Jon simply names his source as, “Also from The McGarrigle Hour album.” This seems likely to be a spiritual and that may have some roots in The Bahamas. You can read more on Mudcat here. It’s a simple enough folk-hymn, that may have it’s roots in something older, but this Wiki page about spirituals is interesting and suggests that might not have been the case. It’s also interesting that The Weavers recorded a version on a record called Songs For Political Actions, suggesting that this in some way became politicised, perhaps identified with the Civil Rights Movement. Although I guess that the sentiment, which seems to be accepting of death and subsequent heavenly promotion, suggests that God and righteousness are indeed on the side of the singer. Whatever his or her fate the moral high ground is claimed. Having just found the CD on my shelf, I note that the McGarrigles’ version is arranged by Chaim Tannenbaum who is described as a “musical playmate of Kate & Anna’s since schooldays.” The notes for the track make clear reference to the Bahamian origins, “learned form a favourite Sam Charters anthology.” It also claims that it was a regular in their set “as a showcase for Chaim’s extraordinary singing.” I promised myself I’d play the CD the last time the Kate & Anna came up, I shall do so this evening.
You can buy the October digital album now from all good download stores: