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'Over In The Glory Land' – The story Behind a Real New Orleans Traditional.



In this article I track down the tune "Gloryland" to its origin i 1906 and show how and why it turned up in very different places and versions during the 20th century.
Jazz, Gender, Authenticity
Proceedings of the 10th Nordic Jazz Research Conference
Stockholm August 30–31 2012
Alf Arvidsson, editor
Svenskt visarkiv/Statens musikverk
Over in the Glory Land’ – e Story Behind a Real
New Orleans Traditional
Henrik Smith-Sivertsen
In the spring of 2011 I wrote an online article on a Danish schlager hit from 1973
in a weekly series of articles on major hit songs in the Danish music charts through
the second half of 20th Century. is particular song, ‘Så går vi til enkebal’ (Let’s
go to a widows’ ball), recorded by female Danish singer Katy Bødtger, was a major
hit in Denmark that year and is one of the most popular schlagers in Danish pop-
ular music history.
When I started my research for the article, my only knowledge of the tune was
its Danish incarnation. According to the credits on the record and in the national
Danish Discotheque database, the lyrics were written by Gustav Winckler, a well-
known Danish singer, producer, music publisher, composer and lyricist, and the
music was composed by P. Martin. As the tune was an up-tempo polka clearly
inspired by German Schlager, I was pretty sure that it was one of many Danish
schlager hits of the 60’s and 70’s originally composed in German. However, check-
ing the title in the database of KODA, who administers the Danish and interna-
tional copyrights for music creators and publishers, I discovered that the tune was
registered as a song of ‘public domain, a so called ‘traditional’. Luckily it was also
noted that it was indeed a version of an international song. However, the title was
not in German, but in English. ‘Gloryland’.
By copying the title into Google I quickly found the information I needed. Much
to my surprise what I thought to be a German schlager was in fact originally an
American gospel song composed in 1906, but also a well-known jazz standard,
a bluegrass classic, a skie song that was a major hit in Germany in the mid-
60’s when performed by a local pop group, of course reincarnated into German
schlager. Satised with my ndings, I wrote the story of how the song ended up
in Denmark and published it. It was a great story, but admittedly there were some
missing links.
In this article I will, hopefully, complete the story. I will show how this tune that
‘belongs’ to very dierent music traditions travelled from a white Methodist com-
munity in Texas to Denmark in the mid-70’s, and, not least, how a reconstruction
of the paths through which it was delivered has revealed a quite fascinating story
that implies many interesting aspects concerning musical practices, ideology and
mediation of popular music.
e Origin
1. I’ve a home prepared where the saints abide,
Just over in the glory-land;
And I long to be by my Savior’s side,
Just over in the glory-land.
Just over in the glory-land,
I’ll join the happy angel band,
Just over in the glory-land;
Just over in the glory-land,
ere with the mighty host I’ll stand,
Just over in the glory-land.
2. I am on my way to those mansions fair,
Just over in the glory-land;
ere to sing God’s praise and His glory share,
Just over in the glory-land.
3. What a joyful thought that my Lord I’ll see,
Just over in the glory-land;
And with kindred saved, there forever be,
Just over in the glory-land.
4. With the blood-washed throng I will shout and sing,
Just over in the glory-land;
Glad hosannas to Christ, the Lord and King,
Just over in the glory-land.
‘Just over in the Glory-Land’ was rst published in the hymn book Glad Hosannas:
A Winnowed Collection of New and Old Songs for Christian Work and Worship
(1906). As the subtitle to the publication describes, it was a collection of already
known hymns and gospels, such as ‘Nearer, my God, to thee, ‘Amazing Grace’ and
‘Oh, Happy Day’, and newly written hymns like ‘Just over in the Glory-Land’.
e tune was composed by Emmett S. Dean (1876-1951), who was the editor
of the publication and co-owner of the music publishing company responsible
for the publication. Sited in Waco, Texas, Dean was also the co-founder of the
Southern Development Normal Music School in 1898 and co-author of e S. D.
N. eory of Music. e lyrics were written by James W. Acu (1864-1937), a well-
known singer among the Churches of Christ in Texas.
e family of James and Annie Dean, at their home near Omen, Smith County, Texas, circa 1895.
While it has not been possible to nd photos of either James W. Acu nor Emmett S. Dean, a photo of
Dean’s parents and brothers and sisters is the best illustration of the cultural environments from which
“Just over in the Glory-Land’ derived.
During the following decades their eschatological hymn about life aer death
spread from Texas to the rest of the USA. It was reprinted in a growing amount of
Christian song book, of which the rst seems to have been Glory Songs, compiled
and published by John T. Benson in Nashville in 1916.
Mostly importantly, however, seems to be the fact that leading American gospel
book publisher, R.E. Winsett, included ‘Just over in the Glory-Land’ in his Songs
of Revival Power in 1919.
Reprints of the page in Glory Songs (1916).
Over the following years it became a regular in Winsett’s various hymn books,
which were sold in large scale throughout Northern America and used in a wide
range of communities. In the 1940’s he even acquired the renewed copyrights to
the song.1
During the 1920’s2 ‘Just Over In e Glory-Land’ was also included in Gospel
quintet songs, published by oro Harris.
On the cover Harris, himself having a white mother and black father, chose to
print a picture of himself surrounded by four Afro-American men, thereby per-
haps addressing the general audience and/or origin of the gospels in the book.
By comparing the songs selected with those of Winsett’s various publications, it is
striking how few songs deriving from Afro-American communities entered Win-
sett’s hymn books until the late 1930’s. Oppositely Harris mixed the traditions and
thereby somewhat illustrated the fact that good songs could cross racial borders,
even in the 1920’s. And so ‘Just over in the Glory-Land’ did, also when new media
were used.
Jazz – origins lost in remediations
In many ways the invention of sound recording, and the reproduction of the same,
changed the whole ecology of music. Until the phonograph and gramophone were
introduced, notation was by far the best way of storing and transmitting musical
information. Alternatively music was transmitted orally. e latter form of trans-
mission had the disadvantage of inaccuracy, as human memory, however pow-
erful, is not exactly the best way of storing information precisely. Furthermore,
the fact that oral transmission was bound to physical bodies made the speed and
range of transmission far more limited than the information stored in print.
e point is that the new possibilities of recording and transmitting sound
made it possible to spread music produced and/or transmitted orally. As men-
tioned above it seems that within the rst decades of its existence ‘Just over in the
Glory-Land’ had also made its ways to Afro-American communities/culture. And
as the Afro-American music tradition was almost entirely dened by orality, it is
quite symbolic that several characteristics of oral tradition can be observed in the
rst recording made by Afro-Americans: Inaccuracy, changes and improvisation.
October 22, 1927, it was recorded by Sam Morgans Jazz Band in New Orleans
(Columbia 14539-D). As the name of the recording artists reveals, it was a jazz
version of the hymn, performed instrumentally. For some unknown reason the
title of the tune was shortened: the ‘Just’ and ‘-‘ in ‘Glory-land’ had disappeared.
e original address of the tune had also vanished, as there were no credits on the
In modern terms it seems that dierent remediations of the song changed content.
e rst remediation, the xing of the until then probably orally composed hymn,
made it a ‘work, an entity subject to copyright. e next remediation would be the
oral transmission of the song as it became known outside its original context – the
original communities/the hymn book – and the third when the specic perfor-
mance by Sam Morgan was xed and pressed on the record.
Whether or not Sam Morgan and his band knew the origin of the tune and paid
the credits is unknown, but in many ways the fact that the credits were when the
song was transformed into jazz was symbolic for the future:
When published in print in hymn books, the original title, includ-
ing the ‘just’, was preserved and credits were correctly addressed to
Dean/Acu. at is even the general case today, where the tune has
for a long time been public domain.
When performed and recorded within a religious or (white) coun-
try/bluegrass contexts, both the title and the credits have mostly
been correct throughout the 20th century.
When performed and recorded within the jazz tradition, the ‘just’,
and within time actually most other words than ‘Glory Land’ dis-
appeared, and so did the mentions of the origin.
Ironically, the next and almost paradigmatic jazz recording of the tune was made
within the same years as the copyright apparently was transferred to Winsett. In
1944 and 1945 it was among the bulk of songs recorded by William ‘Bill’ Russell
during his eld trips to New Orleans.3 In his research for the book Jazzmen (1939)
Russell had discover Bunk Johnson, a retired jazz musician mentioned by Louis
Armstrong and others as an important part of the early New Orleans Jazz scene. In
1942 he started an ambitious project documenting this scene by the means of eld
recordings. He gathered groups of veteran musicians like Johnson, George Lewis
and ‘Kid Shots’ Madison and recorded their performances of songs belonging to
the New Orleans jazz tradition. In 1945 Russell started publishing the recordings
on his own label, ‘American Music’. He gathered songs from specic sessions and
released them in the names of dierent bands.
‘In Gloryland’, as it was now called, was recorded several times and released on
record by ‘Kid Shots New Orleans Band with G. Lewis and J. Robinson’ (recorded
August 5 1944)4 and ‘Bunk’s Brass Band’ (recorded May 1945).5
Why and how the tune was picked by these ‘bands’ is unclear, but it seems that
it was by then frequently used in parades and funerals. In the four-page book that
accompanied a ‘New Orleans Parade’-album of three 78 records with Bunk John-
son’s Brass Band, ‘In Gloryland’ was presented as one of six ‘Marches’,6 in the cover
notes of one of the LP’s containing one of these performances, American Music by
George Lewis with Kid Shots (American Music LP 645, released 1952), ‘In Glory-
land’ was simply introduced as ‘one of the most used spirituals in street parades
and funerals’.7
ese performances of the tune became very important to the destiny and re-
ception of ‘Over in the Gloryland’
. From then on it was regarded as a ‘spiritual’,
‘belonging’ to the specic tradition to which they paid their dues, that is the Af-
ro-American tradition.
