Mudcat Café message #3483386 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #149681   Message #3483386
Posted By: Azizi
24-Feb-13 - 07:16 PM
Thread Name: Jamaican Songs About The River Jordan
Subject: Jamaican Songs About The River Jordan
Since at least the early 1960s, there have been a number of Jamaican Ska & Reggae recordings and church congregational songs about the River Jordan.

I was unaware of those songs until yesterday when I happened upon them while searching for YouTube videos of versions of the African American Spiritual "Roll Jordan Roll".

The Jamaican songs that I've found have the title "Roll Jordan Roll", or "Jordan River" or "Roll River Jordan".

There are a number of references online about those songs, several YouTube song files, and at least one video (of a Jamaican Zion Sacred Heart Sabbath church congregation singing & dancing to their rendition). But there's not much information about those songs (including recording dates and composers), and there's not many transcriptions online of those song's lyrics.

I just published a two part series of posts on my pancocojams cultural blog that features a total of seven of those songs. The first post in that series includes information & editorial comments about the religious and folkloric significance of the "River Jordan". That post also includes information about the history of the African American "Roll Jordan Roll" Spiritual which I believe is the inspiration for all of those Jamaican songs. That post also includes two citations of this Mudcat thread:

Both of those posts feature sound files (and one video) of those songs. When I couldn't find any transcriptions of those songs, I added my attempts at transcriptions. When lyrics to the song were already online, I just added a link, though I admit that some online lyrics aren't that accurate.

In most cases, I also added brief information about the songs and/or the singers, or the song's performance genre.

My purpose for starting this Mudcat post is to share the links to those posts as a means of raising awareness of these Jamaican songs. I'm also interested in any information about these songs and any additional examples of these types of Caribbean songs.

Here are the links to my two blog posts: Jamaican Songs About The River Jordan (Part I)

The three songs that are featured in Part I of this series are
Laurel Aitken - "Roll Jordan Roll", Wingless Angels -"Roll River Jordan", and a Zion Sacred Heart Sabbath church (Jamaica) congregational rendition of "Roll Jordan Roll". Jamaican Songs About The River Jordan (Part II)
The featured Jamaican songs in this post are Clancy Eccles with Hersang -"River Jordan", Burning Spear- "Jordan River", The Itals - Roll River Jordan", and Linval Thompson - "Roll river Jordan".

I'll add a transcription of one example of those songs in my next post.

Thanks in advance for any information about these songs and/or any songs like them.