This week’s song is “Put Your Shoulder to the Wheel”, chosen because we all really do "have work, let no one shirk!"
Scriptures for this song:
Nehemiah 6:3, 9
Doctrine & Covenants 58:26-28
Music and text by Will L. Thompson (1847-1909)
The story behind the song:
Will Thompson composed many songs in his lifetime. He always took the time to jot down song ideas and lyrics that came to mind so that he wouldn’t forget them. The most famous songs he wrote are hymns. In addition to this hymn, he wrote the well-known Christian hymn, “Softly & Tenderly, Jesus is Calling” which has been translated into more languages than any other hymn and also featured in films. Since commercial publishers didn’t seem to appreciate his efforts, Thompson opened his own music company to self publish. His music and store became very successful, selling to many people.
The song has characteristics of a gospel song with the dotted rhythms and the men’s answering voices in the chorus. If you picture someone literally putting their shoulder to a wagon wheel and pushing along, it helps you appreciate the cadence of the song. Sometimes the pushing of wagons would require strong rhythmic action! Also, often pioneers would sing as they walked—“Do your duty with a heart full of song.” What an encouraging song for all who have a long road to walk and burdens to bear. Push along, push along.
I am doing a little research online to find these things out. I also have a book entitled "Our Latter-day Hymns The Stories and the Messages" by Karen Lynn Davidson from which I am finding information on these songs. If you want more info, the aforementioned book and the internet search engines can get you much more than the little bit I shared.