In both cases the credits were once more missing, and from then on the primary
author’ of the tune was the man, who in both cases played clarinet, George Lewis.
Not due to copyright, but rather due to his specic performances of the song. In
the following years Lewis became one of the founding fathers and stars of the New
Orleans Revival movement, which was growing strong, not least in Europe.
British New Orleans Jazz
As jazz was primarily transmitted to Europe via records, these two recordings of
the tune now known as ‘In Gloryland’ seem to have had great impact on the Eu-
ropean reception of it. I have compared several European jazz and popular collec-
tions,8 and in all cases the 1944 recording by Kid Shot’s New Orleans Band was not
only present, but also the oldest registered recording of the tune.
Having digital access to all radio playlist specications from the Danish Natio-
nal Broadcasting Company (DR) from 1925 to 1968, I have also tested when the
tune was rst played in Danish radio. e result was October 5, 1950 in the show
‘Jazzklubben’ (e Jazz Club). Actually two versions were played in a row. Firstly
the recording by Bunk Johnson’s Brass band, and secondly the recording by Kid
Shot’s New Orleans Band. In both cases the credits noted by DR were ‘Traditional’.
e importance of all this lies within the fact that the tune was among the ‘tradi-
tionals’ performed and recorded by prominent British heirs and protégés of the
New Orleans Jazz movement in these years. Actually it is possible to trace its sub-
sequent European story quite accurately.
In 1952 the British trumpeter Ken Colyer spend a month digging down the
authentic New Orleans jazz environments. He had been part of the British jazz
scene since 1949, aer primarily learning the music from records and second-
ly from a short trip to New York. During his stay in New Orleans in 1952 he
played with many of his ‘heroes, including George Lewis, and when returning
from his 1952 trip in January 1953 he formed theKen Colyer’s Jazzmen together
with Monty Sunshine(clarinet), Tony Donegan(banjo), Ken Colyer(cornet), Ron
Bowden(drums),Chris Barber(trombone), and Jim Bray(bass). e band, which
in many ways was paradigmatic to the European New Orleans Revival tradition,
split in may 1954, when Colyer was replaced and the name changed to Chris Bar-
ber’s Jazz Band. In the meantime almost 100 tracks were recorded by Ken Colyer’s
Jazzmen, including what was now titled as ‘Gloryland’.
Judging from the intro of this version, which apparently was performed in the
radio show BBCJazz Camp,9 it seems to be heavily inspired by the Bunk Johnson/
Goerge Lewis-version of 1945. However, this time vocals were added to the per-
formance, as the rst verse and the chorus were sung. Whether Colyer had learned
the song and the lyrics directly from Lewis is unknown, but there is no doubt that
the inclusion of ‘Gloryland’ to the bulk of New Orleans Jazz standards in his and
the bands’ repertoire was due its ‘belonging’ to the same. As Colyer himself in
many ways became a founding father of European New Orleans Revival, the tune
was quickly part of the standard repertoire of this tradition.
In an article on ‘e New Orleans Revival in Britain and France’ the tune is
actually rst named when describing the repertoire of Chris Barber’s Jazz Band of
1954-55.10 From a recording of the band’s performance at a gig in Copenhagen in
October 195411 it is rstly proved that the tune was indeed part of their repertoire.
Secondly it is clearly audible that a precise delivery of the original lyrics was not of
particular importance. ese were the words sung at this occasion:
Well, If you get there before I do,
Over in the Glory Land
Yes, Tell all my friends that I’m comin’ too,
Over in the Glory Land
Over in the Glory Land
Over in the Glory Land
See that happy angel band
Over in the Glory Land
Now God called Moses on the Mountain top
Over in the Glory Land
And spoke all of his words into Moses’ heart
Over in the Glory Land12
As the lyrics in rst verse are actually those of second verse of Swing Low Sweet
Chariot, and those of the second verse seemingly made up on the y, this per-
e label from the 1959 record containing Acker Bilk’s version of the tune. Credited as a ‘Spiritual’.
formance is a wonderful example of
how music and lyrics change within oral
transmission. It seems that the memory
of the original lyrics vanished with Coly-
er’s departure of the band.
So by 1954 the state of aairs was that
what started out to be a white Method-
ist hymn published in 1906 with specif-
ic lyrics was now an orally transmitted
spiritual and New Orleans jazz standard
of seemingly unknown origin.
When regional acts like Danish Papa Bue’s Viking Jazz Men and many others
joined the forces of European New Orleans Jazz, ‘Over In e Gloryland’/’In Glor-
yland’/’Gloryland’ was a natural born part of the standard repertoire and has been
ever since. And hereby the rst part of the story ends. Before moving to the next
chapter, however, some theoretical work seems appropriate.
e original(s)
As already mentioned above, many traditional jazz bands have recorded ‘Glory-
land’ in the years and decades following the recordings made by Bill Russell, and
it has been on the live repertoire of most traditional jazz bands, at least in the
Northern part of Europe. Of course there are performative dierences, not least
within live performances, but generally they stick quite closely to the stylistic and
performative lines sketched out in George Lewis’ interpretations of the tune in
1944 and 1945 and later interpretations by Ken Colyer and Chris Barber.
