Today’ we’ll listen to Merle Haggard as he recorded the song “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot.” But first, let’s learn a little bit about the song. “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot” has been a popular gospel song since 1909. The author of the song is still yet unknown, although it is believed to be from a slave community. “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot” is an American Negro spiritual or folk song sung by slaves when they work or sometimes when they rest. It is said that “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot” is a song of hope for slaves that one day they will be free from their miserable lives.
Different Versions and Cover
The song was first performed by Fisk University Jubilee Quartet in 1909. Furthermore, this song became part of RIAA’s Songs of the Century list. Ever since then, “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot” has been recorded by many artists. There are about more than a hundred versions of this song. Artists from different genres recorded this beautiful and simple song.
- Merle Haggard
- The Louvin Brothers
- Johnny Cash
- Tennessee Ernie Ford
- Patti Page
- Jimmie Rodgers
- Bill Anderson and Jan Howard
- Joan Baez
Merle Haggard’s Version and Album
Haggard was one of the artists who covered the song “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot.” Haggard included the recording of this song for his album Songs for the Mama That Tried in 1981. His version of the song did not make it to the Billboard chart. However, his album Songs for the Mama That Tried reached No. 46 on the Billboard Top Country Albums chart. Haggards’ album contained eleven traditional gospel songs.
- “When God Comes and Gathers His Jewels”
- “He Walks with Me (In the Garden)”
- “Softly and Tenderly”
- “Why Me”
- “Where No One Stands Alone”
- “One Day at a Time”
- “What a Friend We Have in Jesus”
- “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot”
- “The Old Rugged Cross”
- “Keep on the Sunny Side”
The message of the Song
“Swing Low, Sweet Chariot” is a song that gives hope as the narrator mentions that one day he will reach a place he can call home.
“Swing low, sweet chariot
Coming for to carry me home.”
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merle haggard, swing low sweet chariot