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Author Topic: SOTM 04DEC2015 When the Saints  (Read 811 times)

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Offline Old Man Ned

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SOTM 04DEC2015 When the Saints
« on: December 05, 2015, 01:55:19 PM »
Apologies for being a day late with this post...wild weather outside and power off for a bit.  I've chosen, "When the Saints Go Marching in" for this SOTM.

Is it a hymn, a spiritual, a march, a jazz standard, a song of celebration or a crowd pleaser in the repertoire of a blues songster? Is it each or all of these?  Is it a tune that is loved by audiences but hated by musicians. Is it considered a cliche or a standard in the traditional jazz musicians songbook? 

I've not been able to pin down the origins of ?When the Saints Go Marching In? but do know it is not to be confused with 'When the Saints Are Marching in' written by James Milton Black (music)/ Katherine Purvis (lyrics) published 1896. A completely different tune. 

It has been proposed that it originated in the Bahamas, a 19th century Protestant hymn, became a funeral march number played as a dirge on the way to the cemetery, and somewhat more boisterously on the return, before becoming part of the trad jazz revival after the 2nd World War, when more versions of the song were recorded between 1949 and 1950 than at any other time (Jazz Standards, Ted Gioia).  Given it's association with New Orleans and jazz it's interesting to note that Loius Armstrong didn't record it until the late 1930's despite being familiar with the song since he was a kid, and none of the New Orleans 'legends' ( Jelly Roll Morton, King Oliver, Freddie Keepard) ever recorded the tune.

So associated has the tune come to be with New Orleans that the Preservation Hall musicians requested a $5 tip before playing.  Measure this against a $1 dollar request for St James Infirmary and draw your own conclusions as to whether they were trying to bring in the most bucks from a popularly requested tune or were trying to put people off from requesting it.

Starting off with gospel recordings we have the Paramount Jubilee Singers from the 1920's


Barbeque Bob's version from 1927


and Blind Willie Davis' recording from 1928 on Gospel Classics Vol 2 (Document)


and follow it with what looks like a rare clip of Mahalia Jackson performing at a concert (where?) 1963.


With a nod to the spiritual origins of the tune, possibly, the man responsible for bringing the tune out of New Orleans and into the jazz reportiore, Louis Armstrong 1939 recording


Loius performed the tune throughout his career.  An extensive account of this, with links to other performances can be found here:
https://dippermouth.blogspot.co.uk/2008/05/70-years-of-when-saints-go-marching-in.html

In terms of Bluesmen (and women) who may be of more interest to this forum I was surprised to find a recording by Sleepy John Estes (1941) though with slightly changed lyrics.   



My favourite though, has to be Precious Bryant's version from the George Mitchell collection.



To get some feel as to how the tune developed in the jazz world take a listen to Mimi Fox's version.  Listening to the early gospel versions from the mid/late 20's I'm just bowled over by how quickly music developed in the States in such a short time.

https//youtu.be/5zji3G79mmM

To finish, I'm returning to New Orleans.  Imagine walking down the street, turning the corner and running into this.....wouldn't that make your day?


Offline Old Man Ned

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Re: SOTM 04DEC2015 When the Saints
« Reply #1 on: December 05, 2015, 01:57:30 PM »
Slight hiccup in the first post.  Here's the link to Mimi Fox

http//youtu.be/5zji3G79mmM

Offline Old Man Ned

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Re: SOTM 04DEC2015 When the Saints
« Reply #2 on: December 05, 2015, 01:59:02 PM »
Fingers crossed...third time lucky


Offline harriet

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Re: SOTM 04DEC2015 When the Saints
« Reply #3 on: December 05, 2015, 02:49:45 PM »
Thanks for that I love that song and am working on the Fred Mcdowell version, love the Precious Bryant and am looking forward to surfing through your other selections, many of which I am not familiar!

The other guitar on this I believe is Mike Russo.



and Mance Lipscomb's version:



« Last Edit: December 06, 2015, 05:28:29 AM by harriet »

Offline Lastfirstface

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Re: SOTM 04DEC2015 When the Saints
« Reply #4 on: December 06, 2015, 07:07:13 AM »
Thanks for the post Old Man Ned. Here's a few more recordings of the song under slightly varying titles:






Offline frankie

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Re: SOTM 04DEC2015 When the Saints
« Reply #5 on: December 06, 2015, 09:49:22 AM »
Nice topic, Old Man Ned - I certainly didn't expect that! Love Precious Bryant's take on it but man...  Cat Iron... fun-KY. The best...

