How I Got Over

Reef

“I’m gonna thank Jesus for all he’s done for me”

A white man sings a black woman’s song – written and first made famous by Clara Ward in 1951 then later recorded by Mahalia Jackson and Aretha Franklin.

Musically, this is a departure for the band which normally plays in a rock / blues style a bit like early Rolling Stones, though this song clearly uses the strength of Gary Stringer’s vocal delivery. I wonder what it means to them – is is just a rousing tune, or does it touch their soul? Is it worship or just performance? Listening carefully it seems that the name of Jesus in the original lyrics has been deliberately left out in this rendering, although the religious clues are still there – ‘soul’, ‘man who made me free, who bled and suffered’, ‘hallelujah’.

As originally written, the song is pure black American gospel where the ideas of religious salvation – being converted or ‘saved’ – is mixed up with the black civil rights struggle which itself looked back to the emancipation of the American slaves. So the song is built around thanks for liberation and a bright future hope ultimately in heaven, or symbolically the New Jerusalem – described in the Bible in the book of Revelation 21:1-7.

Don’t Be So Hard On Yourself

Jess Glynne

learn to forgive, learn to let go | everyone trips, everyone falls
don’t be so hard on yourself, no

In this competitive world of performance appraisals, credit ratings and social media ‘likes’ we need a better way to maintain our human dignity. It is too easy to internalise the message that we must be better, must do more – essentially that we are not good enough. Hence the message of this song which I think is from God and which I need to hear too.

The Bible tends to look at the world through a lens of morality rather than self-esteem and mental health. There is a story of Jesus healing a man of his blindness, after the disciples had helpfully enquired “whose fault is it that he’s blind – his own or his parents?” Perhaps the poor man had been asking himself the same question all his life.

Here’s mud in your eye!

Rockin’ In The Free World (Worldwide Jam)

Various artists

Here is music bringing people together! This video features artists from Angola, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, England, France, India, Indonesia, Italy, Malaysia, Mexico, Nepal, Peru, Portugal, Romania, Russia, South Korea, Turkey, Ukraine., USA, Venezuela (but not in that order). Whew – imagine organising that!

I’ve added this bonus version of the song because I used a shortened version in my original post which omitted some crucial lyrics.

There are a number of videos available of Neil Young and others performing this song, but I used this one as a bonus because a) it’s got all the words(!) and b) it’s a great music project where people from around the world have joined together to create a unique recording and c) there is some fine guitar shredding going on. Plus, there are definitely other instruments used that I’ve never seen before.

Which is the ‘real’ version of the song? Which one is ‘the truth’? This illustrates the way in which parts of the Bible have been written, with a selection of material and choice of presentation style for a particular audience. For example, we have four Gospel books of the life of Jesus (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John) rather than one – but it doesn’t make sense to ask ‘which one is the real one?’.