Kingdom Coming

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Cover of the 1862 sheet music for "Kingdom Coming"

"Kingdom Coming" or "The Year of Jubilo" is an American Civil War song, written and composed by Henry C. Work in 1862, prior to the Emancipation Proclamation.

The song celebrates promised freedom to slaves whose master has been frightened away by the Union military forces.

The lyrics are seldom heard nowadays. The song is usually played as a lively instrumental, as with the Ken Burns documentary on the Civil War.

Work also wrote the song Babylon is Fallen ("Don't you see the black clouds risin' ober yonder") which sees the Civil War from the perspective of the black soldiers fighting for the North.

Sample lyrics[edit]

Say, darkies, hab you seen de massa, wid de muffstash on his face,
Go long de road some time dis mornin', like he gwine to leab de place?
He seen a smoke way up de ribber, whar de Linkum gunboats lay;
He took his hat, and lef' berry sudden, and I spec' he's run away!

CHORUS:

De massa run, ha, ha! De darkey stay, ho, ho!
It mus' be now de kingdom coming, an' de year ob Jubilo!
He six foot one way, two foot tudder, and he weigh tree hundred pound,
His coat so big, he couldn't pay the tailor, an' it won't go halfway round.
He drill so much dey call him Cap'n, an' he got so drefful tanned,
I spec' he try an' fool dem Yankees for to tink he's contraband.

CHORUS

De darkeys feel so lonesome libbing in de loghouse on de lawn,
Dey move dar tings into massa's parlor for to keep it while he's gone.
Dar's wine an' cider in de kitchen, an' de darkeys dey'll have some;
I s'pose dey'll all be cornfiscated when de Linkum sojers come.

CHORUS

De obserseer he make us trouble, an' he dribe us round a spell;
We lock him up in de smokehouse cellar, wid de key trown in de well.
De whip is lost, de han'cuff broken, but de massa'll hab his pay;
He's ole enough, big enough, ought to known better dan to went an' run away.

CHORUS

In popular culture[edit]

Cartoons[edit]

The song became the opening music for the character Pooch the Pup, starting with the 1932 cartoon The Under Dog.[1]

"Kingdom Coming" appears in two MGM animated cartoons directed by Tex Avery, The Three Little Pups and Billy-Boy, as well as in Michael Lah's Blackboard Jumble and Sheep Wrecked. The piece is whistled throughout all four pictures by a dimwitted wolf character voiced by Daws Butler (using the same slow Southern drawl he would later employ for Huckleberry Hound). This wolf character has no official name, but is commonly referred to as "Jubilo Wolf", in reference to the alternate "Year of Jubilo" title.

It also occasionally appears in Warner Bros. cartoons, such as being used throughout the 1938 Porky Pig cartoon Injun Trouble and its 1945 remake Wagon Heels, and the closing scenes of the 1945 Bugs Bunny cartoons The Unruly Hare and Hare Trigger.

Films[edit]

In Too Busy To Work (1932), Jubilo (Will Rogers) sings the song to his daughter Rose (Marion Nixon).[2]

In The Telegraph Trail (1933), John Trent (John Wayne) whistles this tune. It is instrumental background music in The Horse Soldiers (1959) (also starring Wayne). (Hear the second piece in the trailer at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=knQahiIpwYw).

In Meet Me in St. Louis (1944), Esther Smith (Judy Garland) sings new lyrics, written for the movie, to the tune of "Year of Jubilo". The lyrics are in standard English and are inoffensive, with no reference to slavery, the Civil War, or any other controversial subject.

Books[edit]

The Year of Jubilo was the sequel to Ruth Sawyer's fictionalized autobiography Roller Skates, which won the 1937 Newbery Medal.[3]

Other[edit]

The tune of "The Year of Jubilo" was the opening theme for the NBC radio show The Chase and Sanborn Hour from 1940 to 1949.

Notable recordings[edit]

  • The McGee Brothers and Todd recorded the song with lyrics in 1927 as "Old Master's Runaway"
  • Frank Crumit recorded "Kingdom Coming and the Year of Jubilo" on November 29, 1927. It was released on Victor 21108.
  • Guy Mitchell (backed by Mitch Miller's Orchestra and chorus) recorded "Day of Jubilo" on January 15, 1952. It was released on Columbia 39753.
  • The Holy Modal Rounders recorded the song in 1978 as "Year of Jubilo."
  • A solo piano rendition of the song is included on jazz pianist Bill Carrothers' album, The Blues and the Greys, which features popular music from the time of the Civil War.
  • The song appears on the soundtrack to Ken Burns' Civil War, usually played whenever pictures of General Ulysses Simpson Grant are shown on screen.
  • The song is performed by Pokey LaFarge in the 2013 collection "Divided and United: The Songs of the Civil War," titled as "Kingdom Come."

External links[edit]

References

  1. ^ "The Walter Lantz Cartune Encyclopedia: 1932". The Walter Lantz Cartune Encyclopedia. Retrieved 2012-01-08. 
  2. ^ http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0023606/
  3. ^ Cech, John (editor). Dictionary of Literary Biographies: American Writers for Children, 1900-1960, Gale Research, 1983, volume 22, pp. 294-299;