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Origins: Bright Morning Star

14 Mar 06 - 06:48 PM (#1693791)
Subject: Origins: Bright Morning Star
From: erick

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


14 Mar 06 - 07:52 PM (#1693837)
Subject: RE: Origins: Bright Morning Star
From: johnross

"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.


14 Mar 06 - 07:59 PM (#1693841)
Subject: RE: Origins: Bright Morning Star
From: Bonnie Shaljean

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.)


14 Mar 06 - 09:12 PM (#1693883)
Subject: RE: Origins: Bright Morning Star
From: rich-joy

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


14 Mar 06 - 09:29 PM (#1693898)
Subject: RE: Origins: Bright Morning Star
From: Joe Offer

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

  • 15 Mar 06 - 01:47 PM (#1694207)
    Subject: RE: Origins: Bright Morning Star
    From: Q (Frank Staplin)

    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


    15 Mar 06 - 03:14 PM (#1694287)
    Subject: RE: Origins: Bright Morning Star
    From: GUEST,Bob Coltman

    "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


    15 Mar 06 - 03:39 PM (#1694312)
    Subject: RE: Origins: Bright Morning Star
    From: Haruo

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

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

    Haruo


    15 Mar 06 - 04:18 PM (#1694344)
    Subject: RE: Origins: Bright Morning Star
    From: erick

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


    15 Mar 06 - 05:34 PM (#1694442)
    Subject: RE: Origins: Bright Morning Star
    From: Joybell

    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


    15 Mar 06 - 09:03 PM (#1694714)
    Subject: RE: Origins: Bright Morning Star
    From: Q (Frank Staplin)

    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?


    16 Mar 06 - 04:46 PM (#1695511)
    Subject: RE: Origins: Bright Morning Star
    From: Cats

    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.


    16 Mar 06 - 06:40 PM (#1695588)
    Subject: RE: Origins: Bright Morning Star
    From: GUEST,Mingulay

    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.


    16 Mar 06 - 07:10 PM (#1695617)
    Subject: RE: Origins: Bright Morning Star
    From: GUEST,Georgina Boyes

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


    16 Mar 06 - 08:12 PM (#1695669)
    Subject: RE: Origins: Bright Morning Star
    From: Q (Frank Staplin)

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


    17 Mar 06 - 04:22 AM (#1695894)
    Subject: RE: Origins: Bright Morning Star
    From: GUEST,Cats

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


    17 Mar 06 - 04:49 AM (#1695906)
    Subject: RE: Origins: Bright Morning Star
    From: MoorleyMan

    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?


    17 Mar 06 - 12:42 PM (#1696287)
    Subject: ADD Version: Bright Morning Stars (Judy Collins)
    From: Joe Offer

    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


    17 Mar 06 - 01:03 PM (#1696299)
    Subject: RE: Origins: Bright Morning Star
    From: Big Jim from Jackson

    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.


    17 Mar 06 - 01:05 PM (#1696303)
    Subject: RE: Origins: Bright Morning Star
    From: Q (Frank Staplin)

    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.


    17 Mar 06 - 01:40 PM (#1696327)
    Subject: RE: Origins: Bright Morning Star
    From: WooBerry

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

    Diana


    17 Mar 06 - 04:54 PM (#1696440)
    Subject: RE: Origins: Bright Morning Star
    From: Cats

    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.


    17 Mar 06 - 09:01 PM (#1696599)
    Subject: RE: Origins: Bright Morning Star
    From: Q (Frank Staplin)

    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.


    17 Mar 06 - 09:04 PM (#1696600)
    Subject: RE: Origins: Bright Morning Star
    From: Q (Frank Staplin)

    mourners, not morners.


    18 Apr 06 - 09:37 PM (#1721523)
    Subject: RE: Origins: Bright Morning Star
    From: kytrad (Jean Ritchie)

    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!"


    19 Apr 06 - 03:36 AM (#1721665)
    Subject: RE: Origins: Bright Morning Star
    From: Artful Codger

    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.


    19 Apr 06 - 03:57 AM (#1721672)
    Subject: RE: Origins: Bright Morning Star
    From: Artful Codger

    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?


