Rock-a My Soul
DESCRIPTION: "Rock-a my soul in the bosom of Abraham (x3), Oh, rock-a my soul," "When I went down to the valley to pray... My soul got happy and I stayed all day." "When I was a mourner just like you... I mourned and mourned till I come through."
EARLIEST DATE: 1867 (Allen/Ware/Garrison)
KEYWORDS: religious nonballad
FOUND IN: US(SE)
REFERENCES (4 citations):
Allen/Ware/Garrison, p. 73, "Rock o' My Soul" (1 text, 1 tune)
BrownIII 573, "Good Lordy, Rocky My Soul" (1 text)
Fireside, p. 306, "Oh, a-Rock-a My Soul" (1 text, 1 tune)
Silber-FSWB, p. 357, "Rock-a My Soul" (1 text)
Golden Gate Jubilee Quartet, "Rock My Soul" (Bluebird B-7804/Montgomery Ward M-7596, 1938; RCA Victor 20-2921, 1948; on Babylon)
Taylor sisters, "Rock-a My Soul" (on HandMeDown2)
NOTES: The reference to Abraham's bosom alludes to the story of the Rich Man and Lazarus (Luke 16:19-31). In 16:22, Lazarus dies and is carried to Abraham's bosom. Although the phrase does not occur elsewhere, it came to have the sense of "heaven."
It is interesting to note that the version they shoved down our throats as children ran "Rock-a my soul," which sounded like someone rocking on a rocking chair or in a cradle. But Allen/Ware/Garrison give it as "Rock o' my soul" -- i.e. "Rock of my soul." This, as a reference to God, is more Biblical and much more comprehensible. - RBW
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The Ballad Index Copyright 2016 by Robert B. Waltz and David G. Engle.