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Lyr Add: African-American Christmas Carols

Q 24 Dec 06 - 05:26 PM
Q 24 Dec 06 - 05:33 PM
W y s i w y G ! 25 Dec 06 - 12:34 AM
Q 26 Dec 06 - 01:49 PM
Q 26 Dec 06 - 02:32 PM
Desert Dancer 26 Dec 06 - 03:27 PM
open mike 26 Dec 06 - 05:31 PM
Azizi 26 Dec 06 - 06:26 PM
Q 26 Dec 06 - 06:37 PM
Azizi 26 Dec 06 - 07:09 PM
Azizi 26 Dec 06 - 07:32 PM
Azizi 26 Dec 06 - 07:55 PM
Q 26 Dec 06 - 09:07 PM
Azizi 26 Dec 06 - 10:30 PM
Azizi 26 Dec 06 - 10:56 PM
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Genie 27 Dec 06 - 03:21 AM
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Little Robyn 27 Dec 06 - 03:14 PM
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GUEST,Bob Coltman 28 Dec 06 - 11:41 AM
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Subject: Lyr Add: African-American Christmas Carols
From: Q
Date: 24 Dec 06 - 05:26 PM

Two small Christmas carols of Georgia African-Americans were collected by Emma M. Backus and published in the Jour. American Folk-Lore, 1899, vol. 12 no. 47, p. 272. They seem to be cradle carols, or carols to be sung by children. Ms Backus gives no details of collection, and apologises for not being able to provide a melody.

Carol 1.

De leetle cradle rocks to-night in glory,
In glory, in glory,
De leetle cradle rocks to-night in glory,
De Christ-chile born.
Peace on earth,
Mary rock de cradle,
Peace on earth,
Mary rock de cradle,
Peace on earth,
Mary rock de cradle,
De Christ-chile born in glory,
In glory, in glory,
De Christ-chile born in glory.

Carol 2.

De Christ-chile am passin',
Sing softly,
De Christ-chile am passin',
Sing low.
Don' yo' hear he foot on de treetop,
Sof' like de south win' blow?
Glory hallelu!
Glory, glory, glory,
Glory hallelu!

These two carols are combined and revised, with an added first verse, but printed without notes and without tune in Hymns and Carols of Christmas.

Lyr. Add: THE LITTLE CRADLE ROCKS TONIGHT
(Spiritual from Georgia)

If anybody asks you who I am,
who I am, who I am
If anybody asks you who I am,
Tell him I'm a child of God.
Glory, the Christ child born in glory.
2.
The little cradle rocks tonight in glory,
Rocks in glory, rocks in glory,
The little cradle rocks tonight in glory,
The Christ child born in glory.
3.
Peade on earth, Mary rock the cradle,
Pock the cradle, rock the cradle,
Peace on earth, Mary rock the cradle,
The Christ child born of glory.
4.
The Christ child passing, singing softly,
Singing softly, singing softly,
The Christ child passing, singing softly,
The Christ child born in glory.

The first stanza was collected by R. Emmett Kennedy and published in "Mellows," a collection of spirituals, in 1925 (a very hard to get volume, not seen).

Lyr. Add: CHILD OF GOD
(The Little Cradle Rocks Tonight in Glory)

1.
If anybody ask you who I am,
Who I am, who I am,
If anybody ask you who I am,
Tell him I'm a child of God.
2.
The little cradle rocks tonight in glory,
In glory, in glory,
The little cradle rocks tonight in glory,
The Christ child born in glory.
3.
Peace on earth, Mary rock the cradle,
Mary rock the cradle, Mary rock the cradle,
Peace on earth, Mary rock the cradle,
The Christ child born in glory.
4.
The Christ child passing, singing softly,
Singing softly, singing softly,
The Christ child passing, singing softly,
The Christ child born in glory.
5.
Don't you hear the foot on the tree top,
Foot on the tree top, foot on the tree top,
Don't you hear the foot on the tree top,
Soft like the south wind blow?

From folkinfo.org, copied from Elizabeth Poston, "The Second Penguin Book of Christmas Carols."
The folkinfo site has a partial score; no notes as to source (by Poston?). Except for the first verse, which really doesn't fit the theme, the revisions do not change the original carols collected by Backus, except to remove the "Glory hallelu!" at the end of the second carol when the two are united.

http://www.folkinfo.org/songs/displaysong.php?songid=348
Child of God


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: African-American Christmas Carols
From: Q
Date: 24 Dec 06 - 05:33 PM

Have any versions been collected outside of Georgia?
Who combined the verse (1) collected by Kennedy with the carols collected by Backus?
Where did Kennedy collect his verse?
Who arranged music, and when?

A lovely little carol, but needs background.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: African-American Christmas Carols
From: W y s i w y G !
Date: 25 Dec 06 - 12:34 AM

If anybody asks you who I am,
who I am, who I am
If anybody asks you who I am,
Tell him I'm a child of God.


