‘I Heard the Voice of Jesus Say’

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

‘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.

‘The Power of Your Love’ instrumental

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!

Mystery to Me

This is a new song lyric I wrote tonight. No tune yet, but it’ll come.

Mystery to me
© 2017 by Tim Chesterton

It’s a mystery to me
When people don’t have eyes to see
that wrong’s not right and never can be
It’s a mystery to me

It’s a mystery all right
They take the dark and call it light
They say it’s day when it’s really night
It’s a mystery all right

It’s a mystery all the same
The things they’re saying in Jesus’ name
They should be hanging their heads in shame
It’s a mystery all the same

It’s a mystery indeed
How hate grows up from a poisoned seed
And turns its wrath on the ones in need
It’s a mystery indeed

It’s a mystery to me
Those men of war on a killing spree
When all are dead then no one’s free
It’s a mystery to me

It’s a mystery to me
When people don’t have eyes to see
that wrong’s not right and never can be
It’s a mystery to me

 

The Beauty of Death

I wrote a new song this month. I’ve been working on it for a few weeks. I’ll post a video before too long. Let me know in the comments if you get the Henry Vaughan connection.

The Beauty of Death
© Feb. 2017 by Tim Chesterton

The beauty of death is it comes to us all,
To the rich and the poor, to the great and the small.
Every person on earth gets to hear that voice call;
In the end there’s no difference between us.

The justice of death comes to all at the last;
There can be no escape when the die has been cast.
We can run from our deeds but we’re just not that fast –
In the end they will still overtake us

The terror of death, it haunts all our days,
Though we try to avoid it, to keep it away.
But there still come those times of complete disarray
When the dark rises up to engulf us.

The wisdom of death is the light that it casts
On the things that don’t count and the stuff that won’t last,
While the days turn to years and they go by so fast
– too fast for the things that distract us.

The beauty of death is a gift in the end
For the wounds that won’t heal and the hurts that won’t mend;
In the place of a foe we discover a friend
As we lay down the burdens that crush us.

They say a good death is the meaning of life –
To gaze unafraid at that ring of great light.
To rest in God’s love and take joy in the sight
Of the beauty that’s spread out before us –
Of the beauty that’s spread out before us.

Courting is a Pleasure

I’ve started a new series I’m calling ‘Folk Singles’. I’m going to record three or four tracks a year and release them as singles through CD Baby, Bandcamp, iTunes etc.

The first one is the old folk song ‘Courting is a Pleasure’ (information about this song is at Mainly Norfolk and Mudcat Café). My version is based on Nic Jones’ recording on ‘Penguin Eggs’, but I’ve done quite a lot of editing to the lyrics.

So far it’s available on Bandcamp here. I’ll update this page when not becomes available on CD Baby and iTunes.

Here’s my version of the lyrics:

Courting is a pleasure between my love and I,
And it’s down in yon green valley I will meet her by and by
Way down in yon green valley, she is my heart’s delight
Molly, lovely Molly I would stay ‘til broad daylight.

Going to church last Sunday my love she passed me by,
I knew her mind was altered by the roving of her eye,
I knew her mind was altered toward a lad of high degree
Molly, lovely Molly your looks have wounded me.

I went to her on Monday with a bottle in my hand
Saying, “Here’s to you, lovely Molly, for our courting is at an end.
So raise your glass, lovely Molly, raise your glass and then go free
Ten guineas I will wager that married we ne’er shall be”.

Farewell, Ballymorrie, likewise the sweet Bann shore
Farewell to your rolling hills I will never see no more
Americay lies far away across the ocean blue
But it’s there I’d go lovely Molly and never more see you.