Appalachia Music

I Shall Not Be Moved

I shall not be moved song

I Shall Not Be Moved is a song I grew up singing in church and always enjoyed. Reading up on the song I discovered it is very old. Some folks believe it is a Negro Spiritual hailing from the slave camps. No one knows for sure who wrote it another one of those songs that was passed down through the generations by the family circle of music until someone recorded it to paper.

Another tidbit about the song: it has been used as a political anthem of sorts during periods of unrest in our nation. The song was used by activists of the Labor Movement as well as the Civil Rights Movement and even Aunt Bee used the song to protect the trees of Mayberry.

As so many other old songs the words are simultaneously meaningful, easy to understand, and catchy so it’s easy to see why I Shall Not Be Moved has lasted through the years.

This week’s Pickin’ & Grinnin’ In The Kitchen Spot features I Shall Not Be Moved-a toe tapping song about water.


Hope you enjoyed Paul’s flat-top picking, the great harmony, Pap’s toe tapping, and my bass keeping time with it all!


Portions of this post were originally published here on the Blind Pig in April 2009.


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  • Reply
    Lonnie L. Dockery
    March 6, 2013 at 11:59 am

    One of my favorites. And you guys do a great job with it.

  • Reply
    March 6, 2013 at 7:50 am

    I remember this song but haven’t heard it in ages – thank you for sharing this rousing rendition! Funny thing, though, I’ve always thought a tree that’s standing by the water is the most likely tree TO be moved, what with high water or flooding weakening the earth it’s rooted in.
    Just how my mind works. Kind of literal when it comes to plants and animals and such, I suppose.
    Doesn’t mean I won’t now be singing the chorus all day, though!

  • Reply
    Don Casada
    March 4, 2013 at 3:20 am

    Well, double-duh on me. That picture was right out in front of the Higdon-built Calhoun House on Hazel Creek.
    (Sometimes these things have to sit and bounce around in the cavity where my brain used to be)

  • Reply
    Peggy Lambert
    March 3, 2013 at 11:22 pm

    Tipper, Yes, I have heard this song. I like it and we would sing it in church.
    Peggy L.

  • Reply
    March 3, 2013 at 8:26 pm

    That’s a song I sing quite often, although I never knew the history behind it and that a writer of record wasn’t available. A Mighty Fortress is another one of my favorites; it was written by Reverend Martin Luther, I believe.
    God bless.

  • Reply
    Tim Mc
    March 3, 2013 at 7:11 pm

    Very nicely done,, Aunt Bee would be proud 😉 loved that episode…

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    March 3, 2013 at 7:01 pm

    Tipper-I can get the same blank white screen that Miss Cindy and Jackie are talking about if I click on “You might also like:” I just back up and start over. I think won of your wediwect widgets ain’t woyking wight.

  • Reply
    March 3, 2013 at 5:42 pm

    Ed-yep youre right! You have good eyes-you spotted Guitar Man sitting of to the side : )
    Blind Pig The Acorn
    Celebrating and Preserving the
    Culture of Appalachia

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    March 3, 2013 at 3:08 pm

    I loved the picture of the twins trying to move that big white oak that is standing by the water.
    I also enjoyed the video and the song. I noticed a fourth musician you failed to mention. I see Paul and Pap full face and your elbow keeping time, but ain’t there another hand chording another sixstring.

  • Reply
    March 3, 2013 at 3:05 pm

    I am not familar with the piece, but I really enjoyed listening to it. Thanks!

  • Reply
    March 3, 2013 at 1:44 pm

    Jackie-and Miss Cindy the video seems to be working fine for me-but you can go straight to youtube to see it by going here:
    Blind Pig The Acorn
    Celebrating and Preserving the
    Culture of Appalachia

  • Reply
    March 3, 2013 at 1:22 pm

    Wonderful job of singing as always. I’ve sung this song and always liked it.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    March 3, 2013 at 12:57 pm

    Hey Tipper, I love the picture of the girls embracing the tree but I didn’t get the video for some reason. I even tried the other web browser and still no video.

  • Reply
    March 3, 2013 at 12:48 pm

    I closed and opened several times. Instead of the song I have a blank space that won’t play anything.

  • Reply
    Don Casada
    March 3, 2013 at 12:45 pm

    Okay, Tipper – I recognized where yesterday’s picture was taken (in the Alpha Omega country), but not today’s. Where is it?
    Ethelene’s verse was exactly right for the setting.
    It’s always interesting to look at streamside vegetation that has held its ground after it has “fell a flood”. One of the most common streamside plants in the mountains is yellowroot. You’ll find it standing upright in places where everything else has been swept clean.
    It’s soon going to be time to dig a little yellowroot so I can get Delia Watkins to make me another batch of yellowroot tea. A little yellowroot goes a LONG way.

  • Reply
    Sheila Bergeron
    March 3, 2013 at 12:17 pm

    Ya’ll have the best music ever; but you know what ? the girls alone have got you beat. oxoxoxox

  • Reply
    B. ruth
    March 3, 2013 at 10:20 am

    I love the picture of the girls trying to get their arms around the tree. I am guessing the tree is a big old White Oak…Is it near your house?
    We have one on our property near the wet weather spring/stream. The state forest service was searching for large trees a few years ago. I called and they wanted to come out and measure it to determine what type of Oak it was and how big. It is just below the old stage coach road. I wish I could talk to the tree and listen to it tell what has gone over the ridge on that road.
    It wasn’t the biggest, but it is now on a list of big county trees.
    My tree was so happy to be so listed, that he/she seemed to grow even more. The forest person asked me if we were going to cut it down any time soon.
    “It Shall Not Be Moved” was my reply…It has stood through the ’93 blizzard, downdrafts that toppled other trees around it, so it is here to stay unless Mother Nature decides she needs the space for something else. You know how much I love trees….
    I love the hymn as well, and my ‘puter is not showing the video for some reason, I don’t know if it is on my end or yours.
    Maybe later I can listen to it…
    PS…We have a nice skif of snow this morning and the sky is still full of flurries..
    Thanks Tipper,
    PS…I have a an old booklet that says..Popular Club Songs, Words of Inspriration and Sentiment–
    Patriotism and “Pep”–Fellowship and Fun. I looked in it for the song, but it wasn’t there…There are so many songs in it that would be avoided in a club meeting “sing-a-long” today…like; Dixie Land, Lindy. Others like “My Radio Girl” and “Boola Song” and “The Bull Dog” all sorta funny…There are rotary songs, hymns, spirituals, state songs and Irish songs…hmmm! Sometime I will copy it and send it to you!

  • Reply
    March 3, 2013 at 8:02 am

    Yes indeed I am very familiar with this song —I too grew up singing it and it is still one of my favorites—Peter Paul and Mary also song it as a political movement song in the 60’s.

  • Reply
    Ethelene Dyer Jones
    March 3, 2013 at 7:46 am

    Remember the old gospel song! Oh, yes, Tipper. It was one of our favorites to sing at Choestoe Church when I was growing up. We learned, too, the verse upon which its truths are based: Psalm 1:3: “He is like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.”
    I especially enjoyed the Blind Pig’s rendition of this old favorite! Thank you so much for posting again. I hope all who read this blog today will receive a special blessing from the Lord!

  • Reply
    March 3, 2013 at 7:36 am

    Just a word to let you know how much I enjoy you posting on Facebook. I know I don’t comment a lot anymore, but I always keep up with your family on FB! I love seeing the girls!

  • Reply
    March 3, 2013 at 7:33 am

    The Lewis Family did this song, a real toe tapper. I enjoyed this version, too.

  • Reply
    Sheryl Paul
    March 3, 2013 at 7:23 am

    Yes, I have heard it often at church and during the 70’s

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