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Origins: Jesus' Blood Never Failed Me Yet (Bryars)

Rain Dog 28 Jan 09 - 01:44 PM
katlaughing 28 Jan 09 - 07:20 PM
Bill D 28 Jan 09 - 07:38 PM
ClaireBear 28 Jan 09 - 07:43 PM
katlaughing 28 Jan 09 - 08:05 PM
Joe Offer 29 Jan 09 - 02:30 AM
Phil Edwards 29 Jan 09 - 03:19 AM
GUEST,.gargoyle 29 Jan 09 - 08:19 AM
katlaughing 29 Jan 09 - 10:40 AM
Rain Dog 29 Jan 09 - 12:59 PM
Joe Offer 29 Jan 09 - 04:05 PM
katlaughing 29 Jan 09 - 07:26 PM
GUEST,.gargoyle 30 Jan 09 - 05:31 AM
GUEST,Bill Kennedy 30 Jan 09 - 08:11 PM
Seamus Kennedy 30 Jan 09 - 08:20 PM
katlaughing 31 Jan 09 - 07:15 PM
GUEST,.gargoyle 01 Feb 09 - 01:54 PM
Rain Dog 26 May 11 - 05:25 AM
Rain Dog 05 Jan 12 - 09:14 AM
Rain Dog 10 Apr 13 - 04:03 AM
GUEST,MollyNotDancing 23 Jun 13 - 08:57 AM
Rain Dog 28 Feb 14 - 06:34 AM
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Subject: Jesus' blood never failed me yet
From: Rain Dog
Date: 28 Jan 09 - 01:44 PM

I am hoping that someone on this site might be able to tell me the origin of the following words:

Jesus' blood never failed me yet
Never failed me yet
Jesus' blood never failed me yet
There's one thing I know
For he loves me so

The following is from Wikipedia:

Jesus' Blood Never Failed Me Yet is a 1971 composition by Gavin Bryars. It is formed on a loop[1] of an unknown tramp singing a brief stanza. Rich harmonies—comprising string and brass—are gradually overlaid over the stanza

Wikipedia entry

You can also read some more about the piece on Gavin Bryars' site

Bryars was on a BBC radio program The Choir in March 2008 and he spoke about this piece. He did say that neither he or his publishers had been able to track down the origin of the words.

It might well be that the tramp came up with the words himself but if any of you know of the source or possible source of the words could you let me know


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Subject: RE: Jesus' blood never failed me yet
From: katlaughing
Date: 28 Jan 09 - 07:20 PM

There's a little bit in THIS posting and:

- "Jesus' Blood Never Failed Me Yet", with Tom Waits eventually singing along with anon homeless man, is out on CD under name of arranger Gavin Byers

Good luck, this sounds like just the kind of thing Mudcatters love to answer!


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Subject: RE: Jesus' blood never failed me yet
From: Bill D
Date: 28 Jan 09 - 07:38 PM

"Jesus' Blood Never Failed Me Yet"

ummm..Jesus was Type O?







*ducking behind the rear pew"


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Subject: RE: Jesus' blood never failed me yet
From: ClaireBear
Date: 28 Jan 09 - 07:43 PM

I have actually heard that piece (the one based on the singing of the tramp); I even have it on cassette somewhere. I vaguely remember the tune, even. Not sure how that helps you, though...

Claire


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Subject: RE: Jesus' blood never failed me yet
From: katlaughing
Date: 28 Jan 09 - 08:05 PM

Here's a youtube video of the Waits recording with the tramp's singing, too: click here. It sounds beautiful.


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Subject: RE: origins: Jesus' blood never failed me yet
From: Joe Offer
Date: 29 Jan 09 - 02:30 AM

There's a piano version on YouTube that I like very much - here (click).

I sure didn't find out anything about any earlier sources of the song. You did a pretty good job of researching it, Rain Dog.

It's quite a song, isn't it?

