Star Over Bethlehem

by Blake

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    Expanded Edition includes eleven extra tracks not included on the original release, seven bonus tracks and original artwork.
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1.
The Prophecy 03:10
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
2.
Marry Me 01:24
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
3.
Nightmares 02:52
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
4.
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
5.
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
6.
Sit Down 03:10
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
7.
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
8.
Pierced 04:13
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
9.
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?
10.
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
11.
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
12.
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
13.
14.
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
15.
Lay It Down 02:39
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
16.
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!
17.
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

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

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Blake England, UK

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

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