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Sunday, February 15, 2015

Evelyn Turrentine-Agee: "God Is Using Me" (Gospel song examples & lyrics)

Edited by Azizi Powell

This post showcases a sound file of Evelyn Turrentine-Agee and a choir singing the Gospel song "God Is Using Me" (also known as "He Is Using Me" and "When You See Me Walking Right").

[This post was updated on December 8, 2015]

My transcription of the lyrics for this song as sung by Evelyn Turrentine-Agee are also included in this post.

The content of this post is presented for religious, cultural, and aesthetic reasons.

As a bonus video, the Addendum to this post showcases a rendition of ""God Is Using Me" by The Faithful Travelers.

All copyrights remain with their owners.

Thanks to the composers of this song. Thanks to Evelyn Turrentine-Agee for her musical legacy and thanks to the choir who sang with her. Thanks also to The Faithful Travelers for their rendition of this song and thanks to the publishers of these examples on YouTube.

Click http://pancocojams.blogspot.com/2015/12/four-examples-of-gospel-song-when-you.html for the pancocojams post "Four Examples Of The Gospel Song "When You See Me Walking Right". Hat tip to Anonymous 11/2015 for referring me to the 1964 record of this song by the Soul Seekers.

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WHO COMPOSED THE GOSPEL SONG "GOD IS USING ME"?
The summary of the sound file of "God Is Using Me" that is featured in the Addendum to this post indicates that the composers of "God Is Using Me" are the African American Gospel group Ronica & The Mighty Blazing Stars. While there are other YouTube examples of Ronica & The Mighty Blazing Stars, there doesn't appear to be an example of that group singing this song.

Here's information about that group from the summary statement to a sound file of what appears to be that Gospel group's most popular song "Lord, It's In Your Hands":
"Ronica and the Mighty Blazing Stars' first CD release in 1997 was the album You Can't Tell It. During this year 1 album of the artist was released. Ronica Bowers The electrifying lead singer for the group was born in Mooresville, North Carolina on January 23, 1970. She started singing at the age of two and made her first appearance at the age of six. She sharpened her vocal skills by singing in church choirs and performing on gospel programs in the area."https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tsApS2X_Xbg

Given that the song "God Is Using Me" was sung in the 1960s*, it seems unlikely that Ronica & The Mighty Blazers composed "God Is Using Me". However, like others, they may have written and performed their arrangement of that song.

Read my comments below about a possible connection between this song and Bill Withers' song "Use Me".

*Hat tip to Anonymous November 28, 2015 at 3:52 PM for the information that the Soul Seekers recorded "When You See Me Walking Right" in 1964. Click ____ for a pancocojams post that showcases that sound file.

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SHOWCASE EXAMPLE
"He's Using Me" (Original) Evelyn Turrentine-Agee



Gospel Nostalgia, Published on Sep 11, 2012

This is track 8 from the 1983 album entitled "War On Sin".

This is the original version of the song she did some 27 years later on her album entitled "There's Gonna Be A Meeting".
-snip-
Here's a summary statement from another YouTube video of Evelyn Turrentine-Agee and a choir singing this song which was posted in 2010 by memphisdirector's channel with the title "God Is Using Me" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rnvQYdZZnSs:
"On any given day in the late 80's to early 90's, you could drive down the street and Joan E. W. Golden would play this on AM 1340-WLOK! This song is primarily responsible for damage to pews in a lot of churches!
-snip-
That last sentence refers in good humor to people “tearing up” wooden church pews with the movements that they make while they are “getting happy” ("going in") because they feel the Holy Ghost (Holy spirit) and have to do the Holy dance.