A tradition needs a starting point, and in this case these recorded performances
of the tune seem to serve as, what Richard Middleton has dened as originating
W]hile we can say that covers are located on a spectrum, moving from exact
copies at one end, through tributes, reinterpretations and distinct stylistic
shis, to ideological attacks at the other end, in all cases there is a depen-
dence on an originating moment: An existing version, a starting point or
dening interpretation, against which the cover will be measured, to which
it will relate. is origin is not a ‘rst cause’ but more a transiently privileged
moment of departure within networks of family resemblances, bearing com-
parison with similar moments within the networks of repetition, Signifyin(g)
and remixing.13
Even though the fact that the term cover is not widely used in relation to jazz, it is
actually quite operational in this case. Middleton, and most popular music schol-
ars,14 understand and dene the term as describing the specic musical practice of
learning a specic song from listening to a recording. e fact that it is also used
as a verb, covering, stresses this point.15
As Richard Middleton rightly points out, an original needs not to be what I
would call ‘the rst recording’, the latter term understood broadly as both a sound
recording or a written/printed representation of a tune.
ere are many examples of even very late versions of specic songs that serve
as the ‘original performance’ to which following performances nod back. Taking
for instance the case of ‘Try A Little Tenderness’, Otis Reddings 1966 reworking
of an old 1930’s Tin Pan Alley standard clearly served as the original to the very
popular 1991 version performed by e Commitments in the lm of the same tit-
le (Bowman 1993). Other illustrative examples could be e Animals’ version of
‘e House Of e Rising Sun, clearly being the performance to which most later
versions of same point back, or Whitney Houstons 1992 version of ‘I Will Always
love You’ being the ‘original performance’ referred back to by numerous female
talents in broadcasted singing competitions throughout the world in the 2000’s.
ese versions are not ‘rst recording originals, but what I dene as reference
originals16, stressing the importance of performance when music is transmitted
through recordings. us, I regard George Lewis’ performances of ‘Just over in
the Glory-Land’, or ‘In Gloryland’, as the reference original to which most later
trad. jazz performances of the tune refer. And not only in performative terms. e
shortening of the title itself marks a ‘starting point’ of the ‘trad. jazz-part of the
song’s life.
Even though probably already thought to be a ‘traditional’ in some circles be-
fore 1944, it was the Lewis-versions of the tune that cleared the ground for later
miscreditings. When exported to Europe the traces of its Texas/Texan roots disap-
peared, and in some rather ironic ways ‘In Gloryland’ is therefore an opposite ex-
ample of the well-known cover story of white musicians ‘hijacking’ hits originally
composed and performed by black musicians.17
e irony lies in the fact that the tune was soon to be ‘stolen’ back, and hereby
the second part of the story begins.
From British skie to Swedish polka.
In 1954 Chris Barber’s Jazz Band released their rst LP, New Orleans Joys (Decca
LF 1198). Of the eight songs performed, two were performed by e Lonnie Do-
negan Skie Group, a band within the band named aer the banjo player, Tony
Donegan, who now used Lonnie as his stage name. Already from the early 1950’s
the British revival jazz bands had what later was to be named ‘skie’ sections
when performing live with a slightly dierent repertoire, following an interest in
American blues, country and folk music.
With a delay of two years the skie group made it big with one of the recordings,
‘Rock Island Line. Just like most of the jazz repertoire of the band, the song was
picked up from an American record, this time by Lead Belly (Huddie Ledbetter).
When the ‘Skie craze18 broke out in England in 1956, amateur skie bands rose
Besides Donegan, who le Barber and the Jazz Band to be a solo star, e Vi-
pers Skie Group, produced by the h Beatle, George Martin, became one of the
most popular groups within the genre. In 1957 they recorded and published a skif-
e version of ‘Glory Land’, as the title was this time.19 Actually all that was le of
the original hymn was the refrain. e verses had been substituted by completely
new lyrics sung to the same tune as the refrain:
1. Driing through life carelessly
eyes so dimmed I couldn’t see
walking to the Glory Land
Driing through life carelessly
eyes so dimmed I couldn’t see
walking to the Glory Land
Way over in the Glory Land
Jesus took me by the hand
Over in the Glory Land
Way over in the Glory Land
Jesus took me by the hand
Over in the Glory Land
2. Sinners there are rocks ahead
Devils racking in my head
walking in the Glory Land
Sinners there are rocks ahead
Devils racking in my head
walking in the Glory Land
Way over in the Glory Land
Jesus took me by the hand
Over in the Glory Land
Way over in the Glory Land
Jesus took me by the hand
Over in the Glory Land
3. Troubles got it for my own
Yes, I’m gonna nd a home
Way Over in the Glory Land
Way over in the Glory Land
Jesus took me by the hand
Over in the Glory Land20
As skie was also big in other countries, ‘Glory Land’ started its second journey
around Europe within few years. In Sweden it was recorded several times by local
skie bands during 1958. In their Swedish publication on rock history, Rockens
Roll, Tommy Rander and Håkan Sandblad even mention ‘Gloryland’ as one of four
typical skie songs played by everybody in the 50’s.21 Judging from the earliest
recording of Björn Ulvaeus, later ABBA, and his skie group in the 1950’s, they
knew it from e Vipers Skie Groups version. Despite their success, it was not
e Vipers who settled the future of the song, but Lonnie Donegan.
