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 Playing Advice: Clawhammer and Old-Time Styles
 ARCHIVED TOPIC: TOTW 12/11/15 "Kingdom Coming"

Please note this is an archived topic, so it is locked and unable to be replied to. You may, however, start a new topic and refer to this topic with a link:

banjukebox - Posted - 12/10/2015:  23:51:58

This week's TOTW is a Civil War era song written in 1862 by Henry Clay Work titled "Kingdom Coming".

It has also been known as "Lincoln's Gunboats" and "The Year of Jubilo"

Words that accompany the tune are written from the perspective of and in the dialect of freed slaves on a southern plantation.

As was the custom at the time there was no attempt to achieve political correctness in the lyrics.

The lyrics can be found here:

A search through youtube reveals many examples:

Pete Seeger, with lyrics:

​Tom Berghan:

​Frank George, on fiddle:

​Josh Turknett:

Just to name a few.


The tune has been adapted for other purposes as well. I found a reference that stated the words had been changed for the movie "Meet me in Saint Louis" where it was sung by Judy Garland. Unfortunately, I was unable to find a recording to post.

Most of us (who are old enough) remember it even being used in old cartoons:

These days, it's not uncommon for it to be heard in an old-time jam in the Key of D









(click to view)


guitarman8491 - Posted - 12/11/2015:  06:01:13

Pat very well done!

carlb - Posted - 12/11/2015:  06:02:16

Great pick. The song celebrates emancipation.

BobTheGambler - Posted - 12/11/2015:  07:14:33

Chubby Parker recorded it in the '20s:



Brooklynbanjoboy - Posted - 12/11/2015:  12:06:47

Here's Dwight Diller on the tune, from the CD FESTIVAL FAVORITES, newly posted with his other CDs on BANDCAMP:

Mark Johnson - Posted - 12/11/2015:  12:16:10

Howie Bursen does a spirited version, filled to the brim with his hallmark triplets and syncopation, on his album Cider in the Kitchen.  He really captures the boisterousness of the song.  I can't find a full version online, but there are some snippets available:


I really like Chubby Parker's.  I wish I could whistle like that!


banjukebox - Posted - 12/11/2015:  13:21:07

Thanks for posting the other links - all great examples.

I've just posted a simple tab in the tab index for anyone interested.


Kingdom Coming Tab


Zischkale - Posted - 12/11/2015:  14:04:47

Nice choice and playing, Pat! I like many of y'all heard this one on Warner Bros (maybe MGM) cartoons when I was a kid, I recall some wolf who had been ACME'd up strolling off to the horizon all dejected and whistling the tune. It was a fun circle to make when I started playing banjo and realized it was in the old-time repertoire.

The lyrics, as per the standard minstrel show fare, are unfortunate (though historically interesting and less unfortunate than others), but even so I find that "contraband" line pretty funny. I like Pete Seeger's version, tends to be a bit more syncopated than some, and he makes some good calls replacing a few choice words.

The Tom Berghan version with bass banjo is great! That bass line is a little jazzy, surprising listen, I enjoyed it.

banjered - Posted - 12/11/2015:  14:21:37

Years ago when I was first learning CH, a fellow played this tune up on a stage and I SO wanted to be able to play that tune on a banjo too. I was really struggling to get the most basics of basics in those days, no internet and no one to show me. It seemed where I was and where I wanted to go were worlds apart and it was hard to imagine to ever be able to play like that. Now I have been able to play that tune pretty easily for years but it still stands out in my mind as an awesome banjo tune, wonderful renditions above. Banjered

JanetB - Posted - 12/11/2015:  16:29:01

Another wonderful choice for TOTW, Pat, and I've already learned a lot.  The theme of freedom from slavery goes straight to the heart. 

My version is close to yours, but my pitch is lower while played on a minstrel banjo. 

Year of Jubilo


banjukebox - Posted - 12/11/2015:  16:53:49

That sounds great on the minstrel, Janet. And thanks for alerting me about the faulty link above.


The link to the "Cartoon" in my original post went nowhere. Here's what I was trying to post:

The Thinker - Posted - 12/12/2015:  11:04:28

I really like this version ,ain't nothing like a good chord climer,.I usually throw my version on the end of Tennessee Stud ,it seems to fit

Vega1924 - Posted - 12/13/2015:  15:13:18

Here is another interesting take on it by Chris Coole:

banjukebox - Posted - 12/13/2015:  15:42:28

That's a good one too. The fretless on that sounds great!

jack_beuthin - Posted - 12/16/2015:  22:24:24

Yet another fun TOTW.!  A great tune for jams or playing solo.  I've been working on an up-the-neck rendition, but didn't quite get it ready for prime time.  Heres' my standard run at it.

Year of Jubilo (TOTW OT 12/11/15)


banjukebox - Posted - 12/17/2015:  06:22:12

A nice addition, Jack. I'd be interested in hearing your high version as well.

Wyozark - Posted - 12/17/2015:  15:56:20

I was racking my brain trying to figure out how I know this tune. Could have been a cartoon, or Meet Me in St. Louis; but it was probably this, which I heard as a kid. It's Tennessee Ernie Ford's version with completely different lyrics..

I think my grandparents had the record album and played it.



banjukebox - Posted - 12/17/2015:  17:08:45

Nice! Never heard that version.

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