zondag 24 juli 2016

His Eye Is On The Sparrow (1905 / 1912)

"His Eye Is on the Sparrow" is a Gospel hymn. Although today it is a staple of African-American worship services, the song was originally written in 1905 by two white songwriters, lyricist Civilla Durfee Martin and composer Charles Hutchinson Gabriel.

Civilla Martin, who wrote the lyrics, said this about her inspiration to write the song based in the scriptures outlined above: "Early in the spring of 1905, my husband and I were sojourning in Elmira, New York. We contracted a deep friendship for a couple by the name of Mr. and Mrs. Doolittle—true saints of God. Mrs. Doolittle had been bedridden for nigh twenty years. Her husband was an incurable cripple who had to propel himself to and from his business in a wheel chair. Despite their afflictions, they lived happy Christian lives, bringing inspiration and comfort to all who knew them. One day while we were visiting with the Doolittles, my husband commented on their bright hopefulness and asked them for the secret of it. Mrs. Doolittle's reply was simple: "His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me." The beauty of this simple expression of boundless faith gripped the hearts and fired the imagination of Dr. Martin and me. The hymn "His Eye Is on the Sparrow" was the outcome of that experience".



The song was contained in "Alexander's Gospel Songs" compiled by Charles Alexander and published in 1910 by the Fleming H. Revell Company.



"His Eye Is On The Sparrow" is song # 42 in that book.

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William McEwan, born in Glasgow, Scotland, had learned the song while on a journey to America from 1908 to 1911.
(During this period he also had learned another song penned by Charles Gabriel: "Will The Circle Be Unbroken") SEE ----Joop's Musical Flowers: Will The Circle Be Unbroken (1912).

When McEwan came back to England from his journey to America, McEwan immediately recorded the song, amongst 24 other gospelsongs he had learned in the US.

(o) William McEwan (1912)
Recorded November 1911 in London
Released on Columbia 1852.

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In 1927 William McEwan recorded the song again.
On 3rd June 1927 he boarded the SS Caronia in New York, bound for Plymouth. Presumably he completed his intended tour of Scotland and Wales during the summer before going back into the studio in London in August. 


His 2nd version was released in 1928 on Columbia 4574 (UK)

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(c) Madame Magdalene Tartt Lawrence (1923)
Recorded December 1922, matrix 5090.
Released in 1923 on Paramount 12092

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(c) A.E. Greenlaw (1923)

Recorded around April 1923 and released on the Black Swan label: BS 2124
On this release they have accidentally changed the composers of the B-side with those of the A-side.
Composers should be (Gabriel / Martin)

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In 1924 it was re-released on the Paramount-label: Paramount 12110


(c) Hattie Parker with Pace Jubilee Singers (1927)
Recorded in Chicago on April 18, 1927
Released on Brunswick 7008 and on Supertone 2241 in 1927
and on Vocalion 1167 in 1928


Brunswick Records: Chicago and regional sessions - Ross Laird, Brunswick-Balke-Collender Company, Brunswick Radio Corporation - Google Boeken

Listen here:

Or to a sample here:


(c) Norfolk Jubilee Quartette (1927)
Recorded September 1927 in New York
Released on Paramount 12630

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And as Georgia Sacred Singers on Broadway 5048  and Herwin 93028

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(c) Coleman Brothers (1944)
Recorded in New York on March 16, 1944
Released in 1944 on Decca 8662 and on Coral 65003

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(c) Five Gospel Souls (1945)
Released on the Harlem label #1013

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And also as by Five Gospel Stirrers on the 20th Century-label #20-54

The Five Gospel Souls and the Five Gospel Stirrers were an early incarnation of the Soul Stirrers.


(c) Soul Stirrers (1946)
Released on the Aladdin-label #2004



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(c) Bill Kenny and the Song Spinners (1951)
Released on Decca 14564 (matrix 80723)


(c) Mahalia Jackson (1951)
Recorded July 17, 1951
Released on Apollo 246

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Listen here :

(c) Ethel Waters (1952)
In the 1952 movie "The Member of the Wedding" With Ethel Waters as Bernice Sadie Brown;

(c) Fairfield Four (1953)


Released on Dot # 1160

Listen here:

Or to a sample here:


(c) Harmonizing 4 (1958)


Listen here:

(c) Marvin Gaye 1968
Released on Motown M 1128


Also on the album "In Loving Memory" (Tribute to Berry Gordy's sister, Mrs Loucye Gordy Wakefield)

Listen here:

( c) Diana Ross (1994)



(c) Deniece Williams (1989)


(c) Lauryn Hill and Tanya Blount ( (in movie "Sister Act 2")

And on the soundtrack:

Whitney Houston recorded a version for the soundtrack of the 2012 remake of the musical film Sparkle.


RCA Records released the song as the second single from the album on June 8, 2012, four months after Houston's death. The song made its debut only one day after the premiere of "Celebrate". AllMusic called it a "piano, organ, and choir" showcase for Houston, citing it as a highlight of the soundtrack although admitting "Houston sounds as commanding as one can expect from a later recording."
Entertainment Weekly editor Melissa Maerz called it "a gorgeously rippling solo" with Houston "testifying ...] that Jesus is watching over her."
Jody Rosen of Rolling Stone panned the cover, saying "Houston sings – and croaks – in a voice octaves lower than in her prime. At times the song has a ravaged magnificence, but mostly it's painful."

More versions here:


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