My husband and I recently heard this song for the first time while watching a television program. “Down to the River to Pray” has been called a hymn, a spiritual and an Appalachian song. Some believe it may have been a Native American Tribal song that was adapted to include Christian lyrics. It is attributed to George H. Allan in the Slave Songbook of 1867, and Alison Krauss popularized it in the 2000 film, O Brother, Where Art Thou? It has also been called by different titles such as “Down in the Valley to Pray,” “Come, Let Us All Go Down” and “The Good Old Way.” It is a deeply moving spiritual song about keeping faith during times of darkness.
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