Published on January 12th, 2018 | by Inspirations with Liz Black

#Musicofamovement – Celebrating Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Through song (Part 3) Adapted Songs

The life cycle of a song can be live as long as its popularity, its cultural relevancy or its ability to be reinvented. Gospel and inspirational music has done all three historically and in the timeline of its existence, its most evident period has been in the 1960s during the Civil Rights Movement. As leaders and organizers found ways to gain and keep momentum in the movement going, forms of art were considered including the spiritual music of the people.

As an example, SNCC (Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee), in its willingness to find successful strategies, helped maintain the movement’s vitality through the deliberate learning and adapting of songs across genres including blues, gospel, folk and even R&B. Many of the songs adapted from these genres were done so by way of union labor members, activists and song leaders. The songs adapted, many traditional and well known spirituals, were used to make analogous the current life Black people were living.

The similarities in the original songs were too similar not to be able to create new songs that echoed a vibratory truth. This truth was evidenced by the media coverage and intercommunication within the Black communities mainly in the south.
Below we explore these musical connections.

1. Betty Mae Fikes – Up Above My Head:

2. “Up Above My Head” – By Sister Rosetta Tharpe:

3. Oh Pritchett, Oh Kelly – Bertha Gober:

4. The Fisk Jubilee Singers – Rockin’ Jerusalem:

6. Mahalia Jackson – I’m On My Way:

7. I’m On My Way To Freedom Land (Voice) · Sweet Honey In The Rock · James Horner:

8. “Old Ship of Zion” (1949)- The Roberta Martin Singers:

9. The Freedom Train – Sam Block:

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