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Saturday, February 23, 2013

"Yonder Come My Jesus" (sung to the tune "Michael Row The Boat Ashore")

Edited by Azizi Powell

This post presents three examples of the Gospel song "Yonder Come My Jesus". This song has the same tune & a somewhat similar pattern as the song "Michael Row The Boat Ashore".

The only other reference that I've found online to this song is a line in Howard W. Odum's 1909 university dissertation "Religious Folk-Songs Of The Southern Negroes".
http://www.gutenberg.org/files/39078/39078-h/39078-h.htm. That line "Oh yonder comes my Jesus, I know him by his shinin’" is given as line #13 in an 19 line excerpt of a "negro" religious song as part of a description about how those songs included concrete descriptions of Jesus. [I put quotation marks around that spelling "negro" because it's considered offensive now to spell that referent that way.]

In the first two videos, uploaded by the same person, this song was sung by members of the Primitive Baptist Church denomination. In the context of this church denomination "primitive" has the meaning "original"*. The third video may also be from that same denomination, but that information isn't given in the video's summary.

I'm not sure if that second part of the line given in Odum's example is included in the examples that I've transcribed below, since I was unable to decipher every line that was sung in these videos. In my transcriptions the lines that I'm unable to decipher are given as question marks. The phrases or words that I'm not certain of are given in italics. Additions and corrections are very welcome.

*Click http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Primitive_Baptists for information about the Primitive Baptist denomination.

This post is presented for historical, religious, and aesthetic purposes.

All copyrights remain with their owners.

INFORMATION ABOUT THIS SONG
"Yonder Come My Jesus" appears to be an old time African American religious song or at least a religious song that is sung in the old time, lining out, surge style. Information about surge singing, which is described as an "older black spiritual style" is given in this quote from an article about Claude Joseph Johnson http://www.nea.gov/honors/heritage/fellows/fellow.php?id=1987_06&type=bio
Normally referred to as "lining out," this style began during slavery when hymnbooks were not available and literacy was punished. Hymns were therefore "dictated," sung a line at a time by a lead singer, with the congregation often echoing the lead voice in a call-and-response pattern that originated in Africa. Over the centuries, the effects have become subtler, with the lead voice and congregation overlapping, supporting, and decorating the elongated hymn tunes until an extraordinary effect, sometimes called "surge singing," has been achieved.

Additional links to information or comments about surge singing and lining out are found in the related links section below.

As is the case with Spiritual, old time Gospel songs, and folk songs, it's very likely that the lines (lyrics, verses) for this song aren't completely fixed. The order of the verses, and the length of this song are also probably not fixed.

Performance description:
A leader sings the first line and the congregation sings the next line and the repeat of the first line. The congregation may also join in the singing of the first line.

Definition & Additional Examples Of Religious Songs With The Word "Yonder"
"Yonder" means "over in a distance from where you are".

Other African American religious songs that include the word "yonder" are "Yonder Come Day" and "Going Up Yonder". The word "yonder" is also found in the religious song "When The Roll Is Called Up Yonder".

FEATURED VIDEOS
These videos are presented in the order of their posting dates, with the oldest dates given first.

Example #1: Elder James Hudson - Elder A. Austin (Yonder Come My Jesus)



mountcalvarypb, Uploaded on Mar 9, 2010

The Mount Calvary Primitive Baptist Association October 2009 which was held at Pleasant Grove Primitive Baptist Church. Our Next Session will be held at County Line Primitive Baptist Church on HWY 212 in Milledgeville, GA beginning Friday before the 1st Sunday in October 2010.
-snip-
The first part of this video- until 1.07- is a rendition of a portion of another old time African American church song that is also unfamiliar to me. That song is entitled "Who Is Going Down In The Grave With Me":

Jesus goin down in the grave with me
Oh, Jesus going down in the grave with me
Well, Jesus goin down in the grave with me
Oh, When I die
Jesus goin down in the grave with me
Oh, Jesus going down in the grave with me
Well, Jesus goin down in the grave with me
When I die.
-snip-
I found a sound file of "Who Is Going Down In The Grave With Me" as sung by Rev. Julius Cheeks & Family http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AyE5tgYvRYU. I also found a sound file of that song as sung by The Mighty Clouds Of Joy http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qgyq5NLM3pM.

To clarify, I'm very familiar with the verse "I am going to trust in the Lord/till I die". However, I didn't know that that verse was part of a song "Who Is Going Down In The Grave With Me".
-snip
The song "Yonder Come My Jesus" begins at 2:28. It was sung during an “offering”. An “offering” is when those present (the congregation) give money to the church for its upkeep or for missionary work. A man is heard setting a goal of $500.00 for this offering. Some men (probably the church "Trustees [church officials] are shown counting the money that was given.

These lyrics are based on descriptions of Jesus, professions of faith, and accounts of Jesus' crucifixion.

LYRICS: YONDER COME MY JESUS (Example #1)
Church, yonder come my Jesus
Hallelujah
Oh I said, yonder come my Jesus
Hallelujah

[Follow this pattern throughout. The beginning word in line #3 appears to usually start with "oh".]

Well, He’s comin on the clouds, now...

Well, I said in Heaven I shall see Him....

Well, you know that in Heaven He’s got the power...

Well I said yonder come my Jesus...

Oh, how do you know that Jesus...

Well, His hair was white like lamb’s wool...

Well, His heart was a flame on fire...

Well, his vestiments were dipped in blood, y’all...
[vestiments= vestments meaning his ceremonial robe, garment]

Oh church, how do you know that Jesus...

Well, they crowned Him, the King of Kings...

