Ezekiel in the Valley
DESCRIPTION: Each verse has (the leader sing a line "Ezekiel in the valley/Ezekiel, Ezekiel/Ezekiel, won't you answer/These bones going to rise again;" a chorus moans in reply) (3x), and all sing "Time draws near"
EARLIEST DATE: 1964 (USSeaIsland01)
KEYWORDS: religious Bible nonballad
FOUND IN: US(SE)
Moving Star Hall Singers, "Ezekiel in the Valley" (on USSeaIsland01) [two versions]
cf. "Dem Bones" (theme)
cf. "Dese Bones Gwine to Rise Again" (theme)
cf. "I Saw the Light from Heaven" ("Dry Bones" (I)) (theme)
NOTES [173 words]: The two versions use similar tunes. The "moan" in one case is a hum, and in the other "Oh." Both, either in the text or comment by the singers, refer to "head's on the neck bone." The Biblical reference is to Ezekiel 37.1-14 in which God asks Ezekiel, "can these bones live?" and Ezekiel answers "Lord God, thou knowest," and Ezekiel is told to prophesy that the bones will rise and that the Lord will "have opened your graves ... and I shall place you in your own land" [King James]. The hymn replays God's call on Ezekiel, Ezekiel's [reluctant] response and prophesy: "time draws near."
Like so many of the hymns recorded by the Carawans in the Sea Islands, "Ezekiel in the Valley" is sung in the part of the service that, among Spiritual Baptists, would be occupied by hymns like those in Sankey and Moody. "Sankeys" are missing in the book, Carawan/Carawan, and the Folkways Recordings, BeenStorm1 and USSeaIsland01. However, in USSeaIsland02, recording part of an actual watch, Sankeys and songs from other hymn books dominate. - BS
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