Star Over Bethlehem

by Blake

/
  • Streaming + Download

    Includes unlimited streaming via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.

    Expanded Edition includes eleven extra tracks not included on the original release, seven bonus tracks and original artwork.
    Purchasable with gift card

      £5 GBP  or more

     

  • Compact Disc (CD) + Digital Album

    Comes in a gatefold card case.

    Includes unlimited streaming of Star Over Bethlehem via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.
    ships out within 14 days
    edition of 50 

      £10 GBP or more 

     

1.
03:10
2.
01:24
3.
02:52
4.
5.
6.
03:10
7.
8.
04:13
9.
10.
11.
12.
13.
14.
15.
02:39
16.
17.

about

'Star Over Bethlehem' tells the story of the Nativity through voices of the prophet Micah, Mary, Joseph, the Magi, Zechariah, Gabriel, the Innkeeper, the shepherds and Herod the Great. I wrote the majority of the songs in the run up to Christmas 2012 inspired by Jake Thackray’s beautiful songs ‘Joseph’ and ‘Remember Bethlehem’. (I uploaded live versions of these songs to YouTube around this time: www.youtube.com/watch?v=iwXA-azFBjw)

Apparently, Thackray wrote the songs when he was working as a teacher for his school’s nativity play. I originally thought that I would try and do a similar thing but the songs turned out to be a bit too grown up for a children's nativity and I realised I was writing a sort of rock opera instead.

I began recording the album in April 2013 with Joe Brown producing. It took eight months to complete the record. Some of the tracks I recorded at home on my Tascam Portastudio. The drums were recorded at Nam Studios, Holt, Base Sound Studios in Stroud and, in the case of the song 'Star Over Bethlehem', in my lounge.

What I tried to do was weld a late sixties/early seventies rock vibe (heavily influenced by the original cast recordings to 'Jesus Christ Superstar' and 'Hair') with middle eastern musical influences. Lyrically, I attempted to emulate Jake Thackray by concentrating on the feelings of the protagonists, particularly Mary and Joseph.

The bonus tracks include eleven songs which complete the telling of the story but that I did not have time to finish by the time the album was released on 13th December 2013. Also, the album would have to have been a triple to accommodate them! These tracks are just acoustic sketches - I have not had the opportunity to properly record them in the studio. They were assembled from the original demos I had made. However, you can now hear the full album as it was originally conceived. You can programme the tracks as follows to hear the album as it was originally intended:

1. The Prophecy
2. Marry Me
3. Nightmares
4. Follow The Star
5. Incidental Music #1
6. The Lord Is With Thee (Annunciation)
7. I Believe (Magnificat)
8. On Earth as in Heaven (Benedictus)
9. Sit Down
10. What Can I Say
11. Pierced
12. Incidental Music #2 (Harmonium Interlude)
13. Now I Must Leave Her
14. The Best Thing In Your Life
15. Run To Meet You
16. Shout It From The Rooftops
17. The Olive Trees
18. Go and Be Counted
19. Don't Worry, Mary/No Room
20. The Prophecy (Reprise)
21. Jesus Gonna Turn Your Life Around
22. Fear Not
23. Tonight
24. Praise His Name (Hallelujah)
25. Lay It Down
26. The King Is Here
27. Into Your Hands
28. Star Over Bethlehem

This edition of the album also includes a new mix of the song 'Star Over Bethlehem'. This track was always supposed to be a duet between Mary and Joseph but I did not have time to record a vocal from Beth Evans, who plays the role of Mary, in time for the original release date. This new mix features Beth's sister Amy (Jarvis) contributing a gorgeous harmony vocal. The song was released on 1st December 2014 as a single.

