On our summer vacation trips, Daddy taught us lots of songs. “Do Lord” was one of those that we enjoyed singing and clapping our hands to. The melody and lyrics are simple, but it is one of those tapping-the-feet songs.
There were times that we sang it at family reunions and in Sunday School. Unless you’re in a car, a person has to stand to sing, because sitting just won’t do. “Do Lord” is such a fun song. Adults also liked it; their smiles, hands, and feet proclaimed their enjoyment.
John’s family used to sing it in church and on the porches as a family.
In 1925 Garner Bros. released the first recording of this song. Johnny Cash made it famous. Even though an author isn’t clearly identified for this gospel song, it is attributed to Julia Ward Lowe, speaker, author, and promoter of women’s rights.
Image result for julia ward howe
“Do Lord” also falls into the category of a camp song. At camp, children sing songs that are fun, upbeat, harmonious, or inspiring. Most of all, the songs are easy to sing and remember.
They sing folk songs; spirituals; patriotic songs; religious songs; fun, nonsense, novelty, action songs; and melodious (rounds, partner songs).
I have seen “Do Lord” listed as a spiritual, along with “Joshua Fit the Battle of Jericho” and “When the Saints go Marching In.”
Songs are universal. I can remember at church camps one of the favorites, accompanied by a guitar, was “Kum Bah Yah, My Lord, Kum Bah Yah.” Just recently I found out there were other versions: French: “Venez par ici, mon ami,” Spanish: “Venaca, amigo, venaca,”Russian: “Prihadi, moi druk, prihadi,” and
Japanese: “Wareno, motoni, kitare.”
Folk song writer, Pete Seegar, pronounced the importance of song with these comments.
“Once upon a time, wasn’t singing a part of everyday life as much as talking, physical exercise, and religion? Our distant ancestors, wherever they were in the world, sang while pounding grain, paddling canoes, or walking long journeys. Can we begin to make our lives, once more, all of a piece? Finding the right songs and singing them over and over is a way to start. And as one person taps out a beat while another leads into the melody, or when three people discover a harmony they never knew existed, or a crowd joins in on a chorus as though to raise the ceiling a few feet higher, then they also know there is hope for the world.”
The floods in Kentucky, my dad’s home state, have shattered both homes and communities this week of July, 2015. Pictures of houses floating in flash floods have been terrifying. Acts of nature debilitate and destroy on one hand and give joy on the other; the weather is fickle. The regions of Appalachia have given us so many songs through the years: soulful melodies and lyrics that look backward and forward. With the inborn strength of preserving their culture, I know they will build again. I am sorry they are faced with another endurance test.
Let’s hope together and sing along,