She'll Be Coming 'Round the Mountain

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"She'll Be Coming 'Round the Mountain" (also sometimes called simply "Coming 'Round the Mountain") is a traditional African-American folk song often categorized as children's music. It is a derivation of a "spiritual" song known as "When the Chariot Comes".

Old spiritual[edit]

The song refers to the Second Coming of Christ and subsequent Rapture. The she refers to the chariot the returning Christ is imagined as driving.

O, who will drive the chariot When she comes? O, who will drive the chariot When she comes? O, who will drive the chariot, O, who will drive the chariot, O, who will drive the chariot When she comes?

King Jesus, he'll be driver when she comes, When she comes . . . .

She'll be loaded with bright Angels When she comes . . . .

She will neither rock nor totter, When she comes . . . .

She will run so level and steady, When she comes . . . .

She will take us to the portals, When she comes . . . .

Children's song[edit]

Although the first printed version of the song appeared in Carl Sandburg's The American Songbag in 1927, the song is believed to have been written during the late 1800s. The song was based on an old spiritual titled "When the Chariot Comes", which is sung to the same melody. During the 19th century it spread through Appalachia where the lyrics were changed into their current form. The song was later sung by railroad work gangs in the Midwestern United States in the 1890s. The song's style is reminiscent of the call and response structure of many folk songs of the time, where one person would shout the first line and others repeat.

Lyrics[edit]

She'll be coming 'round the mountain when she comes, (when she comes).
She'll be coming 'round the mountain when she comes, (when she comes).
She'll be coming 'round the mountain, she'll be coming 'round the mountain,
She'll be coming 'round the mountain when she comes, (when she comes).

The same structure is repeated with the following verses:

She'll be ridin' six white horses when she comes, etc.

Oh we'll all come out to meet her when she comes, etc.

She'll be wearing pink pajamas when she comes, etc.

We will kill the old red rooster when she comes, etc.

We will all have chicken and dumplings when she comes, etc.

We'll all be shoutin' "Halleluja" when she comes, etc.

She'll be comin' down a road that's five miles long, etc.

Currently the song is usually sung in collections of children's music with slightly different lyrics. The song has been recorded by musicians ranging from Tommy Tucker Time (78'inch) to Pete Seeger or Barney the Dinosaur.

Harking back to the original lyrics of "When the Chariot Comes", the song is sometimes referenced in relation to the end of the world, most notably in The Illuminatus! Trilogy and the comic book Promethea.

Variations[edit]

  • In the UK, especially with the elderly, it is common for the lyrics "She'll be wearing pink pyjamas when she comes" and "Singing ey, ey, yippee, yippee, ey. Singing ey, ey, yippee, yippee, ey. Singing ey, ey, yippee, yippee ey, ey, yippee, ey, ey, yippee, yippee, ey." to be sung.
  • Often, the verse "We will kill the old red rooster when she comes" is omitted, and "chicken and dumplings" is replaced with "cake and ice cream".
  • At least two soccer chants are sung to the tune of this song: English fans chant "Ten German Bombers" when their team is playing Germany. And Newcastle United fans chant "Ten Mackem Bastards" – celebrating Shola Ameobi's excellent record against their local rivals Sunderland.
  • Jibjab created a satire about George W. Bush's re-election called "Second Term" to the tune of "She'll Be Coming 'Round the Mountain".
  • The American death metal band Macabre used the melody on the song "Coming to Chicago" on their album Dahmer themed on the life of Jeffrey Dahmer.
We'll be safe inside our fortress when they come.
We'll be safe from creeps and killers when they come.
Unless they have a blow-torch
Or a poison gas injector,
Then I don't know what will happen when they come!
  • A Scottish children's song to this tune features the lyrics:
Oh ye cannae shove yer granny off a bus
No ye cannae shove yer granny off a bus
No ye cannae shove yer granny, 'cause she's yer mammy's mammy,
Ye cannae shove yer granny off a bus!
Ye can shove yer other granny off a bus
Oh ye can shove yer other granny off a bus
Oh ye can shove yer other granny, 'cause she's yer daddy's mammy,
Ye can shove yer other granny off a bus!
  • The German Songs "Tante aus Marokko" and "Von den blauen Bergen kommen wir" as well as the Dutch song "Tante uit Marokko" share the same melody and some elements from the text.
  • Indonesian singer, "Didi Kempot" uses the melody (with slight alteration) in his song titled "Cucakrowo".
  • The Malaysian Scout song, "Lai Chi Kan", uses the tune.
  • There is an Esperanto song Ju-pi-ja[1] with similar text and same melody.
  • In the Reader's Digest Children's Songbook, the song is rewritten with new words by Dan Fox and his son Paul and tells of the things that "she" will do in increasing number up to ten (e.g.: "She'll be ridin' on a camel," "She'll be tuggin' on two turtles," "She'll be carvin' three thick thistles," "She'll be pluckin' four fat pheasants," etc.).[1]
  • The Italian Boy Scouts used to sing the song with very approximate English lyrics or unrelated Italian ones up until the 'Eighties. It was called "Singhingaia" from the refrain.
  • A funk version of the song appears on the album Hardcore Jollies from the George Clinton band Funkadelic.
  • A bawdy version is widely current, using "comes"in the sense of reaching orgasm. The rhymes "hollerin'and shoutin' and "fountain" will give an adequate idea of the content.
  • In a Thomas & Friends episode: "Faulty Whistles", Headmaster Mr. Hastings plays the organ while Duncan goes around the mountain.

Sources[edit]

  1. ^ Simon, William L. (editor). The Reader's Digest Children's Songbook. Readers Digest Association, Pleasantville. p. 178. ISBN 0-89577-214-0 Retrieved on 21 September 2012.