O Where Will Ye Be?
DESCRIPTION: "O where will ye be when the first trumpet sounds? O where will ye be when it sounds so loud? When it sounds so loud as to wake up the dead?" The singer will be "among the holy," "among the angels," wearing "a royal diadem," etc.
EARLIEST DATE: 1909 (Dett)
KEYWORDS: religious nonballad
FOUND IN: US(SE)
REFERENCES (3 citations):
Dett, p. 173, "Where Shall I Be When de Firs' Trumpet Soun'?" (1 text, 1 tune; p. 172 in the 1909 edition)
Chappell-FSRA 83, "O Where Will Ye Be?" (1 text, 1 tune)
BrownSchinhanV 761, "Oh, Where Shall I Be?" (1 short text, 1 tune)
The Carter Family, "Where Shall I Be?" (Victor Vi-23523, recorded 1930)
Mississippi John Hurt, "Where Shall I Be" (on MJHurt04)
NOTES: The imagery here seems to be a bit of a conflation. The "first trumpet" phrase is suggested by Revelation 8:7, but that trumpet brings hail and fire mixed with blood. The trumpet as a symbol of resurrection is more reminiscent of 1 Thessalonians 4:16.
This seems to break up into at least two subfamilies. The Chappell text is a confident boast of salvation. The Carter Family version is much less certain; the singer is worried ("Where shall I be?") and warns of the world's sins.- RBW
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