Monday, September 12

All through the night: Quo vadis?

I've just spent time at YouTube listening to six different choir renditions of Walter Hawkins' barnraiser, Going Up Yonder. Here's one rendition. Here's another. I can't believe what I've heard; they've turned a joyful song into a dirge. 

Granted, Tramaine Hawkins, the soloist in the original choir version, did once say that 38 years after she first sang it she'd noticed it's sung at a lot of funerals. 

Yes it can be sung at funerals but this is about spiritual armor for getting through life, which can be cut short at any moment. Are you ready for that? Devout Christians are.

So if anybody asks them, 'Where are you going?' Hawkins' lyrics are a great way to answer: 

As God gives me Grace, I'll run this race until I see my Savior face-to-face. I'm going up yonder to be with my Lord! 

All right; let's listen to the original version, sung as it's meant to be sung by Hawkins' Love Center Church Choir in Oakland, California with Tramaine in the lead. 

Yes I know the sound quality is scratchy in parts. The YouTube video was made from a scratchy 1975 record. However, if you sing along loudly enough you won't hear the scratches, now will you?   

There are cleaned-up sound quality versions posted to YouTube (the one I link to includes the written lyrics) but I don't like the visuals for those. The one hosted here features a still photo of the original choir joyfully belting out the song in a live performance at their church. 

As to the length of the song -- I think it's obvious it was written to be five minutes long, and most of the other versions I listened to are only about that length. So I'd guess the rest is a riff, which often happens with Spirituals -- especially those nobody wants to hear come to an end.  [smiling] 


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