In 1959 Donegan recorded his skie version of ‘Gloryland’. Despite the fact
that he had played the original tune and therefore also had heard Colyer sing
some of the original lyrics in the verse, he apparently preferred those of the Vipers.
However, the most radical change was the introduction of a completely new tune
of the verse parts.22 It is best described as a reworking of a common phrase known
from many of the songs popular within the skie tradition. Mostly evident are the
similarities to ‘Camptown Races’, a minstrel song Donegan had played for years.
Considering it a ‘traditional’, Donegan changed the credits of the entire song to
his own. is was a very common practice in the 1950’s and 1960’s.
‘Gloryland’ was not the biggest hit of Donegan, but having the position as the
king of skie, his records still sold relatively big, and as his new verse tune was to
be adopted by many others during the 1960’s and 1970’s, he denitely changed the
directions of the hymn.
e most evident case was German. Like many others a Hamburg sited band
named German Skie Lords spend many hours ‘studying’ the recordings made
by Donegan. In the mid-60’s they skipped the ‘Skie’ part of their name, made a
contract with EMI, who lauched them as ‘Die Deutschen Beatles’ and became one
of the biggest English-tongued German pop bands.23
In 1967 they recorded Donegans version of ‘Glory Land’, as it was called this
time. It became a major hit in Germany and has since been a classic pop/beat song
in the regions, where e Lords made an impact, that is the German speaking
world and partly Scandinavia.24
Aer e Lords’ massive success with the tune, ‘Glory Land’ entered the party
repertoire in Germany, most famously represented by James Last and his Orches-
tra,25 and entering the 1970’s it was now a well-known pop/schlager song in Ger-
many.26 And actually also in Sweden, Norway and Denmark.
How and why it happened remains unsure, but the fact is that in 1963 a Swed-
ish schlager version of ‘Gloryland’ was recorded by Britt Damberg. e title was
‘Kärleksland’ (Love Land), and the lyrics did not have much in common with the
original eschatological hymn. It was a very typical early 60’s German-inspired
schlager about having a good time and falling in love. e tune of the verse part
was that of Donegans, but neither he nor Dean were credited. Instead it was ap-
parently composed by Swede Mats Olsson, which however probably just signies
that he also considered the song a “Traditional.27 Besides stylistically conditioned
dierences the only major change was the inclusion of a little, however quite im-
portant, musical phrase that combines the two parts of the chorus.
Within a few years it also turned up in Norwegian and German versions with
Olsson credited as the composer. While the Norwegian version ‘Lykkeland’ had
many similarities as to the lyrics and themes, the German version ‘Dalagatan 10,
Stockholm’ was about dancing and falling in love on a specic location in the
capital of Sweden. Apparantly it was even re-translated back to English on Swed-
ish ground as the American, but Scandinavian settled vocal group, Delta Rhythm
Boys, recorded a version called “Land of love, a direct translation of the Swedish
title “Kärleksland”.
While none of these versions were massive hits in their respective countries,
several instrumental recordings of the tune, all credited to Olsson, became rather
popular. In 1965 Finn Eriksen spend 22 weeks on the Norwegian sales charts with
his trumpet version of ‘Lappland’, as it was now called. In Sweden a similar version
under the same title was recorded by Mats Olssons himself, and even if it did not
enter the charts, it was oen played in Swedish Radio. In 1967 ‘Lappland’ even
reached the charts in the US as e Baltimore & Ohio Marching Band took it to
#94 on Billboard Hot 100. By this a spectacular circle was closed, as this originally
American hymn returned as a Swedish Polka only 61 years aer its composition.
And in Denmark it was soon to be credited to an unknown person named P. Mar-
e rst Danish version of ‘Gloryland’ was recorded by Grethe Sønck in 1964.
e title was ‘Skal det skæres ud i pap’ (Should I Spell It Out), having no semantic
connection to any earlier versions, and as both the arrangements and the credits
dier from the Swedish and German, it seems to be a full-Danish project.
Actually a quite jazzy clarinet signies connections to the lineage pointed out
by Colyer and Barber, and minding the position of traditional jazz in Denmark,
especially aer the international success of Papa Bue’s Viking Jazz band, it would
not be to any surprise if the ‘composer’, publisher and producer of the song, Gustav
Winckler knew of its status as a traditional and simply picked it up himself. How-
ever, the fact that also he used the Donegan tune in the verse part shows that he
must have known one of its recent incarnations.
‘Skal det skæres ud i pap’ was a minor hit, but by 1973 it had played its role. en
Winckler gave it another try with ‘Så går vi til enkebal’, clearly referring back to
Olsson’s versions. And hereby my intended journey ends, but actually the story
continues up until today.
