Archive for December, 2011

Christmas Jubilee Time: Beautiful Star of Bethlehem

Dec
25

here, a very sedate white Baptist choir sings a sweet, sentimental tune:

Embedly Powered

This version got a lot of snark from recovering church-burnt folks at Stuff Fundies Like.

An unidentified guitarist brings it down home, determined to combine music with witness:

Beautiful Star of BethlehemAn unknown singer performs the gospel standard “Beautiful Star Of Bethlehem” while playing slide guitar. Old-time singing with NO synthesizers! Pure conviction and feeling, Praise the Lord.

Embedly Powered

(Come on, now — steel guitar on Christmas Day! What’s not to like?)

And a banjo teacher adds her own grace:

Embedly Powered

And the beautiful Star of Bethlehem even appears in this early piece by Terry Gilliam.

Embedly Powered

Sunday Jubilee Time: Which one did Harriet Tubman sing?

Dec
18

Embedly Powered

You can find a little history on the Pace Jubilee Singers here.

“Steal Away to Jesus,” sung by a talented choir of young women

Embedly Powered

 

And the Mighty Clouds of Joy: Same title, different lyrics:

Embedly Powered

(notice how deftly the lead singer steps over the mic cord at 1:40 and 2:00)

For this last version, I could only find the lyrics. The title, “Steal Away and Pray,” is the same as the Pace Jubilee Singers number above, but the lyrics are different.

The simplicity of these words tells me that this is an old folk tune which could function as a work song, strengthening and comforting the oppressed without attracting an unfriendly ear. I vote for this one — but I still don’t know how it sounded.