    19 Apr 06 - 08:49 PM (#1722377)
    Subject: RE: Origins: Bright Morning Star
    From: kytrad (Jean Ritchie)

    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?


    19 Apr 06 - 10:10 PM (#1722417)
    Subject: RE: Origins: Bright Morning Star
    From: Q (Frank Staplin)

    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.


    20 Apr 06 - 01:05 AM (#1722506)
    Subject: RE: Origins: Bright Morning Star
    From: M.Ted

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


    20 Apr 06 - 02:24 AM (#1722527)
    Subject: RE: Origins: Bright Morning Star
    From: Mark Clark

    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


    21 Apr 06 - 01:16 AM (#1723535)
    Subject: RE: Origins: Bright Morning Star
    From: johnross

    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.


    22 Apr 06 - 07:11 PM (#1724930)
    Subject: RE: Origins: Bright Morning Star
    From: Dita

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

    John


    22 Apr 06 - 10:26 PM (#1725009)
    Subject: RE: Origins: Bright Morning Star
    From: Q (Frank Staplin)

    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.


    23 Apr 06 - 12:19 AM (#1725060)
    Subject: RE: Origins: Bright Morning Star
    From: Joybell

    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


    23 Apr 06 - 12:30 AM (#1725071)
    Subject: RE: Origins: Bright Morning Star
    From: Q (Frank Staplin)

    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.


    23 Apr 06 - 07:39 PM (#1725643)
    Subject: RE: Origins: Bright Morning Star
    From: kytrad (Jean Ritchie)

    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.


    24 Apr 06 - 12:22 AM (#1725769)
    Subject: RE: Origins: Bright Morning Star
    From: Joybell

    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


    24 Apr 06 - 04:02 PM (#1726249)
    Subject: RE: Origins: Bright Morning Star
    From: Mark Clark

    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


    25 Apr 06 - 03:48 PM (#1727265)
    Subject: RE: Origins: Bright Morning Star
    From: GUEST,MGJohn

    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.


    16 May 06 - 08:02 AM (#1741689)
    Subject: RE: Origins: Bright Morning Star
    From: GUEST

    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


    16 May 06 - 10:13 AM (#1741805)
    Subject: RE: Origins: Bright Morning Star
    From: GUEST,leeneia

    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.


    16 May 06 - 01:23 PM (#1741910)
    Subject: RE: Origins: Bright Morning Star
    From: Q (Frank Staplin)

    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?)


    28 Jun 10 - 06:32 PM (#2936289)
    Subject: RE: Origins: Bright Morning Star
    From: Burke

    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.


    28 Jun 10 - 07:01 PM (#2936303)
    Subject: RE: Origins: Bright Morning Star
    From: Bill D

    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.


    28 Jun 10 - 07:49 PM (#2936329)
    Subject: RE: Origins: Bright Morning Star
    From: Q (Frank Staplin)

    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.


    28 Jun 10 - 11:48 PM (#2936404)
    Subject: RE: Origins: Bright Morning Star
    From: LadyJean

    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.


    29 Jun 10 - 12:26 PM (#2936700)
    Subject: RE: Origins: Bright Morning Star
    From: Arkie

    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.


    29 Jun 10 - 05:37 PM (#2936868)
    Subject: RE: Origins: Bright Morning Star
    From: Burke

    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?


    29 Jun 10 - 06:08 PM (#2936880)
    Subject: RE: Origins: Bright Morning Star
    From: Bill D

    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*)


    29 Jun 10 - 06:14 PM (#2936883)
    Subject: RE: Origins: Bright Morning Star
    From: Burke

    Bill, after I asked, I found what I wanted. I'd like to hear it but it does not seem to have been reissued in CD.

    Cats, I'm also curious if you ever found a citation for that Shaker version. We have quite the expert on all things Shaker, especially music, working where I do & he had no knowledge of it. With a citation, our library is very likely to have the journal in question.


    29 Jun 10 - 08:28 PM (#2936959)
    Subject: RE: Origins: Bright Morning Star
    From: Arkie

    One thing that has intrigued me is that there seems to be some indication that Bright Morning Star has been sung in some Christmas traditions.


