The Longest Song Wiki

This is a traditional Appalachian spiritual, the earliest recording of which dates back to 1937. It has been sung by numerous folk artists, but was popularized in the folk revivals of the 1960s and 70s, particularly by The Young Tradition.

The song was first collected by Alan and Elizabeth Lomax in Harlan County, Kentucky in 1937 as sung by G.D. Vowell, under the title "Bright Moving Stars are Rising." The origin of the song, however, likely predates the audio recording. A textual reference for the song exists in Edward Billups 1854 text "The Sweet Songster", a baptist hymn book from Kentucky. There is some debate as to the exact origins of the hymn, as it was copyrighted in the United States 1918 by the Native American Church, though other documentation points to its origins as a plantation work song (common for the origins of other spirituals).

It is often incorrectly sung as "bright morning stars", leading to some debate and conflict between varied folk singers.

Lyrics

These lyrics are based on the version performed by the Longest Johns on their live stream.

Bright morning star a-rising
Bright morning star a-rising
Bright morning star a-rising
Day is a-breaking, in my soul

Oh where are our dear fathers
Oh where are our dear fathers
Oh where are our dear fathers
Day is a-breaking, in my soul

Some are down in the valley praying
Some are down in the valley praying
Some are down in the valley praying
Day is a-breaking, in my soul

Some have gone to heaven shouting
They have gone to heaven shouting
They have gone to heaven shouting
Day is a-breaking, in my soul

Bright morning star a-rising
Bright morning star a-rising
Bright morning star a-rising
Day is a-breaking, in my soul