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.
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.
This is my Christmas song for 2015: a new recording of ‘The Falcon Carol’ (AKA the ‘Corpus Christi Carol’), a text from the early 1500s with a tune by Benjamin Britten and a new guitar part and scratchy vocals by me. It’s available as a free download on my Reverbnation site until Epiphany, January 6th.
First draft of a song lyric for the Feast of the Holy Innocents. Sort of a 2015 version of the Coventry Carol, I guess. I don’t have a tune for it yet, but this tune (Jim Moray’s take on a traditional folk tune) was in my mind while I was writing it.
The Sons of Bethlehem
Twas in the light of dawn they came a-killing
They never made a sound
But like a bloodstain silently were spreading
Throughout our sleeping town
And from their mothers’ arms they took our children
Or snatched them from their beds
And long before the sun arose that morning
A hundred sons were dead
It was no child of ours that they were seeking
These death squads of the night
Just incidental killings with no meaning
Victims of Herod’s might
They say the boy they wanted did escape them
Before the midnight hour
I wish some angel voice had given warning
To save these boys of ours
If there’s a god above us up in heaven
Vengeance is his, they say,
But how can God in heaven understand it
The evil done this day?
He’d have to live as one of us and suffer
By brutal powers condemned
And die in pain, just like our innocent children
The sons of Bethlehem
By Tim Chesterton, December 2015
Ten years ago today, for the first time, I walked into an Edmonton open stage, got up behind a microphone, and performed a few songs. The open stage was held at what was then the Druid South, an Edmonton pub that in longer exists, and the host was Chris Wynters, who is now the Executive Director of Alberta Music. Thank you, Chris, for giving me such a good start!
Before that night I’d played in church from time to time, and the odd one-off gig here and there, but never with any consistency. I’d always loved music, though, and I was curious about what it would be like to participate in an open stage. Little did I know, on that evening of October 2nd 2005, how much richer my life would be ten years later.
Since that night I’ve learned dozens of traditional folk songs, and written some songs of my own. I’ve become the owner of two beautiful guitars and a cittern, and I love playing them. I’ve performed at open stages, at gigs in coffee shops and folk clubs and churches, and at some truly amazing fundraisers with other musicians. I’ve recorded and released a professionally–produced CD. And, best of all, I’ve made some wonderful friends.
Thank you, Edmonton music community. Today, I can’t imagine my life without you!
Here is a new 2014 recording of the old Appalachian carol ‘Down in Yon Forest’; this is my Christmas song for 2014 and comes to you with my love and best wishes and prayers for a wonderful Christmas for you and yours. If you have not already received it in your email inbox, please feel free to visit the Reverberation site below and take advantage of the free download.
This song is a descendant of the old English ‘Corpus Christi Carol’ or ‘Falcon Carol’ (the original dates back to at least 1506, when it was discovered by a clerk named Richard Hall). This particular version of it was collected in North Carolina in the early 1900s by the folk song collector John Jacob Niles.
Hope you enjoy it, and have a wonderful Christmas.