Saturday, December 01, 2007
House of Grace
I recently posted a song on SoundClick!, a melding of an old folk tune and the words of a classic hymn -- House of the Risin' Sun and Amazing Grace; Tonia, a woman who calls herself a tree-hugger, did a slide show of an old church and graveyard, and used the piece for background music. Have a look (and a listen ....)
The songs: Risin' Sun Blues, aka House of the Risin' Sun, is attributed by the folklorist Alan Lomax to Georgians Georgia Turner and Bert Martin, based on the tune of a traditional English ballad. First recorded in the early 1930's, it came full circle when done by the British group, The Animals, in 1964. Before that, it was a staple of American folk singers, from Woody Guthrie to Bob Dylan.
John Newton was an Englishman and former slaver who wrote Amazing Grace after his conversion to Christianity in the late 1740's. The verse about being here "ten thousand years," was added and made popular later by Harriet Beecher Stowe, in Uncle Tom's Cabin, and is sometimes credited to John P. Rees.
My version, called House of Grace, was inspired by that of the Blind Boys of Alabama.