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and State

 
 

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Sweet Day
by Justin Rosolino

About the song:

A professor of mine was teaching on Psalm 130, a chapter in the Old Testament.  In this passage, the Psalmist is longing for deliverance and poetically declares that he will wait on the Lord "more than watchmen wait for the morning."  At this point, my professor explained that in Hebrew there are two words that can be translated as the English verb "to wait". One connotes a sort of whimsical, half-hearted waiting (i.e. "waiting for the right girl" or "waiting for your ship to come in"); the other implies a deliberate and expectant waiting, as if on tiptoes.  The latter of the Hebrew words was used in this particular text, giving the impression that the author was waiting with a patient certainty.

In order to illustrate the point further, my old professor told this story about a group of natives in the West Indies who were held in slavery by the Spanish, way back in the day.  When abolition finally came around and the Spanish decreed that on such and such a day the natives would be set free, the slaves were obviously overwhelmed with joy and expectation.  On the eve of their emancipation, they stayed awake through the night so they could watch the sunrise and witness the first actual moments of their freedom. Some sang songs, others danced, others prayed.  Still others climbed to the highest point of the island and held their hands up high, waiting for the moment that the sunlight would hit their fingertips and bring forth their liberation.  It's such a beautiful, touching story, but what was even more memorable was what my professor said to the class afterward: "When you pray, do you WAIT like that?"

Guitar Notes:

I think I stole this general tuning idea from David Wilcox - tuning to an open chord and then tuning the low E string to another random note in the chord, so as to create more non-conventional voicings.  This song is basically in open G tuning (D G D G B D), but then I tune the low D down to C, a la Michael Hedges.  It sounds incredibly full and rich when played on medium or heavy acoustic strings.

Lyrics:

11 hours and 13 minutes more till emancipation's bells will start to ring.
'cause the law, they finally passed, hallelujah, free at last.
So tomorrow makes a man from what had once been property.

So come, sweet day, and free me with your ray, for you alone I'll wait...

I have heard that in the western world there's a sense of time that some
call cavalier.
Well I guess the ease of pleasure makes it harder to remember
just how it feels to see this world through hopeful tears.

So come, sweet day, and free me with your ray, for you alone I'll wait, come
sweet day.

Tonight I'll scale the highest mountain.  And when I get there, I'll climb
the tallest tree,
and when I get there, I'll raise my hands towards heaven until I feel the
light of morning touch my fingertips and set me free.

Come, sweet day, and free me with your ray, for you alone I'll wait, come,
sweet day...

 
 
   

Copyright © 1997, 1998, 1999 Justin Rosolino