Swing Low, Sweet Chariot for Bb Soprano Saxophone & Keyboard

Composer
trad.
Arranger
Difficulty
Difficult (Grades 7+)
Duration
2 minutes
Genre
Jazz music
Instrumentation
Solo instrument + piano (Soprano Saxophone)
Instrumental parts
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An arrangement of Swing Low for Bb Soprano Saxophone and Keyboard.

"Swing Low, Sweet Chariot" is an American Negro spiritual. The first recording was by the Fisk Jubilee Singers in 1909. In 2002, the Library of Congress honored the song as one of 50 recordings chosen that year to be added to the National Recording Registry. It was also included in the list of Songs of the Century, by the Recording Industry Association of America and the National Endowment for the Arts.

While sung primarily in Protestant churches and in concerts throughout the United States, it also has a large association with English rugby union and is also regularly sung at England national rugby union team matches. It is sometimes called "Coming for to carry me home".

It is not to be confused with "Swing Down Sweet Chariot", a different spiritual recorded by Elvis Presley and others.

"Swing Low, Sweet Chariot" was composed by Wallis Willis, a Choctaw freedman in the old Indian Territory, sometime before 1862. He was inspired by the Red River which reminded him of the Jordan River and of the Prophet Elijah being taken to heaven by a chariot. Some scholars (see Songs of the underground railroad) believe this song and "Steal Away to Jesus"�also composed by Willis�had some hidden lyrics referring to the Underground Railroad.

Alexander Reid, a minister at a Choctaw boarding school, heard Willis singing these two songs and transcribed the words and melodies. He sent the music to the Jubilee Singers of Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee. The Jubilee Singers then popularized the songs during a tour of the United States and Europe.

The song enjoyed a resurgence during the 1960s Civil Rights struggle and the folk revival; it was performed by a number of artists, perhaps most famously during this period, by Joan Baez during the legendary 1969 Woodstock festival.

The song was adopted by England rugby union fans during the last match of the 1988 season.

Lyrics are as follows:

Chorus (in bold):

Swing low, sweet chariot Coming for to carry me home Swing low, sweet chariot Coming for to carry me home

I looked over Jordan and what did I see Coming for to carry me home A band of angels coming after me Coming for to carry me home

(chorus)

Sometimes I’m up and sometimes I’m down Coming for to carry me home But still my soul feels heavenly bound Coming for to carry me home

(chorus)

The brightest day that I can say Coming for to carry me home When Jesus washed my sins away, Coming for to carry me home.

(chorus)

If I get there before you do Coming for to carry me home I’ll cut a hole and pull you through Coming for to carry me home

(chorus)

If you get there before I do Coming for to carry me home Tell all my friends I’m coming too Coming for to carry me home

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