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Tuesday, August 12, 2014

"In That Great Gettin' Up Mornin' (Spiritual lyrics, information, and video)

Edited by Azizi Powell

This is Part I of a three part series that showcases three examples out of a number of African American Spirituals that mention the angel Gabriel blowing his trumpet.

This post showcases lyrics to what may be the earliest version of "In That Great Gettin' Up Mornin'". This post also provides explanations of the meanings of "that great gettin[g] up morning[g]" and "fare thee well". An explanation of the words "the moon a-bleeding" which is also included in this post. In addition, a video performance of a later version of "In That Great Gettin' Up Mornin'" is presented in the Addendum to this post.

Click http://pancocojams.blogspot.com/2014/08/ill-hear-that-trumpet-sound-lyrics-and.html for Part II of this series. Part II showcases the Spiritual "I'll Hear That Trumpet Sound".

Click http://pancocojams.blogspot.com/2014/08/spirituals-blow-gable-blow-blow-your.html for Part III of this series. Part III showcases the Spiritual "Blow Gable Blow" and the Spiritual "Blow Your Trumpet, Gabriel".

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

All copyrights remain with their owners.

Thanks to all those unknown people who composed these songs and thanks to those who collected these songs. Thanks also to all those who are quoted in this post and thanks to the performers of this song and the publisher of this video on YouTube.

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INFORMATION ABOUT THE ANGEL GABRIEL AND HIS TRUMPET
From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gabriel
"In Abrahamic religions, Gabriel (Hebrew: Gaḇrîʼēl, God is my strength; Arabic: جبريل, Jibrīl or جبرائيل Jibrāʾīl) is an angel who typically serves as a messenger sent from God to certain people...

In the Bible, Gabriel is mentioned in both the Old and New Testaments...

The trope of Gabriel blowing a trumpet blast to indicate the Lord's return to Earth is especially familiar in Negro spirituals. However, though the Bible mentions a trumpet blast preceding the resurrection of the dead, it never specifies Gabriel as the trumpeter. Different passages say different things: the angels of the Son of Man (Matthew 24:31); the voice of the Son of God (John 5:25-29); God's trumpet (I Thessalonians 4:16); seven angels sounding a series of blasts (Revelation 8-11); or simply "a trumpet will sound" (I Corinthians 15:52)."...

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INFORMATION ABOUT THE ORIGINAL VERSION OF IN THAT GREAT GETTIN' UP MORNIN'"
Here's information about the original version of the Spiritual entitled "In That Great Getting Up Mornin'":
"The Negro student who brought this spiritual to his instructors at Hampton University shortly after the civil war reported that he had heard it sung at one of the secret midnight meetings held by the slaves in the pre-war days. The student states “I have heard my uncle sing this hymn and he told me how it was made. It was made by an old slave who knew nothing about letters or figures. He could not count the number of rails he would split when his master tasked him with splitting 150 a day. But he tried to lead a Christian life and he dreamed of the Great Judgment, and told his fellow-servants about it, and then made a tune to it and sung it in his camp-meetings. -From Religious Folk Songs Of The Negro As Sung In Hampton Institute (Originally published in 1874)reprinted in Album: Hootenanny Tonight [1959 Folkways Record album No 2511; Notes on the record by Irwin Silber]
http://media.smithsonianfolkways.org/liner_notes/folkways/FW02511.pdf

Recorded at two hootenannies in New York City in the Spring of 1959.
Side 1 Band 3; Sung by Leon Bibb with Laura Duncan, Betty Sanders, and Pete Seeger

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LYRICS: IN THAT GREAT GETTIN' UP MORNIN'
(African American Spiritual: composer unknown)

In that great gettin' up mornin'
Fare ye well, fare ye well
In that great gettin' up mornin'
Fare ye well, fare ye well
In that great gettin' up mornin'
Fare ye well, fare ye well
In that great gettin' up mornin'
Fare ye well, fare ye well

When you see the moon a’bleedin
Fare ye well, fare ye well
When you hear the rumblin’ thunder
Fare ye well, fare ye well

In that great gettin' up mornin'
Fare ye well, fare ye well
In that great gettin' up mornin'
Fare ye well, fare ye well

Oh pick up your golden trumpet
Fare ye well, fare ye well
Oh blow you trumpet, Gabriel
Fare ye well, fare ye well
In that great gettin' up mornin'
Fare ye well, fare ye well
In that great gettin' up mornin'
Fare ye well, fare ye well

Lord, how loud can I blow it?
Fare ye well, fare ye well
Blow it so the people will know it.
Fare ye well, fare ye well

