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Lyr Req: Camp a Little While in the Wilderness

Margaret V 08 Jul 00 - 10:07 PM
Joe Offer 09 Jul 00 - 04:58 AM
Margaret V 09 Jul 00 - 09:35 AM
Margaret V 10 Jul 00 - 12:38 AM
GUEST,junebug 10 Jul 00 - 03:20 PM
GUEST,Arkie 10 Jul 00 - 07:06 PM
Margaret V 10 Jul 00 - 10:29 PM
GUEST,Burke 11 Jul 00 - 09:42 AM
Sandy Paton 11 Jul 00 - 09:23 PM
Margaret V 11 Jul 00 - 09:41 PM
GUEST,Burke 12 Jul 00 - 07:02 PM
Margaret V 12 Jul 00 - 07:36 PM
Joe Offer 12 Jul 00 - 08:43 PM
katlaughing 13 Jul 00 - 12:23 AM
Margaret V 13 Jul 00 - 08:04 AM
Joe Offer 14 Jul 00 - 01:43 AM
AllisonA(Animaterra) 11 Nov 04 - 07:04 PM
bbc 11 Nov 04 - 07:19 PM
Q 11 Nov 04 - 08:24 PM
Joe Offer 11 Nov 04 - 08:31 PM
Jim Dixon 15 Nov 11 - 10:51 AM
Jim Dixon 15 Nov 11 - 11:07 AM
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Subject: Camp a Little While in the Wilderness
From: Margaret V
Date: 08 Jul 00 - 10:07 PM

Can anyone tell me anything about "We'll Camp a Little While in the Wilderness?" I guess it's a camp-meeting song, but is the composer or date known? Thanks. Margaret


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Subject: RE: Camp a Little While in the Wilderness
From: Joe Offer
Date: 09 Jul 00 - 04:58 AM

Well, I found a recording of the song at CAMSCO. It's also available on a Folk-Legacy recording by Betty Smith, CD-53. It's also available on a recording by Sheila Kay Adams (click) and if you go to the Web site and snail mail her your question (no e-mail address shown), I bet she could help.
The album notes from Rounder's "Old-Time Music on the Air, Volume 2," which includes the Adams recording, say that Adams comes from a mountain community in Madison County, North Carolina. Adams learned the song from her grandmother, Dellie Chandler Norton. It's a camp meeting song that was sung in church about the end of the 19th century, when Dellie was a girl.
I'd offer to transcribe the lyrics, but there's not much to them - it's a song you have to learn by hearing, with lots of repetition. But I'll give it a try:
We'll camp a little while in the wilderness, in the wilderness, in the wilderness.
We'll camp a little while in the wilderness,
And then I'm a-goin' home.
And then I'm a-goin' home.
And then I'm a-goin' home.

We're all makin' ready, oh ready,
And then I'm a-goin' home.

Oh, fathers, are you ready, etc.
And then I'm a-goin' home, etc.

We'll camp a little while in the wilderness...

Oh, mothers, are you ready...

We'll camp a little while in the wilderness...
I hope that's enough to give you an idea of the song. There's no songwriter attribution, and I think this is more likely a traditional song. It's a nice song - glad you brought it to my attention.
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Camp a Little While in the Wilderness
From: Margaret V
Date: 09 Jul 00 - 09:35 AM

Thank you very much, Joe, for your sleuthing! I find the song very compelling and beautiful. Would love to know if it can be documented any earlier than the late nineteenth century. Perhaps Sheila Kay Adams will know. Margaret


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Subject: RE: Camp a Little While in the Wilderness
From: Margaret V
Date: 10 Jul 00 - 12:38 AM

Refresh?


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Subject: RE: Camp a Little While in the Wilderness
From: GUEST,junebug
Date: 10 Jul 00 - 03:20 PM

Betty Smith sings a version of this that I love, I wonder if she recorded it, maybe on JuneAppal?

Here's my recollection of the lyrics:

We'll camp a little while in the wilderness
Wilderness, in the wilderness
We'll camp a little while in the wilderness
Then we'll be goin' home
Then we'll be goin' home, then we'll be goin' home
We're all makin' ready
Then we'll be goin' home

Fathers are you ready?
Ready, oh ready
Fathers are you ready?
Then we'll be goin' home

I love the old camp-meeting songs!


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Subject: RE: Camp a Little While in the Wilderness
From: GUEST,Arkie
Date: 10 Jul 00 - 07:06 PM

It's sung by Sacred Harp Singers and has been a favorite of Charles Whitmers' Fa So La Classes at the Ozark Folk Center. I'm not sure which song book the class sings from, but the version is called "I'm Wandering To And Fro" and the author is listed as "unknown". The chorus is similar to what is stated above but the verses, which are sung as a soprano and alto duet, are:

I'm wand-ring to and fro,
In this world of woe,
Where dreams of sorrow flow,
And then I'm going home.

And when my faith is tried,
In Him I will confide,
And all the storms out ride,
And then I'm going home.


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Subject: RE: Camp a Little While in the Wilderness
From: Margaret V
Date: 10 Jul 00 - 10:29 PM

JuneBug, the link that Joe Offer provided above to Folk Legacy has the Betty Smith recording you're looking for. Arkie, thanks very much for that lead. Margaret


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Subject: RE: Camp a Little While in the Wilderness
From: GUEST,Burke
Date: 11 Jul 00 - 09:42 AM

I'm Wandering To and Fro is in the Cooper edition of the Sacred Harp and has been reprinted in An Eclectic Harmony. Attribution is Author unknown but copyright 1907 by W.M. Cooper

I don't know the original song referenced but it may be the texts more than the tunes that are related.

Here are the correct words.
It starts with just 2 part female voices:

I'm wand'ring to and fro,
In this wide world of woe,
Where streams of sorrow flow,
And then I'm going home.

4 part chorus: We' camp a while in the wilderness,
We' camp a while in the wilderness,
We' camp a while in the wilderness,
And then we're going home

v.2 (women)
And when my faith is tried,
In Him I will confide,
And all the storms out ride,
And then I'm going home.

(chorus all)

Notes: An Eclectic Harmony is a book of @100 tunes 4 shape books other than the 1991 revision of the Sacred Harp. It's becoming very popular as a supplement for use at socials & 'alternative' sessions.


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Subject: RE: Camp a Little While in the Wilderness
From: Sandy Paton
Date: 11 Jul 00 - 09:23 PM

Betty Smith's notes regarding the song on her Folk-Legacy recording simply tell us that she learned the song from Byard Ray, fiddler anf friend from Sodom Laurel, Madison County, North Carolina. Byard told her they used to sing the song in his church. Betty writes: "He said we probably wouldn't find his version of the hymn in a book, because it was the kind of hymn that people sang when they didn't have books. Since only one word changes in each verse (fathers, mothers, children, brothers, sisters, neighbors, etc.), it's an easy song to follow."

I haven't seen the shape-note versions, so I can add nothing to Betty's note.

Sandy


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Subject: RE: Camp a Little While in the Wilderness
From: Margaret V
Date: 11 Jul 00 - 09:41 PM

I wonder if we're dealing with two different tunes here. The meter of "I'm wandering to and fro" seems like it wouldn't fit the Sheila Kay Adams version of the melody. Has anyone heard both? Guests Arkie and Burke, who do know the shape-note melody, could perhaps pay a visit to Amazon and listen to the sound clip of the song on the album "Old-Time Music on the Air, Vol. 2." That's the album Joe referenced in the CAMSCO link. Thanks, everyone, for your help so far. Margaret


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Subject: RE: Camp a Little While in the Wilderness
From: GUEST,Burke
Date: 12 Jul 00 - 07:02 PM

That 30 sec. clip never did get to the wilderness camping part. The part I did hear on the clip is not the same.

I agree that adding 2 syllables give you something that will scan very differently.

I suspect your thought that it's a camp-meeting song would be correct. Since the song really only has about 4 lines that are repeated often with slight modification, I doubt you'd find a real author. Even for the tunes like this that were put in the 19th cent. shape note books, the general assumption is that the arrangers were working from oral sources.

The camp meetings did make use of wandering choruses. These were added as wanted to hymns or other songs as suited the moment. This one looks like it could be one like that.

The phrase:
We'll camp a little while in the wilderness,
And then I'm (we're) a-goin' home.

can easily be tacked on to the end of any song making a reference to life being hard but we'll get our reward in heaven. Being ready for heaven is a related but slightly different theme. The go together fine, but Fathers are you ready could also end up with some other chorus.

I suspect the wilderness chorus was used as part of the Sacred Harp tune we mentioned in that floating aspect, but even with the music having the somewhat later southern gospel sound to it. Shortening it made it fit the more common meters better. 11 syllables on a line makes for a a really long phrase, 11, 8 is really unusual.

I have to get off the computer now. If you can get the complete thing played on MudCat tonight, I can try to listen to the whole thing later.


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Subject: RE: Camp a Little While in the Wilderness
From: Margaret V
Date: 12 Jul 00 - 07:36 PM

Thanks, Burke. I wish I knew how to get you more of the tune than the Amazonian fragment, but I don't have knowledge or technology to do midis or any of those other things. I could sing it for you through Hear Me, maybe, but I've never done that either and I'm not sure how well the tiny built-in mic in this lap-top would work.

You know, one of the things I like about this song is that it's kind of a reverse metaphor (NOT a technical term, just me grasping for a defining phrase). Time spent at camp-meetings out in the woods or fields was sacred time, time out of the city of man and in the city of god, as it were; time for experiencing faith in a direct and powerful way. "Then I'm going home. . ." you know, back to the earthly grind. But of course, it doesn't mean that. The song means, as you say, that this earthly life is the wilderness, but it is only temporary until we go "home" to the afterlife (providing we've prepared ourselves).

I'll check back in later (9:30 or so?) to see if HearMe is up and running. Thanks again for the info. Margaret


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Subject: RE: Camp a Little While in the Wilderness
From: Joe Offer
Date: 12 Jul 00 - 08:43 PM

Burke and Margaret (and anybody else who's interested), if you have RealPlayer, click on my name below and send me e-mail, and I'll send you a recording of the entire song later this evening.
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Camp a Little While in the Wilderness
From: katlaughing
Date: 13 Jul 00 - 12:23 AM

Margaret, you did a beautiful job of singing this in HearMe, tonight! Thanks! Lovely voice and your mic worked really well.

kat


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Subject: RE: Camp a Little While in the Wilderness
From: Margaret V
Date: 13 Jul 00 - 08:04 AM

Thanks, kat! If you can download Sheila Kay Adams via Joe's offer above, have a listen, she's got an amazing, soulful voice. Joe, thank you very much! Do you have to have the album in order to do what you did, or is there some other nifty method I should know about? Margaret


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Subject: RE: Camp a Little While in the Wilderness
From: Joe Offer
Date: 14 Jul 00 - 01:43 AM

Hi, Margaret - to get a full recording to send by e-mail, you usually have to have the CD (records & tapes work, but are harder to deal with). There are plenty of "sample" recordings available at the online CD retailers, but they rarely give you the recording of an entire song.
I wonder if you'd sing the song for me sometime. If you notice that I'm online (chich is often), send me a personal message and we can meet in HearMe. I'm jealous that kat got to hear you, and I didn't.
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Camp a Little While in the Wilderness
From: AllisonA(Animaterra)
Date: 11 Nov 04 - 07:04 PM

Refreshing, because I heard this sung at NOMAD this past weekend and now I want to learn it, too!

Allison


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Subject: RE: Camp a Little While in the Wilderness
From: bbc
Date: 11 Nov 04 - 07:19 PM

Atwater & Donnelly have a very nice version of it on their cd, "And Then I'm Going Home." Their newest recording, "The Blackest Crow" is very nice, too. Their website is here:

http://www.atwater-donnelly.com/

bbc


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Subject: RE: Camp a Little While in the Wilderness
From: Q
Date: 11 Nov 04 - 08:24 PM

Brief note: Mike Yates recorded "Camp a Little While in the Wilderness," sung by Cas Wallin, Sodom Laurel, NC. It is about the same as the Sheila Kay Adams version posted by Joe Offer near the top of this thread. Wallin called it a Missionary Baptist song. Roud 7699.
Camp a Little While 29
Scroll down a fair piece.


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Subject: RE: Camp a Little While in the Wilderness
From: Joe Offer
Date: 11 Nov 04 - 08:31 PM

The Betty Smith Folk-Legacy album, Songs Traditionally Sung in North Carolina is now available on CD (click). It's a good one. Here is the track listing:
  1. Young Emily - 3:41
  2. False Knight in the Road - 3:15
  3. Omie Wise - 2:58
  4. Black is the Color - 4:32
  5. Young Charlotte - 4:58
  6. Samanthra - 1:57
  7. Where Will I Shelter My Sheep Tonight - 2:34
  8. Awake, Awake, You Drowsy Sleeper - 3:39
  9. Foggy Dew - 3:49
  10. Red Rosy Bush - 3.30
  11. Mary of the Wild Moor - 3:17
  12. Little Sparrow - 1:56
  13. Little Rosewood Casket - 2:1
  14. We'll Camp a Little While in the Wilderness - 3:51
  15. 'Tis Sad to Part - 1:35
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Camp a Little While in the Wilderness
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 15 Nov 11 - 10:51 AM

You can see this song, with musical notation arranged for 4 voices in Our College Boys' Songs, compiled by George W. Furniss (Chicago: S. Brainard's Sons Co., 1887), page 92:


WE'LL CAMP A LITTLE WHILE IN THE WILDERNESS
Z. A. Coleman

CHORUS: We'll camp a little while in the wilderness,
Few days, few days.
We'll camp a little while in the wilderness
An' then we'll all go home.

1. You'd better b'lieve de Bible (3x)
An' then we'll all go home. CHORUS

2. You'd better be a-praying (3x)
An' then we'll all go home. CHORUS

3. You'd better be a-marching (3x)
An' then we'll all go home.

LAST CHORUS: We'll shout a little while in the wilderness,
Few days, few days.
We'll shout a little while in the wilderness,
An' then we'll all go home.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Camp a Little While in the Wilderness
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 15 Nov 11 - 11:07 AM

There's a song in the DT called FEW DAYS which has similar refrain lines: "Few days, few days … And I am going home." There is also a thread about that song and several variants here: Origins: Few Days - I Can't Stay in These Diggins.


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