Miss Freddye is changing notions with the enchanting “Wade In The Water”. Categorizing this song as only gospel, or only soul, is just the beginning.
A folk song meshed with bluesy tones, Miss Freddye’s version is a sleek, emotive journey. To hear Miss Freddye sing is to hear the angels of the past, the echoes of ancestry erupting from her soul. “Wade In The Water” is a part of American history, and especially important to African American history.
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Listening to this track through a MacBook pro speaker doesn’t do it justice. Miss Freddye, a renowned blues singer based in Pittsburgh, brings a wealth of artistry to the song. I also sensed a tone of modesty, of utter devotion to the words. Her press materials note this song as a gospel, but the more I listened to it – the words, the more I realized it’s a folk song. These words tell a story and believe me, I lost myself in Miss Freddye’s amazing voice, but I felt so connected to the ghosts the lyrics stirred up. I also felt a tear in my eye, a well of tears starting, with the lines didn’t my Lord deliver Daniel, well, then why not every man. Miss Freddye, hovering over a music bed with hushed percussion and amber-esque piano organ, sings as if she were the last singer in church. She makes it count. Wade in the water, wade in the water, children wade in the water, God is gonna trouble these waters, she sings. A music bed running beneath her, with semblances of a bluesy-jazzy vibe, opens only to give Miss Freddye’s voice the spotlight. Miss Freddye, whose influences include Etta James and Billy Holiday, caresses the listener. You feel at home listening to her voice. I wanted to keep following her. I was ensconced in her melody.
This song makes me feel like I’m a part of something. Not in the sense of being a cog in a wheel, but we’re a community. Miss Freddye’s story is all of our stories. It’s a chance to escape into something bigger than all of us, and the words take on new meaning when you discover that Harriet Tubman may have once sang this song as a message to runaway slaves. It’s hard to imagine the soundwaves she created, but if you really listen closely to the pauses in-between words that Miss Freddye uses, then just maybe you can hear Harriet Tubman. I certainly felt Tubman’s presence. Miss Freddye gives the listener a chance to feel the wounds, feel the history in the song.
Miss Freddye’s “Wade In The Water” is a must listen for every American. I think this is a great song, Miss Freddye’s version especially, to introduce to children in school when discussing American history and social studies. Miss Freddye might not have the social impact with her music just yet, but by choosing to cover such a famous song, she proves that she’s able to tackle any project. She successfully delivers a major hit with her moving rendition.