I find myself playing this 1971 Gavin Bryars production, originally posted in my blog about a year and a half ago, for its mesmerising, somewhat soothing qualities, imparting some sort of dignity among the simplest of the simple, realising I completely forgot to share its background, in short summed up like so:
Jesus’ Blood Never Failed Me Yet is a 1971 arrangement by Gavin Bryars of a composition by an unknown composer. It is formed on a loop of an unknown homeless man singing a brief stanza. Rich harmonies, comprising string and brass, are gradually overlaid over the stanza. The piece was first recorded for use in a documentary which chronicles street life in and around Elephant and Castle and Waterloo, in London. When later listening to the recordings, Bryars noticed the clip was in tune with his piano and that it conveniently looped into 13 bars. For the first LP recording, Bryars was limited to a duration of 25 minutes; later Bryars completed a 60-minute version of the piece for cassette tape; and with the advent of the CD, a 74-minute version. It was shortlisted for the 1993 Mercury Prize.
Still pretty enthralling, methinks, fully aware that I shall return – again and again.