Appalachia Music

Like A Tree That’s Planted By The Water

I shall not be moved song


I Shall Not Be Moved is a song I grew up singing in church-one I always enjoyed. I knew it was old, but never really gave the song’s origin any thought.

Like a tree planted by the water


Reading up on the song-I discovered it is very old-some folks believe it is a Negro Spiritual-hailing from slave camps. But, no one really knows 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-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 the song 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 the toe tapping song! I especially like how Pap calls out the lines to Paul.


This post was originally published way back in April of 2009 here on the Blind Pig & The Acorn. It’s still a toe-tapper!

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  • Reply
    Magdalene Mwangi
    June 29, 2017 at 7:57 am

    wow lovely

  • Reply
    Wanda Devers
    June 10, 2016 at 11:32 am

    One of my grandpa’s favorites!

  • Reply
    August 7, 2014 at 8:57 am

    This is one song I don’t mind getting stuck in my head! Makes me want to get up and get goin’ and get something done! Guess I’ll head back outside now…

  • Reply
    b. Ruth
    August 4, 2014 at 8:23 am

    and RB…It sounds as if your old fellowship friend knew all about making a joyful noise unto the Lord. It makes the heart feel good when one praises like that. So many can be too cold and stone faced with praises…Be Happy, happy, happy in the presence of the Lord!

  • Reply
    August 3, 2014 at 8:44 pm

    A long time ago, I had a friend in fellowship that had been a small part actor in local plays and in high school, and from time to time, when we’d sing certain hymns, he’d add claps or other nuances that brought extra joy into them. In this particular hymn which was a favorite, he’d sing, in a loud low baritone voice,
    “(he’d add the words deep and low “BOOM BOOM BOOM”) I will not be, I will not be moved (with the word added as a shout “NO!!!”)
    And eventually, we all started singing it that way. Now I find it difficult to sing it any other way. LOL
    Another favorite was the way he always sang “This World Is Not My Home” (to which he added a loud strong “NO!!!”) after those words and before the words “I’m just a-passing through”. Then in the words, “Oh Lord, you know, I have no friend like You (he’d add a short sharp “CLAP CLAP” like in staccato) If heaven’s not my home, Then Lord what will I do. The angels beckon me, From heaven’s open door, And I can’t feel at home, In this world anymore.”
    I hope all that’s clear. It was difficult to relate.
    And now here so many many years later, those songs and the memories associated with the way he sang them still bring smiles to my face.
    Bless his heart BIG Lord, wherever he may be now!!!
    God bless.

  • Reply
    Ken Roper
    August 3, 2014 at 7:38 pm

    This is another one of my favorites
    you all do. I love the harmony and
    toe-tapping music, makes me feel
    good! …Ken

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    August 3, 2014 at 6:25 pm

    Reckon I could build me a little cabin in amongst the trees there beside that little waterfall?

  • Reply
    Ethelene Dyer Jones
    August 3, 2014 at 1:35 pm

    Thank for posting “I Shall Not Be Moved” again! I like the song, too. We used to sing it at Choestoe Church over in N. GA (Union County). Notla River (also spelled Nottely River) ran through my Daddy’s farm. Some very large trees grew along the creekbank. After we would sing that rousing, meaningful song at church, I would be hoeing corn or otherwise have occasion to be “down by the river” and see those stalwart trees and think of the meaning of the song, and sing it away–at the top of my young voice! It meant a lot to me in those formative days, and still is a favorite of mine. Pap, Paul and the others who “joined in” did it so well! Thanks!

  • Reply
    August 3, 2014 at 1:26 pm

    Delightful – made me start thinking about holding a toe-tapping gospel fest after our church’s Harvest Fest in October. We are a small church (maybe 35 active members, 3/4 of those over 65) but we put on some good food and a rousing auction and, afterwards, folks need something to chase “the tireds” away. This is the type of music that just might do it!

  • Reply
    August 3, 2014 at 12:28 pm

    Never been done better!

  • Reply
    b. Ruth
    August 3, 2014 at 10:24 am

    Love this post. Cindy hit the nail on the head with her comment, so true.
    Pap’s harmony always continues to amaze me. Of course, Paul’s playing is so wonderful too.
    Tipper, do you ever just grab Pap’s cheeks in both hands and plant a big ole kiss on top of that forehead after singing a song with such joy and he says, “I think we got it”?
    They all, and of course “you”, deserve one! Or, at least a big ole thank you hug!
    Sending “hugs and kisses” to our wonderful Blind Pig Gang!

  • Reply
    August 3, 2014 at 7:36 am

    i love the old and i love the new but especially love this one old. thank you

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    August 3, 2014 at 7:34 am

    Pap and Paul really do that song right! I like the pictures that you picked for this post. Nothing says “strong” like rushing water and big trees!

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