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Thursday, August 18, 2016

Spirituals As Sources Of Black Fraternity & Sororities Songs & Chants

Edited by Azizi Powell

[Revision - August 21, 2016]

This post compiles text examples of BGLO (historically Black Greek letter organization) chants and songs that appear to me to (at least in part) have African American Spirituals as the source of their tune and/or some of their lyrics.

A few examples of BGLO songs that have early Black Gospel songs as their source are also included in this post.

Videos are included for a few of these examples.

The content of this post is presented for folkloric and cultural purposes.

All copyrights remain with their owners.

Thanks to all those who have composed, contributed, and/or performed the examples that are featured in this post.

DISCLAIMER: This is not meant to be a comprehensive listing of all BGLO songs and chants that may have a Spiritual as a source of their tune or of some of their lyrics. These compilation only includes examples that are relatively "family friendly". With the exception of the word "damn", any profanity that is found in these examples is given with amended spelling. That amended spelling indicated by this symbol ^ after the amended word.

This is a work in progress. Your help is needed to identify more examples! Those examples and others that I identify will be added to this compilation. Extensive page revisions will be noted by date at the top of this page.

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This is part of ongoing (informal) research to document and share examples of historically Black Greek letter organization songs and chants from specific sources. Other pancocojams posts in this series include Military Sources of Black fraternity & sorority songs and chants, "R&B" sources for Black fraternity & sorority songs and chants", and Advertisement Jingles sources for Black fraternity & sorority songs and chants. I'm also working on a post about comparing BGLO chants/songs with PWGO (predominately White Greek letter organization) chants and songs.

Previous pancocojams posts on some of those topics can be found by clicking the Black fraternity and sorority songs and chants tag.

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PRESENTATION FORMAT
Examples of BGLO songs and chants are given in alphabetical order. Any titles that begin with numbers will be given under the first letter of that number.

The title of the fraternity or sorority song/chant name is given first and is followed in parenthesis by the name of the specific BGLO that this song/chant belongs to.

The title/s of that example's African American Spiritual source/s is given next.

Comments about that example may follow the listing of that example's Spiritual source song/s. Those comments may include information about other sources for that BGLO song/chant.

One text example of that BGLO song (from the same organization) is given next.* The source citation for that example is given along with that example.

One video example of that BGLO song/chant (from the same organization) may be featured after the text version/s of that example. Notice that the video example may be from a different fraternity or sorority than the one whose text version is featured in this compilation.

*Click http://pancocojams.blogspot.com/2015/03/examples-of-historically-black.html for the first page of pancocojams' compilation entitled "Examples of Black fraternity and sorority songs and chants". That page includes links for six other pages in that compilation. Multiple example of a specific chant may be found on that page.

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PART I
A, B
ALPHA TRAIN (also known as "Traveling") - (Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.)
Spiritual source - African American Spirituals that refer to the Gospel train such as "Get On Board, Little Children" and I'm Going Home On The Morning Train".

R&B source : The Impressions, "Keep On Pushing", 1964
-snip-
ALPHA TRAIN (also known as "Traveling")
Alpha train is slowly coming
To keep on pushing,
If you hurry you might get on it;
Got to keep on pushing,
Got my ticket right in my hand;
Got to keep on pushing.
Soon we'll be in Alpha land;
Got to keep on pushing,
This train we're waiting for is black and gold.
We're in love with dear old Alpha
No time for looking back...
A Phi A
-Brian A. Jackson Alpha Phi Alpha collection, permission granted to post on Cocojams.com received on 3/20/2010
-snip-
Editor's Note: All of the examples from the Brian A. Jackson Alpha Phi Alpha collection are given as they were sent to me for posting on my no longer active cultural blog cocojams.com website.

I wonder if the word "to" in the second line is a typo for the word "so".

Brian A. Jackson sent these examples to cocojams.com of his own volition, without any prior request. My sincere thanks to him and to all others who sent in examples of fraternity/sorority songs and chants to cocojams.com.

Here's part of an email that I received from Brian A. Jackson in response to my question about the source of these Alpha chants: "Some of the 'older' ones probably did come from other sources. I know many of them came from old Negro spirituals as well. Some came from the military also."...

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C, D
DEEP IN MY HEART (Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc.)
Spiritual sources:
"I don't know what you've been told/But the best of the colors are blue and gold" - is from the Spiritual floating verse "I don't know but I've been told/the streets of heaven are paved with gold" that is found in a number of Spirituals such as "Morning Train” (also known as “I’m Goin Home On The Morning train”) and "Ride On King Jesus".

