The song’s origins are uncertain, but it’s thought to have originated in the southern Appalachian Mountains in the late 1700s, though there are several other theories. Music scholars David Warren Steel and Richard H. Hulan, authors of the 2010 book The Makers of the Sacred Harp, connect it to the 1816 German-language hymn “Ich bin ein Gast auf Erden” by Isaac Niswander, while other sources claim the song is a reworked Black spiritual.
I recorded this back a few years ago. It was my son Josh on drums, and myself doing the rest. I used a scratchy vinyl record effect on the intro, and also used for the the first time an old 4 string banjo. (I think they called them ‘tenor banjos)
I always liked the song. I believe this performance is one of Josh’s finest on drums.