My third living room gig of Christmas songs old, new, and in between!
…in which I sing some more Christmas songs – some traditional, some whose authors are known, and one original.
This was a little Facebook Live gig I did from my home Wednesday evening.
This is something I’ve been working on for the past few days. It’s a melody composed or adapted by L. Bourgeois, for Psalm 118 in the Genevan Psalter (1543). It’s often used today as a hymn tune. If I get all the kinks worked out of it I might do a more formal recording of it, but I thought I’d try it out as a video and see how it sounds. Let me know what you think!
I took a little longer to make the second video in this series of folk arrangements of 18th and 19th century hymns. My apologies, but I hope you find it worth the wait!
I love this nineteenth century hymn by the Scottish minister Horatius Bonar (1808-1889); it was written, I believe, in 1846. The tune is ‘Kingsfold’ by Ralph Vaughan Williams; he based it on an old folk tune known in England as ‘Dives and Lazarus’, and in Ireland as ‘Star of the County Down’. Was it originally English or Irish? We’ll probably never know! The guitar arrangement is my own.
‘Amazing Grace’ was written by John Newton in 1772 and was first published in 1779 in a collection called ‘Olney Hymns’ in which all the lyrics were by either Newton or the poet William Cowper. We have no idea what tune was originally sung to this hymn.
‘Amazing Grace’ became very popular in 19th century America and it was there that it was first sung to the American folk tune we now associate with it.
Interestingly, Newton’s original final verse was different from the ‘When we’ve been there ten thousand years’ verse that we now sing. The substitution was made by an American editor, who replaced the original (which he apparently felt was too Calvinistic?) with the words now familiar to us. The difference is easily noticeable in that Newton’s original verses are all in the first person singular, while the new verse is in the plural.
I have written my own tune to ‘Amazing Grace’, and have chosen to sing Newton’s original words, not the later American edition.
This is my instrumental arrangement of the well-known worship song ‘The Power of Your love’, by Geoff Bullock.
The guitar tuning is CGCGCD. I created this instrumental almost accidentally; I’d been leading the song at a Facebook Live streamed worship service (strumming, in standard tuning), but when I got home my other guitar was tuned to open C and I began ‘noodling’ with it. The result was this instrumental. Hope you enjoy it!
Here’s my version of the old traditional English folk song ‘The Week Before Easter’. My guitar arrangement is inspired by an instrumental version recorded by Martin Simpson. The tuning is CGCGCE.
You can find out more about the song and its recording history on Mainly Norfolk. A lit of people seem to have done it!