I Know My Time Ain't Long

Instrumentation/Voicing: 
SSSAAA a cappella

This is medley of two 19th-century spirituals that I heard in the John and Ruby Lomax Collection from the Library of Congress. This collection represents an epic journey that the Lomaxes took with their recording equipment through the South in 1939. The style of the first song "Motherless Child" is modelled on the "lining-out" style of hymn singing, wherein a leader would sing the first line of a well-known song quickly, and the congregation would answer in a much slower, elaborated style. Both are inspired by the singing of Sweet Honey In the Rock.

Perusal Score: 
Audio: 

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Order Sheet Music
Catalog Number: 
FAM-1074-02
Commissioned By: 
The Rose Ensemble
Text
Text Author or Source: 
trad. Spirituals
Language: 
English
Text: 

Sometimes I feel like a motherless child,
Sometimes I feel like a motherless child,
Sometimes I feel like a motherless child,
Long, long, I know my time ain't long.

Sometimes I feel like a feather in the air...

Sometimes I feel like I'm almost gone...

There's a better day a-comin', hallelu
Lord, it's comin' round in glory, hallelu,
Lord, I don't feel like I'se anyways tired,
just give me that old glory hallelu
I hope to shout in Glory when this old world's on fire,
Just give me that old glory hallelu.

Cain't you hear those angels singin', hallelu,
Lord, they're singin' round in Glory, hallelu.
Lord, I don't feel like...

Cain't you hear those mourners moanin, hallelu,
Lord, they're moanin' down in Glory, hallelu.
Lord, I don't feel like...