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When the Roll Is Called Up Yonder

[ Roud 10985 ; Ballad Index DTrollyo , Bart029A ; James Milton Black (1893)]

Steve Turner sang When the Roll Is Called Up Yonder on his 2016 Tradition Bearers album Spirit of the Game. He noted:

I discovered a version of this famous gospel song in the back of Gale Huntington's second book of whaling songs The Gam, the name for the event when two whaling ships met on the ocean and roped the ships together for a social spree (also described in Moby Dick). Huntington says that the whalemen were “not overly religious, although some captains insisted on regular services. The conflicting demands of observing the Sabbath and pursuing whales whenever they were sighted tended to put a definite strain upon organised religious observance. The actions of whalemen returning to tropical islands after many months in the North Pacific also put them at odds with the clergy and missionaries. Nevertheless, hymns and gospel song were sung” which proves that the devil doesn't always have the best tunes!

Lyrics

Steve Turner sings When the Roll Is Called Up Yonder

When the trumpet of the Lord shall sound, and time shall be no more,
And the morning breaks, eternal, bright and fair;
When the saved of earth shall gather over on the other shore,
And the roll is called up yonder, I’ll be there.

Chorus (after each verse):
When the roll is called up yonder,
When the roll is called up yonder,
When the roll is called up yonder,
When the roll is called up yonder, I’ll be there.

On that bright and cloudless morning when the dead in Christ shall rise,
And the glory of His resurrection share;
And His chosen ones shall gather to their home beyond the skies,
And the roll is called up yonder, I’ll be there.

Let us labour for the Master from the dawn till set of sun,
Let us talk about His wondrous love and care;
And when all of life is over, and our work on earth is done,
And the roll is called up yonder, I’ll be there.