    30 Jun 10 - 05:42 PM (#2937517)
    Subject: RE: Origins: Bright Morning Star
    From: Burke

    The short clip I heard of the field recording was the fastest version I have ever heard. I've listened to several recordings now & they seem to be slow and slower, much different from the recording & the way that Joe Hickerson sings it.

    I think people think of it as Christmas because of the book it was published in. It might also be because the image is a little similar to the chorus of the Christmas song "Star in the East."

    I went to the public library yesterday to find Ruth Crawford Seeger's book, American Folk Songs for Christmas, 1953, one source for the 1960's recordings.

    From the introduction I learned that the collection was orientated toward & grew out of some school Christmas programs in the mid 1940's. Bright Morning Star is one of 9 introductory songs about stars and shepherds, only one of which is really a Christmas song. The are included because for the pageants, "They provide a frame for the Christmas picture, a path to and from the scene of the drama." p.8

    As Johnross mentioned she credited it to Library of Congress "AAFS 1379 A1" The catalog is now digitized so I found that the source recording was done in 1937 of G.D.Vowell by Alan Lomax in Harlan, Kentucky. The title on the index card is "Bright Moving Star." There is at least one other recording in the archive with a title that includes "moving star"; I suspect bad handwriting and thoughtless transcription.


    30 Jun 10 - 06:31 PM (#2937544)
    Subject: RE: Origins: Bright Morning Star
    From: Burke

    I find I have 2 recordings with the same variants, that look to go back to the same source. One already mentioned is Ralph Stanley and Kathy Mattea on Clinch Mountain Country. Ralph heard it from John and Dave Morris.

    The 2nd recording I have is Dwight Diller with Northampton Harmony/Cordelia's Dad on Diller's New Plowed Ground: West Virginia Mountain Music. Diller says "From George Tucker, Beaver, KY. Met him there in the early '70's while playing music with David and John Morris."


    29 Sep 10 - 09:49 AM (#2996052)
    Subject: RE: Origins: Bright Morning Star
    From: GUEST,Joel Shimberg

    Even Christians know that stars don't rise in the morning, with the exception of Venus (the morning star) for periods of time. Plato wrote a brief poem that centered on the fact that the morning star and the evening star are the same heavenly body.

    The distinction between "morning stars are rising" (foolish and incorrect) and "morning star's a-rising" (clearly superior) has nothing to do with theology or 'poetic license', but with simple astronomical fact, known for thousands of years.


    29 Sep 10 - 02:10 PM (#2996248)
    Subject: RE: Origins: Bright Morning Star
    From: open mike

    All this talk about the song has me wanting to hear it sung!

    here is this sing as done by Gillian Welch and David Rawlings
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4PVGlWKXMLU&feature=related

    the Wailin' Jennies do it here
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Fq6lCcAkpU&feature=related
    (i just realized that there name is a play on Waylon Jennings)


    29 Sep 10 - 03:19 PM (#2996296)
    Subject: RE: Origins: Bright Morning Star
    From: Noreen

    Bill, any chance that you could wave your magic wand and put a recording of the 'simpler' tune here somehow? I'd love to hear it.


    29 Sep 10 - 03:52 PM (#2996313)
    Subject: RE: Origins: Bright Morning Star
    From: Bill D

    I 'think' I might be able to record from an LP into the computer now, but have not done so...yet. After the Getaway, I will experiment.

    My magic wand has all sorts of tricks once something has already been converted to MP3, but I have not been able to afford the hardware to do it easily.


    29 Sep 10 - 04:24 PM (#2996336)
    Subject: RE: Origins: Bright Morning Star
    From: open mike

    Many stars are rising and setting all the time, as are the planets.
    We just can't see them when the Big Star (the sun) is in the sky.


    29 Sep 10 - 05:14 PM (#2996366)
    Subject: RE: Origins: Bright Morning Star
    From: Q (Frank Staplin)

    The song presumably would refer to the planets.

    Beardedbruce posted the best composite of verses to Bright Morning Star's Arising in the thread Lyr. Req: Bright Morning Stars/Bright Morning S, 09 Apr. 08, 12:24 PM.

    The song is traditional, no composer is listed with any of the versions. A possible Shaker origin is mentioned by a contributor, but no firm reference has been posted. A gospel origin seems more likely.


