It consists of two verses, then a middle section of three or four words repeated by the backing singers, while the leads improvise over the top. This is when their voices go full steam ahead and they do the type of screaming James Brown became known for, which makes the song quite sexual. There are two chords throughout this long refrain, then another chord suddenly appears and he hammers in with a counter-melody in this amazingly strong falsetto. On the record the sound is bouncing off the walls, and even breaking up a bit . . . you can hear a little clicking, which sounds like someone's foot tapping or finger clicking.
It's also interesting because it's not about moaning about drudgery - like blues - but is music to uplift. It can't have been easy growing up blind, black and orphaned in Alabama during the first half of the century, but their incredible spirit seems to have come through.
It's only two-and-three-quarter minutes long, and ends with the chorus, quite suddenly, impeccably well rehearsed.'
'O Lord Stand By Me' is on 'O Lord Stand By Me / Marching Up to Zion' (ACE CD CHD341)