Folk Rhyme Meets Southern Gospel: He Saw it All

The Booth Brothers’ “He Saw It All” was probably embraced largely by virtue of its uniqueness. Everyone knows the picture the lyrics paint—a mute man talking, a deaf girl listening, a crippled man running, and a blind man who saw it all. It’s clever and fresh-sounding.

What some people might not know (and what I didn’t know until very recently), is that this concept isn’t new at all. In fact, it’s very old. If you don’t believe me, here is a folk poem, variations of which have been passed around among children  since the 19th century. (Hat tip to this website, which contains even more information.)

  1. One fine day in the middle of the night,
  2. Two dead boys* got up to fight, [*or men]
  3. Back to back they faced each other,
  4. Drew their swords and shot each other.
  5. One was blind and the other couldn’t see
  6. So they chose a dummy for a referee,
  7. A blind man went to see fair play,
  8. A dumb man went to shout “hooray!”
  9. A paralyzed donkey passing by,
  10. Kicked the blind man in the eye,
  11. Knocked him through a nine inch wall,
  12. Into a dry ditch and drowned them all,
  13. A deaf policeman heard the noise,
  14. And came to arrest the two dead boys,
  15. If you don’t believe this story’s true,
  16. Ask the blind man he saw it too!

What’s interesting is that whoever originally conceived it, it was for a completely nonsensical purpose, as a joke. With “He Saw It All,” of course, it’s not nonsensical at all. The blind man really did see it all.


5 thoughts on “Folk Rhyme Meets Southern Gospel: He Saw it All

    1. I know virtually nothing about the situation, except that it seemed like a very serious, personal sort of thing. I appreciated the conciseness and discreetness of the press release McCray sent out—it was honest without telling us more than we wanted to know.

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