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Lry. and Origin of Spiritual: When I Die

Richie 04 Feb 07 - 10:34 AM
Richie 04 Feb 07 - 10:38 AM
wysiwyg 04 Feb 07 - 10:39 AM
Richie 04 Feb 07 - 10:42 AM
wysiwyg 04 Feb 07 - 10:42 AM
Richie 04 Feb 07 - 10:47 AM
Levana Taylor 20 Aug 21 - 11:19 PM
Joe Offer 21 Aug 21 - 03:50 AM
cnd 21 Aug 21 - 04:40 PM
Levana Taylor 22 Aug 21 - 10:48 AM
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Subject: Lry. and Origin of Spiritual: When I Die
From: Richie
Date: 04 Feb 07 - 10:34 AM

There's a folk hymn and spritual titled "When I Die."

Here's an African-American version:

Good Lord, When I Die

I want to go to Heaven when I die.
I want to go to Heaven when I die.
I want to go to Heaven when I die.
Good Lord, when I die.

Refrain: Good Lord, when I die,
Good Lord, when I die,
Good Lord, when I die, shout one,
Good Lord, when I die.

Anyone know anything about this?

Thanks,

Richie


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Subject: RE: Lry. and Origin of Spiritual: When I Die
From: Richie
Date: 04 Feb 07 - 10:38 AM

Here's a verse and a funny story from Kuntz. You can hear this version online here:http://www.honkingduck.com/BAZ/honkingduck78s.php?qt=title&ap=10&tp=14&title=49

OLD AUNT BETSY by "Frank Blevins & His Tar Heel Rattlers"
Columbia 15210 - D Issued: December 1927

(Fiddle)

Now there'll be no more funerals when I die
Now there'll be no more funerals when I die
When I die, when I die
Now there'll be no more funerals when I die.

Frank Blevins and His Tar Heel Rattlers was a name made up on the spot at the 1927 Columbia recording session in Atlanta (where they recorded the tune) for the band consisting of 16-year-old fiddler Frank Blevins, his older brother and guitarist Ed Blevins and banjo player Fred Miller. The band's playing was inspired by a few shots of corn liquor from a convenient jug. Fred Miller told Marshall Wyatt (as told in the liner notes to "Music from the Lost Provinces") a story of the band's waiting for the release of the recording, in the meantime travelling about the coal camps playing.

They pulled into Beckley, West Virginia, one day and went into the local record store to ask about new releases, in anticipation that theirs would finally be out. The proprietress told them she anticipated some coming in that day on the train, and the boys made themselves at home in the store and waited. When she returned "Old Aunt Betsy" was the first one she put on and remarked that the fellow on the record sure could fiddle. "Oh, he ain't so hot," said Frank, and offered that, had he his fiddle he could do better. The storeowner had string band instruments in the back, which the woman brought out, and the boys went to it. 'How on earth did you learn that,' the astonished lady demanded, pointing out it had just come out. Frank: "Lady, I didn't learn it, I made it!" A similar story is told of the Scots fiddler Niel Gow. Old Hat Enterprises CD, "Music from the Lost Provinces" (1997).


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Subject: RE: Lry. and Origin of Spiritual: When I Die
From: wysiwyg
Date: 04 Feb 07 - 10:39 AM

Using the index of links to songs already posted in the African-American Spirituals Permathread, I found this: WHEN I DIE

Not having heard the tune of either version, I can't speak to their relationship.

~Susan


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Subject: RE: Lry. and Origin of Spiritual: When I Die
From: Richie
Date: 04 Feb 07 - 10:42 AM

Kuntz says Blevins wrote the song but it seems like a traditional song he arranged. Any other versions?

Meade says it's a version of "When I Die." It's also known as "I'm Gwine to Heaven When I die" by the Jenkins Family in 1928.

Other names: "'Til I Die" and "I Want To Go To Heaven"

Thanks,

Richie


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Subject: RE: Lry. and Origin of Spiritual: When I Die
From: wysiwyg
Date: 04 Feb 07 - 10:42 AM

(not to self-- I've listed this thread for indexing in the Permathread.)


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Subject: RE: Lry. and Origin of Spiritual: When I Die
From: Richie
Date: 04 Feb 07 - 10:47 AM

Susan,

Thanks for the link; I'm reposting the lyrics on this thread. Blevins song and this song are from around the same time peiod 1930, but seem older.

