Ironically enough, given its title, an instrumental version of a 19th century hymn. I’ve been playing it a lot since I started playing serious slide guitar again.
The hymn has its own Wikipedia page, including the first published lyrics and the verse added by Doris Plenn and sung by Pete Seeger. In fact, I first heard it on Seeger’s I Can See a New Day album, a compilation of live recordings released in 1964. The music is credited to Robert Lowrey, as published in his ‘Bright Jewels for the Sunday School’, published in 1869, but the source of the original lyrics is uncertain. The lyrics (apart from Plenn’s) included in the Wikipedia page are apparently as published in the New York Observer in 1868 under the title Always Rejoicing and attributed to ‘Pauline T.’
When I do it live, I sometimes go straight into Twelve Gates to the City, which I first learned from the same source. However, I can’t say I’ve ever heard anyone else do either song as a slide guitar piece.
The guitar I used was a Gretsch Bobtail roundneck resonator guitar using an open E tuning.
David Harley Small Blue-Green World ESET Senior Research Fellow
Sad victim of the overground Talisman I wear against my heart She knows she’s not the first to shed some light on me She knows she may well be the last
I’ve heard some rumours of a world outside Beyond the circle of her arms Strange legend of a race for time Make-believe world of false alarms
Who are we? Who are you to tell us? Who are we? Who are you to tell us Take a look at yourselves
I met Dave Kenyon at South Hill Park, Bracknell in the early 70s. We kicked some stuff around in the studio there – I don’t have any tapes at this point – and he had a fragment of a song (basically the last part of this lyric and a tune IIRC). I worked on it later in the form that eventually got recorded here, roughly, but I lost touch with him before that. If you’re out there, Dave, get in touch!