All My Trials

DESCRIPTION: "If religion were a thing that money could buy, The rich would live and the poor would die. All my trials, Lord, soon be over. Too late, my brothers, too late but never mind." The weary singer looks forward to victory after death
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: 1961 (recording, Pete Seeger)
KEYWORDS: religious nonballad
REFERENCES (5 citations):
Brown/Belden/Hudson-FrankCBrownCollectionNCFolklore3 644, "Tree in Paradise" (3 short texts; the "A" version combines "Few Days" with a "Tree in Paradise" text; "B" is too short to classify easily; "C" seems to be mostly "All My Trials"; there may also be influence from "Is Your Lamps Gone Out" or the like)
Brown/Schinhan-FrankCBrownCollectionNCFolklore5 644, "Tree in Paradise" (3 tunes plus text excerpts)
Cray-AshGrove, pp. 43-44, "All My Trials" (1 text, 1 tune)
Silber/Silber-FolksingersWordbook, p. 359, "All My Trials" (1 text)

Roud #11938
Rev. Lewis Jackson & Charlotte Rucell, "Tallest Tree in Paradise" (on MuSouth07)
Pete Seeger, "All My Trials" (on PeteSeeger31)

cf. "Little David, Play on Your Harp" (floating lyrics)
cf. "Tell All the World, John" (floating lyrics)
cf. "King Oh King" (foating lyrics)
cf. "Michael, Row the Boat Ashore" (lyrics)
cf. "Noah's Ark" (lyrics)
cf. "Zek'l Weep" (floating lyrics)
cf. "Blow Your Trumpet, Gabriel (Paul and Silas)" (floating lyrics)
cf. "Is Your Lamps Gone Out?" (lyrics)
cf. "Tell All the World, John" (lyrics)
cf. "Wild Rover No More" (floating lyrics)
cf. "I Don't Want to Stay Here Any Longer" (lyrics, theme)
NOTES [211 words]: Although this is generally considered a Black song, one of the key couplets goes back to England. According to Roy Palmer, The Folklore of Warwickshire, Rowman & LIttlefield, 1976, p. 41, the stanza
This life is a city of crooked streets,
Death is the market-place where all men meet,
If life were merchandise that money could buy
The rich would live and the poor would die
was found at Tysoe in 1798. Palmer files this among verses on gravestones, although he does not explicitly say for whom, if anyone, this one was carved. - RBW
"If life was a thing that money could buy/ The rich would live the poor would die" is also in the Jamaica R&B recording, "What a World" attributed to Busty [Arthur Robinson] (Busty and Cool, "What a World" (1962, on Blue Beat 45 BB 144, 2013, "Jamaica and U.S.A. Roots of Ska Rhythm and Blues Shuffle 1942-1962," Fremaux and Associes CD FA 5396). - BS
The Jackson/Rucell recording, from 1954, is classified here in near-desperation; it consists primarily of the single floating verse "The tallest tree in Paradise/The Christians call it the Tree of Life" (also found in "Is Your Lamps Gone Out?"), plus the chorus "Hey brother with a hey/Hey, sister with a hey-ey-ey/Jes' take a little bottle and let's go home/Yes, my Lord." - PJS
Last updated in version 5.1
File: FSWB359B

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