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: origins: Jesus' blood never failed me yet
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 29 Jan 09 - 03:19 AM

I've always assumed it was a Salvation Army hymn. No evidence, though.


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Subject: RE: origins: Jesus' blood never failed me yet
From: GUEST,.gargoyle
Date: 29 Jan 09 - 08:19 AM

I have combed the web. Nothing - lots of claims that it is "an old hymn" or "traditional hymn." No evidence for this. Nothing - Nada.

Dug out five hymnals (protestant 1910 to 2005) Nothing - Nada.

Registered and went into the Salvation Army website for Hymns one American and one UK. Nothing - Nada

The story by Mr. Bryars is here:
http://www.gavinbryars.com/Pages/jesus_blood_never_failed_m.html

A sermon story of its "discovery" repeated in several different sermons on "Self Image" and is here:
http://www.shalomeden.co.za/bible/bible141.htm

It is my belief that the "bum" was confused/demented and simply invented his own lyrics out of snatches he remembered from somewhere. I like it though.

I do plan to listen to the entire orchestral composition. It has GREAT reviews - and at 74 minutes it should be a real treat.

Sincerely,
Gargoyle


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Subject: RE: origins: Jesus' blood never failed me yet
From: katlaughing
Date: 29 Jan 09 - 10:40 AM

Tom Waits singing it with the tramp recording, though Tom stays pretty much in the background.

I found myself automatically substituting "Love" for "blood" when singing along. It does sound as though the Tramp used snippets from "Jesus Loves Me." It is a beautiful song.


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Subject: RE: origins: Jesus' blood never failed me yet
From: Rain Dog
Date: 29 Jan 09 - 12:59 PM

Thanks for checking out the various hymn source Gargoyle. I have also searched the net over the years for more information about this piece. Most of what I have found is merely a repeat of what Bryars has said on his website and on the sleevenote of the 1993 recording (if memory serves me right. I don't have the cd with me at the moment). As I said in my first post it could well be that the guy came up with the words himself.

Katlaughing, you mentioned that it sounds as if he has used snippets from 'Jesus Loves Me'. Can you give me any more details on that or point me in the direction of the lyrics to the piece you are referring to?

I first heard of the piece when I saw the CD advertised in the paper back in 1993. It was the Tom Waits involvement which drew my attention. Gavin Bryars has written about recording the Waits vocal and you can read it here

You can also read some Waits' comments on the piece, along with another article by Bryars about recording with Waits, at the Tom Waits Library here


Any other ideas on the possible origin of these words would be appreciated.


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Subject: RE: origins: Jesus' blood never failed me yet
From: Joe Offer
Date: 29 Jan 09 - 04:05 PM

Jesus Loves Me is in the Digital Tradition. I guess I can't see a connection between that and "Jesus' Blood Never Failed Me Yet." I guess I agree with kat that the religious blood songs make me a bit squeamish, but I get nervous when people substitute words in songs.

YouTube has several recordings of a gospel song called He Never Failed Me Yet - I don't see a connection to the song in question, but it's a great song.

I think I agree with Gargoyle that the man may have made up the song himself, although I don't know that I'd agree with the speculation that he was demented. I myself have made up some particularly profound songs, even when not demented. Trouble is, I sing them once and impress myself, and then I forget them.

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: origins: Jesus' blood never failed me yet
From: katlaughing
Date: 29 Jan 09 - 07:26 PM

Not necessarily squeamish, Joe, as "love" just come out of my mouth when I started singing along. Not being a Christian may have something to do with it, but I don't think so, as I really like some of the gospels and like to sing along.:-)

As far as Jesus Loves Me, the Tramp (wish we could come up with a more personal name for him) sings "...is one thing I know, for he loves me so.." which reminded me of the "Jesus loves me, this I know." Maybe he didn't use some of those lyrics, but Jesus Loves Me is in my heart and head from childhood, so I made a connection.

