Sing Along on the Ninth Day of Christmas

Today’s Christmas singalong song is the African-American spiritual “Go, Tell It on the Mountain.”

This could be a generic mountain photo, but it’s actually a shot of Mount Evans from a wonderful 2002 visit with family in Colorado. It’s the sort of place that makes you want to “tell it on the mountain.”

Like a lot of traditional songs, this one has a long history of use and adaptation. Peter, Paul, and Mary adapted the lyrics and sang it as a protest song. Simon and Garfunkel, nice Jewish boys from Brooklyn,1 performed it with the Christmas lyrics, although there is an alternate set of non-Christmas lyrics.

Since my selections so far have been pretty European, you may be pleased to see some variety.2 Gospel music isn’t exactly in my wheelhouse,3 but I’m working on it: on a Sunday earlier this year I got some nice responses at church after performing “His Eye Is on the Sparrow.”

And now, the lyrics:

     Chorus:
     Go, tell it on the mountain, 
     Over the hills, and everywhere.
     Go, tell it on the mountain
     That Jesus Christ is born!

While shepherds kept their watching
O'er silent flocks by night,
Behold, throughout the heavens
There shone a holy light.

     (Chorus)

The shepherds feared and trembled
When lo! Above the Earth
Rang out the angel chorus
That hailed our Savior's birth.

     (Chorus)

Down in a lowly manger
Our humble Christ was born,
And God sent us salvation
That blessed Christmas morn.

     (Chorus)

Click here for the recording.

Not sure what this is about? Click here!

Join us at https://lavezzi.us/ on each of the Twelve Days of Christmas to join in this virtual sing-along. Care to be a serial singer? Here you go:

Notes:

  1. Not complaining: we’re fortunate to have a long and wonderful history of Christian holiday music by Jewish artists. Remember “White Christmas” and “Easter Parade,” both by Irving Berlin.
  2. Or not: some are sensitive to the appearance of cultural appropriation, although whatever I play I play with respect.
  3. The proper style requires both flexibility and exuberance, neither of which comes easy to me. To make it easier for folks to sing along, I’ve been playing these recordings pretty close to the vest; I’ve continued that with this one.

Author: StgCoach

Retired teacher and public education leader. Pastoral musician, community activist, parliamentarian, and photographer.

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