    29 Sep 10 - 05:52 PM (#2996384)
    Subject: RE: Origins: Bright Morning Star
    From: GUEST,leeneia

    I have (or had) an album by a group of women called The Pennywhistlers. Their notes said that this is a song of The Native American Church. Makes sense to me!

    I will send Joe a MIDI of the tune which the Pennywhistlers sang. It is very short, has a triplet in it, on the word 'day.' It's quite similar to the tune Gillian Welch sings (Open Mike's link, above.)

    The beauty of a MIDI is that if you have music software, you can download and edit it to suit yourself.

    Joel, old boy, before the sun comes up, stars rise on the eastern horizon in the morning. When the sun finally appears, it is so bright that we can't distinguish the rising stars any longer.

    (I'm happy to say that I am retired now and no longer have to experience this firsthand.)


    29 Sep 10 - 09:06 PM (#2996518)
    Subject: ADD Version: Bright Morning Stars
    From: GUEST,leeneia

    Here are the words from the Pennywhistlers, album. They do not seem particularly Christian.


    BRIGHT MORNING STARS

    Bright morning stars are rising (3x)
    Day is a-breaking in my soul.

    Oh, where are our dear fathers? (3x)
    Day is a-breaking in my soul.

    They are down in the valley praying (3x)
    Day is a-breaking in my soul.

    Oh, where are our dear mothers? (3x)
    Day is a-breaking in my soul.

    Some have gone to heaven shouting (3x)
    Day is a-breaking in my soul.


    Click to play


    29 Sep 10 - 09:15 PM (#2996519)
    Subject: RE: Origins: Bright Morning Star
    From: beardedbruce

    (repost of the lyrics)

    Date: 02 Jun 04 - 07:49 AM

    Here is what I have, from various sources. Everyone has the fathers and mothers: a few have the others. Only one source for the children- it may have been made up by that source. Any ideas?

    Or should we start writing new verses?

                         8-{E


    Trad. Lyrics
    .................................
    Bright morning stars are rising
    Bright morning stars are rising
    Bright morning stars are rising
    Day is a-breaking in my soul

    Oh, where are our dear mothers?(x3)
    Day is a-breaking in my soul

    They are down in the valley praying(x3)
    Day is a-breaking in my soul

    Oh where are our dear fathers? (x3)
    Day is a-breaking in my soul

    They have gone to heaven shouting(x3)
    Day is a-breaking in my soul

    Oh where are our dear sisters? (x3)
    Day is a-breaking in my soul

    They are out in the garden singing.(x3)
    Day is a-breaking in my soul

    Oh where are our dear brothers?(x3)
    Day is a-breaking in my soul

    They are at the wars and fighting.(x3)
    Day is a-breaking in my soul

    Oh where are our dear children? (x3)
    Day is breaking in my soul.

    They are by the stream a dancing. (x3)
    Day is breaking in my soul.

    Bright morning stars are rising.(x3)
    Day is a-breaking in my soul


    29 Sep 10 - 11:38 PM (#2996572)
    Subject: RE: Origins: Bright Morning Star
    From: Mark Clark


    02 Apr 11 - 03:37 AM (#3126751)
    Subject: RE: Origins: Bright Morning Star
    From: GUEST,George's grand-daughter

    I have no idea where papa'w got that song. I never got the pleasure of meeting my grandfather since he died in 1983. I think my oldest brother was 6 months old when he had passed. I have heard alot of stories and wish everyday that I could've meet him. God rest his soul.


    02 Apr 11 - 03:50 AM (#3126758)
    Subject: RE: Origins: Bright Morning Star
    From: GUEST,George's grand-daughter

    Check out George Tucker on Myspace. Bright morning stars are rising is on there. In it, he sings Days is abreaking in my soul, not there is abreakin in my soul.


    02 Apr 11 - 08:37 AM (#3126852)
    Subject: RE: Origins: Bright Morning Star
    From: AllisonA(Animaterra)

    George's Grand-daughter, how wonderful of you to post this! I couldn't find the George Tucker of Bright Morning Stars on Myspace- plenty of youn'uns, but not Papa'w. Could you provide a link?

    As for those who question the Christianity of "Bright morning star", remember that early American hymnody often used poetical reference to Biblical quotes. Check it out: "I am the bright and morning star."

