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Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Mildred Bailey - "Shouting At The Amen Corner" (Phrase Meaning, Sound File, & Lyrics)

Edited by Azizi Powell

This post provides definitions for the word "shouting" and phrase "amen corner" and showcases the lyrics and a sound file for the song "Shouting At The Amen Corner" as sung by Mildred Bailey.

A bonus video of a scene from James Baldwin's 1954 play "The Amen Corner" is also provided in this post.

The content of this post is presented for cultural, entertainment, and aesthetic purposes.

All copyrights remain with their owners.

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THE RELIGIOUS MEANING OF "SHOUTING"
From http://ctl.du.edu/spirituals/religion/praise.cfm
"One of the most important of these shared religious elements is the circle dance. In the United States, it is known as the “ring shout.” This is a ritual combination of music and movement that was widely recognized and practiced in the nineteenth century (although probably in use in some form earlier as well), and though much less common now, is still present in the more limited form of “holy dance” and individual “shouting” in many of the most traditional Black church congregations. It was a ceremonial activity created by people with roots in many different parts of west and central Africa who found themselves together in a difficult new land and were faced with the need to remember traditions that could enable them to survive here"...
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The African American ring shout changed from a circular, counter clockwise movement in the early 20th century when church pews became unmovable because they were bolted to the floor. Instead of doing a circular hoy dance, some people who felt the spirit ran around the church santuary or "shouted" in the church aisles. "Shouting" also refers to involuntary & voluntary exclamations by those who feel the Holy Spirit (Holy Ghost).

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RELIGIOUS MEANING OF "THE AMEN CORNER"
A group of church members who continually shout “Amen” during the sermon in response to the pastor’s words. "Shouting" in this regard is more "exclaiming" than "speaking in a loud voice".

Most definitions associate the "Amen Corner" with Black Protestant churches. "The Amen Corner" isn't an actual location of the church's santuary. However, most definitions place the church members who belong to "the Amen Corner" to the front of the church where they can best be seen. That the members of "The Amen Corner" just "shouted" for show is included in this commentary from http://brenttrf.wordpress.com/2007/10/14/mixing-it-up-jazz-style-finale/ Mixing It Up “Jazz Style” – Finale
"The next highlight was a group called The Queen City Jazz Band. These guys had a mix of Jazz and Gospel that was very cool. They had an amazing vocalists named Wendy. She has more soul than anyone I have ever met. She did a version of amazing grace that brought me to tears. She also did a song called, “Shoutin’ In That Amen Corner”. She described the “Amen Corner” as the back portion of the churches she grew up in, in which ladies would sit and gossip and show off. Then when the sermon was preached there were the “loudest”(Amens) and most “responsive” in the service. Obviously they were very showy and hypocritical."
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Here's more information about the origin of the phrase "Amen Corner". I'm unsure if this information is true or not:
From http://golf.about.com/b/2007/04/03/shouting-at-amen-corner.htm
"Back around 1900, the center of Bible manufacturing was in lower New York City. The hub of that activity became a popular spot for sidewalk preachers to shout out the old-time religion (thus the song title). ... There were so many "Amen!" shouts heard each day, that the term "Amen Corner" evolved. Note: Our family Bible, which has been in the family for years, clearly lists the Bible manufacturer's address as ... Amen Corner, New York City."

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NON-RELIGIOUS MEANINGS OF "AMEN CORNER"
From http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Amen%20Corner
"Amen Corner

This is a group of sycophants within an organization that can be automatically counted on to agree with an idea if they think that the boss may be leaning in favor of it.

Will the Budget Committee go along with Dr. Tom L's proposal? Well, you can count on his Amen Corner to support him!
by Elvis Wearing a Bra on His Head Sep 6, 2005

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From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Augusta_National_Golf_Club
"The second shot at the 11th, all of the 12th, and the first two shots at the 13th hole at Augusta are nicknamed "Amen Corner". This term was first used in print by author Herbert Warren Wind in his April 21, 1958 Sports Illustrated article about the Masters that year.[14] In a Golf Digest article in April 1984, 26 years later, Wind told about its origin. He said he wanted a catchy phrase like baseball's "hot-corner" or football's "coffin-corner" to explain where some of the most exciting golf had taken place (the Palmer-Venturi rules issue at twelve in particular). Thus "Amen Corner" was born. He said it came from the title of a jazz record he had heard in the mid-1930s by a group led by Chicago's Mezz Mezzrow, Shouting in that Amen Corner."
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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Herbert_Warren_Wind
1958, Wind coined the phrase 'Amen Corner' to describe the second shot at the 11th, all of the 12th, and the tee shot at the 13th hole at the Augusta National Golf Club, site of the annual Masters Tournament. That nickname, which is derived from a 1935 song that Wind had heard while a student at Yale, -- namely "Shoutin' in that Amen Corner" written by Andy Razaf, which was recorded by the Dorsey Brothers Orchestra, vocal by Mildred Bailey (Brunswick label No. 6655)
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(Italics added to highlight these sentences.)

