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User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
GUEST,Karen Origins: AMEN (Jester Hairston) (52* d) RE: Origins: AMEN (Jester Hairston) 12 Jul 11

I sang this with Jester in 1964 when he came to our high school to help us prepare to sing his songs in concert and record them on an album at the Long Beach Municipal Auditorium. Jim Dixon has posted the most correct lyrics above. I recall all the verses very well and have taught this song to several choirs, most recently our little quartet with our song leader doing the verses. Still trying to get him to get the phrasing correct. lol He's black, but just ain't got no rhythm. Oh well, the Lord knows his heart is in it.

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Jester changed keys with each verse, up a half step each time I believe using an Amen to make the change. And when we got to the part "See Him in the garden" Jester would have us sing it more reverently and softly and then bring it back up with "but He rose on Easter!" It was written to be sung a cappella but we used the piano while learning it.

It's almost impossible for me to sing it any other way than the way Jester directed it except that now I play the piano most of the way through doing a few verses of Amens a cappella with clapping at the end and then come back in and finish it with the piano accompaniment for a big ending since the whole church now likes to sing along.

I can still hear him trying to get our mostly white kids to get the rhythm correct on his songs like anticipating the beat on "In that great gettin' up mornin'." He'd clap the rhythm and get so disgusted with us if we weren't right on. At one point I was afraid he was gonna give up on us and walk out, but we finally got it, thank God! At the end of the concert a few of us kids got him to sign our programs. He was sitting way up in the balcony with his wife and seemed kind of amazed that we would ask him. I still have it in my piano bench. I'm the one who was so amazed that he would take so much time with us in teaching us the songs. What a blessing he was!

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