Monday, July 16, 2007

Musical Mondays: Wayfaring Stranger

So we went to Emma's developmental clinic evaluation today. I'm not emotionally ready to talk about it right now. At least not to blog about it. I think I want to talk it over with my husband and friends first.

Instead, here's Musical Monday. Today I'll be sharing with you "Wayfaring Stranger", because it fits my current mood and I can sing it with soul today.

Download an mp3 here to listen. Sorry my voice is a little rough today; I should probably drink something but I just don't feel like it. I had a little trouble with some of the fricatives, too, not good with my mic control today, but Bridey is kinda fussy so I don't really want to re-record it in case it bothers her.

This song is an old one; it came out of the camp revivals held in the South. This particular song seems to be a result of a combination of "Negro spiritual" and "Appalachian spiritual." It probably began as a song that was sung by Black congregations, then was used in a few white revival meetings and grew from there into its current form (according to people who study these things.) It certainly has that bluesy feel; the words are not quite cheerful, though happy enough. They speak of salvation, but they speak of salvation coming at the end of a long, hard road. They speak of meeting those departed and the Savior with hope, but with weariness. Life can be tough, and I think this song acknowledges that, while still not losing perspective that life is still good, that after death there is still life.

Lyrics, as I sing them:

I am a poor wayfaring stranger
Traveling through this world of woe,
But there's no sickness, toil, or danger
In that bright land to which I go.

I'm goin' there to see my father,
I'm goin' there no more to roam,
I'm just a-goin' over Jordan,
I'm just a-goin' over home.

I know dark clouds will gather 'round me,
I know my way is rough and steep,
But beauteous fields lie just before me
Where God's bright band their vigils keep.

I'm goin' there to see my mother,
She said she'd meet me when I come,
I'm just a-goin' over Jordan,
I'm just a-goin' over home.

I want to wear a crown of glory
When I get home to that bright land,
I want to shout salvation's story
In concert with the blood-washed band.

I'm goin' there to see my Savior,
To sing His praise forever more,
I'm just a-goin' over Jordan,
I'm just a-goin' over home.

Do you know, I don't actually remember learning this song? The tune, anyway. I remember reading the book Come Sing, Jimmy Jo when I was in 5th grade or so. Part of the lyrics are used in it, and I remember humming a tune as I read without consciously thinking about it. A year or so later my dad's band was rehearsing it, and I was at one of the rehearsals. I remember being shocked that it was the exact tune that I had hummed! The words that weren't in the book were familiar, too, and I found myself singing along. So, unconsciously, somewhere along the line I must have heard this song and remembered it, at least once. I did have to learn additional lyrics when we decided to do the song as part of our set after I grew up and joined the family band, but the tune has always been there.

Anyway, hope you enjoyed this installment of Musical Mondays! Next week I will not be posting Musical Mondays because I will be in TULSA!!! (Look at that, I'm cheered up already!)

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