Due to its spreading, and not least its status as a ‘traditional’ in Europe, the song
rst known as ’Just Over In e Gloryland’ has reincarnations many times since
its schlager-heydays in the sixties and early seventies. In Denmark the above men-
tioned famous trad. jazz band Papa Bue’s Viking Jazz Band did a Danish version
in 1975 about scoring ladies with shrimps and beer.28 As it was produced by above
mentioned Gustav Winckler, it was the third Danish version from his hand, but
the rst one using the original verse tune, probably as a result of the fact that the
Viking Jazz Band had laid it that way instrumentally for many years.
In Sweden it has become a loved and well known childrens song,29 and several
German incarnations still seem to live in the memory and on the Internet. And
various videos published on seem to indicate that ‘Swedish’ ‘Lapland
Polka’ is popular among American Polka enthusiasts. is leads to the nal ques-
tion: To whom does this song belong?
Authenticity within traditional jazz
One of the interesting, but oen overseen, aspects of the term dealt with in this
book, ‘authenticity’, is that fact that it shares its etymological root with ‘author’.
Both concepts derive from greek ατό/ατή/ατό (autos/aute/auto). Other words
in that family are authority and all words containing the word auto, e.g. auto-mo-
bile, auto-matic etc.
In this specic case, a song turns out to have a completely dierent author than
supposed. Knowing it from its Danish Schlager incarnation, I myself, as most
Danes probably do, considered it German. Who the original author was didn’t
really bother me much, as it was probably ‘just’ one of many German schlager
Most trad. jazz fans and musicians seem to consider it a spiritual deriving from
unknown, but denitely Afro-American, origins. And apparently, it is also consid-
ered a Swedish Polka. And a childrens’ song.
In copyright terms there is no doubt. Even though entered the public domain a
long time ago, the tune ‘belongs’ to Emmett Dean. He was the author, but, prob-
ably due to above mentioned remediations and the uncontrolled spreading of the
song to other cultures, his authority over the composition disappeared.
Instead tradition took over as the main author, helped by new authorities: e
musicians rstly forming and interpreting the tradition through performances of
the same, the custodians of tradition like Bill Russell and Colyer setting the inter-
pretive directions and ground, and not least the many writers, historians, jour-
nalists, fans, collectors and, again, musicians, who has helped the tradition sur-
vive through the decades. rough this the connection between traditional’ and
authentic’ is actually quite strong, and in many ways the term ‘Traditional’ itself
implies a great deal of ideology.
Even when used in its most neutral form as a description for an unknown author,
‘traditional’ signies a lot more than this value neutral information. Or, at least, the
information has been interpreted as signifying something special throughout the
20th century, namely cultural expressions deriving from the people and from not
the commercial industries. As such ‘traditional’ in many ways is a term closely
connected to ‘authentic’, understood as a synonym for ‘real’, ‘unmediated.
When Bill Russell travelled down to New Orleans to record performances by
musicians mentioned as inuential in the early days of jazz by more famous musi-
cians like Louis Armstrong, the quest was to secure the ‘authentic’ sources of jazz.
He dug down retired musicians like Bunk Johnson and George Lewis, brought
them together and recorded their performances of a repertoire of songs. Russell
was clearly idealistic in his eorts, and minding the spirit of the project itself, it is
somewhat symbolic that even a rather new and copyright protected song like ‘Just
over in the Glory-Land’ was credited as a ‘traditional.
Considering the spreading and popularity of the hymn, it seems quite strange
that Russell has not been able to track down its origin, but it may simply
be explained by the fact that he found what he was looking for. And he
was not looking for a less than 40 year old hymn written by a white Meth-
odist music publisher from Texas. He found an authentic ‘spiritual’ per-
formed by an authentic jazz band in authentic settings. How George Lewis
and the other representatives of the tradition recorded have presented the
song to Russell is unknown, but there are only two plausible explanations:
1) that both musicians and Russell considered it a spiritual of unknown, but
probably black, origin, or
2) that Russell’s mistake was made deliberately.
My qualied guess is that he simply did not know of the white origins of the song
and did not even wonder if it could come from outside the culture he was record-
ing. In the 1930’s and 40’s the exchange of information across borders, both geo-
graphically and demographically dened, was quite limited and slow.
While there is some doubt about whether Russell was in good faith when cred-
iting the tune as a ‘traditional’, I see no reason to suspect Colyer, Barber, Donegan
and other early British and European New Orleans Revival jazz enthusiasts of
anything else than idealism. ey learned the music from the records and have
probably trusted Russell and his record label as an authority, just as they did with
the blues, country and folk music recorded and published by Alan Lomax. It is im-
portant to mind the fact that these young men were enthusiastic admirers of ‘au-
thentic’ American culture, and here the ‘traditional’ credits were all over the place.
e big question is, of course, if it would have made any dierence if the credits
had been placed right? Would it matter to George Lewis and other black New Or-
leans musicians? Probably less than to their audiences, especially Russell and the
white European musicians taking up and, in both meanings of the word, saving
traditional jazz.
