Great Compositions/Performances: Leontyne Price, 1962: Swing Low, Sweet Chariot – RCA Victor LM-2600


Leontyne Price, 1962: Swing Low, Sweet Chariot – RCA Victor LM-2600

Digitized from the LP shown above, issued on the RCA Victor Red Seal label, catalogue number LM-2660.

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

“Swing Low, Sweet Chariot” is a historic American Negro spiritual. The earliest known recording was in 1909, by the Fisk Jubilee Singers of Fisk University. It is also the anthem of the English Rugby team. In 2002, the Library of Congress honored the song as one of 50 recordings chosen that year to be added to the National Recording Registry. It was also included in the list of Songs of the Century, by the Recording Industry Association of America and the National Endowment for the Arts. “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot” was written by Wallis Willis, a Choctaw freedman in the old Indian Territory in what is now Choctaw County, near the County seat of Hugo, Oklahoma sometime before 1862. He was inspired by the Red River, which reminded him of the Jordan River and of the Prophet Elijah’s being taken to heaven by a chariot (2 Kings 2:11). Many sources claim that this song and “Steal Away” (also composed by Willis) had lyrics that referred to the Underground Railroad, the resistance movement that helped slaves escape from the South to the North and Canada. Alexander Reid, a minister at the Old Spencer Academy, Choctaw boarding school, heard Willis singing these two songs and transcribed the words and melodies. He sent the music to the Jubilee Singers of Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee. The Jubilee Singers popularized the songs during a tour of the United States and Europe. The song enjoyed a resurgence during the 1960s Civil Rights struggle and the folk revival; it was performed by a number of artists. Perhaps the most famous performance during this period was that by Joan Baez during the legendary 1969 Woodstock festival.

Swing Low, Sweet Chariot est une chanson de type Negro spiritual qui vient des États-Unis. La chanson a également un lien important avec l’équipe d’Angleterre de rugby à XV et elle est régulièrement chantée lors des matches de cette équipe.

“Swing Low, Sweet Chariot” on yhdysvaltalainen hymni, jonka choctaw-intiaani Wallis Willis sävelsi ennen vuotta 1862.

Swing Low, Sweet Chariot è uno storico brano musicale spiritual nero, inciso per la prima volta dai Fisk Jubilee Singers nel 1909. Nel 2002 la Biblioteca del Congresso ha inserito il brano tra le 50 canzoni del National Recording Registry. È stato inoltre inserito nella lista delle Songs of the Century dalla RIAA e dal Sovvenzionamento Nazionale per le Arti e la Ricerca.



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