Go Down, Moses

DESCRIPTION: Moses is commissioned to free the Israelites: "Go down, Moses, Way down in Egypt's land. Tell old Pharaoh to let my people go." The firstborn of Egypt are specifically threatened; the rest is more general
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: 1861 (sheet music published under title "The Song of the Contrabands 'O Let My People Go'")
KEYWORDS: religious Bible freedom escape death
REFERENCES (20 citations):
Dett/Fenner/Rathbun/Cleveland-ReligiousFolkSongsOfTheNegro-HamptonInstitute, pp. 108-109, "Go Down, Moses" (1 text, 1 tune; p. 153 in the 1909 edition)
Curtis-Burlin-NegroFolkSongs-TheHamptonSeries (I), pp. 13-21, "Go Down, Moses" (1 text with variants, 1 tune with variants)
Brown/Belden/Hudson-FrankCBrownCollectionNCFolklore3 570, "Go Down, Moses" (1 text)
Brown/Schinhan-FrankCBrownCollectionNCFolklore5 570, "Go Down, Moses" (1 tune plus a text excerpt)
Gainer-FolkSongsFromTheWestVirginiaHills, pp. 213-215, "Go Down, Moses" (1 text, 1 tune)
Silber-SongsOfTheCivilWar, pp. 276-277, "Go Down, Moses" (1 text, 1 tune)
Silber-SoldierSongsAndHomeFrontBalladsOfCivilWar, pp. 26-27, "Go Down, Moses" (1 text, 1 tune)
Lomax/Lomax-FolkSongUSA 109, "Go Down, Moses" (1 text, 1 tune)
Courlander-NegroFolkMusic, p. 42, "Go Down, Moses" (partial text)
Lawrence-MusicForPatriotsPoliticiansAndPresidents, pp. 366-367, "The Song of the 'Contrabands.' 'O Let my people go'" (1 text, 1 tune, a copy of a version rewritten by Rev. L. C. Lockwood)
Darling-NewAmericanSongster, pp. 354-355, "O! Let My People Go" (1 text -- an excerpt)
Warren-EveryTimeIFeelTheSpirit, pp. 40-42, "Go Down, Moses" (1 text, 1 tune)
Fireside-Book-of-Folk-Songs, p. 316, "Go Down, Moses" (1 text, 1 tune)
Silber/Silber-FolksingersWordbook, p. 294, "Go Down Moses" (1 text)
Messerli-ListenToTheMockingbird, pp. 31-34, "Go Down, Moses" (1 text)
Fuld-BookOfWorldFamousMusic, p. 247, "Go Down, Moses"
Averill-CampSongsFolkSongs, p. 51, "Go Down Moses" (notes only)
Rodeheaver-SociabilitySongs, pp. 54-55, "Go Down, Moses" (1 text, 1 tune)
ADDITIONAL: Henry Randall Waite, _College Songs: A Collection of New and Popular Songs of the American Colleges_, new and enlarged edition, Oliver Ditson & Co., 1887, pp. 56-57, "Go Down, Moses" (1 text, 1 tune) (p. 126 in the 1876 edition)

Roud #5434
Marian Anderson, "Go Down Moses" (Victor 19370, 1924) (Victor 1799, 1937)
Bentley Ball, "Go Down Moses" (Columbia A3085, 1920)
Big Bethel Choir, "Go Down Moses" (Victor 20498, 1927)
Charioteers, "Go Down Moses" (Columbia 35718, 1940; rec. 1939)
Cotton Belt Quartet, "Go Down Moses" (Vocalion 1024, 1926)
Ebony Three, "Go Down Moses" (Decca 7527, 1938)
Rev. Fullbosom, "Moses Go Down into Pharoahland" (Paramount 13078, 1931 -- possibly a recorded song/sermon)
Hampton Institute Quartette, "Go Down Moses" (RCA 27472, 1941)
Harmonizing Four, "Go Down Moses" (Vee Jay 864, rec. 1958)
Roland Hayes, "Go Down Moses" (Vocalion 1073, 1927; Vocalion 21002, n.d.; Supertone S-2238, 1931)
Rev. H. B. Jackson, "Go Down Moses" (OKeh 8804, 1930; rec. 1929)
Reed Miller, "Go Down, Moses" (CYL: Edison [BA] 3574, n.d.)
Pete Seeger, "Go Down Moses" (on PeteSeeger31)
Noble Sissle & his Southland Singers, "Go Down Moses" (Pathe 20488, 1921)
Southern Sons, "Go Down Moses" (Bluebird B-8808, 1941)
Edna Thomas, "Go Down, Moses" (Columbia 1606-D, 1928)
Tuskegee Institute Singers, "Go Down Moses" (Victor 17688, 1915; rec. 1914)
Tuskegee Quartet, "Go Down Moses" (Victor 20518, 1927; rec. 1926)
University of North Carolina Club, "Go Down, Moses" (Brunswick 3161, 1926)
University Singers, "Go Down Moses" (Cameo 530, 1924)
Virginia Female [Jubilee] Singers, "Go Down Moses in Egyptland" (OKeh 4437, 1921)
Wheat Street Female Quartet, "Go Down Moses" (Columbia 14067-D, 1925)

The Song of the Contrabands
NOTES [86 words]: Rev. L. C. Lockwood, described as "Chaplain of the 'Contrabands' at Fortress Munroe," [sic. -- the fort's name was Fort Monroe - RBW] collected the song, reporting that "This Song has been sung for about nine years by the Slaves of Virginia." The original has 11 verses, only a few of which seem to have made it into tradition. - PJS
Moses's specific threat against the firstborn of Egypt is made in Exodus 11:4f. and is carried out in 12:29f. The rest of this song is based loosely on the background in Exodus. - RBW
Last updated in version 6.3
File: LxU109

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