Saturday Single No. 741

In recognizing Juneteenth today, one hopes not to be ham-handed nor to miss the target out of simple cultural dimness.

Here’s a track titled “Day of Liberty,” recorded by the renowned string band the Carolina Chocolate Drops for a 2013 two-CD set titled Divided & United: Songs of The Civil War. The track is made up of the lyrics to the song “Wake Nicodemus,” an 1864 piece by Henry Clay Work (the composer of, among other songs, “My Grandfather’s Clock”) and a musical chorus that also comes, I assume, from the Civil War era.

As to the personnel on the track, I’m uncertain, as I don’t have the notes to the album and the group’s members changed frequently throughout its existence, but I know the female vocal is from Rhiannon Giddens, and I think that the recitation is by Dom Flemons.

All those uncertainties aside, the piece seemed like an appropriate one for the first Juneteenth following the day’s being cast as a federal holiday. So here’s “Day of Liberty,” today’s Saturday Single.


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