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The road that leads from banishment, Rain, mighty Lord.
Shout, shout, we're gaining ground,
O halle-hallelujah; The power of God is a-comin* down—
O glory hallelu\
I do believe beyond a doubt,
O halle-hallelujah; The Christian has a right to shout—
O glory hallelu\
It is their one emotional outlet. Having no theatre, no bull-fight, no arena, no sensational feature of any kind in their lives, they must, being a high-strung race, find vent some other way.
They rock to and fro softly, crooning and moaning, until the impulse comes upon them to leap into the air and scream and shout until exhausted. It is common for women, and even men, to injure themselves unawares; or, at bap-tizings, to pitch headlong into the water. I have seen con­vulsions and even temporary insanity brought on by these excesses. It is the music that produces this feeling; but these songs cannot be fairly judged sung out of their nat­ural setting of brushwood camp or half-lighted log church, and reenforced by the vibrant, frenzied voices of exhorters and the high strained singsong of the preacher who has reached what is known as his "weavin' way." I confess that the wild fascination of a mountain revival has a strange power over me; the scene and the music draw me with a charm that I do not understand.
Such a religion has naturally little to do with moral law. I am far from wishing to imply that they regard no prin­ciples of right and wrong, or that their own code of morals is not rigidly adhered to by the majority. The popular idea in this connection is, I am well aware, one of lawlessness. But the world at large knows little of the mountain people except as some bloody feud or fight over a raided still finds its way into court. This is as if one judged society by the divorce columns and reports of frauds and embezzlement. It should be remembered that the greater number of the
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E-Book - An Annotated Compendium of Old Time American Songs by James Alverson III