I Hear a Sweet Voice Calling
|"I Hear A Sweet Voice Calling"|
|Song by Bill Monroe|
|from the album 'Blue Moon of Kentucky'|
I Hear A Sweet Voice Calling is a song written and originally recorded by Bill Monroe, who sang lead and also added a tenor harmony to the chorus in his October 27, 1947 recording on the Columbia Records label. It appears on his album Blue Moon of Kentucky.
Themes and reception
The song is about a dying girl who faces the sure prospect of going to heaven, with the opening lyrics; "Our little girl had taken sick one evening as she walked home from school and then her deathbed soon claimed her, it made us so sad and so blue. As Robert Cantwell put it in his book Bluegrass breakdown: the making of the old southern sound, "the sick child leaves the world with a rebuke to her parents, whose tears imply that their faith has been shaken." In the recording, Joe Val sang in falsetto on this song; he was a strong tenor on most songs. Bluegrass Unlimited said "His songs were at once tragic and filled with a radiant life force, in music as heart-wrenchingly old-fashioned as "I Hear A Sweet Voice Calling". Monroe has also performed it live with the Osborne Brothers and it was described "achingly beautiful yet electrically exciting music, ruefully outdated by time."
Elvis Presley recording
Elvis Presley recorded a brief, rough version on 4 December, 1956 and had also recorded Monroe's other songs such as Blue Moon of Kentucky, Little Cabin on the Hill, Summertime Has Passed and Gone and Sweetheart, You Done Me Wrong. Elvis was a major fan of bluegrass artist Monroe. Elvis altered Monroe's original waltz time to a rocking 4/4 boogie beat and claimed that it was songs such as I Hear A Sweet Voice Calling which were of major importance in the development of rock and roll.
- Smith, Richard D. (2000). Can't you hear me callin': the life of Bill Monroe, father of bluegrass. Hachette Digital.
- Jennings, Dana (26 May 2008). Sing me back home: love, death, and country music. Macmillan. p. 192. ISBN 978-0-86547-960-9. Retrieved 19 July 2011.
- Cantwell, Robert (January 2003). Bluegrass breakdown: the making of the old southern sound. University of Illinois Press. p. 231. ISBN 978-0-252-07117-1. Retrieved 19 July 2011.
- Schmidt, Eric Von; Rooney, Jim (1994). Baby, let me follow you down: the illustrated story of the Cambridge folk years. Univ of Massachusetts Press. p. 140. ISBN 978-0-87023-925-0. Retrieved 19 July 2011.
- Bluegrass unlimited. Bluegrass Unlimited. 2006. Retrieved 19 July 2011.
- Green, Douglas B. (June 1976). Country roots: the origins of country music. Hawthorn Books. p. 117. Retrieved 19 July 2011.
- Neale, David (15 September 2003). Roots of Elvis. iUniverse. p. 22. ISBN 978-0-595-29505-0. Retrieved 19 July 2011.
- Rosenberg, Neil V. (1 August 2005). Bluegrass: a history. University of Illinois Press. p. 121. ISBN 978-0-252-07245-1. Retrieved 19 July 2011.
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