Down to the valley [river] to pray

Down to the valley [river] to pray. African American spiritual*.  The earliest printed version of this song, entitled ‘The Good Old Way’, appears in the first collection of folk song published in the United States, Slave Songs of the United States* (New York, 1867). Ascribed in the index (No. 104) to ‘Mr. G[eorge] H. Allan’, Nashville, it is included in section ‘III. Inland Slave States: Including Tennessee, Arkansas, and the Mississippi River’. It is likely that Allan transmitted the song orally or transcribed it for the compilers from memory rather than composed it himself.   [Editor: Insert JPG of ‘The Good Old Way’ here]   A version of the song was included a decade later in The Story...

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