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LYRICS: HE IS USING ME
[as sung by Evelyn Turrentine-Agee - original recording]

When you see me walking right
[When you see me walking right]
When you hear me talking right
[When you hear me talkin right]
When you see me do my best
Goin home to take my rest
[Goin home to take my rest]
[I cried] Oh
[Oh]
Oh
[Oh
[Oh-oh-oh-oh]
Oh, God is using me.
[God is using me
[Jesus is using me]

I want to say it again:
When you see me walking right
[When you see me walking right]
Listen hear me talking right
[When you hear me talking right]
When You see me do my best
[When you see me do my best]
Tryin to get home to take a rest
Goin home to take my rest]
[I cried] Oh
[Oh]
Oh
Oh, yes
[Oh-oh-oh-oh]
Oh, God is using me
[God is using me
[Jesus is using me]
Oh yes He is

He’s using my hands
[He’s using my hands]
To do His will
[To do His will]
He’s using my feet
[Using my feet]
I’m goin up this hill
[Going up the hill]
He’s using my eyes
[Using my eyes]
So I might see
[So I can see]
Some good in others
[Some good in others]
The same as me
[The same as me]
Oh, He’s using my voice
[Using my voice]
I want to give sight to the blind
[To give sight to the blind]
He keeps on using me
[He’s using me]
In His own good time
[In His own good time]
I cried Oh
[Oh]
I said Oh
[Oh]
Oh, yes
[Oh-oh-oh-oh]
I know my God is using me.
[God is using me
[Jesus is using me]

Oh-oh-oh

Repeat the "He’s using my hands" lyrics with some improvising such as:
..."These old feet of mine...and "I want to see some good in others"...


Vamp*
And I’ll stay right here
[Oh]
I won’t go nowhere
[Oh]
I’ll tell men
[Oh]
How good You are
[Oh]
I know You went away a long time ago
[Oh]
You told me that You would prepare a place for me
[Oh]
And I’ll be with Ya
[Oh]
I’m gonna stay right here
[Oh]
On the battlefield
[Oh]
I’m gonna work for Ya.
[Oh]
Till I die
[Oh]
I said Oh
[Oh]
Oh
[Oh]
Oh
[Oh]
My hands
[My hands]
My heart
[My heart]
My feet
[My feet ]
I said use me.
[Use me] [The choir sings "Use me" after every Soloist line]
Use me
My feet, Lord
My heart
My mind, Lord
I said, use me
Use me
Use me
Use me
Yeah
Yeah
Use me
Use all of me, Lord
Yeah
Use me
in the morning
in the evening
in the midnight hour
Don’t stop.
I’m Yours
Take me and use
Take me and use me
Use me
Oh
[Oh-oh-oh-oh]
My God is using me.
[God is using me
[Jesus is using me]
-snip-
Transcription from the recording by Azisi Powell. Additions and corrections are welcome.
-snip-
*Vamp - in vocal music "vamp" refers to improvised words sung by the lead singer, usually near the end of the song.

Meanings of Certain phrases:
The phrase "going up the hill (also given as "climbing up the hill") probably refers to life's hardships.

"Take a rest= may refer to death.

"On the battlefield" = refers to life on earth

I'll stay right here/ I'm not going nowhere = I'll remain faithful to God's teachings and won't return to sinful ways

Ya = You [Notice the African American Christian custom of capitolizing any referent to God and Jesus. The Holy Ghost (the Holy Spirit) and Heaven are usually also capitolized.
-snip-
Other versions of Evelyn Turrentine-Agee singing this song can be found on YouTube. The vamp in those songs differ from this one.

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ADDENDUM
The Faithful Travelers 44th Anniversary Celebration



Tomeka Robinson, Published on Jul 31, 2012

God Is Using Me - Written By Ronica & The Mighty Blazing Stars
Lead: Sister Coby Grey
-snip-
This Gospel group sings a different arrangement of "God Is Using Me" than the one given above.

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RELATED LINK
Click http://pancocojams.blogspot.com/2015/02/bill-withers-use-me-video-lyrics.html for a pancocojams post about the Gospel song "God Is Using Me" (also known as "He Is Using Me"). The words "use me till you use me up" which are sometimes sung in that Gospel song are without a doubt lifted from Bill Withers' song. And Bill Withers' song was probably the inspiration for this R&B/Blues sounding Gospel song.

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2 comments:

  1. You might want to check out the Soul Seekers' 1964 recording "When You See Me Walking Right"
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dotSyaC2Wt8

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous November 28, 2015,

      Thanks for that information and link. I'll publish a post that showcases Soul Seekers' 1964 recording "When You See Me Walking Right" ASAP and add its link to this post. In the meantime, here's a hyperlink to that YouTube sound file: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dotSyaC2Wt8

      Delete