Sunday, January 5, 2014

Sunday songs

There’s a Christmas song, 'Sweet Little Jesus Boy', I haven’t listened to in a number of years.  The first time I heard it, I loved the way it told the story of Jesus’ birth.  I found it on YouTube sung by Kenny Rogers, Casting Crowns, Gladys Knight, Rebecca St James, Larnelle Harris, and Mahalia Jackson.

According to William Simon, editor of the Reader's Digest Merry Christmas Songbook, Robert MacGimsey composed this song after walking past crowded speakeasies in New York City on Christmas Eve, 1932.  It was published in 1934, its style similar to African-American spirituals.  Intended as an art song, it became one of many spiritual songs. Most recordings take liberties with the lyrics, some adding entire verses. The initial 1934 copyright was allowed to lapse. 

'Sweet Little Jesus Boy'

Sweet Little Jesus Boy
They made You be born in a manger.
Sweet little Holy Child,
We didn’t know who You was.

Didn’t know You come to save us, Lord;
To take our sins away
Our eyes were blind, we couldn’t see,
We didn’t know who You was.

Long time ago, You was born.
Born in a manager low.
Sweet little Jesus boy.

The world treat You mean, Lord;
Treat me mean, too.
But that’s how things is done down here,
We didn’t know ‘twas You.

You done showed us how,
We is trying.
Master, You done showed us how,
Even when You’s dying.

Just seem like we can’t do right,
Look how we treated You.
But please, sir, forgive us Lord,
We didn’t know ‘twas You.

Sweet little Jesus Boy
Born long time ago.
Sweet little Holy Child,
And we didn’t know who You was….

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