Southern Black Gospel

Grade Level
9-12, C/U

Selection: Move Up
Recorded: Como, Mississippi

Suggested Activity #1:

  1. Listen to recording of 'Move Up'.

    Q: What do you hear?
    A: A man singing a solo, with a group of men singing back-up

  2. Listen again to beginning of recording.

    Q: Where does the back-up part enter?
    A: After the first 'Hallelu'.
    Q: Does the back-up part change?
    A: No. There is slight variation in the man's part that is singing bum bum bum - but the Move Up stays the same.

  3. Teach the back-up part. Choose the number of parts that the students can handle. Once learned, students sing the back-up along with the recording. Stop just before the interlude begins. 
    -the recording sounds a half step above
  4. Listen to the interlude section.

    Q: Does the back-up part stay the same?
    A: No.
    Q: What do the back-up singers do during the interlude?
    A: They sing the whole line together.
    Q: When do they go back to the 'move up' part?
    A: After the soloist sings 'Lord'.

  5. Listen to recording from beginning. Sing back-up parts. Stop just before coda section.
  6. Learn coda. Sing the entire back-up part from the beginning.
  7. Extension - have a soloist or small group sing the solo part while the group sings the back-up section.

Suggested Activity #2:

  1. Listen to other versions of the song "Move Up," i.e. Patty Griffin.
  2. The group on the recording was called "Longtown Pilgrim Travelers." Their group name may have been derived from the popular gospel group from the 1930s to the 1950s known as Pilgrim Travelers. Listen to songs by the Pilgrim Travelers.

    The Pilgrim Travelers were formed by Joe Johnson and the Davis brothers in Houston in the early 1930's. By 1942, the group had moved to Los Angeles and was joined by Kylo Turner and Keith Barber. In the early years they mimicked the style of the Golden Gates' jubilee and the Soul Stirrers' gospel. Eventually the excellence of their leads set them apart. In 1945, J. W. Alexander joined the group and became their manager. Under Alexander, the group became more flamboyant in their showmanship often wrecking the churches they sang in, while charming the women. In 1947 the group made some records for small L.A. labels. Later that year Art Rupe signed them to Specialty Records just after they got a new baritone, Jesse Whitaker. Rupe created one of the first companies to nurture African-American gospel music. Originally, the Pilgrim Travelers were recorded a cappella. Eventually, the floor was miked to pick up their percussive foot tapping which was marketed as walking rhythm spirituals. The group enjoyed immense popularity as a result. Between 1947 and 1956, the Pilgrim Travelers recorded over a hundred sides on Specialty. During their reign, they influenced such singers as Ray Charles, Lou Rawls and Sam Cooke. Though the members of the group have faded from memory, their musical legacy will live on. (Retrieved on September 15, 2012 from

  3. Prepare pictures in a slide presentation from the ACE website related to Como, or Fred McDowell, or Ed McNeill.

Move Up
Ed McNeill, Como, 9/25/1959, group is Longtown Pilgrim Travelers
At home of Fred McDowell 
I believe in my soul that I’m goin’ on home, Hallelu,*  O Lord
One day I got to move when the staff is lowered
It mean stickin’ my sword in the sand
I’m gonna move on home to Jesus 
Over in the glory land
Then a choice to keep a haft
And a good God to glorify
And then all these dyin’ souls to say
To be pitied for the sky
I’m gonna move, I’m gonna move
Sho ‘nuff, I’ve got to move
Well, then all my life I want to know how my Jesus love me so
Lord, Oh Lord, then I’m moving, Oh Lord

And I’m gonna move to the sky, to my heavenly home on high
I’m gonna move up to see my mother, I’m gonna see my father. too
I’m gonna sing with the angels, Tell ‘em how I made it through
Then a choice to keep a haft
And a good God to glorify
Then all these dyin’ souls to say
To be pitied for the sky
I’m gonna move, I’m gonna move
Sho ‘nuff,  I‘ve got to move
Sho ‘nuff, I’ve got to move
I wanna leave in the morning and it won’t be very long.
You’re gonna look for me down here
And I’ll be gone on home
Gonna holla with my father,
Gonna chat with the son,
Gonna tell him all about this world that I came from
I’m gonna move, I’m gonna move
I’m gonna move move move move move move
Sho ‘nuff, I’ve got to move, Sho ‘nuff, I’ve got to move.

I believe I move on up in glory after while.

Designed by Karen Howard