What is absolutely certain is the fact that the destiny of the song would have
been a totally dierent one if Lonnie Donegan had known that the song was in
fact copyright protected. en he would probably never had made his reworking
of the verse part, as it would involve a permission and the main part of the shares.
But he did, and by doing that his version of the song should actually still be under
copyright protection. e fact that Olsson, Winckler and others does not seem to
have paid any shares to Donegan is actually the biggest mystery le in this story.
Probably the explanation is the simple fact that distances, both geographically
and culturally, were much wider back then. And a reminder of how young our
‘Global Village’ actually is. e story enrolled in this article could never have been
written even few years ago.
(Anon.) 1906. Glory Songs. Nashville, Tennessee: Pentecostal Mission Publishing
Benson, John T. 1949. Songs of Inspiration. Nashville, Tn. : John T. Benson Pub. Co.
Bethell, Tom. 1977. George Lewis – A Jazzman From New Orleans. Berkeley and
Los Angeles: University of California Press.
Bowman, Rob 2003. ‘e determining role of performance in the articulation of
meaning: the case of ‘Try a Little Tenderness”. I Allan Moore (Red.): Analyzing
Popular Music. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Coyle, Michael. 2002. ‘Hijacked Hits and Antic Authenticity: Cover Songs, Race,
and PostwarMarketing’. In Roger Beebe, Denise Fulbrook, and Ben Saunders
(Red.): Rock over the Edge: Transformations in Popular Music Culture. Durham:
Duke University Press.
Dewe, Michael. 1999. e Skie Craze: a Popular Music Phenomenon of the 1950s,
PhD thesis from Department of Information Studies, University of Wales, Ab-
Diergarten, Eckhard. 2008. 50 Jahre the Lords: ‘langhaarig, laut und eine Legende...’-
die Biograe. Berlin: Pro BUSINESS GhbM.
Hazeldine, Mike. 1993. Bill Russell’s American Music. New Orleans: Jazzology Press.
Middleton, Richard. 2000. ‘Work-in(g) Practice: Conguration of the Popular
Music Intertext’. In Michael Talbot (red.): e Musical Work. Liverpool: Liver-
pool University Press.
Pendzich, Marc. 2004. Von der Coverversion zum Hit-Recycling. Münster: Lit Ver-
Pullen Jackson, George. 1933; 1965. White Spirituals in the Southern Uplands. New
York: Dover Publications.
Rander, Tommy & Håkan Sandblad. 1976. Rockens Roll. Stockholm: Ordfront.
Shipton, Alyn. 2012. ‘e New Orleans Revival in Britain and France, In Luca
Cerchiari, Laurent Cugny, Franz Kerschbaumer (red.). Eurojazzland: Jazz and
European Sources, Dynamics, and Contexts. New England: Northeastern Uni-
versity Press: 253-274.
Smith-Sivertsen, Henrik. 2007. Kylling med so ice og pølser: Populærmusikalske
versioneringspraksisser i forbindelse med danske versioner af udenlandske sange i
perioden 1945-2007. University of Copenhagen: unpubl. PhD dissertation.
Winsett, R.E. 1919. Songs of Revival Power. Dayton: R.E. Winsett.
1 Benson 1949.
2 1925/1930:
3 Hazeldine 1993: 42; 76.
4 Ibid: 42f. Credits according to reproduction of original label in the book.
5 Ibid: 76; 82. Credits according to reproduction of original label in the book.
6 Ibid: 83.
7 Covernote American Music LP 645.
8 British Library Sound Archive:;; Svensk
9 Ken Colyer’s Jazzmen (1953/54): ‘Gloryland’. on e Best of British Jazz from the BBC Jazz Club
(1995). Upbeat URCD 118.
10 Shipton 2012: 262. It is here titled ‘Over In e Gloryland’ and described as a ‘New Orleans
m a r c h ’.
11 Chris Barber Jazz Band (1954/2000) e Original Copenhagen Concert, Storyville. STCD 5527
12 Chris Barber Jazz Band (1954/2000) e Original Copenhagen Concert, Storyville. STCD 5527.
My transcription
13 Middleton 2000:83. Original highlights.
14 Coyle 2002; Pendzich 2004; Smith-Sivertsen 2007.
15 Smith-Sivertsen 2007
16 Smith-Sivertsen 2007: 35-36.
17 Coyle 2002.
18 Dewe 1999
19 e Vipers Skie Group (1957): ‘ Coee Bar Session’. LP. Parlophone.
20 e Vipers Skie Group (1957): ‘ Coee Bar Session’. LP. Parlophone. My transcription.
21 Rander; Sandblad 1976: 67. e other songs mentioned were ‘Puttin’ On e Style’, ‘Down By
e Riverside’ and ‘Frankie And Johnny’.
22 I hereby thank Carl M. Nielsen, who helped me greatly by digging down a great number of skif-
e songs in the quest for nding the sources for Donegan’s new tune. Without his help I would
never have gotten this close.
