From: Q (Frank Staplin)
    Date: 17 Mar 06 - 09:04 PM

    mourners, not morners.


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    Subject: RE: Origins: Bright Morning Star
    From: kytrad (Jean Ritchie)
    Date: 18 Apr 06 - 09:37 PM

    Q- Thanks for the PM. I have indeed known, "Bright Morning Stars" for years, but I believe that the first time I heard it was either 1949 or 1950. I was one of the singer/dancers at the first Southern Highlander Handicraft Fairs, in Ashville, NC. Wasn't married then, but this handsome young photographer from NY was following me around (we married in September of 1950). He had a tape recorder, and our fiddler for the dancing was Clarence Farrell from Tennessee, so George recorded many of his tunes- a most wonderful fiddler. Finally I asked if he knew any songs, and he propped his fiddle down on his arm, played the melody very softly, and sang along with it,

    Bright morning stars are shining,
    Bright morning stars are shining,
    Bright morning stars are shining-
    There is a breakin in my soul!

    His verses were the ones, "O where are are dear fathers?" "They are down in the valley praying..." then, "dear mothers" "They have gone to Heaven shouting..." etc., ending up with the repeat of "Bright morning stars are shining." I think that George only recorded the very first chorus, sung to the fiddle. Then Clarence gave us the other words, just spoken (I guess George was saving tape!). I still have that recording somewhere.            Jean

    PS: I'm guessing that his use of the word, "shining, instead of "rising" and also his last line, "There is a breakin" instead of "Day is a-breakin" was just a case of hearing another singer and misunderstanding some of the words. But, "shining" is OK with me, and I shiver with joy at, "There is a breakin in my soul!"


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    Subject: RE: Origins: Bright Morning Star
    From: Artful Codger
    Date: 19 Apr 06 - 03:36 AM

    This may be an implanted (false) memory, but I seem to recall seeing it in the book "Shaker Songs" (which includes a CD of selections performed by the Boston Camerata.) It's not one of the songs on the CD, but if it's in the book, there should also be a descriptive blurb about it there.


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    Subject: RE: Origins: Bright Morning Star
    From: Artful Codger
    Date: 19 Apr 06 - 03:57 AM

    It was included in the Young Tradition compilation Odds and Ends, and in the Peter Bellamy retrospective Wake the Vaulted Echoes, where it bears the title "Bright Morning Star". The booklet for WtVE says simply "Source: Traditional hymn", and Heather Wood added, "We learned this in Washington DC during one of our tours." A further note states:

    The title has caused some confusion, which Martin Carthy cleared up--"Bright Morning Star is NOT called Bright Morning Stars. Absolutely NOT. It IS called Bright Morning Star. English folkies have pluralised it.

    To be so adamant, does he perhaps know something more of its history?


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    Subject: RE: Origins: Bright Morning Star
    From: kytrad (Jean Ritchie)
    Date: 19 Apr 06 - 08:49 PM

    My feeling is that, since this is NOT a Christmas hymn (or carol) but (if the correct words are, "Day is a-breaking)about the coming of daybreak, that it should be, and is, "Bright morning stars..." the plural. I also believe that it sung in Appalachia before it reached England. What say you, Martin?


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    Subject: RE: Origins: Bright Morning Star
    From: Q (Frank Staplin)
    Date: 19 Apr 06 - 10:10 PM

    Kytrad, thank you for your kind and informative reply. Stars seems more logical to me than star's (but I can't argue the point, except to mention the Stanley Bros., the Seegers and others who sing or have sung Appalachian songs use the plural).
    Since this is a 'folk' song I can't argue with either 'bright morning stars are shining,' or '...rising,' but the former, to me, fits better.

    I don't think the original question by Erick can be answered yet, but perhaps more will be found.


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    Subject: RE: Origins: Bright Morning Star
    From: M.Ted
    Date: 20 Apr 06 - 01:05 AM

    It seems very unlike the Shaker Hymns that I know, as it does not lend itself to dancing--


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    Subject: RE: Origins: Bright Morning Star
    From: Mark Clark
    Date: 20 Apr 06 - 02:24 AM

    Meantime, it had also been widely sung in Kentucky. It was recorded by the Stanley Brothers, and also by the Kentucky singer George Tucker. Tucker once told me he got the song from a hymnbook called "The Baptist Sweet Songster."


    johnross, Are you sure the Stanley Brothers recorded the song? I still have the 45 RPM recording of the song I bought from George Tucker at The Chicago Folk Festival one year. Ralph Stanley and The Clinch Mt. Boys were there on the bill that year too. (Carter had passed a few years before.) My understanding was that Ralph learned the song from George durring that festival. I also have Ralph's recording of the song but it was recorded and released well after Ralph met George at that festival.

          - Mark


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    Subject: RE: Origins: Bright Morning Star
    From: johnross
    Date: 21 Apr 06 - 01:16 AM

    I would have to do some serious digging to find it, but you are probably right, Mark, that it was Ralph and his band rather than the Stanley Brothers.

    I had the conversation I mentioned earlier backstage at the University of Chicago Folk Festival. Must have been about 1971. We were probably both at the same festival.

    I have a copy of that 45 rpm record. There's a spot where Tucker stops and stumbles over a word and then re-starts that makes me angry whenever I hear it. It was very obvious that he went into some play-for-pay studio to make that record, and the people running the place took his money, but they couldn't be bothered to spend two minutes editing the tape before they cut the disc master.


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    Subject: RE: Origins: Bright Morning Star
    From: Dita
    Date: 22 Apr 06 - 07:11 PM

    Saw the Oysterband last month and they finished with Bright Morning Star.

    John


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    Subject: RE: Origins: Bright Morning Star
    From: Q (Frank Staplin)
    Date: 22 Apr 06 - 10:26 PM

    Bright Morning Stars" Stanley on Google brings up words by the Stanley Bros. I think this is wrong, a mistake by the ringtone and all tunes people.
    The song is, however, sung (as "Bright Morning Star") on Ralph Stanley's 2-cd "Clinch Mountain Country," a very strong arrangement. "There is a break in My Soul" ends the 1st verse. I think Ralph S. is the lead singer, but I have heard only the clip on Amazon. There are other singers on the set.


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    Subject: RE: Origins: Bright Morning Star
    From: Joybell
    Date: 23 Apr 06 - 12:19 AM

    I'm interested in this song too. I've wondered if the "bright morning star" was Venus. It's often called "The Morning (sometimes Evening) Star". Also it's a very bright "star" in the morning sky.(Yes I know it's actually a planet)
    Just hearing the song it's impossible to know for sure. It sounds the same both as "Bright Morning Star's A-rising" and as "Bright Morning Stars A-Rising". Singers and collectors would not necessarily know either.
    Just wondering.
    Cheers, Joy


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    Subject: RE: Origins: Bright Morning Star
    From: Q (Frank Staplin)
    Date: 23 Apr 06 - 12:30 AM

    My city (about 1 million) suffers from light pollution, so Venus usually is our sole 'morning star.' My daughter, in the country 20 miles away, sees many.
    I looked at BMI and ASCAP records of versions and found a bunch, both 'Stars' and 'Star.' Of course there must be many more, not having either of these biggies looking after their copyrights.

    Joybell, I agree with your supposition.


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    Subject: RE: Origins: Bright Morning Star
    From: kytrad (Jean Ritchie)
    Date: 23 Apr 06 - 07:39 PM

    Most folks who lead or introduce this song in singing groups sing, "Bright morning stars ARE rising (not a-rising). If "are rising" is correct, then "stars" must be plural. But, does it matter?
    And another, "But,"- I have both the original and the more modern versions of, SWEET SONGSTER, and neither of them has this song. I think that George Tucker's memory must have been faulty here. Also, while the lyrics to the verses in Judy Collins' version are fine, I believe they have been recently written...for one thing, I cannot fit them into the traditional tune. In the old song, the tune to both verses and chorus is the same.


