zondag 29 december 2013

Prisoner's Song (1924) / Thrills That I Can't Forget (1925) / Blue Eyes (1927) / Great Speckle Bird (1936) / Wild Side of Life (1951) / Did God Make Honky Tonk Angels (1952) / It Wasn't God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels (1952)

"It Wasn't God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels"  is a 1952 #1 country hit song written by J. D. "Jay" Miller, recorded by Kitty Wells. Originally recorded by Al Montgomery as "Did God Make Honky Tonk Angels?"
It was an answer song to the Hank Thompson hit "The Wild Side of Life", which was originally recorded by Jimmie Heap.

"The Wild Side of Life" and "It Wasn't God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels" are set to an apparently traditional tune, that was already used in Rev. Guy Smith's "The Great Speckled Bird"—popularized in 1936 by Roy Acuff, and more familiarly in the Carter Family's "I'm Thinking Tonight of My Blue Eyes" recorded in February, 1929 (originally recorded by the North Carolinba Ramblers and Roy Harvey as "Blue Eyes").
The tune is also used in an even older song "Thrills That I Can't Forget" recorded by Welby Toomey and Edgar Boaz in 1925.
But then there is the striking resemblance with "The Prisoner's Song" recorded in 1924 by Vernon Dalhart.

"The Prisoner's Song", is a song copyrighted by Vernon Dalhart in 1924 in the name of Dalhart's cousin Guy Massey, who had sung it while staying at Dalhart's home and had in turn heard it from his brother Robert Massey, who may have heard it while serving time in prison.
The Prisoner's Song rates as a 1920s all-time best-seller with a staggering seven million-plus copies sold worldwide in the version by Vernon Dalhart. The Vernon Dalhart recording charted for 32 weeks, twelve at No. 1, during 1925 and 1926. The Vernon Dalhart version was recorded on Victor Records in October 1924 and marketed in the hillbilly music genre. It became one of the best-selling records of the early twentieth century, with at least two million copies sold (sales figures are uncertain; some place the sales at 7 million or more), as well as over a million copies of the sheet music to the tune.
Long-lasting controversy over the authorship of the song quickly arose. Dalhart copyrighted the song in Guy Massey's name, taking 95% of the author royalties for himself and giving Massey 5%. Shilkret protested, claiming that the song as Dalhart had brought it to him (Shilkret) was unusable, and that he rewrote the music. The Shilkret family fought unsuccessfully through the 1950s for author credit.
Guy Massey had heard the song from his brother Rob Massey, who had actually spent some time in prison and probably first heard the song there. Palmer cites a letter dated October 20, 1924 from Guy Massey to his brother Rob Massey and two of his sisters telling them that he agreed to a 5% stake in royalties because he thought there would not be any royalties. Guy also said that, even though the royalty contract did not mention Rob explicitly, he (Guy ) would split the 5% evenly with Rob. Although Dalhart changed his story frequently when he told it in public, he sometimes also claimed to have rewritten the original that he got from Guy. At times there were claims made that Guy had written it and there were claims that Rob had written it. Another story claims the lyrics were carved into the wall of a cell in the old Early County Jail in Blakely, Georgia by Robert F. Taylor, who was at one time held there.

And in addition there is a poem by Joseph Augustine Wade, which can be found as broadside NLScotland, L.C.Fol.70(83b) "Meet Me by Moonlight Alone," Poet's Box (Dundee), n.d.


The original song, by J. Augustine Wade, London, undated in Levy, was arranged for duet in an 1812 copy printed in Philadelphia and composed by Mrs. Seguin and Mr. Shrival.

Meet Me By Moonlight. Duett. | Levy Music Collection

Here are the recordings, beginning with "The Prisoner's Song"

(o) Vernon Dalhart (1924)  (as "Prisoner's Song")
Vernon Dalhart, v;
Acc. Lou Raderman, viola; Carson Robison, g;
Matrix 30633-2
Recorded in New York on August 13, 1924.

