“Jesus, Jesus, Oh, What a wonderful Child” (“Glory come the child King”)Margaret Wells AllisonWorship & Song, 3060

Jesus, Jesus, O what a wonderful child.Jesus, Jesus, therefore holy, meek and mild;new life, new hope the son will bring.Listen to the angel sing:“Glory, glory, glory!”Let the heavens ring.

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“Glory come the newborn King” is detailed as “Traditional afri American” in most hymnals and as an “African American Spiritual” in a few. Beginning with the 2nd designation – afri American spiritual – this is virtually certainly no correct. Because that example, no collections of spirituals perform an entry by this name, consisting of the significant Lyrics the the Afro-American Spiritual edited by Erskine Peters (Westport, CN, 1993). Furthermore, in ~ the bigger corpus of african American spirituals, the layout of the nativity of Jesus is reasonably rare. Afri American poet and scholar James Weldon Johnson (1871-1938) discusses the historical and social paper definition of the Christmas vacation in the antebellum South:

. . . The anniversary the the bear of Christ to be not, in the South, in any sense a sacred or religious holiday. Approximately within recent years , in ~ least, it has been celebrated chiefly with gunpowder and whiskey. It has actually there to be the most secular, also the many profane of every holidays. In slavery times it was the sooner or later on i m sorry the slaves were given a sort of freedom. The liberty of coming and also going was significantly enlarged. On many plantations whiskey to be distributed. The day was one offered over to a good time; to singing, dancing, and also visiting; to guzzling, gluttony and debauchery (Johnson, <1926> 1969, pp. 14-15).

Johnson proceeds to keep in mind that together a celebration “destroyed in the psychic of the slaves any idea the connection between the bear of Christ and also his life and also death” (Johnson, <1926>, 1969, p. 15). As a result, the two collections totaling 120 spirituals released by Johnson and also his brother J. Rosamond Johnson in the first quarter the the twenty century records only two Christmas-related entries, a spiritual collected in Virginia, “Dar’s A Star In De East” (“Rise increase Shepherd An’ Foller”), and also one indigenous St. Helena Island (South Carolina), “Mary had actually A Baby.” James Weldon Johnson contends that these spirituals and any others with recommendations to the birth of Christ belong to the time after Emancipation and also none of the earlier collections contained this theme. He likewise suggested the enslaved Africans believed of Jesus together a powerful Savior, exemplified, because that example, in “Ride On, King Jesus,” rather than a helpless infant.

African American scholar Horace Clarence Boyer (1935-2009) means that “Glory come the child King” was composed by a renowned black gospel ensemble, the Angelic Gospel Singers. Your founder and also leader was Margaret Wells Allison (1921-2008), a southern Carolina aboriginal who relocated to Philadelphia when she to be four. It to be there the she was influenced by the music of her congregation, tiny Temple Pentecostal Church. Limited piano study during her primary school years opened up the possibility to play piano for B. M. Oakley Memorial Church of God. At age 21, she join the spirituality Echoes, a touring gospel choir. Her pastor argued that she kind her own gospel group, so she created the Angelic Gospel Singers in 1944, one ensemble that continued performing until Allison’s death. The all-female group was signed by Gotham records in 1947. Your promoter suggested that they develop their very own sound by record a tune no one else had actually used. Allison made decision “Touch Me, mr Jesus” by national Baptist Convention, USA gospel legend Lucie Eddie Campbell (1895-1963). The 1949 single recording was a phenomenal success (Cummings, 2011, n.p.). Their last album was released in 2000. The Angelic Gospel Singers to be a signature group amongst Pentecostal Christians transparent the joined States, and also by 1949, they were recognized widely throughout gospel circles. In their later on years, they included some male vocalists and also instrumentalists, however Allison served as the main keyboardist.

As Boyer notes, “Although not noticeable from its beforehand success, ‘Glory to the brand-new Born King’ (1950) ended up being as well-known in gospel music circles together ‘White Christmas’ is in the famous music world” (Boyer, 1995, pp. 111-112). A perform of the recordings that the Angelic Gospel Singers indicates a 1952 solitary record with “Glory, Glory come the newborn King” ~ above one side and also “Jesus Christ Is Born” on the various other (Angelic Gospel Singers, Wikipedia, n.p.). Information provided by Allison’s daughter in her obituary states, “Her legacy includes songs such as: the original composition the “Glory to the newborn King” which is a Christmas classic . . .” (Manovich, 2008, n.p.). For some time, it was not particular that “Glory to the newborn King” and also “Jesus, Jesus, Oh, what a wonderful child” to be the very same song, the latter perhaps being a later on version (McIntyre, 2013, n.p.). An undated YouTube record of the Angelic Gospel Singers (Lyric Video) that has surfaced newly indicating that they undoubtedly are the same song through some ethereal variations (see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MlvxmYs2noY). An additional 1997 performance, “The Angelic Gospel Singers! 50 years ‘Live’ in Birmingham,” if not consisting of “Glory come the newborn King,” demonstrates not only a near stylistic connection to the song, but also includes numerous songs the incorporate a rhetorical use of “Jesus, Jesus,” as discovered in the refrain (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pSDte7qCf2o).

Apparently, the song stayed somewhat restricted in use until Mariah Carey tape-recorded it on her album Merry Christmas (1994), after which it became much an ext widely known and also recorded. Carey’s power on the recording (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k2azO6P2QfQ) mirrors a solid Pentecostal performance practice. Amongst numerous various other recordings, a 2009 rendition by gospel singer delight Gardner with Christ Church Pentecostal, Inc. Choir (a global denomination based in Jacksonville, Florida) demonstrates the song’s country crossover to wider audiences (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cLTbDVNpowc).

The refrain as tape-recorded by the Angelic Gospel Singers is basically the very same as the version quoted at the beginning of the post with the exemption of Allison’s line, “New life and also hope to all he brings” and the use of “angels” (plural) quite than a solitary “angel”. Mariah Carey sings a slightly various version, “New life, brand-new hope, new joy the brings.” Allison inserts a single soloistic stanza in between the repetitions the the refrain. The stanza, detailed below, is the text as sung by the Angelic Gospel Singers. Mariah Carey’s textual variations room in brackets:

He to be herald by the angels,Born in a lowly mangerThe Virgin mary liked as his motherand Joseph together his earthly father.The wise men traveled from afar,they were guided through the shining starto view King Jesus together that lay,in a manger filled with hay.

An improvised leg by Carey in a an ext current Pentecostal style has also been added with the adhering to words:

Oh Jesus, Jesus, Mary"s baby,Lamb that God, Heavenly Child,Jesus, Jesus, ns Love Him;Oh Jesus, Almighty God, King the kings;Oh Jesus, five Jesus, Oh, oh, oh, JesusWonderful, exorbitant oneOh, oh, five Jesus, five Jesus, child of God;Oh Jesus, Glory, Glory, Glory come thenew born King, yeah...

The vocal plan used in numerous hymnals is through Jeffrey Radford (1953-2002), a Chicago-born musician that studied body organ with Robert Wooten, Sr., the conductor the the Wooten Chorale. Rev. Jeremiah Wright engaged Radford to build the music regimen at Trinity unified Church the Christ in 1972 and, through Wright, prospered the congregation native 100 come 8,000 members through a choir regimen of 950 participants at the moment of Radford’s fatality (Westermeyer, 2010, pp. 78-79).

Describing the music, Dean McIntyre states, “The tune is in a heavily rhythmic 12/8 meter result from the triplet subdivision of a 4/4 meter. The melody is person who is abnormal restricted, consisting virtually entirely of the note G, A and B plus the lowered 3rd of Bb. The melody rises and also climaxes top top a D in the ‘Glory, glory, glory’ angels’ song” (McIntyre, 2013, n.p.).

The an initial printed variation of the hymn has not to be determined. That is amazing to keep in mind that the rarely appears in any kind of standard african American hymnals v the exemption of This far by Faith (1999), perhaps due to the fact that of its at an early stage association v Pentecostal traditions. The brand-new Century Hymnal (1995) included the refrain together “African American Traditional” through Radford’s voicing, and Sing! a brand-new Creation (2001) gives the refrain v Radford’s vocal parts and also an accompaniment by Horace Clarence Boyer. The message is listed as being written by “Doc Bagby” and also the music created by Margaret Allison. The author could not find any type of further association between Bagby and also this song. Since then the refrain has been consisted of in several twenty-first century mainline hymnals. The initial stanza sung by the Angelic Gospel Singers is clear soloistic and, therefore, not consisted of in any hymnal.


“Angelic Gospel Singers,” Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Angelic_Gospel_Singers.

Horace Clarence Boyer, How Sweet the Sound: The golden e of Gospel (Washington, D. C.: Elliott and Clark Publishing, 1995).

Tony Cummings, “Angelic Gospel Singers: Margaret Allison still to sing ‘Touch Me, mr Jesus’,” Cross Rhythms (April 3, 2011), http://www.crossrhythms.co.uk/articles/music/Angelic_Gospel_Singers_Margaret_Allison_still_singing_Touch_Me_Lord_Jesus/43165/p1.

James Weldon Johnson and J. Rosamond Johnson, The books of african American Spirituals, Vol. 2 (New York: The Viking Press, <1925, 1926> 1969).

Bob Manovich, “RIP: Margaret Allison of the Angelic Gospel Singers,” Journal of Gospel Music (July 31, 2008), http://journalofgospelmusic.com/gospel/rip-margaret-allison-of-the-angelic-gospel-singers.

Dean McIntyre, “Jesus, Jesus, Oh, What a exorbitant Child,” Discipleship ministries (September 5, 2013), https://www.moment-g.com/resources/jesus-jesus-oh-what-a-wonderful-child.

Erskine Peters, Ed., Lyrics the the Afro-American Spiritual: A Documentary Collection; The Greenwood Encyclopedia of black color Music(Westport, CN: Greenwood Press, 1993).

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Paul Westermeyer, Hymnal Companion: Evangelical Lutheran Worship (Minneapolis: Augsburg Fortress, 2010).