Walkin' With the King--CD
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Our new CD is out and here is what is on it:
Hallelujah, I’m Walking with the King
Joshua Fit the Battle of Jericho
Nobody’s Fault But Mine
At a Georgia Camp Meeting
Precious Lord Take My Hand
I’m So Glad Jesus Lifted Me
Over in the Glory Land
Little David Play on Your Harp
Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing
My Lord and I
About the Music
Eric Staffeldt and Bill Clark
Hallelujah, I’m Walking with the King: The author and composer of the chorus is unknown. It began appearing in Christian songbooks in the 1960s. This jubilant hymn sets the tone for the entire CD, opening with the full sonority of a traditional jazz ensemble, bolstered by Wende’s vocals on the verse and choruses. Prepare yourself for involuntary clapping and swaying as you listen to this collection of popular hymn tunes and African American Spirituals.
Joshua Fit the Battle of Jericho: This well-known African American Spiritual is believed to have been composed by slaves before the Civil War. Its lyrics reflect the original slave dialect “Joshua Fit (Fought) de Battle”. The first recorded version was by Harrod’s Jubilee Singers on Paramount Records in 1922. The QCJB programs this great old Gospel tune frequently because Wende makes it so powerful and the instrumentalists love the rhythm and chord structure.
Nobody’s Fault but Mine: First recorded by Blind Willie Johnson in 1927, this tune has been recorded since by numerous artists from a variety of genres, ranging from country (Willie Nelson) to hard rock (Led Zeppelin). The QCJB version was inspired by the Lu Watters/Bunk Johnson recording in 1944, featuring the Yerba Buena Jazz Band with Sister Lottie Peavey on vocal.
At a Georgia Camp Meeting: This tune was written by Kerry Mills in 1897. Mills was a classically trained violinist and educator who moved to New York City from the University of Michigan in 1895 to begin composing and publishing in “Tin Pan Alley”. It is a great example of the music industry at that time, capitalizing on the popularity of the Two Step, Cake Walk and March. Mills wrote quite a few popular tunes including “Red Wing” and “Meet Me in St. Louis”. The QCJB version retains the simple march-like rhythms from before bands started swinging and features banjo and tuba.
Precious Lord: This tune was originally in songbooks as “Cross and Crown”, a melody drawn from the hymn tune “Maitland” by American composer, George N. Allen. Thomas A. Dorsey said he used that tune as inspiration to write “Precious Lord”. Dorsey wrote “Precious Lord” when he was despondent over the death of his wife, Nettie, who died in childbirth in 1932. Dorsey is often referred to as the father of American Gospel Music. The QCJB uses his fluid harmonization in the opening choral played by the horns.
Do Lord: In the twentieth century, because of their infectious rhythm, accessible melody and repetitive lyrics, African American spirituals like “Do Lord” are sung at churches to invite active participation by the congregation. The composer of “Do Lord” is unknown. It has been recorded by many artists including Johnny Cash. Please feel free to join in, clap and sing along with Wende and the band on this familiar tune.
Sing On: A QCJB recording wouldn’t be complete without some New Orleans second-line rhythm, so the band decided to include “Sing On”. It was first recorded by Sam Morgan’s Jazz Band on April 14, 1927. We thought that free improvisation didn’t honor the history of this tune so you will hear two duets. The first is with trombone playing the melody embellished by clarinet, and in the second the tuba plays the melody embellished by trumpet.
I’m So Glad Jesus Lifted Me: “I’m So Glad” was originally recorded by Skip James in 1931 and is derived from a song written in 1927 by Art Sizemore and George A. Little entitled “So Tired”. Believe it or not, this tune was recorded by Cream on their first album, Fresh Cream, in 1966. This African American Spiritual is phrased as call and response, where one person sings the beginning of the text (often making up new lyrics on the spot) and the rest of the congregation responds with the repeated lyrics (“Jesus lifted me!”). Wende has mastered this tradition and we play this great song at many services.
Over in the Glory Land: Published in 1906 by James w. Acuff, the scriptural basis for this hymn is 2 Corinthians 5:1-“We know we have a God given dwelling, a house in heaven not made by hands, that will last forever” and Colossians 3:4 “When Christ, who is our life, makes His appearance, then we also will appear in glory with Him”. The QCJB arrangement features Wende on vocal, later joined by the rest of the band for a surprise vocal chorus. This is another song that has been popular with our concert audiences.
Eric—the following seems a bit long and loosely related to the song being described. How are old Harry and Anton related to this song? I like the pentatonic deal and the back seat thing very much.
Little David Play on Your Harp: This catchy spiritual is perfect to teach the children in the back seat of the car on those long road trips to “keep the peace”. It is worth mentioning the impact spirituals have had on classical music, rhythmically as well as tonally. “Little David Play on Your Harp” is a tune based on the pentatonic scale, a scale used by many Romantic composers. A key figure in publishing and contributing to the popularity of the spiritual as a genre was Harry Burleigh. Harry Burleigh came to New York in the late 1800’s as a student, performer and educator. While in New York, Burleigh became friends with the Czeck composer, Antonin Dvorak who was impressed by Harry’s singing of spirituals. For example, the thematic material for Dvorak’s New World Symphony of Dvorak relies heavily on spirituals for melodic content and inspiration.
Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing: The words to this familiar Christian hymn were written by pastor Robert Robinson in 1758. The scriptural reference is 1 Samuel 7:12 where Samuel gives thanks for the defeat of the Philistines “Samuel then took a stone and placed it between Mizpah and Jeshana and named it Ebenezer (meaning the stone of help), for he said “The Lord has certainly helped us.” The hymn tune is known as “Nettleton”, composed in 1812 by Asahel Nettleton. A traditional hymn tune like this provides an excellent opportunity for a formal chorale introduction by the front line and tuba before drums set a bright tempo and the rest of the band comes in swinging.
My Lord and I: Arranged for the QCJB by Ray Leake, this tune was composed by Lucie Eddie Campbell, an African American hymn composer. She spent most of her life in Memphis as a musician, educator and activist for civil justice. Wende and the QCJB are joined on this recording of Ray’s upbeat arrangement by the “choir” made up of Diane Penny, Cindy Taylor, Paul Thompson and Ray Leake.
Amen: This spiritual was popularized in the 1960’s by Sidney Poitier when he sang it in the film “Lillies of the Field”. Wende recalled a different harmonization of this melody from her childhood church in Chicago. Although the familiar melody remains the same, this version has a “bridge” section that is quite unique and is authentic to the original chords.