"Go, Tell It On The Mountain" is one of many African American songs (spirituals) that originated during an era of oppression. Arguably, the first person to realise the song's potential was Frederick Work. Frederick and his brother, John Wesley Work II, were sons of John Wesley Work – an African American academic and musician who directed an African American choir based in Nashville. Some of the members of (senior) John Wesley Work's choir belonged to an influential vocal group called the Fisk Jubilee Singers, a group that toured the world performing songs that included African American spirituals. This group would probably have had most sway in bringing the tune to a wide audience. Frederick and John Wesley Work II arranged the song to suit a vocal group, such as the Fisk Jubilee Singers, without changing the original words of the song. Since these words made reference to the birth of Jesus Christ, "Go, Tell It On The Mountain" is, arguably, considered to be a carol. The version of the song that is known today comes from another member of the Work family, namely, John Work III, a grandson of John Wesley Work senior. As a result of his extensive research, John Work III added to and rearranged the song. His version was subsequently published in 1940.
In this guitar arrangement by Glenn Jarrett, a short tag has been added to end the tune and give it a sense of finality. A longer version can be made by repeating either of the two basic eight measure sections of the tune.
The history of this and other Christmas Songs can be found in the book "Stories Behind the Best-loved Songs of Christmas" by Ace Collins. The book is available in various formats including Kindle at Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com. On mfiles there are arrangements of this music for Piano and for Other Instruments with Piano accompaniment.