The choir we had in Pixley wasn’t much for looks an’ styles,
But today if I could hear it I would walk a hundred miles;
There warn’t a singer in it that could boast she ‘d crossed the seas
To study with the masters and to learn to make high C’s;
There warn’t no variations, warn’t no frills that folks think grand;
Warn’t no singin’ operatic that no one can understand;
But jus’ plain gospel singin’ like the music of the birds,
An’ the congregation didn’t have to strain to catch the words.
There were jus’ four people in it — Mrs. Tompkins, Mrs. Botts,
Arthur Tweedle was the tenor, an’ the basso Jeptha Watts.
Oh, ‘t would do you good to hear ’em singin’ low ‘Abide With Me,’
An’ ‘Jerusalem the Golden’ an’ ‘The City by the Sea.
‘There was nothin’ high-falutin’ ’bout the songs they used t’ sing,
Jus’ sweet, humble hymns of praises to the Master an’ the King;
Jus’ sweet, simple strains of music, but my soul they always stirred,
An’ I liked it better, mebbe, coz I understood each word.
An’ I mind the day in Pixley when a city woman came
To our little church to visit, an’ I mind her burnin’ shame,
When she sneered about the singin’ an’ she scoffed about the choir,
An’ I mind the way she snickered an’ the way she roused my ire,
An’ how I up and told her that the music she thought grand
Was the music that she paid for an’ she couldn’t understand ;
An’ I said the choir ain’t singin’ now for you, an’ never would,
But it’s singin’ for the Master an’ I guess He ‘d call it good.
The little church in Pixley ain’t a little church no more,
It’s took in wealthy people an’ its steeples skyward soar;
It’s got a marble altar an’ it’s got a tony choir
Of singers trained in Europe an’ a-singin’ now for hire.
They ‘re runnin’ now to solos an’ they advertise the fact
That So and So is goin’ t’ sing, a large crowd to attract;
But I can’t say I like it, why it isn’t half so good
As the little choir that used t’ sing the songs we understood.