We Are Almost Down to the Shore
DESCRIPTION: Chorus: "Put it on (x2), Children and don't turn back We are almost down to the shore." Verse: "Peter Peter on the sea, Drop your nets and follow me" God places the commandments in Moses's mind. Moses dies and "where he's buried never been told"
EARLIEST DATE: 1901 (Dett/Fenner/Rathbun/Cleveland-ReligiousFolkSongsOfTheNegro-HamptonInstitute); 1893 (see notes)
KEYWORDS: Bible nonballad religious Jesus
FOUND IN: US(SE)
REFERENCES (1 citation):
Dett/Fenner/Rathbun/Cleveland-ReligiousFolkSongsOfTheNegro-HamptonInstitute, pp. 84-85, "Fighting On" (1 text, 1 tune; p. 93 in the 1901 edition) [for 1893 edition, see notes]
Jimmie Strothers, "We Are Almost Down to the Shore" (on Field Recordings Virginia Vol. 1 (1936-1941) Document Records DOCD-5575 (1997))
cf. "Fisherman Peter" ("Peter on the sea" theme)
cf. "Who Did Swallow Jonah?" ("Peter on the sea" theme)
NOTES [308 words]: Dett/Fenner/Rathbun/Cleveland-ReligiousFolkSongsOfTheNegro-HamptonInstitute's and Strothers's verses are couplets followed by "We are almost down to the shore."
Strother's "Peter on the Sea" verse may have floated from "Who Did Swallow Jonah?" The "drop your nets" reference is from Matthew 4:18-20: "And Jesus, walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brethren, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers. And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men. And they straightway left their nets, and followed him" (King James). [This is also the sense of John 21:3-7, although the language of Matthew 4:18-20=Mark 1:16-18 -- the "Fishers of Men" passage -- is closer. - RBW]
The Moses references of receiving the commandments and death and burial are Exodus 19-20 and Deuteronomy 34:5-6 ("So Moses, the servant of the Lord died ... according to the word of the Lord. And he buried him in a valley ... but no man knoweth of his sepulchre unto this day" (King James)), respectively.
Dett/Fenner/Rathbun/Cleveland-ReligiousFolkSongsOfTheNegro-HamptonInstitute's chorus has "Fighting on, Hallelujah" in place of "Put it on" (x2). Dett/Fenner/Rathbun/Cleveland-ReligiousFolkSongsOfTheNegro-HamptonInstitute's verses are about Jesus; for example, "Hallelujah to the Lamb, Jesus died for every man," and "In my room right by my bed, Jesus take me when I'm dead"; John the Baptist sees Jesus coming and says, "Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world" (John 1:29, King James version).
The index to the 1893 edition [of Dett/Fenner/Rathbun/Cleveland-ReligiousFolkSongsOfTheNegro-HamptonInstitute] has "Fighting on" on page 98 (Thomas P. Fenner and Frederic G. Rathbun, Cabin and Plantation Songs (New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1893)). I have not seen page 98. - BS
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