This has got to be one of the best acapella singing in the history of gospel music. I have heard the audio piece multiple times before but was oblivious that it was a live performance. Thank God for YouTube and for these good people who have kept copies of films with Allison singing. Had they not uploaded it, I would not have known that the audio song kept in my player for years was an extract from the following video.
Alison recorded the song thrice in her career; in 2000, 2002, and in 2003, with Ricky Skaggs and Doc Watson. The song remained close to the hearts of her listeners that soon, it became her mainstay acts during live presentations. It is an easy song to memorize, and any neophyte listener could sing along with ease.
As for most evangelical groups, the song is often sung during baptisms.
A traditional hymn that was dated back to the late 1800’s. Researchers suggest that it could be one of the many spiritual songs by our fellow African believers who were ill-treated as slaves in that era. As the identity of its composer is unknown, others speculate that it could also have originated from a Native American chant. The song bore different titles: “The Good Old Way”, “Come, Let Us All Go Down”, “Down to the Valley to Pray” and “Down in the Valley to Pray.”
In “The Good Old Way” version (and attributed to song collector George H. Allan), the lyrics were written as such:
As I went down in de valley to pray,
Studying about dat good old way,
When you shall wear de starry crown,
Good Lord, show me de way.
O mourner, let’s go down, let’s do down, let’s go down,
O mourner, let’s go down, Down in de valley to pray.