Oh, Had I a Golden Thread

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a cappella SATB - by Pete Seeger - arr. Peter Amidon

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a cappella SATB - by Pete Seeger - arr. Peter Amidon

In Amidons' book/CD "Twenty-five Anthems for Interfaith & Community Choirs" Sung here by Friends-of-the-Amidons-Singers. This arrangement was inspired by Margaret MacArthur and her adult children's a cappella performance of the song at a concert Peter Amidon had organized to benefit Katrina Hurricane victims. The lyrics of the song provided the title for Pete Seeger's TV show "Rainbow Quest": 38 episodes each with Pete interviewing and singing with American traditional musicians like Johnny Cash, June Carter, Reverend Gary Davis, Mississippi John Hurt, Doc Watson, The Stanley Brothers and Elizabeth Cotten. Each show opens with Pete singing "Oh, Had I A Golden Thread". Here is a Rainbow Quest show where Pete interviews & sings with Johnny Cash & June Carter. And here are some more interpretations of Pete Seeger's "Oh, Had I a Golden Thread":

LYRICS

Oh, Had I a Golden Thread
by Pete Seeger

Had I a golden thread,
And needle so fine:
I’d weave a magic strand
Of rainbow design,
Of rainbow design

In it I’d weave the bravery
Of a women giving birth.
I’d weave the innocence
Of children of this earth,
Children of this earth.

Far o’er the waters
I’d reach my magic band
To every human being,
So they would understand,
So they would understand.

Tell my brothers and my sisters
Of my rainbow design.
Bind up this sorry world
With heart and hand and mind,
Heart and hand and mind.

    *      *

Here are lyrics to the song (some of which are not included in the above Amidon arrangement) as they appeared in the liner notes of Pete Seeger's 1960 Folkways album "Rainbow Quest":

Oh, had I a golden thread,
And needle so fine.
I’d weave a magic strand,
Of rainbow design.
Of rainbow design.

In it I would weave the bravery,
Of women giving birth.
And in it I would weave the innocence
Of children over all the earth.
Children of our earth.

In it I would weave the restlessness
Of men going ever forth.
Through heat of blistering desert sands,
And blizzards of the North.
Through the frozen North.

Far over the waters,
I’d reach my magic band,
Through foreign cities,
To every single land.
To every land.

Show my brothers and my sisters,
My rainbow design.
Bind up this sorry world,
With hand and heart and mind.
Hand and heart and mind.

Far over the waters,
I’d reach my magic band.
To every human being,
So they would understand.
So they would understand.


 

Tags: secular, a cappella, New