Gosh, my mind is getting to be like Swiss cheese. I am sure I have heard this part sung-- I can hear the tune in my head! I have no idea where or when I heard it, and I never saw or heard any of the Christmas text with it, as above. ????

~Susan


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: African-American Christmas Carols
From: Q
Date: 26 Dec 06 - 01:49 PM

refresh


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: African-American Christmas Carols
From: Q
Date: 26 Dec 06 - 02:32 PM

Seeger Family (Rounder LP 268-269) "American Folk Songs for Christmas," sang a version of this (haven't heard so don't know the verses used). I haven't checked to see if it has been re-issued on cds.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: African-American Christmas Carols
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 26 Dec 06 - 03:27 PM

It's so nice when someone poses a question I have the resources to answer...

Ruth Crawford Seeger in American Folk Songs for Christmas gives the following citations for the version of "Child of God" provided there:

... tune and st. 1 from Mellows, by R. Emmett Kennedy (1925), p. 45. Used by permission. St. 2-5 from Journal of American Folklore, Vol. 12, 1899, p. 272, "Christmas Carols in Georgia," by Emma Backus. (These, published in JAFL without a tune, have been slightly adapted.)

p. 40: Child of God; The Little Cradle Rocks Tonight in Glory (Louisiana and Georgia)

If anybody ask you who I am,
Who I am, who I am,
If anybody ask you who I am,
Tell him I'm a child of God.

The little cradle rocks tonight in glory,
In glory, in glory,
The little cradle rocks tonight in glory,
The Christ child born in glory.

Peace on earth, Mary rock the cradle,
Mary rock the cradle, Mary rock the cradle,
Peace on earth, Mary rock the cradle,
The Christ child born in glory.

The Christ child passing, singing softly,
Singing softly, singing softly,
The Christ child passing, singing softly,
The Christ child born in glory.

Don't you hear the foot on the tree top,
Foot on the tree top, foot on the tree top,
Don't you hear the foot on the tree top,
Soft like the south wind blow?


On the Rounder album, Peggy Seeger sings all these verses, and repeats the first first at the end. I believe that this 2-cd set was originally issued on cd, in 1989.

~ Becky in Tucson


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: African-American Christmas Carols
From: open mike
Date: 26 Dec 06 - 05:31 PM

i saw a video of the blind boys from alabama singing
"last month of the year" which had a comical statement
sort of subliminally included...about a figure of jesus
depicting him as caucasian


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: African-American Christmas Carols
From: Azizi
Date: 26 Dec 06 - 06:26 PM

Here is a YouTube clip of an African American Christmas Song:

FAMU Concert Choir 2006 (6)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CE4rB_hXybI&mode=related&search=

Added December 11, 2006; From niwdogh
Christmas Concert - Mary Had A Baby

-snip-

By the way, "FAMU" is an abbreviation for Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University, a historically Black [African American]university.

**

I found these lyrics for Mary Had A Baby on http://www.hcs.harvard.edu/~kuumba/songarchive.html#maryhad :

MARY HAD A BABY
[S - Mary had a Baby] My Lord!

[B - Where was He born?] Born in a manger.
[T - Oh, Mary had a Baby born in a manger. Mary had a Baby] My Lord!

[SOLO - What did they call Him?] King Jesus! --OOOO--

He is called "King Jesus," "Mighty Counsellor," "King Emmanuel,"
"Mighty God," "Everlasting Father," --HUM--

[S - Mary had a Baby] My Lord.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: African-American Christmas Carols
From: Q
Date: 26 Dec 06 - 06:37 PM

Thanks, Becky. In other words, the Seeger family is responsible for "Child of God."


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: African-American Christmas Carols
From: Azizi
Date: 26 Dec 06 - 07:09 PM

Here's a video clip of children singing "Mary Had A Baby & Amen":

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jsGvuRIxR4E

Added October 20, 2006; From Granotaperezi
"Christmas in United Kingd Godspell"

**

Here's another short YouTube Clip of a child singing "Mary Had A Baby, Yes Lord"

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G8P9Brz5HSI

Added September 14, 2006; From Rlanham

**

Here are three examples of lyrics for Mary Had A Baby Yes Lord that song that I found online:

MARY HAD A BABY {Example #1}
[traditional, pre-1865]

Mary had a baby - Yes Lord - Mary had a baby - Yes my Lord - Mary had a baby - Yes Lord - People keep a-coming - But the train done gone
Where did she lay Him - Yes Lord - Laid Him in a manger - Yes my Lord - Wrapped Him in swaddling - Yes Lord -
- chorus -
Star kept a-shining - Yes Lord - Moving in the elements - Yes my Lord - Stood above the stable - Yes Lord
- chorus -
What did she name Him - Yes Lord - Named Him King Jesus - Yes my Lord - Wonderful Councelor - Yes Lord
- chorus -
Mary had a baby

http://www.fretnotgospel.com/maryhadababy.html

**

MARY HAD A BABY [Example #2]

Mary had a baby, yes, Lord,
Mary had a baby, yes my Lord,
Mary had a baby, yes Lord,
People keep a-comin' an' the train done gone.

