Sunday, March 8, 2015

Gospel & Jazz Examples Of "When The Saints Go Marching In"

Edited by Azizi Powell

This post provides information about the song "When The Saints Go Marching In" and showcases two examples of Gospel versions and five examples of New Orleans Jazz versions. This post also features an example of "When The Saints Go Marching In" as sung by R&B great James Brown.

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

All copyrights remain with their owners.

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

This post honors the fifieth anniversary of "Bloody Sunday" March in Selma, Alabama.
Click for information about that 1965 civil rights march.

Also, click amd for information about the fiftieth anniversary march which was held March 7, 2015.

"When the Saints Go Marching In", often referred to as "The Saints", is an American gospel hymn. The precise origins of the song are not known. Though it originated as a Christian hymn, it is often played by jazz bands. This song was first recorded on May 13, 1938 by Louis Armstrong and his Orchestra.[1] The song is sometimes confused with a similarly titled composition "When the Saints are Marching In" from 1896 by Katharine Purvis (lyrics) and James Milton Black (music). Luther G. Presley,[3] who wrote the lyrics, and Virgil Oliver Stamps, who wrote the music, popularized the tune as a gospel song.[4] A similar version was copyrighted by R.E. Winsett.[5]

Although the song is still heard as a slow spiritual number, since the mid 20th century it has been more commonly performed as a "hot" number. The tune is particularly associated with the city of New Orleans. A jazz standard, it has been recorded by a great many jazz and pop artists.

Both vocal and instrumental renditions of the song abound. Louis Armstrong was one of the first to make the tune into a nationally known pop tune in the 1930s. Armstrong wrote that his sister told him she thought the secular performance style of the traditional church tune was inappropriate and irreligious. Armstrong was in a New Orleans tradition of turning church numbers into brass band and dance numbers that went back at least to Buddy Bolden's band at the start of the 20th century.

In New Orleans, the song is traditionally used as a funeral march at "jazz funerals". While accompanying the coffin to the cemetery, a band plays the tune as a dirge. Returning from the interment, the band switches to the familiar upbeat "hot" or "Dixieland" style of play.”...

As with many numbers with long traditional folk use, there is no one "official" version of the song or its lyrics...As for the lyrics themselves, their very simplicity makes it easy to generate new verses. Since the first, second, and fourth lines of a verse are exactly the same, and the third standard throughout, the creation of one suitable line in iambic tetrameter generates an entire verse.”
Read the statements that I posted in the comment section below about the meaning of "iambic tetrameter".

Some common verses for Gospel & Jazz renditions of this song are:
1. When the saints go marching in...
2. When the sun refuse to shine...
3. When they crown Him Lord of Lords
Him = Jesus

From, p. xii
"Among Pentecostal congregations, the term “saints” denotes those “believers who have professed Christ as their personal savior, been saved by His holy power, and now walk the‘set apart’ path of sanctification” (Hinson 2000, 2)."

With the exception of the two traditional Gospel examples, these videos are presented in chronological order based on their publishing dates on YouTube with the examples with the oldest dates presented earliest.

Example #1: "When The Saints Go Marching In" (1959) Famous Ward Singers

Gospel Nostalgia, Published on Apr 12, 2014

This is track 6 from the 1959 album "At The Apollo Theatre".

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."...

Example #2: "When The Saints Go Marching In"- Clara Ward Singers

Rowoches. Published on Jul 25, 2012
*I don't have the copyrights to this video, but I have been given permission, by Willa Ward, to post.
The Clara Ward Singers in Antibes, France during the 1962 Antibes Jazz Festival. Clara Ward leads the group with "When The Saints Go Marching In."

Example #3: New Orleans Traditional Jazz - When the Saints Go Marching In!

New Orleans Traditional Jazz Uploaded on Nov 22, 2009

New Orleans Traditional Jazz Band performs the Saints Go Marching In Compton

Example #4: Fats Domino ( best of the bands ) Part 2 O when the Saints

thejazzsingers, Uploaded on Jan 1, 2011

Happy New Year Lets Party Fats and his Band !

Example #5: When the saints go marching in - James Brown

Eric Cajundelyon Uploaded on Aug 12, 2011
Classic Gospel cover by the Godfather of Soul himself...

Example #6: When The Saints Go Marching In - B.B. KIng

keithlee77, Uploaded on Sep 18, 2011
female soloist-singer/actor Solange
male soloist - actor, singer Terrence Howard

Example #7: Louis Armstrong When the Saints Go Marching In, 1961

Владимир Тишин, Published on Sep 20, 2012

Example #8: When the saints go marching in - New Orleans street music

rumpustina, Published on Apr 1, 2013

that lady was GOOD
Comment from that video's viewer comment thread identifying the female musician/singer:
Bui NYC, 2013
"Her name is Doreen Ketchens."

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1 comment:

  1. The Wikipedia page about the song "When The Saints Go Marching In" (link given above) includes this passage: "As for the lyrics themselves, their very simplicity makes it easy to generate new verses. Since the first, second, and fourth lines of a verse are exactly the same, and the third standard throughout, the creation of one suitable line in iambic tetrameter generates an entire verse.”

    Here's some information about iambic tetrameter from
    "Iambic tetrameter is a meter in poetry...

    The term was adopted to describe the equivalent meter in accentual-syllabic verse, as composed in English, German, Russian, and other languages. Here, iamb refers to an unstressed syllable followed by a stressed syllable. A line of iambic tetrameter consists of four such feet in a row:

    da DUM da DUM da DUM da DUM"
    Here's a quote about iambic tetrameter from another Wikipedia page that indicates how often it is used:
    "Four-beat, with four beats to a line, is the meter of nursery rhymes, children’s jump-rope and counting-out rhymes, folk songs and ballads, marching cadence calls, and a good deal of art poetry. It has been described by Attridge as based on doubling: two beats to each half line, two half lines to a line, two pairs of lines to a stanza. The metrical stresses alternate between light and heavy.[6] It is a heavily regular beat that produces something like a repeated tune in the performing voice, and is, indeed, close to song."

    Iambic tetrameter is also used in many hymns, Spirituals, Gospel songs, African American secular dance songs, Blues, R&B songs, Calypso, Mento, Shanties, Hip Hop etc.

    Because the same structure is used to compose the lyrics for these songs, floating verses from one type of music are often found in other types of music.

    For example, the exact lines or slightly revised lines from Gospel songs such as "I don't know but I been told/streets of Heaven are paved with gold" could also be found in R&B songs, playground singing games, and military cadences.