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FEATURED EXAMPLE: Mildred Bailey - Shouting in that Amen Corner



2ndviolinist, Uploaded on Oct 21, 2010

MILDRED BAILEY acc. by DORSEY BROTHERS ORCHESTRA: Buny Berigan (tp), Tommy Dorsey (tb), Jimmy Dorsey (cl, as), Larry Binyon (cl, ts), Fulton McGrath (p), Dick McDonough (g), Artie Bernstein (b), Stan King (d), Mildred Bailey (voc). NYC, June 6, 1933
-snip-
Biographical information about Mildred Bailey is included in this summary. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rQ0Hj-EL6jE.

Click http://www.jazz.com/encyclopedia/bailey-midred-mildred-rinker Encyclopedia of Jazz Musicians for more information about Mildred Bailey. Here are excerpts from that information:
"Mildred Bailey was known as "Mrs. Swing" to her fans in the thirties and forties, and rightly so. She and fellow Washingtonian Bing Crosby were among the first white singers to incorporate the innovations of black jazz and blues. With a small voice and a wicked wit, Bailey's influence extends well beyond her years into subsequent generations of singers, including Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald and Rosemary Clooney.

Born Mildred Rinker in Tekoa, Washington on February 27, 1907, Millie was the oldest of four children. Her mother was part Coeur d Alene Indian, and the family maintained a farm on a reservation until they moved to Spokane when she was five years old...

Bailey herself was known for enlightened views on race relations, performing and recording with African-American musicians in her own bands. She also performed at a benefit concert in Harlem for the Scottsboro boys, nine African-American men who were falsely accused and convicted for raping two white women in Alabama in 1931...

Bailey's debt to black jazz pioneers like Ethel Waters and Bessie Smith can easily be heard on the series of sides she recorded for Brunswick in 1933 with the Dorsey Brothers Orchestra, which include the gospel-tinged "Shoutin in That Amen Corner". She also recorded at this time with Coleman Hawkins in a band led by Benny Goodman".

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LYRICS - SHOUTING AT THE AMEN CORNER
(Andy Razaf, 1935)

Brothers and sisters we got hypocrites in this crowd
Brothers and sisters some of you are shoutin’ too loud
You’ll find out on judgment day you can’t fool the Lord that way
Brothers and sisters hear all I’ve got to say

You can shout with all your might but if you ain’t livin’ right
There’s no use shoutin’ in that amen corner
If your name on that roll all that noise won’t save your soul
So stop your shoutin’ in that amen corner
Just because you’ve paid your dues doesn’t mean your saved
You can’t win them golden shoes if you haven’t behaved
you better think before you shout for your sins will find you out
So stop that shoutin’ in that amen corner

I can’t hear my own self praechin’
For your shoutin’ and your screachin’
You make me forget my text
Every meetin’ leaves me vexed
Why you come here and pray on Sunday
Then you serve the devil Monday
If you want to save your soul
Better get some self control

You can shout with all your might but if you ain’t livin’ right
There’s no use shoutin’ in that amen corner
If your name on that roll all that noise won’t save your soul
So stop your shoutin’ in that amen corner
Shoutin’ here don’t mean a thing if your playin; with fire
Change your ways or you won’t sing in that heavenly choir
Makes no difference how you look if your record ain’t in that book
You’ve heard my preachin’ every one
so put old satan on the run
So stop that shoutin’ in that amen corner

http://brenttrf.wordpress.com/2007/10/14/mixing-it-up-jazz-style-finale/

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BONUS VIDEO: Amen Corner - The Prologue.mpg



kenmichael stafford, Uploaded on Mar 23, 2010

The cast and crew of The Amen Corner (based on the play by James Baldwin) Stage director, Kenmichael Stafford directs the first full african american cast for a musical in the history of the university of alabama. This prologue is a short interaction into the first scene of the piece
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This scene features a rendition of the religious hymn "What A Friend We Have In Jesus". The choreographed movements of the Black congregation exaggerates for artistic purposes the "holy dance" that is done when church people "get happy" ("feel the spirit").

Click http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oMeKfLJ-j9g for a photographical collection of scenes from the 1965 European tour of the play "The Amen Corner".

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Thanks to all those who are quoted or are featured in this post. Special thanks to the composer of the song "Shouting At The Amen Corner" and to vocalist Mildred Bailey. Thanks also to the publishers of the sound file & video that are featured in this post.

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