Sand Mountain Music

Well, phooey. I **really** wanted to get over to Terrific New Theatre’s production of ‘Sand Mountain Saturday Night’, but it ends Saturday and there is just no way I can get to it.

My Nanny’s people – the Gilberts and the Fossetts – came from Sand Mountain, specifically Grove Oak.

I don’t know how musically-inclined the Gilberts were, but the Fossetts were something else. My (great-)PawPaw Fossett (Azzie Franklin Fossett) could play piano by ear! PawPaw and his brother V.O. sang together, and V.O. Fossett is in the Alabama Music Hall of Fame:

V. O. FOSSETT— – Dekalb County, Alabama

  • Renowned for his thoroughness in gospel song work.
  • He was a teacher, an accompanist, a member of the Baxter Quartet, a writer of hundreds of songs, and editor-in-chief of song books published by the Stamps-Baxter Company.

V.O. is probably best known for writing the music for a song *everyone* knows – “I Shall Not Be Moved”.

The song has been recorded by (this is only a short list): Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Mississippi John Hurt, Joan Baez (recorded in Spanish!), Peter, Paul, and Mary, Ricky Van Shelton, Joe Thompson, U-Roy (a reggae version), The Carter Family, and Jessie Mae Hemphill. If you have iTunes loaded on your computer, just go to the ‘music store’ and search for the song.
“I Shall Not Be Moved”, or “We Shall Not Be Moved”, was also used as a very popular civil-rights song, and the lyrics were modified a bit and made into a labor/union song.
V.O.’s songs are Christian – that whole side of my family is – but (although I’m Jewish) I am so incredibly proud of that part of my family and their contributions.

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