In addition, three of the songs from the Star Over Bethlehem launch concert (with Amy singing the 'Mary' vocals), are included as bonus tracks. The complete "Star Over Bethlehem Concert" is available as a free download on Bandcamp: thisisblake.bandcamp.com/album/the-star-over-bethlehem-concert

All profits from the sale of the album go to Musalaha Ministry of Reconciliation, a Jersualem based non-profit organisation that seeks to promote reconciliation between Israelis and Palestinians (www.musalaha.org) and the SIRA school in Bethlehem - a school for children with special educational needs (sira.se?page_id=48&lang=en) via the British charity Embrace the Middle East, formerly known as BibleLands, which has been working on humanitarian projects in the region for over 150 years: www.embraceme.org


Cross Rhythms review:

Reviewed by Oscar Hyde

"Blake is a rising UK talent, a true conceptual auteur. Here, he's set his compositional skills and five or six instruments to work to create a rock opera version of the Nativity story. It's a corker of an adaptation. Blake incorporates traditionally Middle Eastern scales into his neo-psychedelic rock; he's one of the few modern Christian musicians I've heard who can make minor keys properly jaunty. He hits all the major story points - a haunting rendition of Micah 5.2 to open, a mysterious annunciation, a joyful proclamation at Christ's birth - but what I find far more distinctive is the human element he emphasises. There's an anachronistic-but-adorable courtship between Mary and Joseph, a very real sense of Mary's fear at having to tell Joseph of the pregnancy, and so forth. At first, I considered the album too low-key; "Mary's Magnificat", for example, takes the form of a very simplistic '60s pop revival tune, not the massive anthem into which Hillsong adapted it. But, in truth, the Nativity WAS a low-key story from the perspectives of much of the wider world, and it's lovely to hear it as it must have at first been perceived. A final note: all proceeds from this album go to charities working in Israel and Palestine - this isn't just an album about the birth of the Prince of Peace, but a project that still cares about the meaning of that title today."


www.thisisblake.com

credits

released December 13, 2013

All songs written by Julian Pugsley.
Blake - vocals, acoustic and electric guitars, bass guitar, mandolin, harmonium, harmonica, drums, programming
Joe Brown - vocals, keyboards, bass guitar, Spanish guitar, programming
Beth Evans - vocals
Amy Evans - vocals on 'Star Over Bethlehem'
Chris Scrivens - drums on 'Nightmares', 'What Can I Say' and 'Lay It Down'
Helen Bousfield - flute, recorder on 'Marry Me' and 'Nightmares'; bass guitar on 'The Olive Trees'
Richard Bousfield - bouzouki on 'Don't Worry, Mary/No Room'
Paul Kench - lead guitar on 'Lay It Down'; Resonator guitar on 'Star Over Bethlehem'
Richard Kilbey - lead guitar on 'Jesus Gonna Turn Your Life Around'

Original seventeen track album produced by Joe Brown and Blake and mastered by Andy Rowland at Gatehouse Studios, Swindon: www.gatehousestudios.co.uk
Expanded Edition tracks and bonus material recorded and produced by Blake.

All songs Copyright Rockhopper Records 2013/2014

license

all rights reserved

tags

about

Blake Bath and North East Somerset

Singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist from the UK. Sign up to my mailing list and receive a free download of my track 'Vinyl Junkie': eepurl.com/dV04f

shows

contact / help

Contact Blake

Streaming and
Download help

Shipping and returns

Redeem code

Track Name: The Prophecy
But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah,
though thou be little among the thousands of Judah,
yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel;
whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.

Micah 5:2
Track Name: Marry Me
I could make you a table, Mary
I could make you a chair
I could make you a cradle, Mary
You could make me an heir!

I could make you a wardrobe, Mary
I could you make you a chest
I could make you anything Mary
What would you like best?

Mary, Mary

Look at this beam now, Mary
It’s strong and it’s true
What I really mean, dear Mary
I’d do anything for you

I could make you happy Mary
All I have I’ll share
Won’t you turn around dear Mary
You’ve got shavings in your hair

Mary, marry me
Track Name: Nightmares
Now I can hardly sleep I’m burdened by all these dreams I have
Fears welling from the deep and cares that I never used to have
Sometimes I sit and weep I miss all the simple joys I had, how can I get back?