What did she name him? yes, Lord,
What did she name him? yes my Lord,
What did she name him? yes Lord,
People keep a-comin' an' the train done gone.

She named him Jesus, yes, Lord,
She named him Jesus, yes my Lord,
She named him Jesus, yes Lord,

http://www.santasearch.org/music.asp?PID=1&SongID=194

**

MARY HAD A BABY [Example #3]

Mary had a Baby, Yes Lord
Mary had a Baby, Yes Lord
Mary had a Baby, Yes Lord
The people keep a comin' but the train done gone.

Where was He born, Yes Lord
Where was He born, Yes Lord
Where was He born, Yes Lord
The people keep a comin' but the train done gone.

Born in a manger, Yes Lord
Born in a manger, Yes Lord
Born in a manger, Yes Lord
The people keep a comin' but the train done gone.

What you gonna call Him? Yes, Lord
What you gonna call Him? Yes, Lord
What you gonna call Him? Yes, Lord
The people keep a comin' but the train done gone.

Call Him King Jesus, Yes Lord
Call Him King Jesus, Yes Lord
Call Him King Jesus, Yes Lord
The people keep a comin' but the train done gone.

http://raindrop.org/holidays/christ/c5d.shtml

-snip-

FWIW, I've never heard "the people keep a comin' but the train done gone" versions of the "Mary Had A Baby" song. However, the lyrics of that song very much like I posted in my first comment to this thread are usually sung in Pittsburgh's annual Black Nativity play.

I'm wondering if the "Mary Had A Baby, Yes Lord" song which includes the line "people keep a comin' but the train done gone" is an older version of the "Mary Had A Baby" song that doesn'tt include that line but focuses on what people called Mary's baby.

Does anyone here have any documentation or any opinion about this?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: African-American Christmas Carols
From: Azizi
Date: 26 Dec 06 - 07:32 PM

Here's another YouTube video clip of the FAMU concert choir singing the African American Christmas songs "What Ya Gonna Name Your Baby Boy?", "Sweet Little Jesus Boy", "Rise Up Shepherd and Follow"

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T5KIv6SFFqw

Added December 11, 2006 ;From niwdogh

**

For what it's worth, prior to this video clip I'd never heard the song "What Ya Gonna Name Your Baby Boy?, but the songs "Sweet Little Jesus Boy", "Rise Up Shepherd and Follow" are standard selections for the musical play Black Nativity.

For those who may be interested, here's some information on "Black Nativity"

"December 11

*On this date in 1961 Black Nativity opened on Broadway. Langston Hughes' self-described "gospel song play" was staged at New York Cities Lincoln Theater that evening.

The Christmas story performed in dialogue, narrative, pantomime, gospel song and folk spirituals is an expression of Hughes' late-in-life interest in African-American spirituality and the oral traditions of the African-American church.

Reference:
Encyclopedia of African-American Culture and History
Volume 1, ISBN #0-02-897345-3, Pg 175
Jack Salzman, David Lionel Smith, Cornel West"

-snip-

Most African American communities have had a drama/musical/dance group which has produced this play. Often the production is an annual Christmas event. "Black Nativity" may be one of the few public, non-church events where folks {regardless of race} get to hear spirituals and gospel music. If you've never been to a production of Black Nativity, I very much recommend it to you.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: African-American Christmas Carols
From: Azizi
Date: 26 Dec 06 - 07:55 PM

Correction- the video of "Mary Had A Baby & Amen" shows a performance of children from the United Kingdom. I'm not sure, but perhaps "Godspell" is the name of the choir.

**
[and since I'm here]

Here's another African American Christmas "Carol":

"Children Go Where I Send Thee"


Here's one version of the lyrics to that I found in the Mudcat Digitrad


CHILDREN, GO WHERE I SEND THEE

Children, go where I send thee
How shall I send thee?
I'm gonna send thee one by one
One for the little bitty baby
That was born, born
Born in Bethlehem.

Children, go where I send thee
How shall I send thee?
I'm gonna send thee two by two
Two for Paul and Silas
One for the little bitty baybe
That was born, born
Born in Bethlehem.

Three for the Hebrew children...

Four for the four that stood at the door...

Five for the gospel preachers...

Six for the six that never got fixed...

Seven for the seven that never got to heaven...

Eight for the eight that stood at the gate...

Nine for the nine all dressed so fine...

Ten for the ten commandments...

Eleven for the eleven deriders...

Twelve for the twelve Apostles...

@gospel @Xmas @seasonal
filename[ GOSEND
RG

**

I've remember mentioning on some other Mudcat thread that I learned that song somewhat differently. For instance, in the version I remember,we sang "2 for Mary & Joseph" and "9 for the night men riding" or was it "11 for the night men riding instead of that "Eleven for the eleven deriders" line [what's a derider?]...

See how mis-remembering can change the words of a song...


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: African-American Christmas Carols
From: Q
Date: 26 Dec 06 - 09:07 PM

"Mary Had a Baby" was collected by Ballanta-Taylor, but that book is rare. It seems to have had the 'train,' acc. to the extended version in "Hymns and Carols of Christmas."
www.hymnsandcarolsofchristmas.com/Hymns_and_Carols/mary_had_a_baby.htm
Mary Had a Baby

Azizi, I wonder what is fretnotgospel's authority for dating the song as 'pre-1865'? No one else lists it as pre-20th c. No early version listed in the Cleveland Index.
I have not seen a version without the 'train.'

Other versions in thread 39223. Mary had a Baby


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: African-American Christmas Carols
From: Azizi
Date: 26 Dec 06 - 10:30 PM

Q, I don't know anything about the fretnotgospel website. Perhaps that website thinks that all "Negro spirituals" are pre-1865, and therefore, because "Mary Had A Baby" is a "Negro spiritual", then it must be pre-1865.

But the reference to a train helps to date this song, doesn't it..

You wrote that you have not seen a version [of "Mary Had A Baby"] without the 'train.'[line]. Well, I'd never heard that line before this evening's online searching for African American Christmas spirituals-first on YouTube, and then on text based websites.

As I mentioned in an earlier post to this thread, I've heard "Mary Had A Baby" sung as the FAMU choir sung it [though not as opera [like a rendition]. I should mention that I heard this version both as sung by the Pittsburgh Black Nativity cast, but that's the way it was given on the audio casette from the original Broadway Black Nativity play [unfortunately, I can't find the tape or any copies that I used to have on self-made compilation tapes]...

You'll "note" that that version in the FAMU {#6} clip doesn't have the line about the train.

Maybe the version without the "people keep a comin' but the train done gone" line is actually the one that's the earliest and the versions with the train line came later.

????


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: African-American Christmas Carols
From: Azizi
Date: 26 Dec 06 - 10:56 PM

It also occurs to me that there's a family of spirituals that could be titled the "What you gonna name that baby" family.

In addition to "Mary Had A Baby" and Mary Had A Baby, Yes Lord", the song "What Ya Gonna Name Your Baby Boy?" would be included as a member of that family of spirituals. And there's another song that has not yet been posted whose lyrics are different enough from "What Ya Gonna Name Your Baby Boy" that I believe it should be considered a whole 'nother song. This song- What you gonna name that pretty little baby"-is a staple of the Black Nativity play that I'm familiar with and is also featured on the casette tape of original Black Nativity Broadway play.

The words of this song go something like this [warning, my recollection may be faulty on the last line...the last line could be "born on Christmas day" or maybe something else...]

WHAT YOU GONNA NAME THAT PRETTY LITTLE BABY
Mary, what you gonna name that pretty little baby
Umm-umm
What you gonna name that pretty little baby
Umm-umm
What you gonna name that pretty little baby
Umm-umm
Born in Bethleham

Some call him
Wonderful
Umm-umm
Some call him
Wonderful
Umm-umm
Some call him Wonderful
Umm-umm
Born in Bethleham

Some call him
Emmanuel
Umm-umm
Some call him
Emmanuel
Umm-umm
Some call him
Emmanuel
Umm-umm
Born in Bethleham

Some call him Prince of Peace
Umm-umm
Some call him Prince of Peace
Umm-umm
Some call him Prince of Peace
Umm-umm
Born in Bethleham

[Well,]I'm gonna call him Jesus
Umm-umm
[Yes]I'm gonna call him Jesus
Umm-umm
I'm gonna call him Jesus
Born in Bethleham.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: African-American Christmas Carols
From: Azizi
Date: 26 Dec 06 - 11:11 PM

Since Google is my friend, I decided to check out if he {she? it?} knew anything about the song "What You Gonna Name That Pretty little Baby?"

I found these listings:

What You Gonna Call Your Pretty Little Baby-O

Baez, Joan. Folksingers 'Round Harvard Square, Veritas, LP (1959), trk# A.06

Folk Music Index: West V to What Y
http://www.ibiblio.org/folkindex/w06.htm

**

What You Gonna Name That Pretty Baby? - Eller, Leatha

Eller, Leatha. Rosenbaum, Art (ed.) / Folk Visions & Voices. Traditional Music & So...., University of Georgia, Bk (1983), p 16 [1978/05/06]

Folk Music Index-same as above

**

Also, see these lyrics from http://www.hymnsandcarolsofchristmas.com/Hymns_and_Carols/what_you_gonna_call_your_pretty.htm


What You Gonna Call Your Pretty Little Baby?
African-American Spiritual

Alternate Titles:
Mary, What You Gonna Name that Pretty Little Baby?
Mary, Mary (What You Gonna Name That Baby?
Glory To That Newborn King

1. Mary, Mary, had a little baby,
Oo pretty little baby,
Oo pretty little baby
Glory be to the newborn king.

2. Star a shinin', shinin' on the manger,
Oo, shinin' on the manger
Oo, welcoming a stranger
Glory be to the newborn king.

3. Mary, Mary, who was here who knew him,
Oo, did anybody know him,
The ox and the donkey they bowed right down before him,
Glory be to the newborn king.

4. Mary, what you gonna name your baby?
Oo, pretty little baby,
Mm, pretty little baby
Glory be to the newborn king.

5. Some call him Manuel, think I'll call him Jesus,
Mm, yes think I'll call him Jesus
Mm, my pretty little Jesus
Glory be to the newborn king.



Harry Belafonte recorded this song in 1957 under the title "Mary, Mary" (available on his CD "To Wish You A Merry Christmas"). It was also recorded by Joan Baez, "Folksingers 'Round Harvard Square," 1960.

Elizabeth Poston, in The Second Penguin Book of Christmas Carols, gives this version (with music):

What You Gonna Call Yo' Pretty Little Baby?
    MIDI / Noteworthy Composer / PDF

1. What you gonna call yo' pretty little baby,
What you gonna call yo' pretty little baby,
What you gonna call yo' pretty little baby?
Born, born in Bethlehem.
Some say one thing, I'll say Immanuel,
Born, born in Bethlehem.

2. What you gonna call yo' pretty little baby,
What you gonna call yo' pretty little baby,
What you gonna call yo' pretty little baby,
Born, born in Bethlehem.
Some call him one thing, I'll call him Jesus.
Born, born in Bethlehem.

3. What you gonna call yo' pretty little baby,
What you gonna call yo' pretty little baby,
What you gonna call yo' pretty little baby,
Born, born in Bethlehem.
Sweet little baby, born in a manger.
Born, born in Bethlehem.

She noted: "Traditional Negro Christmas spiritual (general), of characteristic simplicity in question-and-answer form and strong rhythm. An earlier version is 'Mary, what yer gwin er name dat Purty Leetle Baby' in Southern Thoughts for Northern Thinkers by Jeannette Robinson Murphy (Bandanna Publishing Co., New York, 1904)."

Another version, recorded by J. J. Niles and Peggy Seeger:

Pretty Little Baby

The Virgin Mary had-a one son
Mmmm, pretty little baby
Mmmm, glory Hallelujah
Glory be to the new born King

Mary, what you gonna name that pretty little baby?
Mmmm, pretty little baby
Mmmm, glory Hallelujah
Glory be to the new born King

Some call him one thing, think I'll name him Jesus
Mmmm, pretty little baby
Mmmm, glory Hallelujah
Glory be to the new born King

Some call him one thing, think I'll name him Emmanuel
Mmmm, pretty little baby
Mmmm, glory Hallelujah
Glory be to the new born King

I assume that the "J. J. Niles" is John Jacob Niles, who collected spirituals in Appalachia in the early years of the 20th century.

Another version that I found is called "What You Gonna Name That Pretty Little Baby?"

O Mary what you
gonna name that
pretty little baby?
Some call him one thing,
think I'll call Him Jesus.
Glory! Glory!
Glory to that new-born King!
Some call him one thing,
I think I'll say Emmanuel.
Glory! Glory!
Glory to that new-born King!

A similar version under the title

Glory To That Newborn King
Melody: MIDI / Noteworthy Composer / PDF
SATB: MIDI / Noteworthy Composer / PDF

1. O Mary, what you goin' to name that pretty little baby?
Glory! glory! Glory to that newborn King!

2. Some call him one thing, I think I'll call him Jesus,
Glory! glory! Glory to that newborn King!

3. Some call him one thing, I think I'll say Emmanuel,
Glory! glory! Glory to that newborn King!"

-snip-

And of course, after I read the lyrics "Glory be to the newborn King" I remembered that that's the way I heard "What you gonna name that pretty little baby" sung.

But something still feels like it's missing from that song as I remember hearing it sung. Was is it? Maybe it's nothing at all. Maybe the "born in Bethleham" line or the "born on Christmas day" line was added after the "Glory be to the newborn King" line. Or maybe that's just a fig newton of my imagination [or the folk process at work].

I'll have to find the tape or ask someone who knows this song.
I can't remember on my own.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: African-American Christmas Carols
From: Azizi
Date: 26 Dec 06 - 11:17 PM

Well, having read my last post more closely, I feel somewhat vindicated as the Elizabeth Poston example of What You Gonna Name That Pretty Little Baby" includes that "born in Bethleham" line.

Still I distinctly remember the "Glory be to the newborn King" words being sung. Could it be that someone combined the "Elizabeth Poston" version and the "Glory [be]to the newborn King" version?

Maybe.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: African-American Christmas Carols
From: Q
Date: 26 Dec 06 - 11:19 PM

I wouldn't blame anyone for changing the 'and the train done gone' line.
People keep coming and .....?
I have a feeling that you are right and the first version would have something else (regardless of when it was first sung).

Johnson and Johnson, 1926, II, pp. 124-125 have the title as "Mary Had a Baby, Yes, Lord."

1.
Mary had a baby,
Yes, Lord!
Mary had a baby,
Yes, my Lord!
Mary had a baby,
Yes, Lord!
De people keep a comin' an' de train done gone.
2.
What did she name Him?
Yes, Lord!
What did she name Him?
Yes, my Lord!
What did she name him?
Yes, Lord!
De people keep a comin,....
3.
She name Him King Jesus ...
4.
She name him Mighty Couns'lor ...
5.
Oh, where was He born? ...
6.
Oh, born in a manger ...

Take out the last line, or finish with a line in keeping with the other lines in the verses. ??

The form suggests to me that the train line is a late add-on.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: African-American Christmas Carols
From: Azizi
Date: 27 Dec 06 - 12:13 AM

I'm trying to "suss" out the meaning of that line "people keep comin and the train done gone"

Suppose some people missed the train because they came late? So "people keep comin but the train done gone"?

Last week for some reason or the other I read an online article about the history of the Black newspaper "The Chicago Defender".
The article described how train stations from Southern cities to Chicago and cities farther North would be crowded with Black people during the Great Migration [of Black people from the Southern USA to the Northern USA].

I can't find the specific article that I was reading, but here's an excerpt from another article about the Chicago Defender:

"Would you move across the country based on the urgings of a newspaper? Now imagine having that kind of influence over an entire race, or even an entire country of people. The power of the media is, and was, often underestimated, but can prove to be domineering as Robert S. Abbott found out. Abbott had a vision and a sole purpose in founding The Chicago Defender, the most prominent black newspaper in the history of Illinois and the United States...

Abbott's most successful campaign brought thousands of southerners to the North from 1915 to 1925. This epoch is known as the Great Migration, during which the Chicago Defender influenced over one million blacks to migrate to the north. From 1916 to 1918, more than 110,000 southern blacks came to the city of Chicago alone. In the wake of the Industrial Revolution, the newspaper gave southerners a new hope and purpose. Based in the liberal North, the Defender was able to be significantly more outrageous and militant... Images of the North's best schools were shown adjacent to those of the South's worst schools. Articles described the horrendous conditions of the South compared to comfortable lifestyles in the North. Even job listings and train schedules were given to provide blacks with specifics on the movement. The paper synchronized the Great Migration with historical and religious events, making it that much more significant and relevant to African Americans...

http://www.lib.niu.edu/ipo/2001/ihy011217.html

-snip-

All this to say, if that line "people keep comin and the train done gone" dates from 1915 or so, maybe that line was penned because of the impact of seeing so many Black folks tryin to get on the fastest train or any train out of the South.

However, in my opinion, that "people keep comin and the train done gone" line has a religous meaning. The train refers to the gospel train which took the place of the chariot as the means of transporting people to glory [ie. heaven]. Of course, only the people who are "saved" ["born again", "santified"] would have a ticket for this train. And "people might keep comin", but "everybody talkin 'bout heaven aint goin there".

**

So this is my theory and I'm stickin with it [at this point in time, anyway].

What do ya think about that?


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Subject: African-American Christmas Carols/ Virgin Mary
From: Genie
Date: 27 Dec 06 - 03:21 AM

The first version of "What You Gonna Call That Pretty Little Baby?" that I ever heard was by recorded by Carolyn Hester on a self-titled album, with the title "Virgin Mary."

VIRGIN MARY

Virgin Mary had a little baby,
Oooo-oooh, pretty little baby,
Oooh-oooh, glory !allelujah
Glory be to the new born King!

Mary, what you gonna name that pretty little baby?
Oooo-oooh, pretty little baby,
Oooh-oooh, glory !allelujah
Glory be to the new born King!

Some call him one thing, think I'll name him David,
Oooh-oooh, he's the son of David.
Oooh-oooh, glory !allelujah
Glory be to the new born King!

Mary, what you gonna name that pretty little baby?
Oooo-oooh, pretty little baby,
Oooh-oooh, glory !allelujah
Glory be to the new born King!

Some call him one thing, think I'll name him 'Manuel
Oooh-oooh, think I'll call him 'Manuel.
Oooh-ooh, glory Hallelujah!
Glory be to the new born King!

Mary, what you gonna name that pretty little baby?
Oooo-oooh, pretty little baby,
Oooh-oooh, glory Halelujah!
Glory be to the new born King!

Some call him one thing, think I'll name him Jesus,
Oooh-oooh, think I'll call him Savior.
Oooh-ooh, glory Hallelujah!
Glory be to the new born King!

The Virgin Mary had a little baby,
Oooo-oooh, pretty little baby,
Oooh-oooh, glory Hallelujah!
Glory be to the new born King!


