Annotation:Kingdom Coming

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X:1 T:Untitled T:Kingdom Coming M:2/4 L:1/8 R:Polka S:Anonymous 1862 American music manuscript collection (p. 15) N: Z:AK/Fiddler’s Companion K:D A|DF FA|Af f/e/d/B/|Ad dF|E3 A| DF FA|Af f/e/d/B/|Ad e>f|d zd:| a|b>b bd'|a>b a/g/f/g/|ad'd'f|e3 a| df fa|Af f/e/d/B/|Ad dF|E3 a| b>c' d'b|d'3b|a>b af|a3 a| df fa|Af f/e/d/B/|Ad e>f|d2 z||

KINGDOM COMING. AKA - "The Kingdom." AKA and see "Jubiler," "Jubilo," "Massa's Gone Away," "Year of Jubilo," "Doodletown Fifer (2) (The)," "T'Other Side of Jordan," "Yellow Gals from the South." Old-Time, Song or Reel. USA; New York, Pennsylvania. D Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AAB (Shaw): ABB (Mattson & Walz, Sweet): AABB (Perlman): AA'BB (Ford). Composed as a song for the minstrel stage by Henry Clay Work (1832-1884) in 1862 [1], and predates President Abraham Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation of 1863. The song was a hit for Christy's Minstrels and was widely published in early 1860's songsters. It was also popular with Civil War soldiers, who, upon their discharges, helped to spread the air into folk tradition. Charles Wolfe (1991) says the song is to be found more in white than black songsters. Bill Hicks (1975) notes that, while the air seems to have been popular with older traditional musicians, the song (which celebrates the end of slavery) is never heard sung. Ira Ford printed these words to the tune in 1940:

I just arrived in town to pass the time away,
And I settle all my business accordin',
But the weather turned so cold I heard a feller say:
"I wish I was on 'tother side of Jordan."
Take off your coat, boys, and roll up your sleeves,
For Jordan is a hard road to travel.
So take off your coats, boys, and roll up your sleeves,
For Jordan is a hard road to travel. .......[Ford]

African-American collector Thomas Talley (born c. 1870) printed a version in his book Negro Folk Rhymes (1922) called "Year of Jubilee," collected from an African-American informant. It also appears in Newman White's American Negro Folksongs (1928), with notes. Talley's words differ from the usual:

Niggers, has you seed ole Mosser;
(Red mustache on his face.)
A-gwine 'roun' sometime dis mawnin',
'Spectin' to leave de place?

Nigger Hands all runnin' 'way,
Looks lak we mought git free!
It mus' be now de Kingdom Come
In de Year o' Jubilee.

Oh, yon'er comes ole Mosser
Wid his red mustache all white!
It mus' be now de Kingdom Come
Sometime to-morrer night.

Yanks locked him in de smokehouse cellar,
De key's throwed in de well;
It sho mu' be de Kingdom Come.
Go ring dat Nigger field-bell!

"Kingdom Coming" is cited as having commonly been played for Orange County, New York country dances in the 1930's (Lettie Osborn, New York Folklore Quarterly), and by central Pa. fiddlers Ralph Sauers, Harry Daddario, and Archie Miller. It has been collected in the fife as well as fiddle tradition in Pennsylvania. Kirk and Sam McGee recorded the song in 1927, although later in life Kirk believed it was a mistake (perhaps because of the pro-Union sympathies expressed) and blamed the idea on their agent at the time, who thought it would be a good idea. See also notes to "Massa's Gone Away" and "Year of Jubilo" for more on fiddled versions.

Additional notes
Source for notated version : - Harry Daddario (Buffalo Valley region, Pa.) [Guntharp]; Angus McPhee (b. c. 1929, Mt. Stewart, Queens County, Prince Edward Island) [Perlman].

Printed sources : - Arnold (Folksongs of Alabama), 1950. Ford (Traditional Music in America), 1940; pp. 69 & 339. Guntharp (Learning the Fiddler's Ways), 1980; p. 91. Mattson & Walz (Old Fort Snelling... Fife), 1974; p. 68. Ostling (Music of '76), 1939; No. 13. Perlman (The Fiddle Music of Prince Edward Island), 1996; p. 159. Shaw (Cowboy Dances), 1943; p. 384. Sweet (Fifer's Delight), 1964/1981; p. 20.

Recorded sources : - Flying Fish FF-009, The Red Clay Ramblers – "Stolen Love" (1975). Vocalion 5167 (78 RPM), Sam and Kirk McGee (1927. Learned from their father, c. 1910).

See also listing at :
Jane Keefer's Folk Music Index: An Index to Recorded Sources [2]

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