Jessie Mae Hemphill - ‘Lord, Help The Poor And Needy’

Jessie Mae Hemphill (October 18, 1923 – July 22, 2006) was an American electric guitarist, songwriter, and vocalist specializing in the primal, North Mississippi hill country blues traditions of her family and regional heritage.


Jessie Mae Hemphill onstage in Memphis, 1980s. Photo © Lisa McGaughran, photographer

Hemphill was born near Como and Senatobia in northern Mississippi just east of the Mississippi Delta. She began playing the guitar at the age of seven and also played drums in various local Mississippi fife and drum bands. Her musical background began with playing snare drum and bass drum in the fife-and-drum band led by her grandfather, Sid Hemphill. Aside from sitting in at Memphis bars a few times in the 1950s, most of her playing was done in family and informal settings such as picnics with fife and drum music until her 1979 recordings.

The first field recordings of her work were made by blues researcher George Mitchell in 1967 and ethnomusicologist Dr. David Evans in 1973 when she was known as Jessie Mae Brooks, using the surname from a brief early marriage, but the recordings were not released. In 1978, Dr. Evans came to Memphis to teach at Memphis State University (now University of Memphis). The school founded the High Water label in 1979 to promote interest in the indigenous music of the South. Evans made the first high-quality field recordings of Hemphill in that year and soon after produced her first sessions for the High Water label.

Here’s one of her poignant songs:

Here’s a terrific contemporary version performed by Damer i Blues med Unni Wilhelmsen og Merete R. Solli live fra Energimølla, Kongsberg torsdag 17. februar 2011.

And finally, a faster-tempo solo version by Marcel van der Linden:

Responsorial Versions of Psalm 63

Jeremy Mayfield is the Assistant Music Director for Christ Anglican Church, Mobile, Alabama.

1. Here’s a wonderful responsorial setting he composed for Psalm 63, which will be used in many churches around the world this Sunday that use the lectionary:  August 31, 2014, the 22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time.

Responsorial Psalm PS 63:2, 3-4, 5-6, 8-9

R/ (2b) My soul is thirsting for you, O Lord my God.
O God, you are my God whom I seek;
for you my flesh pines and my soul thirsts
like the earth, parched, lifeless and without water.
R/ My soul is thirsting for you, O Lord my God.
Thus have I gazed toward you in the sanctuary
to see your power and your glory,
For your kindness is a greater good than life;
my lips shall glorify you.
R/ My soul is thirsting for you, O Lord my God.
Thus will I bless you while I live;
lifting up my hands, I will call upon your name.
As with the riches of a banquet shall my soul be satisfied,
and with exultant lips my mouth shall praise you. 
R/ My soul is thirsting for you, O Lord my God.
You are my help,
and in the shadow of your wings I shout for joy.
My soul clings fast to you;
your right hand upholds me.
R/ My soul is thirsting for you, O Lord my God.
Lectionary for Mass for Use in the Dioceses of the U.S., 2nd typical edition, Copyright 2001.

2. Here’s a contemporary poignant version composed by Christopher Tse. It’s sung by jazzy vocalist Ellen Bullinger. Piano: Garrett Taylor.

Find many more of Christopher’s arrangements of Psalms at
This link is also the the source of the score below.
This one is not especially easy for a congregation, even with a repeated refrain, but I sure love to hear it!

3. I found another great contemporary setting which is easy for a congregation - this one composed by Michael Lynch.

Hear the demo recording at

and here’s his score, from that webpage:


imageAnd lastly, you can find a set of older-style chant versions of Psalm 63, many accompanied by organ, at

Here’s one by “Corpus Christi Watershed”

For thousands of free Responsorial Psalm scores & Mp3’s, please visit:

Christine D’Clario - ‘Padre mío’

Christine D’Clario is a composer and worship leader with family roots in Puerto Rico who now travels frequently to minister in North and Central America. She’s released 5 albums so far.

