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Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child

Anonymous
Language: English


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"Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child" (or simply "Motherless Child") is a traditional Negro spiritual. The song dates back to the era of slavery in the United States when it was common practice to sell children of slaves away from their parents. An early performance of the song dates back to the 1870s by the Fisk Jubilee Singers. Like many traditional songs, it has many variations and has been recorded widely.

Superficially, the song is clearly an expression of pain and despair as it conveys the hopelessness of a child who has lost her mother. A subtlety in the lyrics, however, offers a measure of hope. The repetitive singing of the word "sometimes" in the song's melody line suggests that at least "sometimes" I do not feel like a motherless child

Although the plaintive words can be interpreted literally, they were much more likely metaphoric. The “motherless child” could be a slave separated from and yearning for his African homeland, a slave suffering “a long ways from home”—home being heaven—or most likely both.

Richie Havens used lyrical elements of this piece in an improvised song at Woodstock Festival in 1969 when he ran out of songs to play after being called back for multiple encores.

Wikipedia
Sometimes I feel like a motherless child
Sometimes I feel like a motherless child
Sometimes I feel like a motherless child
A long ways from home
A long ways from home
True believer
A long ways from home
Along ways from home

Sometimes I feel like I’m almos’ gone
Sometimes I feel like I’m almos’ gone
Sometimes I feel like I’m almos’ gone
Way up in de heab’nly land
Way up in de heab’nly land
True believer
Way up in de heab’nly land
Way up in de heab’nly land

Sometimes I feel like a motherless child
Sometimes I feel like a motherless child
Sometimes I feel like a motherless child
A long ways from home
There’s praying everywhere

Contributed by Marcos - 2009/6/30 - 23:45



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