dinsdag 4 maart 2014

Go Tell It On The Mountain (1855) / Go Tell It On De Mountain (1941) / Tell It On The Mountain (1963)

"Go Tell It on the Mountain" is an African-American spiritual song, compiled by John Wesley Work, Jr., probably dating back to 1865.
It has been sung and recorded by many gospel and secular performers. It is considered a Christmas carol because its original lyrics celebrate the Nativity of Jesus:
Go tell it on the mountain, over the hills and everywhere;
go tell it on the mountain, that Jesus Christ is born.


The Originals © by Arnold Rypens - GO TELL IT ON THE MOUNTAIN

This carol was included in "Religious Folk Songs of the Negro as sung on Plantations" (1909)

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It's version 2 on this site (with the "When I was a Seeker" verse)


According to The Hymnuts, from an old Negro spiritual "When I Was a Seeker". The tune of the verse has similarities to the verse of "Oh, Susanna".

Listen here:


"Go Tell It On The Mountain" was first transcribed by John Wesley Work Jr., a choral director, songwriter, and a collector/compiler of folk music, slave songs, and spirituals.
Many sources say it was first published in Folk Songs of the Amer­i­can Ne­gro in 1907. 

But I couldn't track it down in that book

Volume One:
Volume Two

J. W. Work Jr. was from Nashville Tennessee, taught at Fisk University and directed and promoted the Fisk Jubilee Singers from 1909 till 1916.
The Fisk Jubilee Singers were probably the first act to perform the song in 1879, during their fund-raising concert tours in America and Europe.
So it's more likely John W. Work Jr. learned the song when he was an undergraduate at Fisk University in the early 1890s and a faculty member by the late 1890s.



"Go Tell It On The Mountain"  was also contained in the book "American Negro Songs and Spirituals" (1940) by John W. Work III (the son of John W. Work Jr)

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But in this book John Wesley Work III, attributes the newer text to his uncle Frederick J. Work. "He may have composed it" [the tune], wrote J. W. Work, III. "I know he composed the verses." John, III, recalled that when he was a child, the students at Fisk University began singing this before daybreak on Christmas morning, going from building to building. Later, his arrangement for use in choral concerts by the Fisk Jubilee Singers helped to popularize the spiritual.

Frederick Jerome Work was the brother of John Wesley Work Jr. and it's more likely that both brothers were responsible for adapting the song and first publishing it in 1909.
It's Frederick J Work's name that is mentioned in the notes of "Religious Folk Songs of the Negro as sung on Plantations"

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After "Go Tell It On The Mountain" was published again in 1940 in John Wesley Work III's "American Negro Songs and Spirituals", it became extremely successful, with many recordings:

Dorothy Maynor might be the first one to have recorded this spiritual in 1941, probably copying the version from "Religious Folk Songs of the Negro as sung on Plantations" (1909), because she used the same title "Go Tell It On De Mountain" as was used in that book.

(o) Dorothy Maynor (1941)  (as "Go Tell It On De Mountain")  (with the "Seeker" verse)
Recorded November 14, 1941
Released in 1942 on record # 2211-B of the 4 record 78 RPM album-set "Negro Spirituals"

Negro Spirituals | Discogs

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Listen here:

"Go Tell It On The Mountain" was also sung with different verses, based on Luke 2:8-9.


Here are the lyrics of that version  (for convenience I call it the "Shepherds" verse)


It's version 3 on the next site:


(c) Famous Jubilee Singers (1948)  (with the "Shepherds" verse)
Released on the Bullet-label (#294)

Listen here:

(c) Mahalia Jackson (1950)  (with the "Shepherds" verse)
Mildred Falls, piano; Louise Overall, organ;
Recorded in New York City on October 17, 1950
Released on Apollo 235

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Listen here:

(c) The Weavers 1951  (with the "Shepherds" verse)
Lee Hays [vcl], Fred Hellerman [vcl/gt],Pete Seeger [vcl/gt/banjo], Ronnie Gilbert [bass vcl]. Producer: Milt Gabler
Recorded September 19, 1951 Decca Recording Studio, New York City.
Released on single Decca 27818 and LP DL-5373

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Listen to a sample here:

(c) Golden Gate Quartet (1958)  (with the "Seeker" verse)
Wilson, Orlandus (voc), Riddick, Clyde (voc), Wright, Clyde (voc),Ginyard, Julius Caleb (voc)
Glenn Burgess (p), Pierre Culaz (g), Pierre Sim (b), Christian Garros (dms)
Recorded in Paris, April 8, 1958
Released on "Negro Spirituals Vol 2"


Listen here:

(c) The Staple Singers 1962  (with the "Seeker" replaced by "Sinner" verse)
Maceo Woods (organ) Al Duncan (drums) Mavis Staples, Purvis Staples, Yvonne Staples (vocals) Roebuck Staples (vocals, guitar)
Recorded in NYC, circa middle 1962
Released on album "The Twenty-Fifth Day Of December" (Riverside RM 3513)



Listen here:

(c) Kingston Trio (1962)  (as "Tell It On The Mountain")
Released July 1962 on the album "Something Special"


Listen here:

(c) Fannie Lou Hamer 1963
Recorded fall 1963 in Greenwood, MS

On August 23, 1962, Rev. James Bevel, an organizer for the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and an associate of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., gave a sermon in Ruleville, Mississippi, and followed it with an appeal to those assembled to register to vote. Black people who registered to vote in the South faced serious hardships at that time due to institutionalized racism, including harassment, the loss of their jobs, physical beatings, and lynchings; nonetheless, Hamer was the first volunteer. She later said, "I guess if I'd had any sense, I'd have been a little scared - but what was the point of being scared? The only thing they could do was kill me, and it kinda seemed like they'd been trying to do that a little bit at a time since I could remember."

On August 31, 1963 she traveled on a rented bus with other attendees of Bevel's sermon to Indianola, Mississippi, to register to vote. In what would become a signature trait of Hamer's activist career, she began singing Christian hymns, such as "Go Tell It on the Mountain" and "This Little Light of Mine", to the group in order to bolster their resolve. The hymns also reflected Hamer's belief that the civil rights struggle was a deeply spiritual one.


According to Religious Studies professor and Civil Rights historian Charles Marsh, it was African American Civil Rights leader Fannie Lou Hamer who combined this song with the spiritual "Go Down Moses," taking the last line of the chorus, "Let my people go" and substituting it in the chorus of "Go Tell it on the Mountain"

SEE ALSO:  http://jopiepopie.blogspot.nl/2017/07/the-song-of-contrabands-1861-go-down.html

In 1963, Peter, Paul and Mary, along with their musical director, Milt Okun, took the Fannie Lou Hamer adaptation of "Go Tell It on the Mountain" and rewrote it as"Tell It on the Mountain".


The song was recorded on their album In the Wind and was also a moderately successful single for them. (US #33 pop, 1964).

(c) Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra, Fred Waring And His Pennsylvanians (1964)


Listen here:

(c) Marie Laforet (1964) (as "Viens sur la montagne")

Using the PPM adaptation with French lyrics by Hubert Ithier.



Listen here:

(c) Simon & Garfunkel 1964  (with the "Shepherds" verse)
Released on their album: "Wednesday Morning, 3 A" 


(c) The Wailers (1971)
Recorded in 1970 (sung by Peter Tosh)
Released in 1971 on the album "The Best of The Wailers"


Listen here:

(c) Dolly Parton  (1990) (with the "Shepherds" verse)
On CD "Hymns For Christmas"

Here she sings it live at her home for a Christmas Special

(c) The Blind Boys of Alabama (2003)  (featuring Tom Waits)


Listen here:

(c) James Taylor (2004)


Listen here:

More versions here:




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