Saturday, June 30, 2012

"Run While The Sun Is Shining" (Sound Files & Lyrics)

Edited by Azizi Powell

This post features two sound files of the Gospel song "Let Us Run While It's Running Time" ("Run While The Sun Is Shining"). This post also includes my transcription of that song and my explanation of the meaning of that song's lyrics.

The content of this post is presented for historical, religious, and aesthetic purposes.

My thanks to the composer of this song. My thanks also to the vocalists and musicians who are featured in these sound files. Thanks also to the producers and uploaders of these sound files. All copyrights remain with their owners.

"Let Us Run While It's Running" ("Run While The Sun Is Shining") is a Gospel song that was made popular by Bessie Griffin & The Vans Gospel group and The Caravans Gospel group probably in 1954 or 1955. While this song has two different titles, it has the same lyrics and tune.

According to a summary statement for Albertina Walker's [The Caravans'] recording "Run While The Sun Is Shining" [given here as Example #2] and Bessie Griffin's "Let Us Run While It's Running" [given here as Example #1] were competing renditions of the same song which were both released around the same time "in the early 1950s". Also according to that summary statement, Bessie Griffin's rendition won the competition for which group's version of the song was the most popular. If indeed Bessie Griffin's recording was the most popular, it's ironical that the Caravans' title "Run While The Sun Is Shining" appears to be the most well known title for this song.

The Wikipedia page for the Caravans' indicates that "Bessie Griffin joined the [Caravans] group in 1953, but left after a year."

The Wikipedia page for Bessie Griffin indicates that "After moving to Chicago in 1951, she worked briefly with The Caravans, a gospel group led by Albertina Walker, making a session with them for States in 1954. She left the group later that year, recording as a soloist for Al Benson's Parrot label."

That Wikipedia page makes no mention of The Vans Gospel group. Perhaps this is the group for which she is mentioned as soloist for the Parrot label.

Given these references, both of these renditions of "Let Us Run While It's Running Time" ("Run While The Sun Is Shining") were probably recorded in the same year of 1954 or 1955.

Unfortunately, I've not been able to find out who composed the lyrics or music to "Run While The Sun Is Shining" and the year in which that song was composed.


Example #1: Bessie Griffin - Let Us Run While It's Running Time

Uploaded by princebb1 on Dec 22, 2008

Example #2: "Run While Sun Is Shining" - The Caravans feat, Albertina Walker

Uploaded by MrChoirDirector87 on Jun 23, 2011

The Caravans with Albertina Walker on lead
Run while sun is shining, Where He Leads Me, Album
This song was done by The Vans in the early 50's with Bessie Griffin (Let Us Run)

(composer? , 1954?)

Let us run while the sun is shining
You know we gonna run on in His name.
Run while the sun is shining
I said we gonna run on in His name.
Well, you know we gonna run while the sun is shining
Run on in His name.
You know when the rain falls
You can’t run.
When the storm rise
You can’t run.
When the wind blows
You can’t run.
Well we gotta run on
While it’s runnin time.

[repeat chorus]

Verse 1: Lead singer (Background singers hum)
Matthew, Mark, Luke and John
All of those prophets they are dead and gone.
Back in the days of the Philistines
God said it wouldn’t be water
But fire next time.
Read about Samson from his birth
He was the strongest man
Who ever lived on earth.
Delilah told Samson - Don’t you know
The Holy Bible tells us so -
She came to Samson down on her knees
“Tell me where you strength lie
if you please.”
He looked at Delilah. She looked so fair.
He said “My strength lies in my hair”.
She shaved his head clean as his hand.
Samson was weak as any other man.


Verse #2: Lead singer; background singers hum:
Well, I remember one day walkin along
Whole in body but burdened down*
I looked around to see what I could see
Nothin but my Jesus talkin to me.

Background singers: “When the rain falls" etc.

Lead singer & background singers: Well, we gotta run on while it’s runnin time.

[Transcription by Azizi Powell, 6/30/2012 from listening to the sound file Bessie Griffin "Let Us Run...", given as "Example #1 on this page.

This transcription doesn't include all of the beginning words such as "Well" and "Let's".

*I'm unsure about the words to this line. This is my best guess, one which I believe fits the spirit of the verse.]

The chorus of "Run While The Sun Is Shining" means that we need to do all we can do [to be saved in the Biblical sense of that word] while we can because there will come when it will be too late, and we won't be able to be saved.

The line "Run on in His name" in the chorus means that we can keep on going because of the promise that God gave us that He would never forsake us.
"His name" in that chorus probably refers to Jesus' name. That same message about Jesus being with people when they are experiencing difficult times is repeated in the last verse of this song.

In the first verse the lead singer reminds those listening of the old time prophets and what they had written. The first verse also reminds listeners of the judgement that God promised would come to the wicked world - "It wouldn't be water [the flood] but fire next time."

The first verse also tells the cautionary Old Testament tale of Samson who yielded to temptation and lost his strength.

The second verse reminds those listening that they are never alone because Jesus walks and talks with them (meaning, He helps them make it through good times and bad times).

On a personal note, I remember "Run While The Sun Is Shining" being sung in the 1950s and/or early 1960s by the Gospel choir that my mother belonged to in Atlantic City, New Jersey. I believe "Run While The Sun Is Shining" was a staple for a lot of African American Gospel choirs of those decades. And throughout my life, I have sung this song to give me the push that I need when times got rough. I'm glad to have found these sound files of the original Gospel group who sang "Run While The Sun Is Shining".

Thanks for visiting pancocojams.

Viewer comments are welcome.


  1. Dear Mrs. Powell,
    Thanks for sharing this with us. I also enjoy your other blogs Cocojams and Jabalayah. Keep up the good work!

    Best wishes,

    1. I appreciate your comment, Eldbinna.

      I'm glad you find pancocojams and my websites interesting.

      Best wishes to you also.