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    Subject: RE: Origins: Bright Morning Star
    From: Joybell
    Date: 24 Apr 06 - 12:22 AM

    I agree that it doesn't matter. The words fit so beautifully and the meaning is clear. A lovely song. It's just that some songs become loved friends don't they? You get to exploring them and thinking about them. Cheers, Joy


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    Subject: RE: Origins: Bright Morning Star
    From: Mark Clark
    Date: 24 Apr 06 - 04:02 PM

    I checked my collection and the song was recorded by Ralph Stanley and the Clinch Mountain Boys on February 23, 1971. The album title is "Cry From the Cross." If johnross' memory is correct and 1971 was the year Tucker and Stanley were both on the U of C Festival bill, Ralph's recording session would have been just over three weeks after the festival. Ralph was in his prime on this session and it was one of the best bands he ever had including the late Roy Lee Centers plus Rickie [sic] Skaggs and the late Keith Whitley in addition to Jack Cooke and the late Curly Ray Cline.

    The song is listed on the album cover as Bright Morning Star but they sing it, a capella with a slowly strummed guitar chord between verses, as "Bright morning stars are rising." As with most Stanley LPs, there are no liner notes and no background on any of the songs.

    Of course Ralph and the Stanley Brothers recorded everything they knew over and over and over again so this date is no guarantee that the Stanley Brothers didn't record it. Still, I own and have heard a large amount of Stanley Brothers material and haven't found Bright Morning Stars prior to 1971.

          - Mark


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    Subject: RE: Origins: Bright Morning Star
    From: GUEST,MGJohn
    Date: 25 Apr 06 - 03:48 PM

    The Young Tradition singing this song (trad. arr. Bellamy & Wood ) were included in an album titled The Folk Trailer, presented by Jim Loyd, on a "Trailer" label, ref. no. LER 2019 Produced by Jim Loyd and Bill Leader and of Leader /Trailer records in first production in 1970.


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    Subject: RE: Origins: Bright Morning Star
    From: GUEST
    Date: 16 May 06 - 08:02 AM

    Though it has been argued the title is "Bright Morning Star" (ie singular), the plural fits the words "are rising" below

    The Incredible String Band version is

    Bright morning stars are rising.
    Bright morning stars are rising.
    Bright morning stars are rising.
    Day is breaking in my soul.

    Pale mist is softly fading
    Pale mist is softly fading
    Pale mist is softly fading
    Day is breaking in my soul.

    Friend they are all gathering
    Friend they are all gathering
    Friend they are all gathering
    Day is breaking in my soul.

    Bright morning stars are rising.
    Bright morning stars are rising.
    Bright morning stars are rising.
    Day is breaking in my soul.

    They also did a slightly similar a capella song called "Sleepers Awaken" on the Changing Horses album, I think


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    Subject: RE: Origins: Bright Morning Star
    From: GUEST,leeneia
    Date: 16 May 06 - 10:13 AM

    It is mere supposition, but I don't think this song is mainspring American at all. For one thing, it is spiritual but not in the least Christian.

    Also, ordinary Americans would not write (or if they wrote it, keep) a line as hard to sing as "Oh, where are our dear fathers?"

    I betcha it's Native American.


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    Subject: RE: Origins: Bright Morning Star
    From: Q (Frank Staplin)
    Date: 16 May 06 - 01:23 PM

    Clarification to an earlier post. The song in the 2-cd set "Clinch Mountain Country" is not the original with the Clinch Mountain Boys. The set is composed of re-makes with a number of 'stars' (Kathy Mattea on "Bright...").

    In a note in the album on the recording with Mattea, Ralph says: "I heard two brothers, John and Dave Morris from up around Charleston, W. VA do this song. We were on a sort of college tour they were on." The note says further- "Stanley and the Clinch Mountain Boys originally recorded "Bright Morning Star" in early 1971 for their first album on Rebel, "Cry from the Cross" (see post above by Mark Clark).

    (I can't imagine a 'Native American' writing that line either. Many pekoolyar Christians; I wouldn't cross them out. Chinese ancestor worship, perhaps?)


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    Subject: RE: Origins: Bright Morning Star
    From: Burke
    Date: 28 Jun 10 - 06:32 PM

    At his Friday afternoon workshop at Old Songs, Joe Hickerson played the LOC field recording that was the basis of Seeger's transcription. I didn't know there was a question about the words until now, or I would have listened more closely.

    What no one seems to have caught in this thread is Revelation 22:16

    "I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star."

    If this song intends the double meaning of Bright Morning Star, I'd think the correct reading would be "Star's a-rising" but that's totally ambiguous when it is heard & not written out.

