The piece is a combination of two 19th-century spirituals, sparked by listening to the John and Ruby Lomax collection
from the Library of Congress. What a treasure this collection is: nearly 700 field recordings from a three-month,
6,502-mile trip in 1939 through the southern United States, beginning in Port Aransas, Texas and ending at the
Library of Congress. There are ballads, field hollers, chain-gang songs, spirituals, blues, mule-driving songs, lullabies,
and dozens of other categories, recorded in prisons, by highways, and on front porches. They are all uploaded on the
Library Of Congress site, and if you are interested in the geneology of American roots music, you might like to browse
through this catalog. Click on the “Audio Subject” header to find the recordings.
This arrangement combines two songs found in the Lomax Collection: “Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child” and
“I Don’t Feel Like I’se Anyways Tired.” The style is modeled on several African-American ensemble traditions heard in
the Lomax collection and in the singing of Sweet Honey in the Rock.