Keep Your Hand on the Plow

DESCRIPTION: Various events from scripture intended to encourage the troubled: Paul and Silas in jail, Jesus washing the disciples feet, Mary's chain. Chorus: "Hold on, hold on, Keep your hand on the plow, hold on."
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: 1917 (Cecil Sharp collection)
KEYWORDS: Bible religious prison
REFERENCES (7 citations):
Lomax/Lomax-FolkSongUSA 111, "Keep Your Hand on the Plow" (1 text, 1 tune, plus the modern parody "United Nations Make a Chain")
Lomax/Lomax-OurSingingCountry, pp. 44-45, "Keep Your Hands on that Plow" (1 text, 1 tune)
Sharp-EnglishFolkSongsFromSouthernAppalachians 209, "Hold On" (1 text, 1 tune)
Warren-EveryTimeIFeelTheSpirit, pp. 54-55, "Hold On" (1 text, 1 tune)
Cray-AshGrove, pp. 38-39, "Hold On" (1 text, 1 tune)
Silber/Silber-FolksingersWordbook, p. 362, "Hold On" (1 text)

Roud #10075
Hall Johnson Negro Choir, "Keep Yo' Hand on the Plow, Hold On" (Victor 36020, 1930)
Montgomery Improvement Association High School Trio, "Keep Your Hand On That Plow" (on SingFreeCD). (Note: though this is a civil rights movement adaptation of the song, it has not yet metamorphosed into "Keep Your Eyes on the Prize," so it is indexed here. -PJS)
Pete Seeger with Memphis Slim, Willie Dixon, Big Bill Broonzy, Bill McAdoo, "Hold On" (on PeteSeeger15)
Pete Seeger, "Hold On" (on Selma) (on PeteSeeger44) (on PeteSeeger48) (on PeteSeeger27)

cf. "Oh, Mary, Don't You Weep" (floating lyrics)
cf. "Keep Your Hand upon the Chariot"
cf. "Keep Your Eyes on the Prize" (song from the civil rights movement, adapted from "Keep Your Hand on the Plow")
Keep Your Eyes on the Prize (RECORDING: Charles Jones & Cordell Reagon, on SingFreeCD; RECORDING: Unidentified singers, on SingFreeCD)
NOTES [30 words]: Paul and Silas's stay in prison is related in Acts 16:19-40. The footwashing is described in John 13:1-11. Mary's chain is apocryphal, perhaps a free extrapolation on Luke 2:35. - RBW
Last updated in version 4.3
File: LxU111

Go to the Ballad Search form
Go to the Ballad Index Song List

Go to the Ballad Index Instructions
Go to the Ballad Index Bibliography or Discography

The Ballad Index Copyright 2022 by Robert B. Waltz and David G. Engle.