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The New Sounds for Christ in Zimbabwe - This Little Light Of Mine

"This Little Light Of Mine" is a Gospel singalong. It is a favorite campfire and children's song around the world.

The reason for this is both because of the repetitive call and response lyrics and because of the direct and easily understood message of activism and faith.


When we sing it at Children's Church the kids love this verse.

Hide it under a bushel? No!

We shout out "No!" at the top of our lungs.

This text refers to the words of Jesus where he says, "No man, when he hath lighted a candle, putteth it in a secret place, neither under a bushel, but on a candlestick, that they which come in may see the light." Luke 11:33

Also from Matthew 5:14-15, where Jesus said, "Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house."

And for the last verse we sing

Shine all over Jonesboro
I'm gonna let it shine
Shine all over Paragould
I'm gonna let it shine
Shine all over Brookland town.
I'm gonna let it shine

personalising the message and bringing it home.

Wikipedia says that Harry Dixon Loes wrote the song around 1920 which puts it in the public domain.

"This Little Light of Mine" is a gospel children's song written by Harry Dixon Loes (1895-1965) in about 1920. Loes, who studied at the Moody Bible Institute and the American Conservatory of Music, was a musical composer, and teacher, who wrote, and co-wrote, several other gospel songs. The song has since entered the folk tradition, first being collected by John Lomax in 1939. Often thought of as a Negro spiritual, it does not, however, appear in any collection of jubilee or plantation songs from the nineteenth century.

The song takes its theme from Mathew 5:16, "Let your light shine before men, that they may see your fine works and give glory to your Father who is in the heaven:"

- wikipedia

Although it's a Gospel music classic the song transcends genre.

Here's The Boss with The Sessions Band singing "This Little Light Of Mine" in Dublin, Ireland.

Bruce Springsteen - This Little Light Of Mine (Live In Dublin)

And for all you Opera lovers here's Leontyne Price.

Leontyne Price sings "This Little Light Of Mine"

Bobby Blue Bland's hit, "Turn On Your Love Light", is a secular rewrite. A kind of a blue Blues version with new verses. Still it carries a Gospel flavor in it's exhortation to

Let it shine
Let it shine
Let it shine

Here's the Grateful Dead singing at Woodstock.

The Grateful Dead - Woodstock 1969 "Lovelight"

The song was also recorded by my friend, Matt Lucas, and released on Dot in 1964. Matt's version is much more like the Dead's rock cover than Bobby Blue Bland's Blues version and I have long held that it is actually Matt's record that the Dead are covering.

Please state your opinion about both of these great songs and post your favorite Gospel music that changed the world in the comments.


Hairy Larry

Originally posted to hairylarry on Sun Oct 26, 2008 at 07:06 AM PDT.

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