    I'm going the check the possibility of a Shaker connection.


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    Subject: RE: Origins: Bright Morning Star
    From: Bill D
    Date: 28 Jun 10 - 07:01 PM

    many are concerned about the wording, but I wish the tune could be validated.

    in 2006, Big Jim from Jackson posted:

    "On the LP recording that Jimmy Driftwood et al did for National Geographic this song is included. In the notes that Jimmy wrote with the record he indicates that he was not familiar with the song and that he got it from someone with the group of singers who helped in recording the LP."

    This is where I first heard the song, and the old man (and group) who sang it did a much simpler tune than the rather complex up & down melody Joe Hickerson and others have promulgated. For the 'feeling' of the song, I have always preferred the simple tune sung on the Nationa Geographic LP. I am sure that good singers will find the other tune more ..ummm.. 'interesting' to do..etc...but I wish more folks would try the simple one. I think it expresses the 'simple country church' idea better.


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    Subject: RE: Origins: Bright Morning Star
    From: Q (Frank Staplin)
    Date: 28 Jun 10 - 07:49 PM

    Just ran across this thread again; in the meantime I have obtained Ballanta-(Taylor), "Saint Helena Island Spirituals."
    The spiritual "O Watch de Stars" bears no relation to this song.

    I will post the spiritual in another thread.


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    Subject: RE: Origins: Bright Morning Star
    From: LadyJean
    Date: 28 Jun 10 - 11:48 PM

    Thirty Nine years ago, this Sunday, I was at Miss Sally Sutherland's School for Scottish Arts.
    A group of us, one of whom would grow up to be Jennifer Armstrong Clark, had a Quaker meeting under an apple tree.
    Jennifer and Anne Jackson asked the rest of us if we knew any shape note hymns. Then they sang, "Bright Morning Star". That was when I fell in love with shape note singing.
    I didn't know "Amazing Grace" was a shape note hymn, though the pipers played it sometimes, for a joke, as they played the old Mickey Mouse Club theme. I love "Amazing Grace" too, but I can't take it seriously when they play it on the pipes.


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    Subject: RE: Origins: Bright Morning Star
    From: Arkie
    Date: 29 Jun 10 - 12:26 PM

    Bill D commented on the melody and the version of Bright Morning Stars that was sung on the Music of the Ozarks album published by National Geographic. Since the "old man" mentioned and I shared the same driveway and an occasional sip of Jack Daniels I feel compelled to add my two cents. The Simmons Family sang Bright Morning Stars on the album and they had learned it from Albert Sands. Jimmy's description in the album booklet is a case of being true while not literally accurate. Albert was not what I would call an old man chronologically in those days although his life experiences would be enough to age anyone far beyond their years. Neither did he sing in an old crackly voice. Albert loved music but he was content most of the time to listen to music made by others and he did not sing on stages and for crowds. When he did sing it was for friends and was indeed memorable, and I still tremble a bit when I remember the sound of his voice. I was not present on the memorable night when Albert sang Bright Morning Stars as described in Jimmy's album notes, but I can imagine the effect it had. Though I love the way Tommy, Jean, and Pam Simmons sang "Bright Morning Stars" I cannot help but wish National Geographic or someone had recorded Albert.


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    Subject: RE: Origins: Bright Morning Star
    From: Burke
    Date: 29 Jun 10 - 05:37 PM

    Lady Jean, you mentioned it being described as a shape note hymn in a thread on shape notes recently. That's why I was interested in what Joe Hickerson had to say about it.

    I have looked at Christian Harmony, which is the shape note book used most in North Carolina & it is not there. It is also not in Sacred Harp or the other books I'm familiar with. Joe Hickerson said he did a shape note style arrangement that was in circulation in the DC area. He heard it first at Fox Hollow so it could have been what you heard. Who can tell?

    Bill, any details on this National Geographic recording?


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    Subject: RE: Origins: Bright Morning Star
    From: Bill D
    Date: 29 Jun 10 - 06:08 PM

    Details? Not about the song itself. They just sing it, and the story was interesting...(even though Arkie gently punctures Jimmy Driftwood's 'embroidering' of the story)...

    If you want catalogue #s and details about the album, I can dig it out.

    (I also wish they had recorded Albert Sands. *smile*)


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