[Pancocojams readers, please share other examples of Spirituals with this floating verse. Thanks!]

Note: Floating verses in African American Spirituals are also found in a number of different genres including military cadences, work songs (such as track lining songs), R&B songs, and children's rhymes.

**
Spiritual source for the lyrics "Deep in my heart" - the Spiritual (early African American Gospel song?) "Deep Down In My Heart"

Click http://www.authentichistory.com/1600-1859/3-spirituals/1926_Deep_Down_In_My_Heart-WM_Givens.html for a sound file of a 1926 rendition of this Spiritual (or early African American Gospel).
-snip-
DEEP IN MY HEART
I've got Sigma to the left of me
Gamma to the right of me
Rho to the back of me

S-I-G-M-A
G-A-M-M-A
R-H-O

I don't know what you've been told
But the best of the colors are blue and gold

Deep in my heart
I love SG...Rho
Deep in my heart
I love SG...Rho
Deep in my heart
I love SG...Rho
Deep in my heart
I love SG...Rho
I love, love, love, love SGRho.

[repeat entire song]
-Black Greek Soundz CD; my transcription from a 1990-1999 Black Greek Soundz CD as found in the Jack Horntip Collection, used with permission.

This is probably four independent songs/chants that are performed by this sorority.

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E, F

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G, H
GIVE ME THAT OLD ALPHA SPIRIT (Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.)
Spiritual source - "Give Me That Old Time Religion".
-snip-
GIVE ME THAT OLD ALPHA SPIRIT
Give me that Old Alpha Spirit
Give me that Old Alpha Spirit
Give me that oooooooold Alpha Spirit.
It's good enough for me.

It was good for Brother [insert Jewel last name]
It was good for Brother [insert Jewel last name]
It was gooooood for Brother [insert Jewel last name]
It's good enough for me.
-Brian A Jackson; Alpha Phi Alpha collection; permission granted to post on Cocojams.com 3/20/2010

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GO DOWN (Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.)
Spiritual source- "Go Down Moses)
-snip-
GO DOWN
Go Down, Brother
Way down to Egypt Land

Tell the people
The light has come.

(Back in 06)
Back in 06
Many years ago

7 Black men
Couldn't take no more

They professed to have seen the light
The Light Of The World

They journeyed to
The motherland

Where they crossed
Those burning sands

Marching onward
They had to see

Just what
The end would bring
(What the end would bring)
-Brian A. Jackson Alpha Phi Alpha collection, permission granted to post on Cocojams.com, 3/20/2010

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I, J
I KNOW I'VE BEEN CHANGED (Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.)
Spiritual source for the four lines given below beginning with "I know I've been changed" - the Spiritual entitled "I Know I've Been Changed"

Spiritual source for "on this Alpha train" - Spirituals that mention the "Gospel train"
-snip-
I KNOW I'VE BEEN CHANGED
I know I've been changed
I know I've been changed
I know I've been changed
The big brothers done changed my name.

On this Alpha train
On this Alpha train
I've been pledgin and I'll never be the same
Sons of Alpha are we
One in love and charity
Let our thought of sadness fly
For our own, our Alpha Phi.
Courage brothers banded we
All through life 'till eternity.
Let our hearts in* joyous praise
Sing of Alpha through endless days.

Way down in the jungle deep
Burning sands scorching my feet
Pyramids touching the sky
I'm pledgin' Alpha till the day I die
Been on line pledgin' for days
Put aside my selfish ways
Feel it deep down in my soul
My butt is burnin' and I want to be ice cold.
Own my life, and take my pride
Wood me up on my backside
Pledge me anyway you can
For when I cross I'll be an Alpha man.
-Brian A. Jackson Alpha Phi Alpha collection (Gamma Iota Chapter Traditional Song, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.), 4/18/2010, used with permission and given as it was sent to me.
-snip-
Pancocojams' editor- This example from the Brian A. Jackson Alpha Phi Alpha collection probably combines more than one independent song/chant which may have been sung together.