Nightmares, nightmares, nightmares am I to be
Lost in the dark how can I escape
Nightmares, nightmares, nightmares following me
Lost in the dark and I’m losing control O lord please save my soul
Track Name: The Lord Is With Thee (Annunciation)
Mary, Mary, Mary the Lord is with thee
Blessed, Blessed, Blessed among women
Thou shalt conceive, bring forth a son and shalt call his name Jesus

How shall this be? How shall this be? Seeing I know not a man
Holy, Holy, the Holy Ghost shall come upon thee
The power of the most high shall overshadow thee
The child shall be called the Son of God
Track Name: I Believe (Magnificat)
My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord
My spirit doth rejoice for he has poured
Most mercifully his love on me

He has cast the mighty from their thrones
And to the meek and lowly he has shown
His majesty now I believe

I Believe I Believe oh
Your baby jumps for joy within you
I Believe I Believe oh
I Believe

Scattered far the proud in their conceit
Sent away the rich for his promise to keep
To Abraham and all his sons

He has filled the hungry with good things
To his servant Israel he will bring
A saviour King now I can sing

I Believe I Believe oh
Your baby jumps for joy within you
I Believe I Believe oh
I Believe
Track Name: Sit Down
Joseph sit down there’s something I must say
I had to come round I had to find a way
My heart is aching and my mind just cannot rest
I cannot take in the way we have been blessed

I am uncertain how you’ll feel
I hope your love for me is real

Mary sit down what troubles you this night
Why does your face frown let me help you put things right
Soon we will marry and forever live as one
So don’t you tarry come and tell me what is wrong

I know for certain how I’ll feel
I know my love for you is real

Joseph
Mary
I’m scared
Track Name: What Can I Say
Mary’s so naïve to think I would just believe
What can I say when I just don’t want it
Mary must be mad if she thinks I’ll be its dad
What can I say when I just don’t want it
Mary says it’s fine but we both know it isn’t mine
What can I say when I just don’t want it
Mary’s just a tease did she think that I’d be pleased
What can I say when I just don’t want it

The ‘Son of God’ is not my son

Lord I’m just a man can you help me understand
What can I say when I just don’t want it
Lord it can’t be true can you help me make it through
God what can I do I give all my pain to you
What can I say when I just don’t want it
God please heed my prayer, can you hear me, are you there?
What can I say when I just don’t want it

The ‘Son of God’ is not my son
The ‘Son of God’ is not my son
Track Name: Pierced
All that I wanted
Is here at last
And all that we prayed for
Has finally come to pass

Time after time, time after time
Your love has pierced me
Time after time, time after time
Your love has pierced me

Oh your love has pierced me
Oh your love has pierced me

All of our longing
Is now fulfilled in thee
And for our transgressions
Such cruelty

Time after time, time after time
Your love has pierced me
Time after time, time after time
Your love has pierced me

Oh your love has pierced me
Oh your love has pierced me

A babe born to save us
To suffer his part
And enter our darkness
It pierces me to the heart

Time after time, time after time
Your love has pierced me
Time after time, time after time
Your love has pierced me

Oh your love has pierced me
Oh your love has pierced me
Track Name: Now I Must Leave Her
Now I must leave her
I’ll do it quietly
I’ll send her far away
Far from her family

Oh but I love her
My heart is torn in two
All of the plans we’d made
I just can’t believe it’s true

Joseph Joseph do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife
Joseph Joseph by the Holy Spirit the child was given life

Ah but she’s guilty
It’s plain for all to see
I promised her everything
How could she do this to me

She seemed so innocent
I can’t stand this jealousy
I would give anything
To find out who stole her from me

Joseph Joseph do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife
Joseph Joseph by the Holy Spirit the child was given life

How can I forgive her
My friends all mock me in the street
How can I be with her
Can I believe she didn’t cheat?
Track Name: Shout It From The Rooftops
Shout it from the rooftops
Say it in the streets
Our God is coming
Tell all you meet
Call down from the mountain
Cry have no fear
The Lord our saviour
Will soon be here

Shout it from the rooftops
Scream it in the squares
Our God is coming
Cast off your cares
Call down from the mountain
Cry have no fear
The Lord our saviour
Will soon be here

Shout it from the rooftops
All over the land
The Kingdom of Heaven
Is close at hand
Call down from the mountain
Cry have no fear
The Lord our saviour
Will soon be here
Track Name: The Olive Trees
Oh my love come down with me
Down amongst the olive trees
Oh my love come down with me
Oh my love it is so nice
In this earthly paradise
Oh my love come down with me
They’ve been here a thousand years
Now they cry a thousand tears
Oh my love come down with me

If they cut them down
If they cut them down
If they cut them down
The earth screams
The people’s dreams die

They bring swords and they bring shields
Soldiers keep us from our fields
Oh my love let’s save the trees
Rich in oil at harvest time
The lifeblood of Palestine
Oh my love let’s save the trees
They will never understand
We are rooted in this land
Oh my love let’s save the trees

If they cut them down
If they cut them down
If they cut them down
The earth screams
The people’s dreams die

Oh my love come down with me
Down amongst the olive trees
Oh my love come down with me
Track Name: Don't Worry, Mary/No Room
Joseph I’m tired the journey’s been long
I don’t have the strength to carry on
All I desire is some place to lay my head
Joseph why can’t we find a bed?