78 RPM - Vernon Dalhart - Wreck Of The Old 97 / The Prisoner's Song - Victor - USA - 19427

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(c) Vernon Dalhart (1924) ("Prisoner's Song")
Recorded October 1924
Released on Perfect 12164

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(c) Vernon Dalhart (1925) ("Prisoner's Song")
Recorded March 1925
Released on Cameo 703

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(c) Welby Toomey and Edgar Boaz 1925 (as "Thrills That I Can't Forget")
Welby Toomey, v; acc. Edgar Boaz, g.
Recorded in Richmond, IN Friday, November 13, 1925
Matrix 12414-A
Released on Gennett 3228

Welby Toomey - Wild Bill Jones / Thrills That I Can't Forget (Shellac) at Discogs


and Challenge 159 (with alias-name John Ferguson)


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(c) North Carolina Ramblers & Roy Harvey 1927  (as "Blue Eyes")
Posey Rorer, f; Bob Hoke, bj-md/v; Roy Harvey, g/v.
Recorded in Chicago, IL October 1927
Matrix 20089-2
Released on Paramount 3072 and Broadway 8158
Broadway 8158 as by Wilson Ramblers


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Or here:

(c) Carter Family 1929  (as "I'm Thinking Tonight of My Blue Eyes")
Carter Family (Sara Carter [vcl/autoharp], A.P. Carter [vcl], Maybelle Carter [vcl/gt])
Recorded February 14, 1929 Victor Studio, Trinity Baptist Church, 114N. 5th St., Camden, NJ
Matrix 49859-3
Released on Victor V-40089, Bluebird B-5122  and Montgomery Ward M-4230

Carter Family* - Engine One-Forty-Three / I'm Thinking To-Night Of My Blue Eyes (Shellac) | Discogs

78 RPM - Carter Family - Engine One-Forty-Three / I'm Thinking To-Night Of My Blue Eyes - Victor - USA - V-40089


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(c) Roy Acuff and his Crazy Tennesseeans (1936)  (as "Great Speckle Bird")
20 October 1936 Furniture Mart Building, 666 Lake Shore Drive, Chicago, IL - Roy Acuff & His Crazy Tennesseans (Jess Easterday [gt], Clell Sumne [dobro], Red Jones [bass], Sam Hatcher [harmonica]. Producer: William Callaway)
Released in January 1937 on Melotone (#7-01-59) and Conqueror (#8740)

Re-released on Vocalion Okeh 04252 in August 1938

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Re-released on Columbia 37005 in 1946

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Roy Acuff first recorded "Great Speckle Bird" in 1936 and continued to perform it regularly on the Grand Ole Opry. It quickly became one of the most famous songs in country music. It was based on a verse from the King James Bible (Jeremiah 12:9 Ð "Mine heritage is unto me as a speckled bird, the birds round about are against her;"). Interpreted as a description of the persecution experienced by the church, the verse, set to a traditional tune, soon gave rise to a Pentecostal anthem.
Acuff first heard the song sung in 1936 in Knoxville, Tennessee sung by a gospel group called the Black Shirts. After paying fifty cents to the leader of the Black Shirts, Charlie Swain, for a copy of the song, he immediately began to perform his own version of it and his radio performance landed him his first record contract.

Others say "Great Speckle Bird" was written about 1934 by a radio entertainer of Springfield, MO., known as "Uncle George", whose real name was Guy Smith.
One text was printed anonymously in the Aurora (Mo.) Advertiser, March 16, 1936.
Another version was copyrighted in 1937 by the M.M. Cole Publ. Co. of Chicago, with the words credited to Rev Guy Smith and the music to Roy Acuff.

(c) Jimmie Heap & The Melody Masters (1951)  (as "Wild Side Of Life")
Jimmie Heap [ld gt], Perk Williams [vcl-1/fiddle],Horace Barnett [rh gt], Butterball Haris[steel], Bill Glendening [bass], Arlie Carter [piano]
Recorded ca February 1951 Peterson's Studio, Austin, TX -
Matrix IF-258
Released on Imperial 8105

78 RPM - Jimmie Heap And The Melody Masters - Wild Side Of Life / When They Operated On Papa They Opened Mam's Male - Imperial - USA - 8105


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Jimmy Heap and His Melody Masters first recorded "Wild Side" in 1951, but never had a hit with the song.
Hank Thompson did, and his version spent three and one-half months atop the Billboard country chart in the spring and early summer of 1952.

(c) Hank Thompson and His Brazos Valley Boys (1952)  (as "The Wild Side Of Life")
Hank Thompson (Hank Thompson [vcl/gt], Billy Gray [gt/leader], Curly Chalker [steel], Billy Briggs Stewart [bass], William Wayne Foster [drums], Joe Herman „Big Red“ Hayes [fiddle], Kenneth Allen „Little Red“Hayes [fiddle], Gilbert „Gil“ Baca [piano]. Producer: Dee Kilpatrick)
Recorded December 11, 1951, Capitol Recording Studio, 5515 Melrose Ave., Hollywood, CA
Released January 1952 on Capitol #1942

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(c) Al Montgomery (1952)  (as "Did God Make Honky Tonk Angels")
Released on Feature Records 1036

Alice Al Montgomery - Did God Make Honky Tonk Angels (1952) | Canciones Del Ayer

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(c) Kitty Wells (1952)  (as "It Wasn't God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels")
 (Kitty Wells [vcl], Joseph Zinkan [harm vcl], Eddie Hill [gt/harm vcl], Shot Jackson [steel], Johnny Wright [bass], Dorris Warren [fiddle]. Producer: Paul Cohen)
Recorded May 3, 1952 Castle Studio, The Tulane Hotel, 206 8th Ave. North, Nashville, TN –
Matrix 82830
Released June 1952 on Decca 28232

78 RPM - Kitty Wells - It Wasn't God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels / I Don't Want Your Money, I Want Your Time - Decca - USA - 28232

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Burl Ives had a top 10 hit with "Wild Side Of Life" concurrent with Hank Thompson's No 1 hit.

Tommy Quickly & The Remo Four (1964) (as Wild Side Of Life) (No. 33 UK Chart),

Freddy Fender reached No. 13 on the Billboard Hot Country Singles chart in early 1976.

A version by the British rock band Status Quo reached the UK top 10 in 1976.

In the same year Rod Stewart recorded a version for his album "A Night On The Town".

(c) Marianne Faithfull (1978)  (as "Honky Tonk Angels")


(c) David Allan Coe (1977)  (incorporated in "If That Ain't Country")

David Allan Coe mentions all the titles at the end of his If That Ain't Country.
An' I'm thinkin' tonight of my blue eyes,
And flyin' with the great speckled bird.
I didn't know God made honky-tonk angels
And went back to the wild side of life.

Listen here:

In 1981, "Wild Side" and "It Wasn't God ..." were combined into a duet by Waylon Jennings and Jessi Colter on their album Leather and Lace; that version reached No. 10.

Kris Kristofferson also uses fragments of "Wild Side Of Life" in his "Blessing In Disguise" and "The Devil To Pay" (both '81)

More versions here:



The Originals © by Arnold Rypens - BLUE EYES

woensdag 25 december 2013

Soldatenliebe (1824) / Treue Liebe (1830) / Steh' Ich In Finst'rer Mitternacht (1869) / Midnight On The Stormy Deep (1926)

"Midnight on the Stormy Deep" is a song recorded in July 1927 by Ernest V. Stoneman at the famous Bristol Sessions in Bristol, Tennessee. The Carter Family was also present at the Bristol sessions in 1927. They didn't record "Midnight on the Stormy Deep" in 1927, but 29 years later, in 1956 on the same location, they did.

What most people don't know is that "Midnight on the Stormy Deep" originated as a German poem by Wilhelm Hauff (1802-1827).

This German poem called "Soldatenliebe" (Soldier's Love) was anonymously published by Hauff in 1824, in the book "Kriegs- und Volkslieder".
In 1828, one year after the death of Wilhelm Hauff, this poem was published again in a collection of his poems: "Phantasien und Skizzen" (this time set to the music of an existing melody: "Ich hab ein kleines Hüttchen nur" (I only have a little cottage) (written in 1780)

Listen here to a midi of "Ich hab ein kleines Hüttchen nur"




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In 1830 "Soldatenliebe" was published (as "Treue Liebe") (True Love) in the collection "Auswahl Deutscher Lieder" (Leipzig 1830)

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Here's a MIDI of "Treue Liebe":



The song was also contained in "Wilhelm Hauff's saemmtliche Werke: Mit des Dichters Leben, Volume 1" by Gustav Schwab (published in Stuttgart in 1840).
Once again it was called "Soldatenliebe" (with an additional 6th verse)

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With yet another title ("Steh Ich In Finstrer Mitternacht") the song is also mentioned on page 126 of the following book: "Unsere Volkstümlichen Lieder" by Hoffman von Fallersleben (1869)

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As "Steh Ich In Finstrer Mitternacht" (I Stand In Gloomy Midnight) it was also contained in many German songbooks:


And here are the recordings of the song, beginning with the oldest German version:

(o) Erich Schrader 1907  (as "Steh' ich in finst'rer Mitternacht" )
German Tenor with Orchestra Accompaniment
Recorded in Berlin, Germany 
Matrix:XB 1850
Originally released on Jumbo A 43148 (on B-side of Jumbo A 43160)
Erich Schrader & Kapellmeister Dannenberg

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Listen to a sample here:


(c) Silcher-Quartett 1909
Recorded in Karlsruhe, Germany in December 1909.
Master 12789
Treue Liebe — Volkslied (anonymous: German, ca. 1780 / Wilhelm Hauff)
(arr.: Friedrich Silcher) Steh' ich in finst'rer Mitternacht
Released on Beka-Grand 12789


(c) Nebe Quartett (1910).
Carl Nebe (bass). Deutsches Volkslieder-Quartett (male quartet: ten - ten - bar - CN).
Recorded in Berlin, Germany on March 1, 1910.
Treue Liebe — Volkslied (anonymous: German, ca. 1780 / Wilhelm Hauff)
(arr.: Friedrich Silcher) Steh' ich in finst'rer Mitternacht
Released on Veni Vidi Vici 813


(c) Carl Nebe-Quartett (1911).
Carl Nebe (bass). Nebe-Quartett (male quartet: ten - ten - bar - CN).
Recorded in Berlin, Germany around June 1911
Master xBo 4375
Treue Liebe — Volkslied (anonymous: German, ca. 1780 / Wilhelm Hauff)
Steh' ich in finst'rer Mitternacht (arr.: Peters)
Released on:
Jumbo/Odeon BL (Germany) A 47353
Odeon GN (Germany) 308626
Odeon BL (Germany) O-1220 (308626)


(o) Hermann Wehling 1911
Hermann Wehling (male voice). Friedrich Kark (MD). — (orchestra).
Recorded in Berlin around April 1911 at the Beka-Record Schallplattenfabrik, SO.36, Heidelberger Straße 75-76
Master 13570
Steh' ich in finst'rer Mitternacht (von hinten und von vorn) — Parodiecouplet (Curt Peter / Hermann Wehling) Hermann Wehling (male voice). Friedrich Kark (MD). — (orchestra).
Beka-Grand 13570


(c) Friedrich Kark 1911
Friedrich Kark (MD). — (orchestra). (male quartet).
Recorded in Berlin around September 1911 at the Beka-Record Schallplattenfabrik, SO.36, Heidelberger Straße 75-76
Master 13811
Treue Liebe — Volkslied (anonymous: German, ca. 1780 / Wilhelm Hauff) (arr.: Friedrich Silcher)
Steh' ich in finst'rer Mitternacht
Released on Beka RD (Germany) B 3671-I

(c) Carl Schlegel (1916) ("Steh' ich in finst'rer mitternacht")
Composer: Friedrich Silcher / Lyricist: Wilhelm Hauff


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Listen here: steh-ich-in-finstrer-mitternacht_carl-schlegel-wilhelm-hauff_.mp3

(c) Eduard Mittelstadt 1921 ("Treue Liebe")
Recorded on July 11, 1921 in New York.
Released on Edison 73002

Edison matrix 8124. Treue Liebe / Eduard Mittelstadt - Discography of American Historical Recordings

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(c) Richard Tauber (1926)   ("Treue Liebe (Steh Ich In Finstrer Mitternacht)"
Recorded October 1, 1926 in Berlin
Released on Odeon O-4904 as part of the 78-album set "Das Deutche Volkslied"

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William Howitt (1792-1879) was most likely responsible for the English translation of Hauff's "Soldatenliebe", which is very similar to the original German lyrics.
This version as "The Night Guard" was contained in "War-Songs for Freemen" (1863)

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But already in 1841 William Howitt had translated the German song in the book "The Student-Life of Germany", where it was titled "True Love".



And in 1857 the most familiar version (as "Midnight on the Stormy Deep") was published by Miller & Beachham in Baltimore:

Here's the Sheetmusic:

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The first recording of "Midnight on the Stormy Deep" is possibly this one by Lester McFarland and Robert A. Gardner

Lester McFarland & Robert A. Gardner, v duet;
acc. Lester McFarland, md; Robert A. Gardner, g;
Recorded in New York, NY Saturday, October 16, 1926
E-3950W Midnight On The Stormy Deep Vo 5125

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(c) Ernest Stoneman & Miss Irma Frost 1927
Recorded July 25, 1927 during the famous Bristol Sessions
Ernest Stoneman & Miss Irma Frost:
Ernest Stoneman, Irma Frost, v duet; acc. Ernest Stoneman, h/g;
Bristol, TN Monday, July 25, 1927
Matrix 39703-3 Midnight On The Stormy Deep (Victor unissued)
Finally released in 1987 on the album "The Bristol Sessions" on CMF 011-L



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(c) Ernest V. Stoneman & His Dixie Mountaineers 1928
Hattie Stoneman, f; Ernest Stoneman, h/g/v; Bolen Frost, g
Recorded on November 22, 1928 in New York, NY
Matrix N-582 Midnight On The Stormy Deep (Edison unissued)
Finally released in 1996 on the album "Edison Recordings" on County CD3510


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(c) Blue Sky Boys 1936 (as "Midnight On The Stormy Sea")
Bill Bolick, tv/md; Earl Bolick, lv/g.
Recorded in Charlotte, NC Tuesday, June 16, 1936
102644-1 Midnight On The Stormy Sea
Released on Bluebird B-6480 and Montgomery Ward M-5033

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Listen to "Midnight on the Stormy Sea" by the Blue Sky Boys:

The Blue Sky Boys' "Midnight on the Stormy Deep" was released on the B-side of "Down on the Banks of the Ohio" (which is very similar in tune to "Midnight on the Stormy Deep")

Listen to "Down on the Banks of the Ohio" by the Blue Sky Boys:

(c) Carter Family 1956 (as"Midnight on the Stormy Deep")
Carter Family (A.P., Sara, Joe, Janette Carter)
Recorded April 20, 1956 in Bristol TN for the ACME-label (unissued at the time)
Released in 1960 on the album below

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Listen here

Also released in 2008 on: The Acme Sessions 1952/56 ( JSP 4201)


A.P. and Sara re-formed the Carter Family with their grown children in 1952, performing a concert in Maces Spring. Following the successful concert, the Kentucky-based Acme signed A.P., Sara, and their daughter Janette to a contract, and over the next four years they recorded nearly 100 songs that didn't gain much attention at the time.


(c) The Lilly Bros & Don Stover 1961 (as "Midnight On The Stormy Sea")


Listen here:

(c) Doc Watson & Bill Monroe 1963 (as "Midnight on the Stormy Deep")
Bill Monroe & Doc Watson viz Bill Monroe
Recorded May 1963 [live] The Ash Grove, Los Angeles, CA -
Released on F.B.N. Music Club FBN-210

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(c) Bill Monroe 1966

Recorded December 16, 1966 at Columbia Recording Studio, 804 16th Ave. South, Nashville 3, TN Bill Monroe
Peter Rowan (leadvocals and guitar), Philip Grier (banjo), James Monroe (bass), Richard Greene (fiddle).
Producer: Harry Silverstein)


Listen here:

(c) Peter Rowan (2001) (as "Midnight on the Stormy Deep")
Peter Rowan and Don Edwards (Nancy Blake [gt], Tony Rice [gt], Billy Bright [mandolin], Bryn Bright [bass])
Recorded August/December 2001 Western Jubilee Warehouse, Colorado Springs, CO –
Released on Shanachie CD-6058 Dualtone 80302-01175-2



Listen here:

woensdag 4 december 2013

Lift Every Voice and Sing (1923)

"Lift Every Voice and Sing" — sometimes referred to as "The Negro National Hymn" or "The African-American National Anthem"— is a song with lyrics by James Weldon Johnson (1871–1938) and set to music by his brother John Rosamond Johnson (1873–1954) in 1900.

"Lift Every Voice and Sing" was publicly performed as part of a celebration of Lincoln's Birthday on February 12, 1900, by 500 school children at the segregated Stanton School.
As the story goes, the brothers moved to New York City soon after and eventually forgot about the song. But, not the school children who continued to sing it and when they grew up, taught it to other school children. By the 1920s children and adults were singing the song all over the South as well as in other parts of the country.
More about the background of the song here:


Here is early printed versions of the song:

Lift Ev'ry Voice and Sing (Johnson, J. Rosamond) - IMSLP

(o) Manhattan Harmony Four 1923
"Lift Every Voice And Sing" was first recorded by the Manhattan Harmony Four.
Recorded April 1923 in New York and released on the Black Swan label: BS 2120
In 1924 it was re-released on the Paramount-label: Paramount 12106

Listen here:

(c) Nazarene Congregational Church Choir 1926
Recorded November 26, 1926 in New York City
Released on Gennet 6003

Listen here:

(c) Southern Sons 1942
Recorded October 22, 1942 in New York
Released on Bluebird 30-0806-B

Listen here:  Lift_Every_Voice_and_Sing-The_Southern_Sons.mp3

(c) Harmonizing Four 1952
Released on Gotham label # G757


Listen here:

(c) Kim Weston (1968)
Released in April 1968 on the MGM-label (#K13927)

Re-released in 1970 on the Pride-label  (Hit R&B).

Listen here:

Kim Weston also performed the song in the 1972 movie "Wattstax".

Listen here:

(c) Merry Clayton 1970 (on the soundtrack of "Brewster McCloud")

Listen here:

(c) Ray Charles 1972

Here Ray is singing it in the Dick Cavett Show in 1972

(c) Al Green & Deniece Williams 1985 (as a project for Black History Month)

The actual song begins at 6 min and 11 sec in the next YT

(c) Melba Moore (1990) (Top 10 R&B)


In 1990, singer Melba Moore released a modern rendition of the song, which she recorded along with others including R&B artists Anita Baker, Stephanie Mills, Dionne Warwick, Bobby Brown, Stevie Wonder, Jeffrey Osborne, and Howard Hewett; and gospel artists BeBe and CeCe Winans, Take 6 and The Clark Sisters. Partly because of the success of this recording, Lift Ev'ry Voice and Sing was entered into the Congressional Record as the official African American National Hymn.

President Obama Singing "Lift Every Voice And Sing" with a few celebs at the White House aired on local PBS station WNIN at 7:00 PM Central, on Tuesday, August 27, 2013.

René Marie attracted controversy in 2008, when she was invited to sing "The Star-Spangled Banner" at a civic event in Denver, and substituted the song's lyrics with those from "Lift Every Voice and Sing".
This arrangement of the national anthem forms part of the titular suite of Marie's 2011 CD, The Voice of My Beautiful Country.

Listen here: