Been in the Storm So Long

Been in the Storm So Long

by Guy Carawan


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Been in the Storm So Long

Well-known amongst anthropologists and musicologists, St. John's Island, SC, is one of the oldest African-American communities in North America and, because of its isolation, has one of the best preserved "slave" cultures. While the status and validity of this last point are highly debatable, there is no denying that this selection of 1960s field recordings, put out by Smithsonian Folkways, is one of the most captivating albums ever released. More than just an album, it is a document of a community where music is as integral to life as the weather. The recordings trace the role of music through a number of areas in everyday life. In "Welcome Table & Prayer," a quiet, sweet female voice delivers a stream-of-consciousness prayer and thanksgiving that melismatically blends speech and song in a highly original way. This is followed by a performance of "Ezekial in the Valley," where a chorus is offset by clapped and stomped counter-rhythms. The lyrics of the title track, "Been in the Storm So Long," sums the experience of the island's community: "Oh Lord give me more time/I been in the storm so long." The album also contains several children's stories and games, including the ring-and-the-rosey haunt "Mr. Postman Die." The remainder of the songs range from the simply beautiful "Moon Light in Glory," the simply terrifying sermon "Reborn Again," and to the epiphanic harmonizing of "Down on Me." Literally, this is an album that could set the world on fire.

Product Details

Release Date: 07/13/1992
Label: Smithsonian Folkways
UPC: 0093074003121
catalogNumber: 40031
Rank: 171983

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Guy Carawan   Primary Artist
James Mackay   Vocals
Laura Rivers   Vocals
Bertha Smith   Vocals
Alice Wine   Vocals
Bengamin Bligen   Vocals
Ruth Bligen   Vocals
Esau Jankins   Voices
Mary Pickney   Vocals
Janie Hunter   Vocals,Speech/Speaker/Speaking Part

Technical Credits

Champion Jack Dupree   Composer
Guy Carawan   Liner Notes
Mississippi Fred McDowell   Composer
Scott Billington   Art Direction
Candie Carawan   Liner Notes
David Gahr   Cover Photo
Gabriel Gordon   Composer

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