Don’t worry Mary, don’t worry Mary
Don’t worry Mary
I’ll find somewhere to stay
Don’t worry Mary, don’t worry Mary
Don’t worry Mary
I’ll find somewhere to stay
I’ll find a way

Joseph keep trying we don’t have much time
Why are the people so unkind?
Lord will you help us we call out to you
I have been faithful through and through

Don’t worry Mary, don’t worry Mary
Don’t worry Mary
I’ll find somewhere to stay
Don’t worry Mary, don’t worry Mary
Don’t worry Mary
I’ll find somewhere to stay
I’ll find a way

No room No room
No room No room
I have to find us somewhere soon

No room No room
No room No room
I have to find us somewhere soon

Sir can you help us
My wife is in pain
Do you have somewhere we can remain?
Sir I must beg you
Her time is now due
There must be something you can do!

No room No room
No room No room
I have to find us somewhere soon

No room No room
No room No room
I have to find us somewhere soon

Sir wait a minute
Have pity I pray
Is there a room where we can stay?
Here take this lantern
There’s no room inside
You’ll find the stables warm and dry
Track Name: Jesus Gonna Turn Your Life Around
Shepherds do not fear, shepherds do not fear
The Lord your God is here, the Lord your God is here
Heed this news I bring, heed this news I bring
Go and honour him, make your offering

Go and worship the Lord
In a farmyard he lies with a maid
Go and worship the Lord
In a manger he is laid

Jesus gonna turn your life around
Jesus gonna turn things upside down

Here in David’s town, here in David’s town
Better get on down, better get on down
Go and praise the King, go and praise the King
The Lord of everything, what can you offer him?

Go and worship the Lord
In a farmyard he lies just a babe
Go and worship the Lord
In a manger he is laid

Jesus gonna turn your life around
Jesus gonna turn things upside down
Track Name: Lay It Down
Listen people you’ve heard it said
From Bethlehem comes the living bread
Whose origins are from of old
In ancient times it was foretold
Listen people to what you’ve read

Lay it down o ye sons and daughters
Lay it down all your shame and fear
Lay it down drink the living water
Lay it down because the King is here

The Lord himself has given us a sign
From a virgin’s womb and from David’s line
He has come to make all things well
Our God is with us Immanuel
The Lord himself is now with us entwined

Lay it down o ye sons and daughters
Lay it down all your shame and fear
Lay it down drink the living water
Lay it down because the King is here

God is with us
The Lord himself
Track Name: The King Is Here
I am the King divine
All that you can see is mine
This talk of ‘Messiah’ is troubling me
I will send out a decree, just watch me

Prophesised in ancient days
They wish to adore him they say
From the House of David a ruler will come
Well he will end his life young, very young

Hallelujah Hallelujah the King is here!
Hallelujah Hallelujah the King is here!

Born in my kingdom a child
Innocent, meek and mild
This seed shall be harvested before it has grown
I shall not be overthrown, let it be known

These people are ungrateful fools
I rebuilt the temple of the Jews
Do they really think they can shake off Roman rule?
I will show them who’s who, kill boys under two!

Hallelujah Hallelujah the King is here!
Hallelujah Hallelujah the King is here!
Track Name: Star Over Bethlehem
There’s a star over Bethlehem
A light to proclaim the good news to all men
That God has come to save us

There’s a light for two thousand years shining
In our hearts and all it’s by his designing
For our God has come and saved us

Every night the stars shine bright
We remember the Christmas story
Every night, the stars shine bright
We praise you for your glory

There’s a wall around Bethlehem
And there’s a wall built around the hearts of your children
Thank God you came to save us

Blake recommends:

If you like Blake, you may also like: