Mighty Day (Wasn’t That a Mighty Storm)

TITLE: Mighty Day (Wasn’t That a Mighty Storm)
AUTHORunknown
CATEGORY: Traditional, Public Domain
KEYWORDSstorm, disaster, death
EARLIEST PRINTED OR RECORDED REFERENCE: 1934
HISTORICAL REFERENCESSep 8, 1900 – Galveston, Texas hurricane and flood. Some 6,000 people die.

Galveston 1900In the booklet for Joe Hickerson’s Folk-Legacy recording, ‘Five Days Singing’ he wrote Galveston, Texas, was devastated by a hurricane in 1900, and an unknown Negro folk composer refashioned a spiritual to commemorate the awesome destruction. The ballad has had some circulation in the folksong revival through Sin-Killer Griffin’s rendition on the Library of Congress LP AFS L10, Negro Religious Songs and Services, which was in turn interpreted on recordings by Eric Von Schmidt and Tom Rush during the folk revival. (from karen k in the mudcat cafe

OTHER TITLES AND VARIATIONS:

  • The Galveston Flood

RECORDINGS: (mp3’s available through Amazon.com)

YOUTUBE VIDEO
:
YOUTUBE AUDIO: download
LYRIC & CHORD PRO CHART: download
PPT LYRICS FOR THE CLASSROOM: download
BONUS YOUTUBE VIDEO: The Highwaymen (with photographs from Galveston 1900)

Mighty Day

I remember one September,
When storm winds swept the town;
The high tide from the ocean, Lord,
Put water all around.

Wasn’t that a mighty day,
Wasn’t that a mighty day
Wasn’t that a mighty day,
Great God, that morning
When the storm winds swept the town!

There was a sea-wall there in Galveston
To keep the waters down,
But the high tide from the ocean, Lord,
Put water in the town.

The trumpets warned the people,
‘You’d better leave this place!’
But they never meant to leave their homes
Till death was in their face.

Wasn’t that a mighty day,
Wasn’t that a mighty day
Wasn’t that a mighty day,
Great God, that morning
When the storm winds swept the town!

The trains they all were loaded
With people leaving town;
The tracks gave way to the ocean, Lord,
And the trains they went on down.

The seas began to rolling,
The ships they could not land;
I heard a Captain crying,
‘God, please save a drowning man!’

Wasn’t that a mighty day,
Wasn’t that a mighty day
Wasn’t that a mighty day,
Great God, that morning
When the storm winds swept the town!

The waters, like some river,
Came a-rushing to and fro;
I saw my father drowning, God,
And I watched my mother go!

Now death, your hands are icy;
You’ve got them on my knee.
You took away my mother,
Now you’re coming after me!

Wasn’t that a mighty day,
Wasn’t that a mighty day
Wasn’t that a mighty day,
Great God, that morning
When the storm winds swept the town!

SOURCES:

  • Country Music Sources: A Biblio-Discography of Commercially Recorded Traditional Music, Guthrie T. Meade, Jr. with Dick Spottswood and Douglas S. Meade, Southern Folklife Collection, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Libraries, NC 2002—Amazon Books

SONGBOOKS:

NOTICE: I’m not the best guitar player or vocalist, but no one loves these songs more than I do. The tune and lyrics are in the public domain unless otherwise noted. The recording © copyright 2014 by Stephen Griffith and may be used by permission of the copyright holder. The variation of the song I’m posting is the version I perform and is not exactly replicating the sources cited, but is always in the same song family. If anyone has more details about this song, or believes I’ve stated something in error, please let me know. I’m also open to suggestions to improve the site. Thanks. sgg

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