Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Ain't Gonna Grieve - Song #23

Continuing on the religious theme (very loosely), this next song starts "Oh the Deacon went down to the cellar to pray." But then things take a subversive turn: "But he got drunk and stayed all day." In these days of political correctness, perhaps this is not something that would be easy to introduce, but as far as I know this song like many others was de facto "grandfathered in."

Which is a good thing. A little good natured humor about anything never hurt anyone.

So those are the first two lines, which are sung in call and response fashion by the song leader. Then the verse is repeated without the call and response, followed by "I ain't gonna grieve my Lord no more." Then that line is repeated three times to the same melody, with a nice drawn out "grieeeeeeeve."

Then anyone can raise his (this was a boys' camp song) hand and the song leader points to one of the handraisers, who then leads the call and response with an original (or not) joke. The one I remember best is "Oh you can't get to Heaven with (insert name)'s shoes, 'cause (insert name)'s shoes are big as canoes." Then the usual chorus followed by someone else's joke. They always began with "Oh you can't get to Heaven with..." Good way to tease a counselor or make fun of the food or the weather, etc.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Swing Low - Song #22

For some reason I felt like singing in the shower this morning and the first song that popped into my head was Swing Low, Sweet Chariot, for no apparent reason. It's a good tune for the resonant surfaces of a bathroom, given its slow and simple melody.

Camp Ajawah was founded by a Boy Scout troop and sponsored by Minneapolis's big downtown Presbyterian church, but is not a "church camp" as some might understand the term. Always inclusive of children of any or no faith, Ajawah has always had a strong spiritual element that is best emphasized as "love thy neighbor as thyself."

And so there are a handful of songs that have some religious element, but not a majority of the songs by any stretch. And Swing Low is among the best known.

A 2000s version, then one from the 1960s:

But I prefer this version (from one half of the Righteous Brothers):