Offline Johnm

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Re: SOTM 04DEC2015 When the Saints
« Reply #6 on: December 06, 2015, 10:10:56 AM »
Yes, nice topic, Old Man Ned, and neat choices of versions, too.  I'm always interested to hear the stylistic outliers as well as the versions which are more "right down the line".  Thanks!
All best,
Johnm

Offline alyoung

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Re: SOTM 04DEC2015 When the Saints
« Reply #7 on: December 06, 2015, 03:26:55 PM »
This is a brave SOTM selection – the range of choices for versions of this song is almost infinite. My music collection includes quite a lot of black gospel, and a quick check shows I have about 100 different recordings of The Saints, starting with the earliest, the Paramount Singers’ versions from November, 1923.  And that’s without going anywhere near the host of jazz versions. I don’t know what conclusions – if any – can be drawn from this plethora of recordings, except that it’s obviously a very popular song in the black religious music tradition. But one point that could be made is that the lyric does not refer to saints already in Heaven marching back to earth, but to saints on earth marching to their heavenly reward on judgment day. Many of the Pentecostal churches refer to their members as “saints” – hence “I want to be in that number/When the saints go marching in”. 
« Last Edit: December 06, 2015, 03:35:35 PM by alyoung »

Offline Old Man Ned

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Re: SOTM 04DEC2015 When the Saints
« Reply #8 on: December 07, 2015, 09:56:10 AM »
Quote from: alyoung link=topic=10922.msg95933#msi wasn't aware of these g95933 date=1449444415
But one point that could be made is that the lyric does not refer to saints already in Heaven marching back to earth, but to saints on earth marching to their heavenly reward on judgment day. Many of the Pentecostal churches refer to their members as ?saints? ? hence ?I want to be in that number/When the saints go marching in?. 

Thanks for that point regarding the lyric, that's an interpretation that escaped me. 

Thanks also for the other posts, Harriet and Lastfirstface.  I wasn't aware of these recordings.  It was a tough selection and a post that could have just ran away with itself but hopefully, though I've only skimmed the surface, I've given some indication as to the variety and scope of the song when used across Gospel, Blues and Jazz.  At least that was my intention.

I have to say though, that the Precious Bryant version is still my favourite....but then I think I'm secretly in love with Precious Bryant, so I'd be biased.

Offline evan

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Re: SOTM 04DEC2015 When the Saints
« Reply #9 on: March 02, 2016, 11:10:17 PM »

Offline Lignite

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Re: SOTM 04DEC2015 When the Saints
« Reply #10 on: March 03, 2016, 06:55:54 AM »
Also a whole lot of recordings from traditional white singers;

Offline Gumbo

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Re: SOTM 04DEC2015 When the Saints
« Reply #11 on: March 07, 2016, 03:56:29 PM »
Nice choice :)
An early white version, Frank and James McCravy recorded this in December 19th 1927


Offline Mr.OMuck

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Re: SOTM 04DEC2015 When the Saints
« Reply #12 on: March 09, 2016, 09:42:36 AM »



Sonny, Brownie and Big Bill


From one of my first Blues albums and still one of my favorites
« Last Edit: March 09, 2016, 09:46:02 AM by Mr.OMuck »
My loathings are simple: stupidity, oppression, crime, cruelty, soft music.
Vladimir Nabokov (1899 - 1977)

http://www.youtube.com/user/MuckOVision

Offline Johnm

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Re: SOTM 04DEC2015 When the Saints
« Reply #13 on: September 30, 2017, 11:28:06 AM »
Hi all,
Here are the lyrics to William "Cat Iron" Carradine's version, "When The Saints Go Marching Home", which he played with a slide in Vestapol tuning.  You can listen to his version a few messages earlier in this thread, where Lastfirstface posted it.

INTRO SOLO X 2

Oh, when the saints go marching home
Oh, when the saints go marching home
Oh Lord, I wants to be in that number
Oh, when the saints go marching in

Oh Lord, I used to have some playmates
To come and walk and talk with me
Oh, since I've gotten my soul, it's converted
Oh well, they's turned thei' back on me

When the saints go marching home
Oh, when the saints go marching in
Oh Lord, I wants to be in that number
Oh, when the saints go marching in

All best,
Johnm



Offline DavidCrosbie

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Re: SOTM 04DEC2015 When the Saints
« Reply #14 on: October 01, 2017, 10:55:59 AM »
Chris Barber played it with various musicians that he attracted for UK tours. Some performances were recorded and are collected on the CDs Chris Barber Presents: Lost & Found, The Blues Legacy.

I love the 1955 recording with Sister Rosetta Tharpe, who recorded it two years later with organ accompaniment: 

There are also recordings with Sonny Boy Williamson (Rice Miller) and with Jimmy Witherspoon, but there's nothing on YouTube to illustrate either. The band also recorded with Terry and McGhee ? of whom there's already a posting. Chris got blues musicians over so that he and Ottilie Patterson and  and the band could learn from them. To judge whether it worked, here's a clip of them also in 1957:

Here's another small band version led by a New Orleans musician. The visuals for this link may show otherwise, but it's actually Sidney Bechet's Bluenote Jazzmen recorded in 1941:

Some years after the Monroe Bothers' recording, this Bluegrass version was recorded by Ray Anderson in 1952:

Among gospel records, look out for The Georgia Peach recorded in 1932 with a choir accompaniment in slow tempo. If I get my software together again, I'll post a stripped-down version.

This 1935 recording by Memphis Minnie shows what a fine voice she had, but you'd never guess she was a great guitar player:
« Last Edit: October 01, 2017, 03:22:42 PM by DavidCrosbie »

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