    Many old hymns refer to our fathers and mothers, gone before, in various ways. This one sounds much more Appalachian than Native American. I say that with little scholarly backup, but my instinct speaks from 15 years of researching music from many, many different cultures, and singing and arranging songs for my chorus from various Native American, gospel, African American traditions, and many others. You get a sense of what sounds true within a cultural context. I'm not pretending to be an expert in any of these traditions, it's just instinct.

    Speaking from that POV, "Bright Morning Stars" is one of the loveliest early American hymn-like songs ever!


    02 Apr 11 - 12:41 PM (#3126981)
    Subject: RE: Origins: Bright Morning Star
    From: GUEST,George's grand-daughter

    http://www.myspace.com/charlesgeorgetucker

    His first name is actually Charles. He just went by his middle name though. I wasn't sayng he wrote it because papa'w song many songs of others. I was just saying that I didn't know where he had found it or hear it. Thanks.


    02 Apr 11 - 03:00 PM (#3127076)
    Subject: RE: Origins: Bright Morning Star
    From: GUEST,HIS SON

    Iam George Tucker son he told us he learn the song from his mother and father at night when he was a young boy his version was his way he compose it


    05 Apr 11 - 07:30 PM (#3129436)
    Subject: RE: Origins: Bright Morning Star
    From: GUEST,joe hone

    I'm actually looking for the lyrics to the "red herring" as it was described above, Watch the Stars. Does anybody have the lyrics and can you post them? Thanks.


    26 Sep 12 - 05:08 PM (#3410623)
    Subject: RE: Origins: Bright Morning Star
    From: GUEST,pete ellertsen

    I'm coming late to this thread ... till now I'd thought of "Bright Morning Stars" as an Appalachian carol, i.e. a ballad with a religious text closely related to the old folk hymns. It's not a shape-note song, since it doesn't appear in Christian Harmony, Sacred Harp, Harp of Columbia, etc., but its melody seems to come out of the same Anglo-Celtic oral tradition as some of the older shape-note repertory. After reading through all the posts, which strike me as being as authoritative as we're going to get unless somebody discovers new documentary evidence in the shape-note or Shaker traditions, I'd now classify it as a bluegrass gospel song that came out of southern Appalachian oral tradition.

    Still, that's a pretty good pedigree!

    Several posts questioned whether the text is Christian, but I think the imagery of the song is clearly grounded in scripture. Not only do we have the "bringt Morning Star" in Revelation, as several commenters noted, but to the time when "the morning stars sang together" in the book of Job. (Cf. the 16th-century Lutheran chorale "How Brightly Shines the Morning Star.") And the fathers, mothers, sisters, brothers imagery is common to a lot of American folk hymns.


    26 Sep 12 - 08:34 PM (#3410708)
    Subject: RE: Origins: Bright Morning Star
    From: Q (Frank Staplin)

    The spiritual "O Watch de Stars," mentioned early in this thread, posted in thread 147211.
    O Watch de Stars


    29 Oct 12 - 08:57 PM (#3428050)
    Subject: RE: Origins: Bright Morning Star
    From: GUEST,Hip Swayers Duo

    We are a musical duo that sing the Irish song Shay Fan Yan Ley which my partner learned when performing with the Revels Rep.   It has the same tune as Bright Morning Star and similar lyrics in the translation - "It is the ring of the day‚Ķ it is the dawn in my soul"...perhaps this song was brought to Appalachia and became Bright Morning Star...


    16 Nov 13 - 07:02 PM (#3576359)
    Subject: RE: Origins: Bright Morning Star
    From: GUEST,guest: Jeff Burns

    An english translation of Shay Fan Yan Ley would be fantastic- my niece is thinking of using the music for her wedding and the irish verssion seems to have great possibiities.


    23 Dec 13 - 03:38 PM (#3586111)
    Subject: RE: Origins: Bright Morning Star
    From: Q (Frank Staplin)

    The version of "Bright Morning Stars" cited as the one recorded in 1957, from Norman Lee Vass, has not been found or posted. The Traditional Ballad Index lists these lines:

    BRIGHT MORNING STARS
    Blue Ridge Plateau

    I hear the Savior calling (2x)
    (For the) day is breaking in my soul
    How I long to meet Him....
    The golden bells are ringing...
    I want to see my father...
    I want to meet my Jesus...
    Bright morning stars are rising....

