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Oh Come, Angel Band

Written by Jefferson Hascall in 1860, this gospel spiritual is an uplifting hymn celebrating the joy of passing from this earth. The song is written from the perspective of a dying person who calls to the angel band to bring them to their eternal home. It is a popular song performed by many folk and bluegrass artists. It portrays death as a peaceful passing from this earth filled with challenges into a new realty of eternity. It is clearly a Christian hymn as it speaks of being saved through Jesus' suffering and conveys the belief in eternal life.

The Stanley Brother's version of this beautiful waltz was featured on the "Oh Brother! Where Art Thou" soundtrack. This movie and sound track has been credited with reawakening the commercial sales of bluegrass music. My personal favorite version of Angel Band is done by the Bluegrass Gospel Project sung with wonderful harmonies and the passionate expression of belief. It is the bonus track on their "Wander On" CD, recorded live at a Woman's Penitentiary. During the recording, you can hear the emotional response from woman in the audience. The music and lyrics are hauntingly beautiful.

The hymn has also been recorded by the Grateful Dead on their 1973 release, "Old and in the Way" and by Emmy Lou Harris on her 1987 release "Angel Band".

Lyrics:

Oh Come, Angel Band (My Latest Sun is Sinking Fast)

My latest sun is sinking fast,
My race is nearly run;
My strongest trials now are past,
My triumph is begun.
Chorus:
Oh, come, angel band,
Come and around me stand;
Oh, bear me away on your snow white wings
To my eternal home;
Oh, bear me away on your snow white wings
To my eternal home.
I know Iím near the holy ranks
Of friends and kindred dearó
I hear the waves on Jordanís banks,
The crossing must be near.
Chorus
Iíve almost reached my heavínly home,
My spirit loudly sings;
Thy holy ones, behold, they come!
I hear the noise of wings.
Chorus
Oh, bear my longing heart to Him,
Who bled and died for me;
Whose blood now cleanses from all sin,
And gives me victory.

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