23 Diergarten 2008.
24 As an example Swedish band Rockfolket (e Rock People) had clearly heard e Lords when
they did their version. Rockfolket: Andra Repititionen, 1991.
25 James Last: Non Stop Dancing ‘68. Polydor 249 216
26 Besides numerous instrumental schlager and polka versions on so called ‘Party records’, sev-
eral other German versions were published, of which Adam und die Micky’s ‘Heut is wieder
Hauskonzert’ (1969) was the rst, but ‘Ja, mir san mit’m Radl da’ (1972) denitely the most
popular. e last version, however, only uses the tune of the refrain.
27 According to an article in Billboard Magazine in 1965, Olsson, who was head of Swedish pub-
lishing rm Edition Liberty, had bought the Scandinavian rights to the ‘American tune’ Bill-
board Magazine, August 7, 1965, section 1: 26-28. However, knowing the history of the song,
it seems more plausible that he simply considered it free.
28 Liller & Papa Bue’s Viking Jazz Band (1975): ‘Hva’ siger de til en rejemad’, Man Kan Vel Ikke
Gøre For At Man Har Charme. Storyville. SLP 401.
29 ‘Ingen klocka ringer mer’/’Flagganvajarpåsinstång’.
ResearchGate has not been able to resolve any citations for this publication.
This chapter argues that popular music culture is driven by practice rather than objects (that is, works). It emphasises the density and many-sidedness of the intertextual bonds between musical performances and analyses Bill Laswell's studio ‘re-compositions’ of popular recordings by Bob Marley and Miles Davis. It also examines ‘signifyin(g)’, a concept that refers to the deliberate use of familiar, shared elements as a basis for subsequent transformation. This approach is an essential element in the African-American musical tradition that has passed into the general practice of Western popular music. The chapter also considers remix culture, the ramifications of intertextuality for popular music compositional practices, the ‘dialogical’ theory of semiotics associated with Mikhail Bakhtin, the individuality of musical work, the question of authoriality, the West European Classical Tradition and the intertextuality of African-American music.
The early history of “Try a Little Tenderness’ Although folklorists for several decades have been interested in trying to understand variations of a given text over different performances, this is a much understudied phenomenon within popular music scholarship. This chapter presents a case study which explores the range of variation in four different versions of the Tin Pan Alley standard “Try a Little Tenderness’, recorded over a span of thirty-three years. Ultimately, such an exploration forces one: (a) to question how and in what parameters musical meaning is articulated, and (b) to grapple with the collision between written and oral culture and private ownership in the form of intellectual property. The genesis of this chapter goes back about fifteen years to the point when I first found out that one of the all-time classic soul recordings, Otis Redding's “Try a Little Tenderness’, was in fact a cover version of a Tin Pan Alley standard. This was a revelation for me on a number of levels, as the Tin Pan Alley and soul traditions seemed light years apart temporally, geographically and socially. I had first bought the Redding recording in 1966 when I was ten years old. At the time I implicitly assumed that the song was an original composition and, in later years when I began to actively wonder about such things, I explicitly assumed that the writers listed on the record's label, Connelly, Woods and Campbell, were obscure soul writers that I had not encountered, most likely black and from the Southern United States. I could not have been more incorrect.
Bill Russell's American Music
  • Mike Hazeldine
Hazeldine, Mike. 1993. Bill Russell's American Music. New Orleans: Jazzology Press.
Kylling med sot ice og pølser: Populaermusikalske versioneringspraksisser i forbindelse med danske versioner af udenlandske sange i perioden 1945-2007
  • Henrik Smith-Sivertsen
Smith-Sivertsen, Henrik. 2007. Kylling med sot ice og pølser: Populaermusikalske versioneringspraksisser i forbindelse med danske versioner af udenlandske sange i perioden 1945-2007. University of Copenhagen: unpubl. PhD dissertation.
who helped me greatly by digging down a great number of skifle songs in the quest for inding the sources for Donegan's new tune. Without his help I would never have gotten this close
  • Carl M Nielsen
22 I hereby thank Carl M. Nielsen, who helped me greatly by digging down a great number of skifle songs in the quest for inding the sources for Donegan's new tune. Without his help I would never have gotten this close.
Sandblad 1976: 67. he other songs mentioned were 'Puttin' On he Style' , 'Down By he Riverside' and 'Frankie And Johnny
  • Rander
Rander; Sandblad 1976: 67. he other songs mentioned were 'Puttin' On he Style', 'Down By he Riverside' and 'Frankie And Johnny'.
Songs of Inspiration
  • John T Benson
Benson, John T. 1949. Songs of Inspiration. Nashville, Tn. : John T. Benson Pub. Co. Bethell, Tom. 1977. George Lewis -A Jazzman From New Orleans. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press.
Songs of Revival Power
  • R E Winsett
Winsett, R.E. 1919. Songs of Revival Power. Dayton: R.E. Winsett. Noter 1 Benson 1949. 2 1925/1930: 3 Hazeldine 1993: 42; 76.