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December 4

On July 16, 1933, John Jacob Niles was in Murphy, North Carolina when he heard the first three lines of this song sung by a young girl named Annie Morgan. Based on this fragment, he wrote "I Wonder as I Wander" and performed it for the first time on December 19, 1933 at the John C. Campbell Folk School in Brasstown, North Carolina. I recorded this on mandolin and on a banjo with a skin head and nylon strings in the key of C minor.

Downloads: mp3

I Wonder as I Wander

Performed by Greg Barlow on mandolin and banjo

Words and music: Appalachian carol collected by John Jacob Niles, 1933.

I wonder as I wander out under the sky,
How Jesus the Savior did come for to die.
For poor on'ry people like you and like I...
I wonder as I wander out under the sky.

When Mary birthed Jesus 'twas in a cow's stall,
With wise men and farmers and shepherds and all.
But high from God's heaven a star's light did fall,
And the promise of ages it then did recall.

If Jesus had wanted for any wee thing,
A star in the sky, or a bird on the wing,
Or all of God's angels in heav'n for to sing,
He surely could have it, 'cause he was the King.

Sources and more information