Since I knew that "I Know I've Been Changed" is the title & chorus of an African American religious song, I contacted Brian A. Jackson to ask him if the song posted above was actually three different songs that were sung one right after the other. Mr. Jackson responded to my email with the following comments:
"I have not heard it nor sung it, but I believe that is the full song. Its a song that is sung while they are Sphinxmen so "On this Alpha train" refers to them being on the way to Alpha...
-snip-
I KNOW I'VE BEEN CHANGED (video)

Zeta Phi Beta- Long Island Tribute



Uploaded on Dec 22, 2006

A tribute to my SOOO SWEEEEET Sorors of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Incorporated, Long Island Undergraduate Chapters. "I'm not just a Zeta, I'm a LONG ISLAND Zeta!"
-snip-
This sound file includes a series of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. songs including that a version of that sorority's "I Know I've Been Changed" (at .19 - 1.20)

An adapted version of "I Know I've Been Changed" is often sung as part of a sorority's or fraternity's probate (program). In the context of fraternities and sororities a "probate" (noun) is a program in which new members of that organization are first introduced to other members of the organization and to the general public. Here's a comment from that Zeta Phi Beta sound file's viewer comment thread:
lover7gurl, 2011
"I Know I've Been Changed" is the song we came out on at my probate! I bleed blue and white!!! Z Phi to all of my sophisticated sorors!!!

Spr. 2010
Tre Club
Sigma Mu
Columbus, MS

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I LOOKED OVER JORDAN (Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc.)
Spiritual Source - "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot" (lyrics: "I looked over Jordan and what did I see")
-snip-
I LOOKED OVER JORDAN
I looked over Jordan, and what did I see
I saw Kappa Alpha Psi looking up at me
I said, "Tell me Nupe, what do you say?"
He said "Damn I shoulda pledged that A Phi A"
I looked over Jordan, and what did I see
I saw Omega Psi Phi looking up at me
I said tell me Que, to save your soul,
Why did you steal the PHI and Old Gold
I looked over Jordan, and what did I see
I saw Phi Beta Sigma looking up at me
I said "Tell me Blue, what do you see?"
"I see Alpha Phi Alpha shining brighter than me"
Cause we're the ICE COLD brothers of A Phi A
And pledging our frat is the only way!
-ColdFront06, http://www.stophazing.org/cgi-bin/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic;f=7;t=000243, Frat/Soror Chants, 9/28/2005

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IN THE BEGINNING (Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc.)
Spiritual source for the verse "I don't know what you've been told/But the streets of heaven are rhoyal blue and gold" - the floating verse "I don't know but I've been told/the streets of heaven are paved with gold".
-snip-
IN THE BEGINNING
In the Beginning
Yes, in the beginning there were only two.
Yes, Eve was Delta and Yes Adam was a Que.
But they messed up and what do you know
To fix it-was KAPsi and SGRho.
I don't know what you been told
But the streets of heaven are rhoyal blue and gold.
And if you get to heaven and can't get in
That's because Peter and Paul are Kappa men.
- http://ms_quiet.tripod.com/chants.html, retrieved 12/8/2012
-snip-
Click http://pancocojams.blogspot.com/2015/03/examples-of-historically-black_17.html for an Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity version of this chant from Lawrence C. Ross, Jr., author of The Nine: The History of African American Fraternities and Sororities. That version doesn't include the "I don't know but I've been told..." verse. Adam and Eve are obviously the names of the first man and woman in the Christian Bible.

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K, L

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M. N
MAKE WAY THE QUE TRAIN IS COMING (Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc.)
Spiritual source/s - Spirituals about the Gospel train such as "Get On Board, Little Children" (also known as "The Gospel Train"; "I’m Going Home On The Morning Train", and "Ride This Train"

Make way the Q train is comin
Make way the Q train is comin
Make way the Q train is comin
And you don’t want to be left behind.
- words sung with chanted interjections; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Clo2cLue28o
-snip-
I also heard Ques sing this song in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania step shows in the 1990s.
-snip-
Make Way...the Que train is coming.....BETA chapter 2013 entering the cirlcle



Clyde Ashley Sherman, Published on Sep 15, 2013

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N, O

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P, Q

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R, S
SAID I WASN'T GOING TO TELL NOBODY (Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.)
Spiritual Source- "Said I Wasn't Gonna Tell Nobody"s
-snip-
SAID I WASN'T GOING TO TELL NOBODY
Said I wasn't going to tell nobody
A Phi A A Phi A
But listen people I've got to shout it
A Phi A A Phi A

The Kappas and the Sigmas
They got some soul:
A Phi A A Phi A
But they just can't compare
with the black and gold.

