Appalachia COVID-19 Music

Oh Jesus Won’t You Come By Here

Mountain top view of Brasstown

Pap and Paul learned the song “Jesus Won’t You Come by Here” from the movie Sounder. I believe Lightin Hopkins sings the song in the movie.

The Vaughan Williams Memorial Library’s website has some interesting information about the song.

One record shows it was collected by Robert W. Gordon in the 1920s.

Another shows collected by John A. Lomax in 1937.

Another shows the song appeared in Frank C. Brown’s Collection of North Carolina Folklore in 1927-28.

Yet another shows the song was collected by Ruby Pickens Tartt in 1935-1937.

The collected items show varying names for the song, as I’m sure they each had varying lyrics.

I couldn’t find any information about who might have wrote the song. It surely sounds like a Negro Spiritual but I have no way of knowing if it is. If you have information about the song’s origins please share it.

Chitter’s been singing the song around the house for the last week.

Recently she told me she’d found the perfect cure for when she was worried and couldn’t sleep —watching the Blind Pig and The Acorn Youtube channel. She said listening to Pap, Paul, and others always made her feel calm and safe and before she knew it she was asleep.

As I heard her singing the song this week I thought if there was ever a time for the song it surely is now.

As the news about COVID-19 cases in Brasstown spread lots of you have emailed to ask if we are okay.

We are all good. I started working from home on Friday and will be for the next few weeks. The girls aren’t sure about how things will go with their jobs next week, but I expect them to be home with me. The Deer Hunter is essential to the running of the county so I expect he’ll continue to work unless something changes. Other than work, all of us are staying home. And for the time being we’re staying away from Granny, Paul, and the rest of the bunch.

I’ve witnessed some pretty ugly stuff this week. I know and understand it all comes from a place of fear.

On the other hand I’ve witnessed kindness that brings tears to my eyes when I think about it. Lots of folks reaching out to help others who are less fortunate or unable to make it through this needy time without a little help.

Tipper

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18 Comments

  • Reply
    Cynthia
    March 26, 2020 at 4:12 pm

    When Pap hit the high note, it gave me chills. How true the words are!

  • Reply
    Ken Roper
    March 22, 2020 at 5:12 pm

    Tipper,
    I called and talked to Donna Lynn this evening and asked her to play, “Cabin by the Side of the Road” by Pap and Ray and “River of Jordan” by Chitter and Chatter. She hasn’t had the CoronaVirus, said “I don’t want to take it home to Daddy.” I sat with him over at the Church where you pointed Donna out to me. …Ken

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    March 22, 2020 at 4:50 pm

    I have been pretty much sheltered in place for several years. I only go out to get my mail and go get groceries. I am only in contact with my son and daughter and they have stopped coming til this thing goes away. The guidelines the government has published is what I have been doing for years. Maybe I am a germaphobe but it might just pay off during this health crisis.
    As to the song, I loved it! Pap and Paul did a great job! As far as the message in the song, Jesus doesn’t come by here, he lives here. He lives in my heart and in my soul!

  • Reply
    Glenda Beall
    March 22, 2020 at 1:11 pm

    Thank you for this post, Tipper. Such a great song and especially at this time. Please be safe. I hope this virus doesn’t touch you or your family. I appreciate your girls helping me recently. Hope all your readers stay safe as well.

  • Reply
    Dee
    March 22, 2020 at 12:13 pm

    Our little Baptist Church is streaming there worship service this week and next. I so appreciate being able to see it on my PC as I am sheltering at home. I enjoyed Pap and Paul’s singing as always. My neighbors have left flowers on the back porch to brighten my days and call and check on me. Yesterday I happened to go down in the basement and notice there was water on the floor by the hot water tank. I took a picture and texted it to my son in MS and he called me back saying it was the emergency valve that was leaking and to call the man who built our home over 10 years ago. I am a widow and know nothing about workings of hot water tanks other than they deliver hot water. I called the dear man and he said he would come and check it out, found it was a faulty valve, stores closed now so he took care of the problem by going back to his home (45 min away) getting two pipes attaching and running them to subpump pit, so I wouldn’t have to go down and empty bucket. He will get the new valve Monday and put it on. I thank the good Lord for men who are honest, dependable and help us stay safe. Jesus is my rock and He has never failed me. God bless you all!

  • Reply
    Wanda Devers
    March 22, 2020 at 11:52 am

    Glad yall are ok. So far we are, too. There are three cases here in Montgomery Co and many places are closed. Just heard that the Bridgestone plant is closing–a big good-paying plant here. I hope they will continue wages for the workers.

