Blessed Be the Name of the Lord
DESCRIPTION: Chorus: "Blessed be the name (3x) of the Lord." Verses: "If you don't like your brother (preacher, elder), don't you carry the name abroad. Blessed be the name of the Lord, Just take him in your bosom and carry him home to God. Oh, blessed be...."
EARLIEST DATE: 1963 (MJHurt05)
KEYWORDS: derivative religious nonballad
FOUND IN: US
Mississippi John Hurt, "Blessed Be the Name of the Lord" (on MJHurt05)
NOTES [381 words]: The description is based on Hurt's text. That is significant because of the differences among the related texts.
Charles Wesley's hymn, "O for a thousand tongues to sing," is printed without chorus in some hymn books (see The Methodist Hymn-Book (London: The Methodist Publishing House, 1954), #1 p. 1; Ira D. Sankey, Sankey's Sacred Songs and Solos (1200 Hymns) (London: Collins, 1921?), #243; Mrs. A.M. Townsend, The Baptist Standard Hymnal with Responsive Readings (Nashville: Sunday School Publishing Board National Baptist Convention, 1924 ("Digitized by Internet Archive)), #29 p. 27); also see George Pullen Jackson, Spiritual Folk-Songs of Early America (New York, 1964 (Dover reprint of 1937 edition)), #124 p. 145.
Date and Belden, under the title "Blessed be the Name," have Wesley's verse with Hurt's tune (by R.E. Hudson) and chorus (Henry Date, Pentecostal Hymns Nos. 1 and 2 Combined (Chicago: Hope Publishing Company, 1898 ("Digitized by Internet Archive")), #87 p. 83; F.E. Belden, Christ in Song (Washington: Review & Herald Publishing Assn, 1908 ("Digitized by Internet Archive")), #288).
Odum has a fragment without Wesley's words or a chorus but with alternate lines "Blessed be the name of the Lord," as "one of the present versions, most commonly sung" (Howard W. Odum, Religious Folk-Songs of the Southern Negroes, (reprint from American Journal of Religious Psychology and Education, July 1909, Vol.3 pp. 265-365 "Digitized by Internet Archive")), p. 99, ("If you get there before I do")).
Whether it is a good thing or bad to "carry the name abroad" depends upon the context. In Hurt's text it is bad to "carry the name abroad" of someone you don't like. From the last decades of the 17th century is another bad example: "Twas not enough they had destroy'd our King, to make our name abroad A mock and scorn to be" (J. Woodfall Ebsworth, The Roxburghe Ballads (Hertford: Ballad Society, 1893 ("Digitized by Microsoft")), p. 663). On the other hand, in at least three of Isaac Watt's hymns the name being sounded or spread abroad is God's, or the virtuous singer's (C.G. Sommers and John L. Dagg, The Psalms and Hymns of Dr. Watts arranged by Dr Rippon (Philadelphia: David Clark, 1839 ("Digitized by Internet Archive")): #54, #58 and #340). - BS
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