So listen Q's you'd better step aside.
But a lot of Q's didn't and a lot of Q's died.
Oh, A Phi A A Phi A
(Repeat twice)
-Brian A. Jackson Alpha Phi Alpha collection, permission granted to post on Cocojams.com, 3/20/2010
-snip-
This is how that example was sent in to my no longer active cocojams.com website. It may be a combination of three songs/chants that were sung at the same time.

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T, U
THIS TRAIN (Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority)
Spiritual or Early Gospel source song - "This Train Is Bound For Glory"
-snip-
This train don't carry no Zetas.
This train.
This train don't carry no Zetas
This train.
No.
This train just carries the Akas
The [name of chapter] of Alpha Kappa Alpha
This train.

This train don't carry no Sigmas.
[Sing same words as above but substitute the word "Sigmas".]

This train don't carry no Deltas.
[Sing same words as above but substitute the word "Sigmas".]
-online source https://www.wattpad.com/44876415-alpha-hard-greek-life-our-night
-snip-
Alpha Chapter, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated 63 P.R.O.D.I.G.Y. AKA Spring 2009-7



hudrmodel, Uploaded on Apr 16, 2009

Alpha Chapter, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated 63 P.R.O.D.I.G.Y. AKA Spring 2009
-snip-
Decledra Corbett, 2016
@jbbullard1992 : This train don't carry no sigmas this train. This train don't carry no zetas this train. This train don't carry no deltas this train. This train just cares* the alpha. The lovely alpha chapter of alpha kappa alpha. This train just carries the AKA** this train!!! This is the whole chant!!
-snip-
*carries

**AKAs is pronounced "ahkahs" in this song.

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V, W
WE ARE SORORS (Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority)
early Gospel song source - "We Are Soldiers"
-snip-
"We are Sorors and we’re striving
We have to work
Sometimes we have to cry (we have to cry)
We have to hold on to Alpha Kappa Alpha,
And we’ll keep holding on until we die."
-snip-
Alpha Kappa Alpha, Alpha Chapter, Howard University Sp. 16: A.L.L.U.R.E.



Kevin Wilson, Published on Apr 10, 2016
The 2016 Plot Day presented by The ALPHA Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc. at Howard University.
-snip-
"We Are Sorors" is sung around 1:46 to 2:09 in this video.

The 2016 Plot Day presented by The ALPHA Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc. at Howard University.

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WE LOVE OMEGA - (Omega Psi Phi Fraternity)
Spiritual source of the verses "so high you can't get over it...etc...You must go through the door- Spiritual "My Lord Is So High
-snip-
WE LOVE OMEGA*
Lead – Well, we love
Group- We love Omega
Lead – Oh we love
Group- We love Omega
Lead- Ooh we love
Group- We love Omega
Lead and Group - Because it’s deep down in our heart
We said it’s deeper, deeper, deeper, deeper
down, down down ,down
Deep down in our hearts
We said it’s deeper, deeper, deeper, deeper
Down, down down down
Deep down in our hearts
Lead – Omega’s so high
Group- So high you can’t get over it
Lead- Omega’s so low
Group- so low you can’t get under it
Lead &Group- Omega’s so
Lead and Group – wide
Lead & Group -You must go through that door
-snip-
*I'm not sure if this is the actual title of this song.
Transcription by Azizi Powell from the video. Additions and corrections are welcome.
-snip-
Omega Psi Phi Songs - Terrible x3 Tau Lambda Lambda Chapter



KingJames432, Uploaded on Nov 17, 2009

Neos setting owt some songs on their initiation... and NO.. they will never wear that much 'nalia at the same time again lol. Their voices were a bit hoarse.
-snip-
This featured song is #2 in this video [begins at 1:46]

Click http://pancocojams.blogspot.com/2014/04/darling-omega-song-two-other-omega-psi.html for a pancocojams post that features this song and other Omega Psi Phi Fraternity songs.

Here's a partial statement from the summary of another video that is included in that post and is from that same event:"The '70s Bruhs would always woo the women with their vocal abilities... passing down the tradition"

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WHO'S THAT KNOCKING AT MY DOOR (Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc.)
Spiritual Source- "Somebody's Knockin At Your Door"
-snip-
WHO'S THAT KNOCKIN AT THE DOOR
Who's that knockin at the door
Well it's the Ques.
We're gonna break it on down.

[Repeat several times.]
-posted by Azizi Powell, heard at various step shows in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 1990s

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X,Y,Z

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