    Norman Lee Vass was a fiddler from the Blue Ridge Plateau. He played at Galax.


    13 Mar 14 - 05:05 PM (#3609478)
    Subject: RE: Origins: Bright Morning Star
    From: Q (Frank Staplin)

    The version from Shellans, "Folk Songs of the Blue Ridge Mountains," has been posted in the thread Bright Morning Stars/Bright Morning Star, linked at top (related threads).


    14 Mar 14 - 11:50 AM (#3609672)
    Subject: RE: Origins: Bright Morning Star
    From: GUEST,leeneia

    I don't know where I read it, but somewhere I read that this song comes from the Native American Church. That makes sense to me, both musically and poetically.


    14 Mar 14 - 01:59 PM (#3609708)
    Subject: RE: Origins: Bright Morning Star
    From: Q (Frank Staplin)

    Hi, leeneia!
    I think that possibility has been suggested before, but the experts suggest the Appalachians (and possibly Negro origin as second choice).

    I have been looking for an early antecedent of this song, but so far, no gold.
    I have re-found the spirituals collected in 1867 by Higginson, and posted a couple, but nothing helpful with regard to "Bright Morning Star(s)."


    16 Mar 14 - 06:22 AM (#3609998)
    Subject: RE: Origins: Bright Morning Star
    From: Speedwell

    I am no authority on the origin of songs but my thoughts are that the morning star is indeed the sun(it's a star after all)which suggests that there may be some pagan origin to the song.
    I've also heard that it comes from the Appalachian mountains and was often sung at funerals.
    Young Tradition did a brilliant version as previously mentioned which was recorded live at Cecil Sharp House, London at, I believe, their farewell gig.
    In any case a wonderful and very moving song.


    16 Mar 14 - 11:52 AM (#3610048)
    Subject: RE: Origins: Bright Morning Star
    From: Q (Frank Staplin)

    Psalm 63.1 (Song of David)

    O God, my God, to thee do I watch at break of day
    For thee my soul has thirsted,
    for thee my flesh, O how many ways!

    2 Peter 1:19
    Continue to pay attention as you would to a light that shines in a dark place as you wait for day to come and the morning star to rise in your hearts..

    "Christian paganism"


    16 Mar 14 - 12:59 PM (#3610064)
    Subject: RE: Origins: Bright Morning Star
    From: Phil Edwards

    The morning star is the morning star, i.e. a star that's consistently seen to rise in the morning, just before sunrise. We now think of it as the planet Venus. The connection between the rising of the morning star (heralding the dawn) and a sense of imminent contact with the divine is pretty straightforward, I think.


    16 Mar 14 - 06:48 PM (#3610116)
    Subject: RE: Origins: Bright Morning Star
    From: GUEST

    What you're missing is the reference, Revelation 22:16, where Christ is the Bright Morning Star. That almost certainly makes it of the first half of the 20th Century.

    Leeneia's right, there's a 1971 Library of Congress copyright credit to The Native American Church for it. This in turn puts an absolute earliest copyright of 1918 on it, which was the year the Church became incorporated, although its roots as a Church date back to the 1880s and as a religion to the Native nations.


    17 Mar 14 - 01:06 PM (#3610318)
    Subject: RE: Origins: Bright Morning Star
    From: Q (Frank Staplin)

    The credit to Native American Church is for 'Bright Morning Star" songs.

    Can anyone post them?
    Have they any relationship compositionally to the song considered here?

    Most Indian groups have legends and a few have ceremonies relating to the morning star.
    There is a tape "N. A. C. Chants, Bright Morning Star Chants, Phoenix Canyon Records (not heard).

    The one heard by Walela on youtube is a missionary(?) effort (Christianized), and without documentation. I have no idea how authentic this group is.


    17 Mar 14 - 01:34 PM (#3610330)
    Subject: RE: Origins: Bright Morning Star
    From: GUEST

    For what it's worth, there's a WP meme on the NAC with links to different parts of the organisation. Given they're peyote-inspired Native American, I'd suspect they are rather more irregular than that. Your obvious first path is to get a copyright lawyer to explain the impact of that Library of Congress link.