Is this tune used for any other song? It is really beautiful and somewhat sophisticated.


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Subject: RE: origins: Jesus' blood never failed me yet
From: GUEST,.gargoyle
Date: 30 Jan 09 - 05:31 AM

The snippets for the lyric medly the bum created are easy to identify.:

Jesus' blood never failed me yet is probably from He Never Failed Me Yet
Title song sung by many choirs as "He never failed me yet" on many You-Tubes.

MP3 sample
http://www.ovmc.org/audio/buildingbridges/17SampHeNeverFailedMe.mp3

As noted above this is perhaps from:
There's one thing I know
For he loves me so

is from the children's song "Jesus Loves Me" (words Anna B. Warner, Music William B. Bradbury 1816-1868)

>

Jesus Loves me -
This I know
For the Bible tells me so.

Now the TUNE is a totaly different matter.

SIncerely,
Gargoyle


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Subject: RE: origins: Jesus' blood never failed me yet
From: GUEST,Bill Kennedy
Date: 30 Jan 09 - 08:11 PM

I have the first lp and the cd of that 1975 version and the cd of the 1993 version with Tom Waits. The liner notes probably just echo what Bryars has said elsewhere, the film project of his friend, the tramp, a religious man who was not an alcoholic, as most if not all of the other taped tramp voices were, how he came to put music to it, the various public performances and then the definitive version scored in 1974, recorded and released in 1975. The 1993 liner notes say that the later variations were inspired by Tom Waits looking for another copy of the 1975 lp, trlling Bryars it was his favorite recording, etc., so Bryars was inspired to add Tom Waits' voice to another version. Both versions are hauntingly beautiful, no matter what you religious persuasions. I have a really hard time reconciling my feelings about the lyrics, which are negative, and the emotion that the tramps singing and Bryars orchestration engenders. I try not to think too much about it and just let myself be swept away in the music, without ever being convinced that Jesus' blood has ever done anything as constructive as the further bloodshed it has caused has created such great human sufffering in the world. The tramp, I feel was inspired by his own faith to create his own sung witness, if it gave him any ease and comfort, which I'm sure it must have, that is ok by me, I can't agree with his sentiment but I accept it as real for him. I doubt very much that you will find any earlier source, and there needn't be one, trying to parse it as based on 'Jesus Loves Me' or any other hymn is unnecessary and futile. The tramp is the sole source, how it came to him we won't know, since Bryars says he died before the work was complete, and he never identifies him by name, if he knew the tramps name, though they might have had a release signed by him?
I have myself tried substituting lyrics of my own, Jesus' Love doesn't mean anything more to me than Jesus' Blood, though nothing else has the same emotional weight as the original to my ears. I go long periods without listening to it, and then have to hear it over and over again for a spell.

Bryars 'The Sinking of the Titanic' is also beautifully powerful and worth listening to. Many questions raised by that one as well, and all the possible melodies that the band on the Titanic might have been playing as it went gown are incorporated into Bryar's piece: Autumn, (both ragtime tune and hymn), Aughton, and Nearer my God to Thee. Tape loops of voices from the survivors and subsurface sounds of the ship on the bottom add to the instrumentation and create quite a sublime listening experience.


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Subject: RE: origins: Jesus' blood never failed me yet
From: Seamus Kennedy
Date: 30 Jan 09 - 08:20 PM

I thought Jesus Loves Me (This I Know) was written by Dale Evans?

Seamus


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Subject: RE: origins: Jesus' blood never failed me yet
From: katlaughing
Date: 31 Jan 09 - 07:15 PM

Bill, some wise words there re' religious connotations and the comfort from this piece regardless. Thank you for putting it so well.

