Traditional. The lyric by itself fails to convey what a truly great song it is. It's one of those American classics which, if you're not religious, you should just chill out and learn to love anyway. It's been recorded by Van Morrison, Patsy Cline, and Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee among others. Van Morrison's version, from Hymns to the Silence, is entitled "See Me Through Part II". It's missing most of the lyric, and has a nifty spoken thing in the middle. I'm going to node that separately, since it's a substantially different work.


Just a closer walk with Thee,
Grant it, Jesus, is my plea.
Daily walking close to Thee,
Let it be, dear Lord, let it be.

I am weak, but Thou art strong
Jesus, keep me from all wrong.
I'll be satisfied as long
As I can walk, dear Lord, close to thee.

Just a closer walk with Thee,
Grant it, Jesus, is my plea.
Daily walking close to Thee,
Let it be, dear Lord, let it be.

Through this world of toil and snares,
If I falter, Lord, who cares?
Who but Thee my burden shares?
None but Thee, oh Lord, none but Thee.

Just a closer walk with Thee,
Grant it, Jesus, is my plea.
Daily walking close to Thee,
Let it be, dear Lord, let it be.

When my weary life is o'er
Pain and suff'ring are no more.
Who will lead me safely o'er
Canaan's shore, that sweet Canaan's shore.

Just a closer walk with Thee,
Grant it, Jesus, is my plea.
Daily walking close to Thee,
Let it be, dear Lord, let it be.

In a traditional Nawlins funeral, this song is played slowly on the way out to the gravesite by a makeshift brass band or jazz combo composed of the deceased's friends, symbolizing the feeling of loss. Other than the tempo, there aren't really any rules. Don't have an instrument? Sing along, or sob. Let your grief pour down.

Depending on what goes on at the gravesite, the band stops playing, or drops down to pianissimo, or everyone simply sets down the casket and leaves the burying for later.

Nonetheless, the best version of this song you will ever hear is when the pallbearers and the band can't see the grave anymore. The deceased is no longer in the coffin; he or she is in HEAVEN! Hallelujah! The tempo is picked up, the weeping is forgotten, and the very same song is played as a rollicking, joyous, ad lib celebration jam: a closer walk with Jesus, after all, is what the song is about, and that is a wonderful thing for our dear departed friend! Improvised counter-melodies and descants are the norm, and "cutting loose" is the theme.

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