This is my version of "The Dying Californian," a traditional American folk hymn. It's another homemade demo recording under the name The Blue Myself (a band alternately known as Friends Around the Campfire, Wizard Pit, Sandy Mary, and, very rarely, Pandoraz Kunt - an offshoot of The Manna Tease created for songwriting / workshopping purposes.) I used my Les Paul, my turtleback mandolin, and an ancient Yamaha PSR-500M for the recording.
The melody follows roughly the same shape as the folk hymn (410 in the Sacred Harp, pictured at the very top), but this version is in D minor key (what Nigel Tufnel calls "the saddest of all keys") and in a loping 4/4.
The chords are basically:
Dmin / / Gmin / / Dmin / / Bb / A7 / Dmin
In the Sacred Harp, the words are credited to "Ball & Drinkard, 1859" - my favorite lyrics-writing duo since "Koch & Tokup."
Lay up nearer, brother, nearer,
For my limbs are growing cold,
And thy presence seemeth dearer
When thy arms around me fold.
I am dying, brother, dying,
Soon you will miss me in your berth,
And my form will soon be lying
Beneath the ocean's briny surf.
Hearken to me, brother, hearken,
I have something I would say,
Ere this veil my vision darken
And I go from hence away,
I am going, surely going,
But my hopes in God are strong,
I am willing, brother, knowing
That He doeth nothing wrong.