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1. When Joseph was an olden man,
Had lived full many a year, a year,
He courted and wedded the Queen of Heav'n,
And called her his dear.
2. Then Joseph was a carpenter,
And Mary baked and spun, and spun,
And when 'twas ripe-cherry time again
A family was begun.
3. Then Mary in her meekness,
Then Mary what was mild, so mild,
Said: "Cherries are the bestest thing,
For women bearin' child."
4. Then up spake Joseph to Mary -
He was a man unkind, unkind -
"Oh, it's who has sired your baby
That's a-botherin' my mind.
5. "Go tell this one, and straight-away,
That cherries ain't nothing' to me, to me;
If he's e'er a man to sire a child,
He's a man to climb a tree."
6. Then Mary's Son, our Saviour,
He spake from Mary's heart, her heart:
"I'll make this tree bow low down,
I'll take my mama's part."
7. Then the cherry-tree it bow low down,
It bowed down to the ground, the ground,
And gentle Mary helped herself
To cherries without a sound.
8. Then Joseph said in terror:
"I see my wrong is great, is great,
Pray come, my gentle Queen of Heav'n,
The secret do relate."
9. Then said the Virgin Mary,
"The secret I will share, will share:
On Christmas Eve, in an ox's stall,
The Christ-Child I will bear.
released December 25, 2017
melody collected and transcribed by John Jacob Niles
arranged & produced by John W. Snyder
soprano - Amy Foote
guitar, banjo, mandoline, electric bass - Paul Salerno
violin - Megan Shung Smith
violin - Rhea Fowler
viola - Ben Bartelt
cello - Debbie Kollgaard
vibes - Hal Rosenfeld
piano, psaltery, jaw harp - John W. Snyder
mix - Brian Warwick
vocal engineer - Jai Young Kim at Feast or Famine Studios
string quartet engineer - Laurence Schwarz at Studio City Sound
master - Thomas Dimuzio