Well, He’s comin on the clouds, y’all...

Oh church, yonder come my Jesus...

Well, He’s the beginning and the end, y’all...

Oh, He’s the first and the last...

Well, He’s the alpha and omega...

I cried Halle, Hallelujah...

I shouted, Halle, Hallelujah...

****
Example #2: Pilgrim Chapel Primitive Baptist Church - Baptism Service July 2, 2011



Mountcalvarypb, Uploaded on Jul 5, 2011

Pilgrim Chapel Primitive Baptist Church - Baptism Service July 2, 2011
-snip-
This is the first video of a Baptism service. This singing is in the worship service prior to the formal church service. The chairs that are placed in the front are for two Baptism candidates and an older woman who may be their relative, or may be an unrelated church elder. This rendition begins before the start of the video & the video ends before the song ends. In the subsequent video of that same church service, that song isn't continued.

Most of the lyrics in this version of "Yonder Come My Jesus" are based on accounts of Jesus' crucifixion. These lyrics also include a profession of faith ("Church, He got all my troubles" which is probably another way of saying that Jesus dying on the cross took all people’s sins away.)

LYRICS - YONDER COME MY JESUS (Example #2)
(Church,) Yonder come my Jesus,
Hallelujah
Oh, yonder come my Jesus
Hallelujah

[Follow this pattern throughout. The beginning word in line #3 appear to usually start with "oh" or "well" instead of "church".]

Church, the ship done rockin and reelin...

Church, He got all my troubles...

Oh, yonder come my Jesus...

Church, they whipped Him all night long...

Church, they pierced Him in His side...

Church, ????

Church, they marched Him all around...

Church, They put Him on a rugged cross...

Church, they put on a stony [?]...

Church, they put on a starry crown...

Church, they switched Him an awful while...["switched" = beat him with swithes (sticks)]

Church, they hung Him. He bled and died...

****
Example #3: Elder Grier " yonder come my Jesus "



1twinsma, Published on Jul 2, 2012

Mount Nebo 2012
-snip-
This rendition has a slightly different tune than the previous two. However, the similarity to the tune used for "Michael Row The Boat Ashore" can still be heard. Perhaps the tune sounds different because the surge singing style is more pronounced in this rendition than in the other two examples.

These lyrics are mostly based on accounts of Jesus' crucifixion.

LYRICS: YONDER COME MY JESUS (Example #3)
(This transcription begins at .20 of the video.)

They whipped Him all night long
Hallelujah
They whipped Him all night long
Hallelujah

Church, they pierced Him in His side
Hallelujah
They pierced Him in His side
Hallelujah

[Follow this pattern throughout. The beginning word in line #3 appear to usually start with "oh" or "well" instead of "church".]

???

???

???

They put him on a rugged cross...

They switched Him an awful while...

Church, He hung His head and died...

The ship is rockin and a reelin...

Church, yonder come my Jesus...

Church, He got all my sickness...

Church, yonder come my Jesus...

****
RELATED LINKS
Information about "lining out songs" and "surge" singing is found in an excerpt of the article "Dr. Watts and Mahalia Jackson - The Development, Decline, and Survival of a Folk Style in America" by William H. Tallmadge is found at this link http://www.jstor.org/discover/10.2307/924323?uid=3739864&uid=2129&uid=2&uid=70&uid=4&uid=3739256&sid=21101851374917

**
Also, information about lining out is found on this Wikipedia page: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lining_out

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT AND THANKS
Thanks to the unknown composers of this religious song. Thanks also to the church members who are shown singing this song. Thanks also to the author of the article which is quoted in this post and the uploaders of these videos.

Thank you for visiting pancocojams.

Viewer comments are welcome.

2 comments:

  1. I started a thread on the song "Yonder Come My Jesus on the Folk music discussion site called Mudcat Cafe.

    The link to that thread is http://www.mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=149670&messages=5

    Thanks to a blogger who goes by the name 999, I've learned that the line "Oh, yonder comes my Jesus/I know Him by His shinin'" is also found in an 1874 version of the African American song "Old Ship Of Zion". That song was included in the book "Fifty Cabin and Plantation Songs", 1874, Thomas P. Fenner, Hampton Inst.; hat tip to Dicho who provided those lyrics in a 2001 Mudcat post.

    As I mentioned in my post, that same line was cited as part of "Negro" religious folk song by Howard Odum in his 1909 dissertation (only Odum spelled that referent with a small "n" and I prefer not to do so.)

    That 1874 version of the "Old Ship Of Zion" also includes a line about "the ship reelin and tottering" which reminds me of the line about "the boat reelin and a rockin" that are included in Example #2 and Example #3 of the "Yonder Come My Jesus" song that are found in the above pancocojams post.

    It should be mentioned that-except for that song title, none of the lyrics to that 1874 song [which I added to that Mudcat post that I just started] are the same as the "contemporary" version of the "Old Ship Of Zion" Gospel song. And that old song almost certainly didn't sound like the renditions of that song that are known now. But I wonder did it sound like "Michael Row The Boat Ashore".

    For the record, (no pun intended), the references to "ships (or boats) reeling and rockin" in that "Yonder Come My Jesus" song and in the "Old Ship of Zion" song refer to Jesus’ calming the storm on the lake (Matthew 8: 23-27). The Rev. James Cleveland song "Peace Be Still" is about this same event.

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  2. Also, with regard to the line "I know him [Jesus] by his shinin", from the song "Yonder Comes My Jesus" (cited by both Fenner, 1874, and Odum, 1909), notice the line in Example #1 of this song (from 2010) "Well, His heart was a flame on fire".

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