When the Roll Is Called Up Yonder
DESCRIPTION: Chorus: "When the roll is called up yonder (4x), I'll be there." Verses: On judgment day, "the trumpet of the Lord shall sound" and the singer will be with the saved. Meanwhile, "let us labor for the Master from the dawn till setting sun"
AUTHOR: James M. Black 1856-1938)
EARLIEST DATE: 1898 (Date)
KEYWORDS: nonballad religious Jesus
FOUND IN: US
REFERENCES (3 citations):
Huntington-Gam, p. 360, "When the Roll Is Called Up Yonder" (1 text, 1 tune)
ADDITIONAL: Henry Date, Pentecostal Hymns Nos. 1 and 2 Combined (Chicago: Hope Publishing Company, 1898 ("Digitized by Internet Archive")), #59 p. 56, "When the Roll is Called Up Yonder"
Mississippi John Hurt, "When the Roll Is Called Up Yonder" (on MJHurt04; MJHurt05)
NOTES [252 words]: William Reynolds, Companion to Baptist Hymnal, Broadman Press, 1976, p. 242, says that James M. Black was a member of the 1905 edition of the Methodist Hymnal, and supposedly was the sort to organize youth organizations where everyone called out scripture verses. One day, when he included a poor girl whose father was a drunkard, she failed to respond when he called her name from the roll. Black responded by writing this song (I'd have thought giving the girl a meal would have been more help!). Other comments by Reynolds make Black seem rather stuck up. He does not seem to have written anything else of any note. - RBW
Richard M. Raichelson, Black Religious Folksong: A Study in Genericand Social Change (Ph.D. Dissertation, University of Pennsylvania, 1975), p. 276 fn. 121, "This is not the same song as the spiritual titled, When that General Roll Is Called (Barton, 'Hymns of the slave', p. 621) or I'll be There (Work, American Negro, p. 57)." - BS
In a rather silly footnote, Barry Mazor, Ralph Peer and the Making of Popular Roots Music, Chicago Review Press, 2015, p. 21, notes the Peer, the man who was responsible for the "Bristol Sessions" that gave us both the Carter Family and Jimmie Rodgers, was so precise and punctual in high school that his school's publication wrote (on the basis of the fact that he hadn't missed a day in five years), "Judging by his past record we can afely say that he will be on hand promptly when the roll is called up yonder." This was in 1909/1910. - RBW
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