Down in the Valley to Pray
DESCRIPTION: "As I went down in the valley to pray, Studying about the good old way (or: My soul got happy and I stayed all day)." "Oh, (sinners/mothers/fathers/brothers/sisters, etc.), let's go down, you better go down, Down in the valley to pray."
EARLIEST DATE: 1899 (Barton)
KEYWORDS: religious nonballad
FOUND IN: US(SE)
REFERENCES (3 citations):
Barton, p. 4, "Down in the Valley to Pray" (1 text, 1 tune)
BrownIII 553, "As I Went Down in the Valley to Pray" (3 short texts with significant variations)
Delta Big Four, "Moaner Let's Go Down in the Valley" (Paramount 13009, 1930; on VocalQ2)
Price Family Sacred Singers, "I Went Down Into the Valley to Pray" (OKeh 40796, 1927)
cf. "Can't Cross Jordan"
cf. "The Good Old Way (II)" (lyrics)
NOTES [70 words]: This song shares many lines with "The Good Old Way (II)," and given how short some of Brown's fragments are, they may file there. Indeed, some might argue for lumping them -- but the forms appear distinct to me. - RBW
The creators of the film O Brother, Where Art Thou? changed the lyric to "Down to the River to Pray", and there are signs that this variant is entering into aural tradition among revival singers. -PJS
Last updated in version 4.2
Go to the Ballad Search form
Go to the Ballad Index Song List
Go to the Ballad Index Instructions
Go to the Ballad Index Bibliography or Discography
The Ballad Index Copyright 2018 by Robert B. Waltz and David G. Engle.