Woke Up This Morning (With My Mind Stayed on Freedom)

On my trip down an Internet rabbit hole yesterday, I randomly came across a few spiritual-type songs and other tunes.

Among these songs was a video of a performance of “Woke Up This Morning (With My Mind Stayed on Freedom)” by the Resistance Revival Chorus at TEDxAsburyPark in New Jersey, USA, in 2019. However, the sound quality of the video on the chorus’s official YouTube was not the greatest. But with a little searching, I managed to find their studio recording on the YouTube topic channel. It is a stirring, moving rendition.

The chorus formed in 2017 with more than 70 women and non-binary singers from all walks of life, “… who join together to breathe joy and song into the resistance, and to uplift and center women’s voices, especially the voices of black women and women of color.”

This morning I listened to The Morning Show with John Richards on KEXP Seattle. Coincidentally, Richards played the same freedom song (considered folk music), created in a jail cell in 1961 by Black American preacher and Freedom Rides participant Reverend Robert Wesby (c1927-1988), during the civil rights movement. The piece is based on the gospel song “I Woke Up This Morning (With My Mind Stayed on Jesus).”

In July 1988, the body of Rev. Wesby was discovered in his church, having been beaten to death.

In a time of transition in America and indeed globally, this song felt like an appropriate way to mark the day and what it represents for all world citizens seeking unity, equality and peace.

Now you know a little about why this is my song of the day for today. Thanks for joining me here, and please enjoy.

Here’s the audio for the song from the Resistance Revival Chorus YouTube topic channel:

Full, unofficial lyrics are available through a Wikipedia article.

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