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

Jesus, Jesus, O what a wonderful child.Jesus, Jesus, for this reason holy, meek and mild;new life, new hope the kid 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 african American” in most hymnals and as one “African American Spiritual” in a few. Beginning with the second designation – afri American spiritual – this is virtually certainly no correct. Because that example, no collections of spirituals perform an entrance by this name, consisting of the huge Lyrics that the Afro-American Spiritual edited through Erskine Peters (Westport, CN, 1993). Furthermore, within the bigger corpus of afri American spirituals, the theme of the nativity that Jesus is fairly rare. Afri American poet and also scholar James Weldon Johnson (1871-1938) discusses the historical and social paper definition of the Christmas holiday in the antebellum South:

. . . The anniversary the the birth of Christ was not, in the South, in any type of sense a sacred or spiritual holiday. Approximately within current years , in ~ least, it has been commemorated chiefly through gunpowder and also whiskey. It has actually there to be the most secular, even the most profane of all holidays. In slavery times it to be the someday on which the servants were offered a type of freedom. The liberty the coming and also going was considerably enlarged. On many plantations whiskey was distributed. The day was one provided over to a good time; come singing, dancing, and also visiting; to guzzling, gluttony and also debauchery (Johnson, <1926> 1969, pp. 14-15).

Johnson continues to note that such a celebration event “destroyed in the minds of the slaves any type of idea of connection between the birth of Christ and his life and death” (Johnson, <1926>, 1969, p. 15). As a result, the 2 collections totaling 120 spirituals published by Johnson and also his brothers J. Rosamond Johnson in the very first quarter of the twenty century records just two Christmas-related entries, a spiritual built up in Virginia, “Dar’s A Star In De East” (“Rise increase Shepherd An’ Foller”), and one from St. Helena Island (South Carolina), “Mary had actually A Baby.” James Weldon Johnson contends that these spirituals and any rather with referrals to the bear of Christ belong to the moment after Emancipation and also none that the previously collections included this theme. He additionally suggested that enslaved Africans thought of Jesus together a an effective Savior, exemplified, for example, in “Ride On, King Jesus,” quite than a helpless infant.

African American scholar Horace Clarence Boyer (1935-2009) implies that “Glory come the newborn King” was written by a famous black gospel ensemble, the Angelic Gospel Singers. Your founder and also leader was Margaret Wells Allison (1921-2008), a south Carolina native who relocated to Philadelphia once she to be four. It was there that she was influenced by the music of her congregation, little Temple Pentecostal Church. Restricted piano study throughout her elementary years opened up the possibility to pat piano for B. M. Oakley Memorial Church the God. At period 21, she join the spiritual Echoes, a touring gospel choir. Her pastor suggested that she kind her very own gospel group, for this reason she established the Angelic Gospel Singers in 1944, one ensemble that continued performing till Allison’s death. The all-female team was signed through Gotham documents in 1947. Your promoter argued that they develop their own sound by recording a track no one else had actually used. Allison determined “Touch Me, mr Jesus” by nationwide Baptist Convention, USA gospel legend Lucie Eddie Campbell (1895-1963). The 1949 single recording to be a phenomenal success (Cummings, 2011, n.p.). Their final album was published in 2000. The Angelic Gospel Singers to be a signature group among Pentecostal Christians throughout the united States, and by 1949, they were known widely throughout gospel circles. In their later years, they included some masculine vocalists and also instrumentalists, however Allison served as the primary keyboardist.

As Boyer notes, “Although not evident from its at an early stage success, ‘Glory come the new Born King’ (1950) became as popular in gospel music circles together ‘White Christmas’ is in the famous music world” (Boyer, 1995, pp. 111-112). A list of the recordings of the Angelic Gospel Singers suggests a 1952 single record v “Glory, Glory come the newborn King” on 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 she obituary states, “Her legacy has songs together as: the original composition the “Glory to the child King” i beg your pardon is a Christmas standard . . .” (Manovich, 2008, n.p.). For part time, it to be not details that “Glory to the child King” and also “Jesus, Jesus, Oh, what a wonderful child” were the very same song, the latter perhaps gift a later on version (McIntyre, 2013, n.p.). One undated YouTube record of the Angelic Gospel Singers (Lyric Video) that has actually surfaced newly indicating the they undoubtedly are the very same song through some subtle variations (see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MlvxmYs2noY). Secondary 1997 performance, “The Angelic Gospel Singers! 50 year ‘Live’ in Birmingham,” while not including “Glory to the child King,” demonstrates not just a near stylistic connection to the song, but additionally includes number of songs that incorporate a rhetorical usage of “Jesus, Jesus,” as discovered in the refrain (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pSDte7qCf2o).

Apparently, the song stayed somewhat minimal in use till Mariah Carey recorded it on she album Merry Christmas (1994), after which it ended up being much more widely known and also recorded. Carey’s power on the record (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k2azO6P2QfQ) mirrors a solid Pentecostal performance practice. Amongst numerous other recordings, a 2009 rendition by gospel singer joy Gardner with Christ Church Pentecostal, Inc. Choir (a worldwide denomination based in Jacksonville, Florida) demonstrates the song’s ethnic crossover to broader 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 variation quoted in ~ the beginning of the write-up with the exemption of Allison’s line, “New life and hope to all he brings” and also the use of “angels” (plural) fairly than a solitary “angel”. Mariah Carey sings a slightly different version, “New life, brand-new hope, brand-new joy he brings.” Allison inserts a single soloistic stanza between the repetitions that the refrain. The stanza, provided below, is the text as sung through the Angelic Gospel Singers. Mariah Carey’s textual variations room in brackets:

He was herald through the angels,Born in a lowly mangerThe Virgin mar favored as his motherand Joseph as his earthly father.The wise males traveled indigenous afar,they to be guided through the shining starto watch King Jesus as he lay,in a manger filled through hay.

An improvised bridge by Carey in a more current Pentecostal style has additionally been included with the following words:

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

The vocal setup used in numerous hymnals is by Jeffrey Radford (1953-2002), a Chicago-born musician who studied organ with Robert Wooten, Sr., the conductor the the Wooten Chorale. Rev. Jeremiah Wright involved Radford to develop the music regime at Trinity unified Church that Christ in 1972 and, with Wright, thrived the congregation indigenous 100 come 8,000 members with a choir regimen of 950 entrants at the moment of Radford’s death (Westermeyer, 2010, pp. 78-79).

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

The first printed variation of the hymn has not been determined. It is amazing to note that it rarely appears in any standard african American hymnals v the exception of This far by Faith (1999), perhaps because of its early association v Pentecostal traditions. The new Century Hymnal (1995) contained the refrain as “African American Traditional” through Radford’s voicing, and Sing! a brand-new Creation (2001) provides the refrain v Radford’s vocal parts and also an accompaniment by Horace Clarence Boyer. The text is detailed as being composed by “Doc Bagby” and the music composed by Margaret Allison. The author could no find any type of further association in between Bagby and also this song. Since then the refrain has been included in numerous twenty-first century mainline hymnals. The initial stanza sung by the Angelic Gospel Singers is clear soloistic and, therefore, not included in any type of 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 singing ‘Touch Me, lord 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 publications of afri American Spirituals, Vol. 2 (New York: The Viking Press, <1925, 1926> 1969).

Bob Manovich, “RIP: Margaret Allison that 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 wonderful Child,” Discipleship ns (September 5, 2013), https://www.bsci-ch.org/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 Music(Westport, CN: Greenwood Press, 1993).

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