Denomination Blues

But you’d better have Jesus, I tell you that’s all.
— Washington Phillips

Wonderful lyrics in this blues song! Continues into Part 2, (unfortunately the video is terrible so just do the audio…)

Part I:
1. I want to tell you, an actual fact,
Every man don’t understand the Bible alike
But that’s all, I tell you that’s all
But you’d better have Jesus, I tell you that’s all.

2. Well, denominations have no right to fight
They ought to just treat each other right. That’s all…

3. The primitive Baptists, they believe,
You can’t get to heaven unless you wash your feet. And that’s all…

4. The only primitive that has any part
Is the one that does the washin’ with (?) the pure in heart. And that’s all…

5. Now the missionary Baptists, they believe
Go under the water and not to wash his feet. And that’s all…

6. Now the AME Methodists, they believe,
Sprinkle the head and not to wash their feet. And that’s all…

7. Now the African Methodists, they believe the same,
Because the new denomination, they the same but the name. And that’s all…

8. Now the holiness people when they came in
Said “Boys we can make it by living above sin”. But that’s all…

9. Now the Church of God has it in their mind
That they can get to heaven without the sacrament wine. But that’s all…

Part 2:
10. You’re fightin’ each other, and think you’re doing well
And the sinners on the outside going to hell. And that’s all…

11. Now the preachers is preachin’, and think they’re doing well
All they want is your money and you can go to hell. And that’s all…

12. There’s another kind of preacher that’s high in speech
They have to go to college to learn how to preach. And that’s all…

13. But you can go to the college, and you can go to the school
But if you ain’t got Jesus you’re an educated fool. And that’s all…

14. That kind of a man, he’s hard to convince
a man can’t preach unlessen he’s sinned. And that’s all…

15. When people jump from church to church,
You know their conversion don’t amount to much. And that’s all…

16. When Jesus came here on that dividing day
Gonna call the sheep, tell ‘em drive the goats away. And that’ll be all…

17. It’s right to stand together, it’s wrong to stand apart
‘Cause none’s going to heaven but the pure in heart. And that’s all

– thanks to Rivers for most of these lyrics and to Blaine Hammond for some very helpful corrections. Please note there are still some of the lyrics I am uncertain of.

Interesting history of the man Exhuming the Legend of Washington Phillips by Michael Corcoran

About Anthony Caetano

Christian husband & father. Also an IT person but that doesn't come into this site much at all. Not on facebook or twitter, probably never will be. You can email me at my firstname at this domain.
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2 Responses to Denomination Blues

  1. Blaine Hammond says:

    Some of these lyrics need a lot of help. Let’s see what I can do:
    vs. 6 — it’s the AME Methodists, not the Indian Methodists.
    vs. 7 — they believe the same, because the new denomination, they the same but the name.
    vs. 9 — Now the Church of God has it in their mind that they can get to heaven without the sacrament wine.
    vs. 10 — and the sinner’s on the outside going to hell
    vs. 14 — a man can’t preach unlessen he’s sinned
    vs. 16 — When Jesus came here on that dividing day

    I’ve loved this song for decades, glad to find it online. Thanks.

  2. Many thanks Blaine for your corrections! I have incorporated them into the page.

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