    17 Mar 14 - 01:52 PM (#3610334)
    Subject: RE: Origins: Bright Morning Star
    From: Q (Frank Staplin)

    No interest in copyright; I wondered if anyone has/can transcribe the NAC tape. I can't find and CD made from the tape.


    09 Aug 14 - 12:37 PM (#3649646)
    Subject: RE: Origins: Bright Morning Star
    From: GUEST,Brett

    Just a visitor here, trying to find info on the origin of "Morning." As others have suggested, I'm pretty sure the song's originally connected to 2 Peter 1:19: "We also have the prophetic message as something completely reliable, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts."

    Considering the common theme of Appalachian Christians of a sweet longing for heaven, I think this fits right in there. The verse talks about holding onto the promises of Jesus until the "day" dawns--a common Old and New Testament image of heaven coming. Also a play on words with the "day of the Lord" coming.

    Then "morning star" is the hope coming before the dawn, rising right before it as a preview. And ppl pointed out that Christ was called the morning star, and his love "shed light" (2 Corinthians!) into hearts.

    So the fathers praying, the mothers gone to heaven a-shouting, or what the different versions say, are also focused on sorrow and longing for heaven.

    I think that suggests its origin is among down-home Appalachian believers. I guess it's not clear what the original version was, or how Native Americans were involved in its different adaptations.


    09 Aug 14 - 04:46 PM (#3649702)
    Subject: RE: Origins: Bright Morning Star
    From: GUEST

    Check the other threads - iirc it was run to earth to a particular context in the Native American Church about a year ago.


    09 Aug 14 - 07:06 PM (#3649712)
    Subject: RE: Origins: Bright Morning Star
    From: Q (Frank Staplin)

    There is no evidence that the song is related to any of the Native American songs or chants.


    10 Jan 16 - 08:35 AM (#3764281)
    Subject: RE: Origins: Bright Morning Star
    From: GUEST,Jess

    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.

    There is a certain amount of religious literacy to connect these dots but this song has strong Epiphany themes (the church season that follows Advent/Christmas). This is a church holiday that Shakers would not celebrate so I very much doubt their involvement.

    I don't know enough about Moravian theology to say much more than this: Moravian influences on American Indians through Moravian missions in the Carolinas and elsewhere make the possible American Indian connection intriguing and believable. Moravians certainly celebrate Epiphany religiously.


    03 Feb 16 - 06:13 PM (#3770416)
    Subject: RE: Origins: Bright Morning Star
    From: GUEST,Buddy

    A couple of things:

    Be sure to see/hear the choral arrangement by Shawn Kirchner. The sheet music and an excellent choir are at:

    http://sbmp.com/SR2.php?CatalogNumber=594

    The other thing has to do with the indigenous connections that have been mentioned. My understanding is that some Christian indigenous people sang western Christian hymns extremely slowly -- so slow that you cannot imagine it. Profoundly slow and profoundly rich. I have had the privilege of participating in this style of singing and can easily imagine their singing Bright Morning Star.

    Apparently, at one time, the missionaries in Canada disapproved of this slow singing because it was, well, indigenous. So the people developed a tradition of singing this way in non-church gatherings -- sort of like Sacred Harp gatherings -- where the main purpose is the singing. I am told that one can still find these gatherings in upper Minnesota and Ontario. I have looked for recordings, but so far I cannot find any.

    On a personal note: one should not dismiss a genuine Christianity among indigenous people, any more than among people who came to America as slaves from Africa.


    06 Dec 16 - 01:07 PM (#3824862)
    Subject: RE: Origins: Bright Morning Star
    From: GUEST

    It's a native american song that was taken up widely in appalachia and has made its way into both folk and spiritual collections.


    05 Oct 17 - 02:52 PM (#3880500)
    Subject: RE: Origins: Bright Morning Star
    From: GUEST

    I'm 78. When I was a child I had a song book with the tune "Up the mountain bright and early, when the mountain mist was curly. There's a tune the fiddlers played, early in the morning." It was a catchy tune and I played it a lot on the piano. Ever heard of it?