All My Trials
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"All My Trials" was a folk song during the social protest movements of the 1950s and 1960s. It is based on a Bahamian lullaby that tells the story of a mother on her death bed, comforting her children, "Hush little baby, don't you cry./You know your mama's bound to die," because, as she explains, "All my trials, Lord,/Soon be over." The message — that no matter how bleak the situation seemed, the struggle would "soon be over" — propelled the song to the status of an anthem, recorded by many of the leading artists of the era.
The song is usually classified as a Spiritual because of its biblical and religious imagery. There are references to the "Lord," "a little book" with a message of "liberty," "brothers," "religion," "paradise," "pilgrims" and the "tree of life" awaiting her after her hardships, referred to as "trials." There is an allegory of the river Jordan, the crossing thereof representing the Christian experience of death as something which "...chills the body but not the soul." The river/death allegory was popularised by John Bunyan in his classic, The Pilgrim's Progress and the wording echoes the teaching of Jesus, to "...fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul." (Matthew 10:28)
- The song was recorded numerous times by folk artists, including Bob Gibson, Pete Seeger, Dave Van Ronk, Anita Carter, Joan Baez, The Seekers, Harry Belafonte, Peter, Paul and Mary and Ray Stevens.
- Nick Drake and Gabrielle Drake sang it as a duet.
- Another version of the song, "All My Sorrows," was made popular by the Kingston Trio, who recorded it in 1959.
- A version of "All My Sorrows" was also recorded by The Shadows in 1961.
- The melody and chord changes were used as the basis of the Brandywine Singers' "Summer's Come And Gone" (Billboard #129, 1963).
- A fragment of the song is used in the Mickey Newbury anthem "An American Trilogy", also recorded by Elvis Presley.
- More recently it was sung by Cerys Matthews on her album Cockahoop.
- A live version of the song was released as a single by Paul McCartney in 1990 and made into top 40 in UK, reaching as high as #35.
- The Kelly Family included the song on their 1981 album Wonderful World.
- Fleetwood Mac guitarist Lindsey Buckingham did his own version of "All My Sorrows" titled "All My Sorrow" on his 1992 solo album Out of the Cradle.
- Gilliland, John (1969). "Show 31 - Ballad in Plain D: An introduction to the Bob Dylan era. [Part 1]" (audio). Pop Chronicles. Digital.library.unt.edu. Track 2.
- "Official Charts: Paul McCartney". The Official UK Charts Company. Retrieved 2011-10-13.