Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Look Up!

(We've had 1100 visitors to the blog in the past month. Pretty good going methinks.)

A few years ago the very cool/trendy American gospel group Jars of Clay released an album of old gospel classics called Redemption Songs. Now the style in places is - for my taste - a wee bit overdone. The dancey tempo and drumbeats, the slightly off-key melodies, minor notes thrown in where you're not expecting them, strange instruments mixed in here and there - doesnt quite do it for me. Nothing that an old pump organ wouldnt fix!

Nevertheless, if you've got a spare tenner it's worth buying a copy. The words alone will lift your eyes to where they should be looking!

"On Jordan's stormy banks I stand
And cast a wistful eye
To Canaan's fair and happy land
Where my possessions lie

All o'er those wide, extended plains
Shines one eternal day
There God the Son forever reigns
And scatters night away

I am bound, I am bound, I am bound for the Promised Land..."

They say that the early Scots settlers coming to Ulster in the 1600s believed they were on their way to their Promised Land. Then a century later the Ulster-Scots thought the same when they emigrated to the New World (America) - there are 83 places called "Canaan" in the USA alone. They were either being optimistic or deluded. Our promised land is not on earth.

No. 160 in "The Believers Hymnbook" as used in Gospel Halls every Sunday morning sums it up beautifully:

"My rest is in heaven, my rest is not here
Then why should I murmur when trials are near?
Be hushed my sad spirit, the worst that can come
But shortens the journey and hastens me home

It is not for me to be seeking my bliss
And building my hopes in a region like this
I look for a city which hands have not piled
I long for a country by sin undefiled"

[by Henry Francis Lyte (1793-1847) - he was born in Scotland, educated at Portora in Enniskillen and Trinity College Dublin. He also wrote "Abide with Me" and "Praise My Soul the King of Heaven".]


Stephen Jamison said...

Is it not time you got the lead out of your breeches and wrote a few songs about the Low Country. A wee song about Ballyhalbert, Portavogie, growing up at the Pinks and so on.
Have you ever written a song?
Why not?
When are you going to?
If the Low Country Boys made a CD it would sell like hot cakes.

Mandolin, Guitar, Banjo which is the most easy to learn to play?

Come on Mark we are all waiting!
Keep the Faith

Colin Maxwell said...

I assume that the "Hills o' Carradore" has words? My mither used to sing thon tune wi' the words "For Ulster must have liberty, and that , ye can't deny."

Stephen Jamison said...

What 'hills' its as flat as a pancake!

Mark said...

Songwriting? Dae ye no think A hae enough tae do!?! There'll be nae mair cds for a while (but if there was widespread popular demand I could be tempted to satisfy my adoring fans!)

Hills o Carrowdore is an oul Orange song. Will dig up the words and post them here, or maybe emile them to you.

Carrowdore Harbour is the bonniest wee spot in the Low Country! Great for a picnic and a 99.

Anonymous said...

You've sorely tempted me to do a wee winter project about words with an irish influence.

Mark said...

Colin / Stephen

Here's the words:

Come all you loyal Orangemen, wherever you may be
I hope you’ll pay attention and listen now to me
For while I sing these verses I hope with me you’ll join
To commemorate King William at the Battle of the Boyne

Now the Orangemen of Newtownards, loyal to their cause
They do intend to have their rights in spite of Popish laws
They met on that 12th morning as they’d ofttimes done before
And the fifes and drums King Williams Sons before their masters bore

There was Ballywalter Heroes and boys frae Greba town
Cloghy, Ballyhalbert and the Lower Ards of Down
The colours that were on the hill they numbered half a score
They were met by their loyal brethren from the town of Carrowdore

There was Ballyblack and Ballyhay and Bangor No. 3
Likewise Groomsport and Crawfordsburn and also Donaghadee
They hoisted their flags that morning and they numbered 54
They were met by their loyal brethren from the town of Carrowdore

Now the speeches from the platform sounded in our ear
And first was Mr Crommelin who occupied the chair
He told us of our forefathers who did King William join
Who fought and gained the victory at the Battle of the Boyne

So here’s to Mr Crommelin for giving us the ground
A splendid platform he put up – it cost him many a pound
We need to sing his praises now and forevermore
For the honour he did show us that day at Carrowdore

Carrowdore’s a village encircled by the sea
3 miles from Greyabbey and 4 from Donaghadee
There was manys a friend was there that day, not met for years before
And perhaps will never meet again on the hills of Carrowdore

Now and so you’ll see the flags come floating down the hill
For loyal sons of William never yet did yield
Each boy he had his own sweetheart, the one he did adore
And with fifes and drums King Williams sons went home from Carrowdore

And with fifes and drums King Williams sons went home from Carrowdore

Jim (Kilpatrick? Clint? Hamilton? Millar?) - sounds like a good idea tae me

Anonymous said...

Sorry Mark,
I am not really familiar with leaving comments on blogs.
It is Jim Armstrong from Burnside.

Mark said...

Good tae hear fae you Jim. Hope that the tshirts houlin up!

Colin Maxwell said...

It's yin o' those tunes that ye keep hummin a' nicht lang.