He Set Me Free
DESCRIPTION: Chorus: "He set me free, He set me free, He broke the bonds of prison for me, I'm glory bound my Jesus to see. Glory to God He set me free." Jesus freed the singer from sorrow and "listened to me" Now I'm working daily and praying: "homeward bound"
AUTHOR: Albert E. Brumley (source: Dyen, see notes)
EARLIEST DATE: 1939 (Dyen, see notes)
KEYWORDS: nonballad religious Jesus
FOUND IN: US(SE)
Chuck Wagon Gang, "He Set Me Free" (OKeh 06596, 1941)
Miccosukee Church of God of Prophecy, "He Set Me Free" (on USFlorida01)
NOTES [177 words]: Dyen: "'He Set Me Free' ... was composed and published by white gospel songwriter Albert E. Brumley in 1939, and which served as the inspiration for Hank Williams's 1948 hit, 'I saw the Light' (Doris J. Dyen, "Looking Back/Looking Forward: Sacred Group-Singing Traditions," USFlorida01 liner notes, p. 168).
Compare the recordings of USFlorida01 and the "Chuck Wagon Gang," The Miccosukee Church of God of Prophecy cross-rhythmic clapping is a marker of Black religious "shout" (see for example, William T. Dargan, Lining Out the Word (Chicago: Center for Black Music Research, 2006), pp. 58, 130, 206).
"Bishop Beckwith begins the gospel song, 'He Set Me Free,' .... The church members respond by joining the singing, accompanying themselves on their instruments and with handclapping and foot-tapping. Near the end of the song, everyone stops singing but the instrumental accompaniment continues. Then, as the instrumental rhythm stops, all in the congregation shout 'Praise the Lord' three times, each time raising their arms upward" (Dyen, pp. 167-168). - BS
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