In that great gettin' up mornin'
Fare ye well, fare ye well
In that great gettin' up mornin'
Fare ye well, fare ye well

Blow one blast calm and easy
Fare ye well, fare ye well
To wake my people that are sleeping
Fare ye well, fare ye well

In that great gettin' up mornin'
Fare ye well, fare ye well
In that great gettin' up mornin'
Fare ye well, fare ye well
In that great gettin' up mornin'
Fare ye well, fare ye well
In that great gettin' up mornin'
Fare ye well, fare ye well

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WHAT DOES "THAT GREAT GETTIN UP MORNING" MEAN IN THE SPIRITUAL WITH THAT NAME?
"That great getting up mornin[g]" is a Biblical reference [Revelations] to "Judgment Day", last day of earth, when Jesus comes back. According to Revelations, on Judgment day all the dead are raised up, and those who were formerly dead and those who are living are judged by God and go to heaven or hell depending on that judgment.

WHT DOES FARE THEE WELL MEAN IN THE SPIRITUAL "IN THAT GREAT GETTIN' UP MORNIN'"?
"Fare thee well" is an old fashioned way of saying "farewell" ("goodbye"). It means that you hope that good things happen to the person who is leaving. In the context of the Spiritual, "fare thee well" may just mean goodbye or it may also mean that the singer hopes that on judgment day she or he hopes that people will fare well , i.e. they will go to heaven instead of hell.

Another also archaic [18th or 19th century meaning of "fare thee well" is "to a fare-thee-well", meaning "a condition of utmost perfection". For example: "He played the part of the martyr to a fare-thee-well."

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WHAT DOES THE MOON A'BLEEDING MEAN IN THE SPIRITUAL "IN THAT GREAT GETTIN' UP MORNIN'"
The first verse of the Spiritual "In That Great Gettin Up Mornin'" which a young Hampton Institute student shared with his instructors in 1874 contains a reference to "the moon a’bleedin". I wonder if that enslaved man who composed that song did so during the United States civil war purposely included that reference to the blood moon so that the song would refer to the last days of slavery as well as the last days of earth. Singing that song with that coded meaning would have helped those slaves endure the difficulties of their life knowing that a better day was coming.

Here's some information about the meaning of the blood moon:
From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blood_Moon_Prophecy "The idea of a "blood moon" serving as an omen of the coming of the end times comes from the Book of Joel, where it is written "the sun will turn into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and terrible day of the LORD comes."[1] This phrase is again mentioned by Saint Peter during Pentecost, as recorded in Acts.

As with most eclipses, the moon appeared red during the April 15 [2014] eclipse.[4][5] The red color is caused by Rayleigh scattering of sunlight through the Earth's atmosphere, the same effect that causes sunsets to appear red."
-snip-
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rayleigh_scattering "Rayleigh scattering (pronounced /ˈreɪli/ RAY-lee), named after the British physicist Lord Rayleigh,[1] is the (dominantly) elastic scattering of light or other electromagnetic radiation by particles much smaller than the wavelength of the light."

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ADDENDUM: BONUS VIDEO
GOSPEL - In that Great Gettin'up Morning - by London Adventist Chorale



tedMEDIA Published on Oct 29, 2012
-snip-
Although "In that Great Gettin' Up Mornin'" is considered to be a Spiritual. The term "Gospel" usually doesn't refer to religious songs until after the Civil War, and particularly in the beginning of the 20th century. However, Spirituals can be sung in the manner of Gospel songs. For example, it has become a common practice to sing a verse or verses of “In That Great Gettin' Up Morning “ with gospelized versions of the Spiritual "Ride On King Jesus". Click http://pancocojams.blogspot.com/2014/06/african-american-choir-directing-styles.html for an example of that song.

Also, here's a link to an arrangement of "In That Great Gettin' Up Morning" that is sung by Mahalia Jackson: http://www.metrolyrics.com/great-gettin-up-morning-lyrics-mahalia-jackson.html.
Notice that the editor of that page indicates that "In That Great Gettin' Up Morning" was written by Mahalia Jackson. While this version of that Spiritual may have been written by Mahalia Jackson, the earliest version of that song was collected in 1874 and its composer was an unknown enslaved African American man.

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2 comments:

  1. There is a great performance by the Duke Chapel Choir. Go to http://chapel.duke.edu/events/final-sunday-service-duke-chapel-restoration-1430665200. Move the slide to 1:05:00 and play. This is part of the May 3, 2015 complete service.

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    1. Thanks, anonymous for sharing this rendition of this Spiritual with us.

      Here's the hyperlink to that video: https://chapel.duke.edu/events/final-sunday-service-duke-chapel-restoration-1430665200.

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