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Sunday, May 31, 2015

Gospel Classics: Clara Ward Singers - "Packing Up "(information, lyrics, videos, comments)

Edited by Azzi Powell

This is an updated version of a 2013 pancocojams post about this Gospel song.

This post showcases five video examples of the Gospel song "Packin' Up" (also known as "Packing Up Getting Ready To Go"). Four of these videos feature the Clara Ward Singers and one video features Marion Williams & the Stars Of Faith singing "Packin' Up". Marion Williams is the soloist in all of these examples.

In addition to the videos, information about the Clara Ward Singers, song lyrics, and selected comments from some of these videos' discussion threads are also included in this post.

The content of this post is presented for religious and aesthetic purposes.

All copyrights remain with their owners.

Thanks to Clara Ward for composing "Packin Up" and thanks to the musical legacy of the Clara Ward Singers and the Stars Of Faith singers. Thanks also to all those quoted in this post, and thanks to the publishers of these videos on YouTube.

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INFORMATION ABOUT THE CLARA WARD SINGERS
From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clara_Ward
"Clara Ward (April 21, 1924 – January 16, 1973)[1][2] was an American gospel artist who achieved great artistic and commercial success in the 1940s and 1950s, as leader of The Famous Ward Singers.

A gifted singer and arranger, Ward adopted the lead-switching style, previously used primarily by male gospel quartets, creating opportunities for spontaneous improvisation and vamping by each member of the group, while giving virtuoso singers such as Marion Williams the opportunity to perform the lead vocal in songs such as "Surely, God Is Able" (among the first million-selling gospel hits), "How I Got Over" (composed by Williams, and one of the most famous songs in the Black gospel repertoire), and "Packin' Up".

Clara Ward's mother, Gertrude Ward (1901–1981), founded the Ward Singers in 1931 as a family group, then called, variously, The Consecrated Gospel Singers or The Ward Trio, consisting of herself, her youngest daughter Clara, and her elder daughter, Willarene ("Willa").

Clara Ward recorded her first solo song in 1940, and continued accompanying the Ward Gospel Trio, thereafter.

The Ward Singers began touring nationally in 1943, following a memorable appearance at the National Baptist Convention held in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, earlier that year. Henrietta Waddy joined the group in 1947, after Willa Ward retired. Waddy brought to the group a "rougher" alto sound and the enthusiastic stage manners learned from her South Carolina church background. The group's performance style, such as the mimed packing of suitcases as part of the song "Packin' Up", condemned by some gospel music purists as "clowning", was wildly popular with their audiences.

The addition of Marion Williams, who arose of the Miami, Florida Pentecostal tradition brought to the group a powerful singer with a preternaturally broad range, able to reach the highest registers of the soprano range without losing either purity or volume, with the added ability to descend "growling low notes" in the style of a country preacher. Williams' singing style helped make the group nationally popular when they began recording in 1948."

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From Google Books The Golden Age of Gospel By Horace Clarence Boyer, p. 232
"Each of the five women [who were members of the Clara Ward Singers] was a powerful soloists, but none had the voice of [Marion] Williams, and none could weave a musical spell like she could. One of their most successful recordings was a remake of the Clara Ward song "Packing Up". The song deals with the preparation for meeting Jesus, and in performance, Williams would walk through the audience collecting as many as twenty purses. On her way back to the stage she would return each purse to their rightful owners to the amazement and delight of the audience."

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LYRICS: PACKIN' UP
(Clara Ward)

Chorus:
I am on my way to new Jerusalem,
where the sun will never go down.
Everyday I'm making preparations,
gettin' ready to go,
gettin' ready to go;
I'm packing up, gettin' ready to go.

Verse 1:
Gettin' ready to go,
gettin' ready to go,
gettin' ready to go,
gettin' ready to go.

Gettin' ready to go,
gettin' ready to go,
gettin' ready to go,
gettin' ready to go.

Got my sword, Got my shield
got my ticket, Signed and sealed
gettin' ready to go,
gettin' ready to go;
I'm packing up, gettin' ready to go.


Verse 2:
Gettin' ready to go,
gettin' ready to go,
gettin' ready to go,
gettin' ready to go.

