Tuesday, 24 July 2012

SONG FOR TODAY: Ramsey Lewis Trio - Wade In The Water

A Northern Soul classic today. I first discovered this on a budget compilation CD called 'The In Crowd', purchased during the late 90's or possibly early 2000's from Woolworths in Chippenham. "Ramsey Lewis (born Ramsey Emmanuel Lewis Jr) is an American jazz composer, pianist and radio personality. He has recorded over 80 albums and has received seven gold records and three Grammy Awards so far in his career. 

'Wade in the Water' is the name of a Negro spiritual first published in 'New Jubilee Songs as Sung by the Fisk Jubilee Singers' (1901) by John Wesley Work II and his brother Frederick J. Work. The song relates to both the Old and New Testaments. The verses reflect the Israelites' escape out of Egypt as found in Exodus:14. The chorus refers to healing: see John 5:4, "For an angel went down at a certain season into the pool, and troubled the water: whosoever then first after the troubling of the water stepped in was made whole of whatsoever disease he had." Many internet sources and popular books claim that songs such as 'Wade in the Water' contained explicit instructions to fugitive slaves on how to avoid capture and the route to take to successfully make their way to freedom. This particular song allegedly recommends leaving dry land and taking to the water as a strategy to throw pursuing bloodhounds off one's trail. 'Wade in the Water' was a popular instrumental hit in 1966 for the Ramsey Lewis Trio, which prompted further instrumental recordings by Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass, and Billy Preston (both 1967)..."

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