“Jesus’ blood never failed me yet (single version with Tom Waits)” by Gavin Bryars (1993)
It’s about time the essential version(s) of this wonderful music got a deluxe reissue, isn’t it? “Jesus’ blood never failed me yet” was originally recorded in 1972 and got its first release as the B side of Gavin Bryars’ “The Sinking Of The Titanic” lp (Obscure / E’G 1975), while it was later updated for cassette tape and for cd (Point 1993); all versions are unavailable at present. The version above is one of three single edits, to which Tom Waits added his voice. It has just been reissued via the “Mojo Presents Step Right Up! (A Musical Journey Compiled And Sequenced Exclusively For Mojo By Tom Waits)” v/a cd, which you get for free with the current issue of UK mag Mojo (#200, for sale 2010-05 but called the “July 2010 issue”). For once, it’s an excellent cd throughout, but as usual, Mojo has failed to provide the cd with an insert with complete information, e.g. correct recording & release dates. Very bizarre for a mag that pretends to be the world’s best music magazine … The full story on the song sung by the unknown tramp (recorded in 1971 for a film by Alan Power & Gavin Bryars, and later also used in Stephen Dwoskin’s 30′ movie “Jesus’ Blood”, 1972) can be found via the links below.
[…] When I came back I found the normally lively room unnaturally subdued. People were moving about much more slowly than usual and a few were sitting alone, quietly weeping. I was puzzled until I realised that the tape was still playing and that they had been overcome by the old man’s singing. This convinced me of the emotional power of the music and of the possibilities offered by adding a simple, though gradually evolving, orchestral accompaniment that respected the tramp’s nobility and simple faith. Although he died before he could hear what I had done with his singing, the piece remains as an eloquent, but understated testimony to his spirit and optimism. […]