Tuesday, July 8, 2014

"I'm Bound For Mt. Zion" (comments, lyrics, examples)

Edited by Azizi Powell

This is Part II of a two part series on the Gospel songs "Surely I Will" and "I'm Bound For Mt. Zion". This post showcases examples and lyrics of the song "I'M Bound for Mt. Zion".

This post features lyrics and videos/sound files of examples of the song "Surely I Will". Example #2 given below could have been posted to the companion pancocojams post on the song "I'm Bound For Mt. Zion".

Click for Part I of this series. Part I features lyrics and videos/sound files of examples of the song "Surely I Will". Example #2 given in that post could have been featured on this post.

The content of this post is provided for religious, cultural, and aesthetic purposes.

All copyrights remain with their owners.

Thanks to the composer of this song and thanks to all the vocalists/musicians those who are featured in these examples. Thanks also to the publishers of these examples on YouTube.

The lyrics to the songs "Surely I Will" and "I'm Bound For Mt. Zion" have so many similarities that it seems obvious to me that one song was the source of the other. The composer of "Surely I Will" is Albert E. Brumley, (1905–1977) indicates that Albert E. Brumley was an American shape note gospel music composer and publisher. As no racial identification is given for this composer in his Wikipedia article or elsewhere, I gather that he was Anglo-Anglo-American. Brumley is said to have composed 800 songs. Some of his songs that are favorites for Gospel singers (regardless of race) are "I'll Fly Away," "Turn Your Radio On," "If We Never Meet Again (This Side of Heaven)," "I'll Meet You In The Morning," and "He Set Me Free

In contrast , I can find no information on the composer/s of the song "I'm Bound For Mt Zion" or when that song was first recorded. While it's possible that Albert E, Brumley based his song on an earlier song or a contemporaneous song, it seems more likely that the "I'm Bound For Mt. Zion" songs are adaptations of the Brumley's song "Surely I Will".

It's interesting that there are YouTube examples of "Surely I Will" by Anglo-American and African American singers while the YouTube examples of "I'm Bound for Mt Zion appear to be only of African American singers.

If "I'm Bound For Mt. Zion" is an adaptation of "Surely I Will" and not its source for that Albert E. Brumley song, then the different versions of that song demonstrate how African Americans change the tempo and lyrics of songs to make them more consistent with African American aesthetics.

The lyrics to "I'm Bound For Mt Zion" may change with each choir's rendition. However, read this response to a request for the lyrics for that song from by newgreaterlover
May 17, 2004

i dont know which version you are looking for but the one i know goes like this.

(Lead) I'm bound for mt zion, (response) way out on the hill
(lead) i'm bound for mt zion, (response) way out on the hill
well i'm bound for mt zion, (response) way out on the hill
(all) well if any body dont' make it surely I will

down through the years the lords been good to me
Down through the years the lords been good to me
Down through the years the lords been good to me
well if anybody don't make it surely i will

If my mama dont make it (response) surely I will
Surely i will (response) surely I will
If my daddy don't make it (response) surely I will
Surely i will (response) surely I will
if the preacha don't make it (response) surely I will
Surely i will (response) surely I will
(all) well if any body dont make it surely i will
In religious songs "Mt. Zion" is a referent for Heaven.

These examples are presented in chronological order based on their posting date on YouTube, with the oldest examples given first etc.

Example #1: AMERICAN unknown great gospel singer "Bound for Mount Zion" Elizabeth Evans and sctc

FILMMAKER, Uploaded on Jun 5, 2007

world unknown great gospel singer from a small church in cincinnati LIVE IN CINCINNATI, OHIO! CHURCH CHOIR OF SECOND COMMUNITY TRUTH MISSIONARY BAPTIST CHURCH 3662 READING ROAD 45229 513-861-0799 [SUN ONLY]CHOIR DIRECTOR ELIZABETH EVANS. bio: millions seen this traditional church choir and 'that singing lady' elizabeth evans and our national award winning series 'second community hour' the most likeable religious cable access series in america in the late 80s and 90s . cincinnati greatest kept secret in the world is this sweet singing lady [no microphone needed] elizabeth evans, she been singing gospel since the tender age of 8yrs old...

Example #2: I'm Bound for Mt. Zion- sung by Bishop N. Dupree

CSlo3000, Uploaded on Apr 14, 2011

The Church of the Holy City

4824 Davis St. Emporia, Va. 23847...


JabariO1AUploaded on May 15, 2011

Jabari Wade and a part of On 1 Accord Ministries opening up for John P Kee at Diamond Day festival on May 13th, 2010. His father Pastor Sammy Wade does a little singing with the ministry...showing where Jabari gets his swag in the beginning, Carl Chambers, Mary Katio & Sharon Turner

Example #4: WMBC Hymn Choir Vol 1

TrueLegacyVideo Uploaded on Aug 13, 2011
This rendition of "I'm Bound For Mt. Zion" begins at 3:46.

I'm not sure where this church is located or what "WMBC" stands for here. However, I think that this type of singing is called "shape note" singing and the type of songs that are sung this way are usually called "Dr. Watts" songs.

Example #5: I'm bound for mount zion

Lawrence Lyles, Published on Feb 24, 2013

An old Baptist spiritual
This video focuses on the gospel organist.

Notice how the publisher categorizes this song as "an old Baptist spiritual". It seems to me that there is a tendency among many African Americans to categorize religious songs from the 1960s and older as "spirituals". However, for what it's worth, I only consider African American religious songs that are composed before the end of the Civil War to be Spirituals. I consider other African American religious songs that may fit the call & response pattern of Spirituals to be early Gospel (post 1865 through the 1930s), old school Gospel (1940s through the 1960s), or contemporary Gospel (1970s to date, depending on when those songs were documented as being sung or were first recorded. It seems to me from my reading that a number of other people agree that the designation of "African American Spirituals" is only given to African American religious songs that were composed prior to the end of the United States Civil War. However, it also appears that some people consider "contemporary" Gospel to be the 1990s to date).

Also, I believe that the general practice is not to consider a song to be a Spiritual if the composer is known. In the case of "I'm Bound For Mt. Zion", it's likely that the source song was composed by Albert E. Brumley. That said, even if "I'm Bound For Mt. Zion" is an adaptation of Albert E. Brumley's "Surely I Will, Lord", someone had to be the first person to change the standard words of "Surely I Will" to the standard words of "I'm Bound For Mt. Zion". I don't know who that person was.

Example #6: Margaret Allison & The Angelic Gospel Singers - "I'm Bound For Mt. Zion"

malacomg, published on Mar 14, 2014

Margaret Allison & The Angelic Gospel Singers - "I'm Bound For Mt. Zion" from the DVD 50 Years "LIVE" In Birmingham.

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1 comment:

  1. I noted in this post that because no information was given about Albert E. Brumley's race in his Wikipedia page, I gathered that he was White.

    In my opinion, the custom on Wikipedia and on other sites of only mentioning race for People of Color is highly problematic because that custom consciously or unconsciously presents White people as the template (normal, default) race, and all other people as "other than" and "less than" normal.

    In the same way that "White" is almost always automatically considered and treated as the default race in the Western world, "male" is considered the default "gender".

    Click for an article about White default race.