This song is staid to have originated in the Appalachian Mountain system of Tennessee. A young woman before departing this life, acknowledged God as her Lord and Savior. She did not die in her sins, which is the good reason for the exalted joy felt by the entire community - comprising women and children, too - as they jubilantly followed the ox-drawn cart which bore the body to its final resting place off a winding road among the hills.
Roland Hayes, My Favorite Spirituals
The idea that religion is the property of people who are perfect or who can pass themselves off as perfect certainly isn't biblical in origin. "I am not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance," Luke 5:23. Jesus was, in most cases, a lot nicer to sinners than he was to people who were convinced of their own sanctity and righteousness. He's the one who told the fundamentalists of his time that prostitutes and tax collectors would get into the Kingdom of God before they would. Though he did tell people to cut out the wrong doing, as well.
I had never heard this recording until yesterday, just as I hadn't ever heard the Fisk Jubilee Quartet recordings before the other day. I learn a lot from doing these series.