WHEN I DIE

Who's gonna make up muh dyin' bed?
Who's a gonna make up muh dyin' bed?
Whos a gonna make up my dyin' bed,
When I die, when I die?
Jesus gonna make up my dyin' bed, (3 times)
When I die.

Who's goin' down in duh grave wid me?
Who's a goin' down in duh grave wid me?
Who's a goin' down in duh grave wid me,
When I die, when I die?
Jesus goin' down in duh grave wid me (3 times)
When I die.

Who's gonna sing that las' song?
Who's a gonna sing that last song?
Who's a gonna sing that last song,
When I die, when I die?
Jesus gonna sing that las' song (3 times)
When I die.

Who's gonna pray that las' prayer?
Who's a gonna pray that las' prayer?
Who's a gonna pray that las' prayer,
When I die, when I die?
Jesus gonna pray that las' prayer, (3 times)
When I die.

Who's gonna take muh soul to Heaben?
Who's a gonna take my soul to Heaben?
Who's a gonna take muh soul to heaben,
When I die, when I die.
Jesus gonna take muh soul to Heaben (3 times)
When I die.

I'm gonna treat ev'ry body right,
I'm a gonna treat ev'ry body right;
I'm a gonna treat ev'ry body right,
Tel I die, tel I die.
I'm gonna treat ev'ry body right,
I'm a gonna treat ev'ry body right;
I'm a gonna treat ev'ry body right,
Tel I die.

I'm gonna stay on the battlefield,
I'm a gonnastay on the battlefield;
I'm a gonna stay on the battlefield,
Tel I die, tel I die.
I'm gonna stay on the battlefield,
I'm a gonna stay on the battlefield;
I'm a gonna stay on the battlefield,
Tel I die.

I'm gonna take a soldier's fare,
I'm a gonna take a soldier's fare;
I'm a gonna take a soldier's fare,
Tel I die, tel I die.
I'm gonna take a soldier's fare,
I'm a gonna take a soldier's fare;
I'm a gonna take a soldier's fare,
Tel I die.

Grissom, Mary Allen, 1930 (1969), The Negro Sings a New Heaven, pp. 4-5, with sheet music. A very interesting version, with much repetition suggestive of an older song.


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Subject: LYR ADD: Old Aunt Betsy (Tar Heel Rattlers)
From: Levana Taylor
Date: 20 Aug 21 - 11:19 PM

Here's my best stab at transcribing the lyrics to this fun tune. Everyone says that the second verse is "There'll be no more funerals" but I could swear the word is "tariffs"! The "A" sound is very distinct.

OLD AUNT BETSY
Frank Blevins and the Tar Heel Rattlers (1927)

I'm going to see Aunt Betsy when I die,
I'm going to see Aunt Betsy when I die,
When I die, when I die,
I'm going to see Aunt Betsy when I die.

There'll be no more tariffs when I die...

I'm going to Heaven in a whirlwind when I die...

I'm going to meet my honey, Lord, when I die...

I'm going back to where I come from when I die...


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Subject: RE: Lry. and Origin of Spiritual: When I Die
From: Joe Offer
Date: 21 Aug 21 - 03:50 AM

Is this song the same as I Wanna Die Easy (When I Die)?

Here's a recording of "I Want to Go to Heaven when I Die":I don't think they're the same song, although they share "when I die."


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Subject: RE: Lry. and Origin of Spiritual: When I Die
From: cnd
Date: 21 Aug 21 - 04:40 PM

Levana, I'm going to have to disagree, I think it's funeral -- or at least, the word is funeral by the third try! The first time or two don't sound exactly like funeral but he probably fudged the word. These old timers only had one shot to get a recording out and had to just roll with the punches. Assuming this is the recording you're working off of and there's not a second floating around out there confounding things. Otherwise, though, I agree with your lyrics.

As for the songs being related, I'm not sure. They're very similar structure-wise and the melody is similar but not exactly the same. I haven't looked into any research on the songs, though, if there is any.


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Subject: RE: Lry. and Origin of Spiritual: When I Die
From: Levana Taylor
Date: 22 Aug 21 - 10:48 AM

Yeah, no doubt you are right about the "funeral." And I don't think the two songs are the same, it's more like they're independently applying the same principles of songwriting. That can happen in traditional music, right, because someone's heard lots of spirituals and knows just what a simple melody and a repetitious structure ought to sound like, and they use a meter that dozens of stock lines can be plugged into. Even if they're making up a song rather than rewriting an actual one they heard, they may come up with an idea not too different from someone else's idea.


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