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God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen

“The merry time of Christmas is drawing on a-pace…”, and so I’m delighted to share with you this Birmingham-related recording of “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” [Roud 394]. You can listen to (and download) the track via my Bandcamp page now, and via various streaming platforms from December 1st.

I found this broadside version of the well-known carol on the Broadside Ballads website. Printed by D. Wrighton at 86 Snow Hill, Birmingham, sometime between 1812-30, it contains lyrics I don’t recognise from my school days. Throwing down Satan wasn’t a major part of Yuletide festivities in 1980s Solihull, as far as I recall.

Sure, it’s a bit cheesy to do a Christmas song, but I feel it’s something of a Midlands tradition. If Slade can do it, then I’ll have a bash, too. This one’s for Noddy. Oi, oi!

Huge thanks to Andi Lee of Kosi Studios, who has helped me to mix and master this track. It’s hard to listen to your own music even once, let alone a hundred times over, so I’m very grateful to Andi for his help (and to Tom Moore for his help in demoing the track to begin with). Thanks also to Jon Nice for the lovely linocut cover.

Here’s to having as peaceful and restful a Christmas as 2020 will allow. Good tidings of the season to each and every one of you.

Jon

God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen – Lyrics

God rest ye merry gentlemen
Let nothing you dismay
Remember Christ our saviour
Was born on Christmas Day
To save our souls from Satan’s thrall
Which long have gone astray
This brings tidings of comfort and joy

From him that is our father
A blessed angel came
And unto certain shepherds
Brought tidings of the same
That there was born in Bethlehem
The son of God by name
This brings tidings of comfort and joy

Fear nothing said God’s angel
Let nothing you affright
This night was born our saviour
Of a virgin pure and bright
He’s able to advise you
And throw down Satan quite
This brings tidings of comfort and joy

Then these certain shepherds
Rejoiced much in mind
And left their flocks a feeding
In tempest, storm and wind
And straight they went to Bethlehem
The son of God to find
This brings tidings of comfort and joy

And when they came to Bethlehem
Where our sweet saviour lay
They found him in a manger
Where oxen fed on hay
The blessed lady kneeling down
Unto the lord did pray
This brings tidings of comfort and joy

Let me to you all invite
Who are within this place
To live in love and unity
The gospel to embrace
The merry time of Christmas
Is drawing on a-pace
This brings tidings of comfort and joy

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