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: African-American Christmas Carols
From: Azizi
Date: 27 Dec 06 - 08:06 AM

Here's an example of The Virgin Mary Had A Baby


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m_FVfFoCyv8

For those who don't have access to YouTube, the words are

The virgin mary had a baby boy
The virgin mary had a baby
and the say his name was jesue
he come from the glory
he come from the glorious kingdom
he come from the glory
he come from the glorious kindom
Oh yes believer
Oh yes believer
he come from the glorious kingdom
he come from the glorious kingdom


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: African-American Christmas Carols
From: Azizi
Date: 27 Dec 06 - 08:43 AM

[Sorry, that last comment was in too much of a rush to get posted. I wasn't finished cuttin and pastin and somehow I hit submit].

Here's the correct words as I heard them sung on that video clip that was added on Youtube December 13, 2006 From deldred [location given as Mass, USA]

THE VIRGIN MARY HAD A BABY BOY

The virgin mary had a baby boy
The virgin mary had a baby boy
The virgin Mary had a baby boy
And they said that his name was Jesus
He come from the glory
he come from the glorious kingdom
he come from the glory
He come from the glorious kingdom
Oh yes, believer
Oh yes, believer
he come from the glory
he come from the glorious kingdom

The angels [went ?? where??] the baby boy
etc

The wise men [when?? where??]etc

-snip-

I really like the way this group sounds. And I like the words to this version of "Mary Had A Baby" [if indeed this is a version of that same song]. I wanted to post a compliment to the group, but though I tried two times, for some reason my comments wouldn't post.

This video doesn't have any comments yet. I hope that someone will compliment this group on their voices and on their rendition of this spiritual.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: African-American Christmas Carols
From: Q
Date: 27 Dec 06 - 01:01 PM

"The Virgin Mary Had a Baby Boy" is from the West Indies.
Sibelius music has a score and three verses:
http://www.sibeliusmusic.com/cgi-bin/show_score.pl?scoreid=50499
The Virgin Mary

1. The virgin Mary had a baby boy, (3x)
and they say that his name is Jesus.

Refrain
He come from the glory,
He come from the glorious kingdom.
He come from the glory,
He come from the glorious kingdom.
Oh, yes! believer! Oh yes! believer!
He come from the glory,
He come from the glorious kingdom.

2. The angels sang when the baby was born, (3x)
and they say that his name is Jesus.
refrain
3. The shepherds came where the baby was born, (3x)
and they say that his name is Jesus.
refrain
4. The wise men came where the baby was born, (3x)
and they say that his name is Jesus.
refrain


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: African-American Christmas Carols
From: Little Robyn
Date: 27 Dec 06 - 03:14 PM

'the train done gone' I wonder if that refers to the underground railway? We learnt that in teacher's training college back in 1963 - as a kids song with lots of choo choo choo noises.
The same year we listened to Joan Baez (and Bob Gibson?) singing 'The Virgin Mary had a one son' and about that time Harry Belafonte (I think) was singing the version above on the radio - 'He come from the glory....'
Robyn


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: African-American Christmas Carols
From: Azizi
Date: 27 Dec 06 - 06:17 PM

Little Robyn, much respect about your point.

I suppose that it is possible that the line "people come and the train done gone" does refer to the underground railroad. However, I'm reluctant to say that it definitely does, partly because it seems that everytime "train" is mentioned in a 19th cebtury Black spiritual or 19th century Black gospel song folks think that it must refer to the underground railroad.

I'm not saying that in this instance, it's not true [that train=underground railroad], but I think that we should keep an open mind about whether it does or does not mean this.

{Btw, Little Robyn, "we" here refers to those of us who are activing participating in this discussion, and those who are reading this discussion}.

In other Mudcat threads, I've mentioned that I think that it's much too simplistic to think that enslaved African American routinely used a number of coded words such as 'train' in songs to signal that an individual or group of people were getting ready to flee slavery. I have also mentioned before that I think such a theory insults the intelligence of White folks hearing these songs, and disregards and minimizes the possibility [probability] that there would be some Black snitches who heard these songs, "got" their hidden meanings and then would have ratted on these people.

It's my position that a word can have multiple meanings in the same song, at the same time, and/or at different times. So the word "train" in an African American spiritual could [can]refer to the underground railroad. And/or the word "train" could [can] refer to the gospel train and folks needing to "get right" before they met their maker [as one never knew when the train was going to come and it might "leave them behind" to elude to a fragment from the foremost spiritual song [that I remember anyway] "Git On Board, Little Children".

To clarify my theory about the connection between the line "people come but-oh excuse me-people come and the train done gone" and the Great Migration, it's also possible that the word train might refer to that migration of Black folks from the South to the Midwest and the North [in the years 1915-1926 or thereabouts]. But I think that the word allude is more probable than the word 'refer'. What I mean by this is that I believe that it's possible that the composer[s] of this line borrowed the imagery of the crowded train stations and missed trains and added it to an already existing spiritual.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: African-American Christmas Carols
From: Azizi
Date: 27 Dec 06 - 07:17 PM

Q, your comment that the song "The Virgin Mary Had a Baby Boy' is from the West Indies motivated me to think about the tremendous amount of cross-pollination that has occurred [and has continued to occur] between African Americans and Afro-Caribbeans.

I'm particularly interested in the subject of shared cultural patterns & products between these two groups of people because I am of Black Caribbean and African American descent.

Many years ago when I was in public school & in college there was no mention about the ways in which 19th century [and earlier] Afro-Caribbean music & other cultural forms were similar to, different from, and influenced 19th century & earlier Southern African American cultures and vice versa. I remember learning that as a result of the 'triangle trade' in slaves, some enslaved Black people lived in the West Indies before being sold to slave masters in the US South. But I can not recall any mention of the impact that West Indian culture may have had on the cultural heritage of these enslaved people. I guess that was because the dominant view was that these people weren't really people and had no cultural heritage worth noting or studying from the West Indies, from the US South, or from Africa.

And, at no time in my public school or college [not even in an African American history class] was there any mention of the role 19th century and earlier Black sailors played as world travelors and as two directional carriers of those culture which were thought to be non-existent or not worthy of acknowledgement or study.

Because it is better late than never, I am making up for lost time in studying subjects such as Caribbean spirituals and Black sailors.
And I've no doubt that these two subjects are related.

For instance, I find articles such as Holidays In The Sun {The Real Bahamas}, Caribbean Voyage: Carriacou Calaloo , and Pirates and Sailors: Black History on the High Seas to be very interesting and very educational.

With regard to Caribbean spirituals, here's one excerpt from that second article whose link I provided:

"In addition to the Big Drum songs and the Creole-European dances, this Carriacou sampler includes two anthems or spirituals as well as three pass-play songs. The pass-play songs are similar to those found on Brown Girl in the Ring, an earlier release in the Alan Lomax Caribbean Voyage series and the anthems remind me of spirituals found in Trinidad, the Bahamas, and the southern United States, though they maintain a fairly distinct local flavor. The notes suggest similarities between the anthem I Want to Hear Somebody Pray and the spirituals of the Gullah people of the Georgia Sea Islands, but to my ears sounds it shows a striking resemblance to the Calinda, a stick dance that is found on a number of Caribbean islands, including Carriacou. One Night As I Was Walking was recorded at a nine-night wake and is an example of the strong tradition of funeral music and wake music that can be found throughout African-American communities in the Spanish, English, and French Americas. The surge of the chorus after each stanza makes this a particularly powerful anthem".

-snip-

And here's a link to a Mudcat discussion about Black sailors for those persons reading this discussion who may have missed that thread:

Black Jacks: History & Shanties


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: African-American Christmas Carols
From: GUEST,Bob Coltman
Date: 28 Dec 06 - 11:41 AM

Hello Azizi,

I agree that the "People keep a-comin' but the train done gone" line refers to the train to glory ... or perdition. The "White Flyer to Heaven" or the "Black Diamond Express to Hell" as the recorded 1920s sermons by Rev. A.W. Nix put it. Or

DEATH'S BLACK TRAIN / LITTLE BLACK TRAIN

Death's black train a-comin'
Better get your business right,
Better set your house in order,
For the train may be here tonight ... etc.

Maybe the train, seen as the release from a hard life, seemed to be a hard one to catch, or to be allowed to board ("Got my ticket, let-n me ride..." not unlike "Swing down chariot, let me ride" and so on). And being saved was the key. The line "None can ride but the sanctified" is typical of several songs' viewpoint, so the religious connection is plainly foremost.

But of course the physical railroad train in the here-and-now contributes the bedrock of the feeling, too. Bob


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: African-American Christmas Carols
From: Azizi
Date: 28 Dec 06 - 12:42 PM

Hello, Bob Coltman,

Thanks for posting the comments that "Maybe the train, seen as the release from a hard life, seemed to be a hard one to catch, or to be allowed to board...And being saved was the key. The line "None can ride but the sanctified" is typical of several songs' viewpoint, so the religious connection is plainly foremost".

The comment about the train as a release from a hard life etc. adds a new dimension to my ideas about the meaning of trains in spirituals.

Btw, having nothing earthshaking to do today, I was thinking about how many religious songs I knew and wondering what other songs folks here knew that mentioned or alluded to trains and chariots.

"Death's Black Train" is one I didn't list as reading your thread was the first time I ever "heard" about that particular song.

So I'm taking your post as confirmation that others might be interested in a thread on the subject of religious chariots & trains.

I'll refer folks to this thread and the discussion about the "people keep comin and the train done gone" line.

And I hope you don't mind that I plan to include a repost of your comment on that new thread.

Thanks again!

Best wishes,

Azizi


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: African-American Christmas Carols
From: Azizi
Date: 28 Dec 06 - 12:59 PM

Here's the link to that new thread:

Religious Trains & Chariot Songs


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: African-American Christmas Carols
From: GUEST
Date: 03 Nov 12 - 07:25 AM

I heard the meaning of Mary Had a Baby was a way slaves communicated with each other in the underground railroad, but am not sure what each line represents.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: African-American Christmas Carols
From: GUEST
Date: 06 Dec 14 - 03:56 PM

Odetta. You may have heard Odetta sing it.


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