Gettin' ready to go,
gettin' ready to go,
gettin' ready to go,
gettin' ready to go.

When the wheel begins to turn,
and the fire begins to burn;
gettin' ready to go
gettin' ready to go,
I'm packing up gettin' ready to go.

Bridge:
Packing, packing,
yes, I'm packing.

Vamp 1:
Packing up, packing up.
(repeat as desired)

Gettin' ready to go
gettin' ready to go,
I'm packing up gettin' ready to go.

Bridge

Vamp 2:
Packing up,
gettin' ready to go.
(repeat as desired)

Gettin' ready to go
gettin' ready to go,
I'm packing up gettin' ready to go.

Vamp 3:
Packing up,
I'm packing up.


Source: http://www.music-lyrics-gospel.com/gospel_music_lyrics/packing_up_13541.asp

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FEATURED EXAMPLES
These examples are presented in chronological order based on their posting date with the oldest date given first.

Example #1: Clara Ward Singers- Packin Up



DaSourcespr06·Uploaded on May 7, 2008

The original version of the song "Packing Up", feat. Marion Williams, 1958.
-snip-
Selected comments:
Jeff H, 2008
"Amen! This is a gospel music classic!"

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joko9395, 2008
"One of our choir directors used to play for them and he said when they started singing about packin up they broke out with suitcases."

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blessedover, 2008
"she would take anything she could get her hands on and be hitting high notes all over the church for about a whole minute and when I say hit every note right my Lord"

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DYNODRUM, 2008
"Thankyou: Love these post .Great stuff -but have to say -LITTLE RICHARD got his HIGH NOTES from here......."

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TheSoulman44, 2011
Reply
"yes little richard always acknowledged marion williams for that high note . i saw him on the kennedy honors telling her that in tribute to her"

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77miracles, 2009
"Clara always made such good studio recordings that had that "live" feel to them, when Marion would sing this live, she would basically try to copy this studio recording~~and of course, grab a woman's purse and run down the aisle with it packing it like a suitcase!"

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George Graves, 2009
"Having seen All and I do mean ALL of the gospel greats perform from James Cleveland, Alex Bradford, The Davis Sisters, The Caravans, The Harmonettes, The Ward Singers, The Stars of Faith,The Raspberry Singers,Andrae Crouch, Walter Hawkins, Bobby Jones, Richard Smallwood, The Winans, BeBe & CeCe.and virtually all of the quartets, Clara Ward was #1 when it came to performing."

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Gary Wood, 2010
"And not only are the women in white carrying their pursie books, the women seated have their hats on their heads and their pursie books in their laps. PRAISE GOD!!"

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myneecee, 2010
..."in those days the centers and buildings blacks rented to have revivals and such, they couldn't use coat rooms or the other facilities that were extended to white patrons so everything you brought in with you , you also had to carry in hand.if you had noticed that was not a church.SORRY-ONE WHO KNOWS"

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shannonluv112, 2012
"Yes, yes, yes!!! I can hear my late grandmother leading this and hitting those high notes on the church choir as a young girl down south. Those were the days! Oh, how I miss them!"

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smcjones1978, 2012
"I just love these old songs!!!"

stars2luv, 2013
"Yeah!! Packin up to get to Canaan land! :)"

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Example #2: Marion Williams and the Marion Williams Singers 1965 part 4

thejazzsingers, Uploaded on Apr 2, 2010

Traveling Shoes and Packing Up later more enjoy it !

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Example #3: Marion Williams - Packing Up Mahalia Jackson tribute



blessedover, Published on Sep 11, 2012

carnegie hall [1975]

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Example #4: Marion Williams "Packin' Up" - Hootenanny 1963



HistoricFilmsArchive, Published on Jan 18, 2013

The fabulous Marion Williams & the Stars of Faith perform an intensely lively version of "Packin' Up" on Hootenanny 1963.

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Example #5: Marion Williams & Stars Of Faith - Packin' Up (Live)



MARIONWILLIAMSVEVO, Published on Sep 25, 2014

Music video by Marion Williams & Stars Of Faith performing Packin' Up (Live).

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