Standing In The Need of Prayer (Tis Me Oh Lord) is a traditional African American spiritual. The author is unknown, but the first known publication was in “Negro Spirituals” with arrangements by H. T. Burleigh in 1918. The publisher was G. Ricordi & Co. It’s interesting to note the price was 40 cents, with no available discount. Given the timing, circa early 1900s, that seems to be a bit pricy. The thumbnail image on the right side here has a link to the Duke University Libraries website, with the full-sized image to be read in detail.
A lot happened behind the scenes with this song. At the time, I didn’t know what song to select, and asked Mom for suggestions. She suggested Standing In The Need of Prayer (also “Standin’ in de Need of Pray’r”, and “Tis Me, O Lord”). I’d never heard it before, but my grand-nieces sing it at church. It’s a fun hymn and is also public domain in the U.S., which was a deciding factor.
Learning a completely new song takes me longer than it used to. Exacerbated in this case by a lack of inspiration for how to approach it. ‘Standing In The Need’ has a southern gospel feel, but it needed to sound fun, too. Of all places, inspiration finally came from Veggie Tales. Their version sounded so much like my style! I shamelessly borrowed tremendously from the Veggie Tales rendition. (Click here to see it on Youtube.)
During the ‘learning time’ when I’m feeling out the arrangement, my keyboard started playing very discordant notes with certain keys, mostly D, G, A, and C but some other combinations also caused it. So it was necessary to avoid those combinations while still getting the right sounds. Throw in a few real life delays and distractions, and it wound up taking 3 months to get this recorded. Hopefully that won’t become the new standard…
My first time to play it properly was at Mom and Dad’s. 2 grand-nieces were there, Laloni and Jade. Jade said “It looks so easy when you do it”, which is one of the nicest things anybody’s ever told me. A lot went into making it look easy!
P.S. — Small footnote – in the ‘how to play’ video, the sheets show the final note as being a pair of high G’s, but the video does not play that final note. For some reason the software just wouldn’t play it. If you’ll watch the actual playing video, at the end, you’ll see the difference. I think the last note gives it a touch of humor, so be sure to try it out.