Hello. Come on in. The daddy writes about current events, literature, music and, once in a while, drops something on you from back in the day to make you pause and ponder, stop and stare, and begin to wonder. Who knows? You may start to pace the floor, shake your head from side to side, then fall down on bended knees in a praying position and cry, "Lawd, have mercy! What is this world coming to?" Check yourself! But this blog is NOT about the daddy. It's about you: your boos, your fam, your hood, your country...our hopes and dreams of a better tomorrow. So let's make a pact: the daddy will put it on the track if you'll chase it down and hit him back. Together, we can definitely take it to another level. Shall we?"

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Swing low sweet chariot and "The musical expert"

"God writes the Gospel not in the Bible alone, but also on trees, and in the flowers and clouds and stars."
-- Martin Luther

"When you sing gospel you have a feeling there is a cure for what's wrong."
-- Mahalia Jackson

Listen up. The daddy just got back from the coffee shop and from a debate about who composed the song "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot." One of the guys there, a "musicologist," a person with "musical expertise, " as he described himself, claimed it was Mahalia Jackson . The daddy said it was Wallace Willis.

Actually, The daddy wasn't going to say anything at all. It was a kind of side comment not germane to the main point of discussion. But the so-called musical expert kept lecturing, kept droning on and on an d on in such a high-and-mighty professorial tone, with such an air of resolve and know-it- all arrogance, that it started to bother a brotha.

The so-called musical expert made himself sound at once like something between Hitler giving a fiery long-live-the-reich speech to the German masses in Propaganda Square and host William Buckley pompously critiquing into unnecessary nuance some irrelevant philosophical argument on "The Firing Line." And this so-called musical expert was a black dude! The daddy was wanted to say, "Man, where did you go to college, AU, Aryan University?"

Instead, a brotha interrupted him and said in an even tone, "Sorry. I don't know if Mahalia ever sang the song, but I know she didn't write it. It was composed by a a black slave of a Choctaw Indian named Wallace Willis." And guess what? The musical expert asked in an aggressive tone, "And how would you know that?" as if only he, the certified musical expert, should know such things (even though he attended AU). The daddy replied calmly but confidently, "Because I looked it up and wrote about it on my blog daddyBstrong. I'll show you." Within seconds, The daddy took him to the piece he wrote about Willis on December 21, 2008.

Nervously picking up the sections of his New York Times and what was left of his self esteem, the musical expert said, "Well, I guess it's still being debated." The guys around the table just looked at each other and smiled. In less than a minute, the musical expert was gone.

You know, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said there were two things he hated: injustice and arrogance. Maybe the musical expert should take a sabbatical from AU and pick up a book by Dr. King. Smart brotha that Dr. King.

Here's the post The daddy showed the musical expert:

The daddy,
December 21, 2008
Today, The daddy is feeling him some gospels and spirituals. He's pushing the repeat button for "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot," which was written by Wallace Willis. According to the African Registry, December 21st is the date that the song was registered for the whole world to know and hear. Here is the story"

*On this date in 1840, The Registry celebrates the writing of the hymn “Swing Low Sweet Chariot.” It was penned by Wallace Willis, the black slave of a Choctaw Indian. Known as ''Uncle Wallace,’’ his writing of this well known American hymn was inspired by his current home near Oklahoma City. Willis was also a servant at Spencer Academy, a Choctaw boarding school for boys in Choctaw County. On the day he wrote the hymn, Willis looked out over the cotton field he was tilling and gazed upon the Red River in the distance. This reminded him of the Mississippi River and the plantation his master owned before moving to Doaksville, Oklahoma Indian Territory.

With the sun bright that hot day, Wallace expressed his longing and weariness the only way he knew how. Willis and his wife, Minerva, often sang Willis's songs for the students, teachers, and guests of Spencer Academy. A missionary took Willis's song to the East where it was quickly picked up by university choirs. The spiritual was composed in a Capella and was an early hallmark in black Oklahoma's contribution to popular music and culture.

Reference:African American Registry
Photo:Fisk Jubilee Singers, a world-famous gospel group
Swing Low, Sweet Chariot

Swing low, sweet chariot,
Coming for to carry me home,
Swing low, sweet chariot,
Coming for to carry me home.

I looked over Jordan, and what did I see?
Coming for to carry me home,
A band of angels coming after me,
Coming for to carry me home.

If you get there before I do,
Coming for to carry me home,
Tell all my friends I’m coming, too.
Coming for to carry me home.

I’m sometimes up and sometimes down,
Coming for to carry me home,
But still my soul feels heavenly bound,
Coming for to carry me home.

The brightest day that I can say,
Coming for to carry me home,
When Jesus washed my sins away,
Coming for to carry me home.


brownsugatou said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
brownsugatou said...

Thanks for setting the record straight in the name of gospel history, black history. :-)

RiPPa said...

LOL@ Aryan University

Now that was funny right there Mac.

There's nothing more insulting or boorish than a Negro with the attitude such as the guy you described.

I had a similar conversation this week with a brother who happens to be in Law School and is a Republican. He asked me to prove to him where it was constitutional to allow women to have abortions.

I pointed him to the 14th amendment and he said I was uneducated and I needed to get my education up.

I laughed the whole time.

But as for the song you mentioned in the post? I always thought it was some tired slave who made that up back in the day.


MacDaddy said...

brownsugatou: Thanks. And I'm coming to see you at your blog. You write some serious poetry.

Rippa: I used to teach anger management classes; and it really took a lot of patience for me to talk to this guy. After he left, they told me he is a teacher at the U of Minnesota and a black Republican. Wow. Since you dealt with one of these type of guys, maybe you could hip me. I wanna know: what the hell do these arrogant black republicans have to be arrogant about?

Vigilante said...

I remember singing this anthem every week in every year of high school. I still sing it occasionally in the shower. (Don't want to scare the dog.)

MacDaddy said...

I sometimes sing it in the shower too. By the way, I appreciated your comment on Michael Vick. Stella's too.