Appalachia Music

Working on a Building – Take 3

Over the years many people have covered the song I’m Working on a Building. The list includes: The Carter Family, Bill Monroe, Marty Stuart, Jimmie Davis, Old & in the Way, and too many local performers to name.

The song is generally said to be a traditional song-meaning no one knows who actually penned it. It is often listed as a Negro Spiritual. And as with many traditional songs, the actual lyrics vary depending on who’s singing it…or in our case what day we’re singing it.

To add to the confusion there is another song with a similar title and a similar tune: Working on the Building written by Lillian M Bowles. You can hear a version of the Bowles song performed by none other than Elvis here.

Its easy to see why the song we do-Working on a Building has continued to be popular in southern gospel and bluegrass gospel circles after so many years. The words are repetitive and catchy with the tune being a real toe tapper.

I’ve actually posted videos of us doing the song 2 other times here on the Blind Pig and The Acorn.

Our first arrangement of the song was with Pap, Chatter, and Paul doing the singing. The song is always a crowd pleaser and with shows already booked right after Pap broke his hip in May of 2015 Chitter took over his part so that was our 2nd video.

We’re still doing the same arrangement as we were in the 2nd video and the audience and I are still loving the song. And Chatter and Chitter are still entertaining themselves by making up their own verses to the song. Things like if I was a crystal meth cooker I’d tell you what I’d do I’d quit my cooking and I’d work on a building too. Life is never dull with them two.

Hope you enjoyed hearing the song again!



You Might Also Like


  • Reply
    Pam Danner
    August 8, 2016 at 8:43 am

    You all sound great! Loved it!

  • Reply
    August 7, 2016 at 4:03 pm

    I love the way all three do the singing in this song.. That’s the version I ask for at our Gospel Radio Station.
    Last Friday I was fortunate to be at the Blairsville Courthouse. Before the show started, an announcer said the fire marshell noted there was only room for 19 more people and lots of folks couldn’t get in. I kept thinking just where I would land, if the upstairs collapsed, being warned not to stomp our feet. And to beat it all, the air conditioning had went out earlier, with only 4 big overhead fans. I felt sorry for all them Wilsons on Stage. Tipper later told me Chitter started to take off her dress. (She had Pants on underneath.) Louzine was there and got a Standing
    Ovation. I was well pleased to be there…Ken

  • Reply
    Charles Ronald Perry, Sr.
    August 7, 2016 at 3:20 pm

    Tipper, you didn’t go unnoticed there in the back working out with your body and feet….great song.

  • Reply
    Ron Banks
    August 7, 2016 at 3:14 pm

    Now that’s just good stuff right there!
    Good job y’all!!

  • Reply
    eva nell mull wike, PhD
    August 7, 2016 at 1:10 pm

    Tipper: Seeing and hearing Elvis was fantastic! The song “I come to the Garden Alone” was a song my Mother use to sing so often. Now I feel such a connection with her through my many hours of work – when I come to the Gardens of Eva alone. But sometimes Jim helps me – and I can’t fuss – except when the deer come through and chomp the blossoms of my beautiful JUST JOEY ROSE! But now we have a wire cage around the rose. AND BEST OF ALL the wire is just the right dimension for the feet of humming birds. The birds drink from my THREE SUGAR FEEDERS and then rest on the rose screen. It is rusty but looks great with the JUST JOEY ROSE BLOOMING ‘safely’ from those deer! Eva Nell

  • Reply
    August 7, 2016 at 11:56 am

    Happy Sunday- love this arrangement!

  • Reply
    August 7, 2016 at 8:54 am

    That was really good.. I enjoyed it … as pertaining to this ole house of clay we live in.. JD Sumner did a song called ” The Lord still lives in this Old House” that always touched me, even tho we falter and fail the Lord is still willing to take up his abode..

  • Reply
    Jim Casada
    August 7, 2016 at 8:30 am

    Tipper–Really a fine way to start off a Sunday morning, although I ran out of breath twice just listening to the long-held notes (and I don’t think it was because I had just gotten back from a walk). Mighty fine!
    Jim Casada

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    August 7, 2016 at 8:21 am

    I love that song Tip, I love hearing Chatter hold that long sweet note. It rings so solid and clear. I bet Pap loves it too, he taught the well.

  • Reply
    Ed Karshner
    August 7, 2016 at 8:18 am

    The Girl’s lyrics are hilarious. Given what is always in the news, very timely, too. That’s what makes a song a “living song.” In our house, we make up verses to Shady Grove. They usually involve the dog, somehow.
    Sundays always bring good music. Thanks again.

  • Leave a Reply