Friday 25 Jul
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OKG Newsletter

Topic: Swing Low Sweet Chariot

‘Swing Low,’ state Senate

It's official.

I’m gonna quote this straight from the press release:

“The Senate supported legislation Thursday to make ‘Swing Low, Sweet Chariot’ Oklahoma’s official gospel song. Sen. Eason McIntyre is the author of Senate Bill 73 recognizing the song written and composed by Wallis Willis, a Choctaw freedman in the old Indian Territory, sometime before 1862.”

Talk among yourselves.
While you’re here, grab these free MP3s:

“I Can, I Will” — Gospel Claws. Rumbling toms, triumphant guitar and theatrical melodies? I’ve got the confetti if you’ve got the balloons.
“Dusk Till Dawn” — Nedry. Portishead introduces dubstep to house. The three go clubbing.
“The Bros of Summer” — Phineas and the Lonely Leaves. I don’t remember being this morose in summer, but whatever. The song’s title is awesome anyway. (pictured)

by Stephen Carradini 02.24.2011 3 years ago
at 02:00 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

‘Swing’ sets

Oklahoma’s most-likely-official gospel song is all over the Internets

 Remember the legislative showdown over The Flaming Lips’ “Do You Realize??” being named the state of Oklahoma’s official rock song?

Yeah, nothing like that happened Monday when the state House voted unanimously (they can agree on something?!?) to name “Swing Low Sweet Chariot” as Oklahoma’s official gospel song. Now it’s all up to Gov. Mary Fallin to make it happen.

Interestingly, the 1862 African-American spiritual was not performed before the vote, although Rep. Jabar Shumate of Tulsa was asked to give a quick rendition. He declined.

That’s weird, because according to YouTube, just about everyone else has. Here’s a breakdown of some of the most notable — and please note that does not necessarily mean the best:

Some guy recorded it at double-speed:, which seems a tad disrespectful. From heaven, Harriet Tubman is wagging a finger in shame:

Hipsters, it’s totally cool for you to like the song, because Zooey Deschanel curled her lovely pipes around it:

It was covered in 2003 by UB40 to promote the Rugby World Cup, because somehow, rugby equals freedom from slavery. (Has any major-label act recorded more covers than UB40? Just curious.)

Diabetics, beware: Cedarmont Kids’ version may send you into sugar shock. Did the director not get the song’s point when he herded all the children in a caged wagon?

Johnny Cash could sing the Pull A Part ad jingle and make it sound heavy with meaning: 

Tay Zonday, aka the “Chocolate Rain” guy, pulls it off well, because I didn’t laugh once:

Our all-time favorite version is actually a partial one: Chevy Chase’s in “National Lampoon’s Vacation,” right before he tells Rusty to move his stinky feet. We couldn’t find that clip on YouTube, but this guy referenced it. Nice voice, sir; next time, may I suggest a comb? 

—Rod Lott

by Rod Lott 04.28.2011 3 years ago
at 08:00 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)