    I am a bit of a sane type prepper so we have most needed things on hand. I am learning what I should have had more of if this ever happens again.

    I am not afraid even though I am in all the worst case scenarios. I am trying to be cautious though.

  • Reply
    Ken Roper
    March 22, 2020 at 11:09 am

    Tipper,
    When Pap hit the High Note, I thought I was listening to that O’Brian fellow or String Bean on the Cas Walker Show. I Miss Pap and I Love his and Paul’s singing. As Cindy said numerous times, “Pap was the Kindess man I’ve ever known.” May God send His Angels to watch over the Wilsons and Pressley Family. …Ken

  • Reply
    Bob Dalsemer
    March 22, 2020 at 10:16 am

    This video shows why Pap was one of the best tenor singers ever! Thanks for sharing!

  • Reply
    Don Casada
    March 22, 2020 at 10:12 am

    During a visit to see the Blind Pig gang several years back, Pap came by and somewhere in the conversation he mentioned something being “needful.” Br’er Jim was there as well, and I recall us talking on the way back home about that being first time we’d ever heard the word used and how well it expressed a condition. I’ve tried to use it since.

    Pap’s high note invokes the sense of a deep, heartfelt cry to God . It had been a while since I’d listened to it, so thanks for bringing it to mind – in this needful time.

    I guess everyone has their own peaceful place to go to in needful times. For me, it is just to fetch myself to somewhere in the mountains where the only noises to be heard are birds singing and water laughing along its way. Yesterday, we retreated to Big Laurel, an elevated mountain bottom land – for lack of a better way to describe it. Susan remarked, as we walked along a trail which didn’t vary in elevation by more than 60 feet in a mile and a half, “being out here, you’d never know about all of that craziness.”

    I predict that the Blind Pig crew will be in the woods sometime today.

  • Reply
    Mary Johnson
    March 22, 2020 at 9:44 am

    Oh how I loved hearing this song early on a Sunday morning. Thank you, Tipper.

  • Reply
    gayle larson
    March 22, 2020 at 9:19 am

    Loved the song. How lucky we are to live in this beautiful place to shelter in. Walking around the deck and breathing fresh mountain air gives me a sense of peace and calm.

  • Reply
    Shirl
    March 22, 2020 at 9:18 am

    To me, it doesn’t matter who wrote the song as long as it’s Pap and Paul singing it. From the minute the video started I knew it was going to be one of those songs that is comforting yet leaves the listener teary eyed. I am sure I will play the video more than once during these scary times.

  • Reply
    aw griff
    March 22, 2020 at 8:18 am

    Beautiful!! Love to hear your Pap hit those high notes. Never could do that.
    Mania isn’t bad here in NE.KY, You may not find exactly what you want to eat but there is still plenty of food. One thing I’ve noticed is there is an abundance of junk food. My Wife and I went to Rural King Store yesterday just for something to do and they had plenty of toilet paper and paper towels. My Son lives close to SF. CA. and told me they can’t find these items. Also told me there was lots of scalping going on.
    I don’t know of anyone here having the China Virus but there has already been lots of viruses and two types of flu this season. Makes you wonder all sorts of things.

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    March 22, 2020 at 8:11 am

    That is a song that has stuck with me ever since I first heard it. Truly there are those needy times where human help cannot avail. String them together and they are life and history. We never really get beyond need, even when we don’t know it.

    We aren’t having church today and it is so strange. That song fits. Just ask Him to come by here.

    Your saying you saw the ugly reminds me of Jeremiah writing “mine eyes affecteth my heart”. As we know about ourselves, stress reveals us to ourselves. And so the state of society is being revealed. It shows the need of the time.

    Glad to know you all are well and safe. Have a blessed day you all, BP&A gang and readers to.

  • Reply
    Tmc
    March 22, 2020 at 7:56 am

    Enjoyed it, and absolutely a fitting song for us all.

  • Reply
    john t
    March 22, 2020 at 7:56 am

    What a comforting song. I hope you all keep safe and healthy!

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    March 22, 2020 at 7:11 am

    Scary times but we will weather it, that’s what we do and from every challenge we grow wiser and stronger and just like today’s song, we ask for help when we need it! We also give help where we can. The Deer Hunter was tired yesterday but he still came to help me with my lawnmower when I needed it. We help each other and we can get through anything!

  • Reply
    Sheila Lowery
    March 22, 2020 at 6:47 am

    The song was wonderful! Now is for sure a needy time! Stay safe and well all! God bless!

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