“I Am A Poor Pilgrim Of Sorrow” – from Ulster to Kentucky
Lined-out hymnody is America’s oldest English language religious music, at least of the oral tradition. It goes back to the 17th century, and is basically call and response music. Most parishioners, in the 18th and early 19th centuries especially, could not read. This provided a way to sing many hymns without having memorized the words, as the congregation could follow the leader.
This selection is sung by members of the Indian Bottom Association, Old Regular Baptists, at Defeated Creek Church in Linefork, KY, in 1993.
Beneath that, in a video of hymn singing at a church on the island of Lewis, off the west coast of Scotland, we get a glimpse of where the lining out of hymns originated before it spread to America from Scotland and Ulster.