Seamus, according to the DT link which Joe included it was William Bradbury!:-)


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Subject: RE: origins: Jesus' blood never failed me yet
From: GUEST,.gargoyle
Date: 01 Feb 09 - 01:54 PM

Part of the beauty of the piece comes from the looping that creates ambiguity. Having listened to the 1975 piece - it is almost like a mid-eastern chant....a call to prayer from a minaret. It is mesmerizing but allows "food for thought." The word emphasis and pause/breaks are the keys to this piece.

Meanings weave into and out of the mind.

Jesus' blood never failed me YET - (Jesus has ALWAYS been there for me)

>b>YET, Jesus' blood never failed me - (Considering everything - Jesus blood still works)

Jesus' blood? NEVER! Fail me! - (Rebellious cry from a Jew in Catholic school.)

Yet, He loves me so (No matter what ... HE loves me)

YET, There is one thing ... (One second thought - there is ONE thing that.....

ETC - ETC - ETC - (More than 20 permutations - float through the mind as a religious expression)

You could note the time marks in the original 1975 and the various meanings.

It would be a good challenge for you KL - perhaps, transforming.

It is quite a Stockhausen type experience.

Available through file sharing.

SIN-cerely,
Gargoyle


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Subject: RE: Origins: Jesus' Blood Never Failed Me Yet (Bryars)
From: Rain Dog
Date: 26 May 11 - 05:25 AM

Q2 music had a Gavin Bryars festival for a week in April. They have a piece on Jesus' Blood Never Failed Me Yet which includes Gavin Bryars talking about the origin of it and the involvement of Tom Waits in the later recording.

Just follow the link

Jesus' Blood Never Failed Me Yet


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Subject: RE: Origins: Jesus' Blood Never Failed Me Yet (Bryars)
From: Rain Dog
Date: 05 Jan 12 - 09:14 AM

From a ABC Radio program originally broadcast Friday 22 April 2011

We hear from leading English composer Gavin Bryars on the 40th anniversary of his iconic release, Jesus' Blood Never Failed Me Yet, based on the singing of an elderly homeless man in London.

Gavin Bryars

The interview runs for 25 minutes. No new information but it is still quite an interesting interview


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Subject: RE: Origins: Jesus' Blood Never Failed Me Yet (Bryars)
From: Rain Dog
Date: 10 Apr 13 - 04:03 AM

A short piece from the programme Arena originally broadcast on RTE Radio 1 in December 2012, in which

"Colm O'Snodaigh of the band Kila chooses the song 'Jesus Blood' by Gavin Bryars, Tom Waits and an unnamed homeless man as something he 'Loves'"

Colm O'Snodaigh talking about the song Jesus' Blood


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Subject: RE: Origins: Jesus' Blood Never Failed Me Yet (Bryars)
From: GUEST,MollyNotDancing
Date: 23 Jun 13 - 08:57 AM

Another link to the looped unaccompanied voice can be found 40 minutes in to this Desert Island Discs programme of music chosen by choreographer and dancer Akram Khan, who speaks of this being something of an epiphany for him. Coming from a classical music background, it awakened him to the beauty of imperfection.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio/player/b01ky5gv


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Subject: RE: Origins: Jesus' Blood Never Failed Me Yet (Bryars)
From: Rain Dog
Date: 28 Feb 14 - 06:34 AM

In my post of 29 Jan 09 - 12:59 PM, I posted a link to a piece that Gavin Bryars has written about recording the Waits vocal,of which the following is an extract:

"I would say that spending the afternoon in that studio with Tom was as beautiful a musical experience as I can remember. I have a video with Tom and myself talking about the piece (a film crew arrived, in spite of my clear instructions to the contrary, from the record company later that evening - I look quite uncomfortable) and he is very eloquent about the piece and about his first hearing the music over the radio at the end of a birthday party for his wife. He talks about the place being littered with balloons and confetti and they were just sitting quietly. He describes the music as settling like a dust on the evening and they just listened to the whole piece, holding hands...."

Some (if not all) of that video can be seen here:

Tom Waits & Gavin Bryars Interview talking about the song "Jesus'blood never fai


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