Very rarely did my mother and I ever agree on music. She always found the bass "too loud" and the lyrics "too hard to hear".  Our common ground was always in the classical stuff - Vivaldi, Brahms, Bach, Bethoven... but there was that small handful of tunes that we could both embrace. Those songs that we could both "settle on" and listen while driving in the car together. "People Get Ready" was one of them.

I'm not exactly sure what she would have thought of this arrangement, but I like it. I'm ashamed to admit that I always thought that this song was written by Bob Dylan and it wasn't until long after I started performing it that I really took the time to look up it's "roots"... and what great "roots" it has.

I love the way that this tune screams "Freedom"... and for me in dealing with my mother's illness it just seemed to fit. Although the song was pretty much in it's finished state before my mother passed away, I did pull it out and re-visit it a couple of weeks after her passing... and it was then that I added in the pipe organ on the final ending as well as the "skat" verse (for lack of a better term) - where I sing the line "I hear the whistle... it's calling for you"... and "We'll sing of freedom... sing of freedom".

My mother's passing was bitter sweet. There is little that I wouldn't trade for one more moment with her - but in the end, she couldn't move, eat, or speak... and she was in pain. And now... we'll I'd like to think that she's dancing... I'm guessing to something with no bass or drums :-)... but dancing none the less! Ya... we'll sing of freedom.

NOTE: Two other things that jump out at me every time I listen to this tune are the velvety sweet harmonies that Glen Teeple laid down and also the harmonica track. I've always wanted to play and record harmonica... this was my first time at both. It was fun to do... and although I still wouldn't consider myself a harmonica player by any stretch of the imagination, I can now say at least that I've "done it".

PEOPLE GET READY

Words & Music by Curtis Mansfield

People get ready, there's a train a comin'

You don't need no baggage, you just get on board

All you need is faith to hear those diesels humming

You don't need no ticket, you just thank the Lord


People get ready for the train to Jordan

It's picking up passengers from coast to coast

Faith is the key, open the doors and board them 

There's room for us all... among the loved the most


There ain't no room for the hopeless sinner

Who would hurt all mankind, just to save his own

Have pitty on those whos chances are thinner

There's no hiding place from the Kingdom's throne

No hiding place from the Kingdom's throne


People get ready there's a train a comin'

You don't need no baggage you just get on board

All you need is faith to hear those diesels humming

You don't need no ticket, you just thank the Lord

You don't need no ticket, you just thank...

Thank the Lord


I hear the whistle... it's calling for you

And we'll sing... sing of freedom

Sing of freedom... and we'll thank the Lord

Better get ready... Better get ready now