Learn part of her history at

Here’s a song from her album ‘Mas Profundo.’ She writes, “Quizás comenzaste esta semana con desánimo, confusión, falta de fe y pensando que no tendrás la fuerzas para vencer tu situación. Entrega todo a Dios nuestro Padre porque el ya venció por ti y para ti. Él es tu Abba.

Maybe you’re starting this week discouraged, confused, with lack of faith and thinking that you probably won’t have the strength to overcome your situation. Give it all to God our Father because He already won for you. He is your Abba.”

Gure Aita (‘Lord’s Prayer’ sung in Basque)

The Basque language has about 720,000 native speakers in northeastern Spain and southwest France

Here is The Lord’s Prayer sung in Basque:

Gure Aita zeruetan zarena, 
santu izan bedi zure izena, 
etor bedi zure erreinua,
egin bedi zure nahia 
zeruan bezala lurrean ere. 
Emaiguzu gaur egun hontako ogia; 
barkatu gure zorrak, 
guk ere gure zordunei 
barkatzen diegunez gero; 
eta ez gu tentaldira eraman, 
baina atera gaitzazu gaitzetik. 

The audio is from the CD ‘Donibaneko Meza dite Messe de Corsaires’, KD-128 Elkarlanean, published by Portuetxe kalea, 88 bis 20009 Donostia (San Sebastian), Tel: (0034) 943 310267.


The person who created the video writes, “Since 1998 I have made intermittent visits to Irun, a large town just on the border with France, 2 kilometres south of the French town of Hendaye and about 20 Kilometres north east of Donostia (San Sebastian).

"I have been struck by the fact that whenever I went to Mass in Irun, San Sebastian, Hendaye or even as far north as Bayonne, the ‘Gure Aita’ has always been sung, even during Masses at which no music has been played, no other hymn sung and no Basque spoken. In a word, ‘Gure Aita’ is such a hit with Basque, Spanish and French speakers in that region that a Mass entirely in Spanish or in French does not seem to happen.

The photos, apart from the CD cover, are of churches where I have joined in singing ‘Gure Aita’ on at least one occasion:

1.La Iglesia de los Carmelitas, San Sebastian;
2.L’Eglise de Saint Vincent, Hendaye;
3.La Iglesia de Nuestra Senora del Juncal, Irun;
4.L’Eglise de St. Andre, Bayonne;
5.La Iglesia de los Pasionistas, Irun.
6.La Eremita de San Marcial, Irun.”

Here’s a live version of the same prayer sung in Basque, though the music is different. The notes say,
2014 Maiatza, 20garren urtemugako kontzertua
Gure Aita, Jexus Mari Esnaolak konposatua, Bere amari eskeinia.”

And finally, one more live version from a  church service (no details given).

"Ars Moriendi" by The Collection (orchestral folk rock on the Art of Dying)

The Ars Moriendi (“The Art of Dying”) are two related Lati ntexts dating from about 1415 and 1450 which offer advice on the protocols and procedures of a good death, explaining how to “die well” according to Christian precepts of the late Middle Ages. It was written within the historical context of the effects of the macabre horrors of the Black Death 60 years earlier and consequent social upheavals of the 15th century. It was very popular, translated into most West European languages, and was the first in a western literary tradition of guides to death and dying.

"Ars Moriendi" is also the name of the latest album by a music group from Greensboro (North Carolina) called 'The Collection' who play orchestral folk rock music. The size of the group fluctuates but goes up to 12 people.

People that are, at one point or another, taking time and a place in the collection, are David Wimbish- Accordion, Guitar, Banjo, Cello, piano, Brass, Throat Tom Troyer- Guitar, Glockenspiel, Flute Steven Berbec - Trumpet Mira Wimbish- Accordion, Throat, Auxiliary Percussion Whitney Keller- Throat, Glockenspiel, Auxiliary percussion, Organ Tim Austin- Drums Hayden Cooke- Bass Philip Keller- Baritone, Auxiliary Percussion Christina Goss- Piano, Rhodes Christina Brooke- Cello Maria Fischer-Violin Hope Baker- Clarinet Josh Weesner- Violin Graham Dickey- Trombone Edd Kerr- Guitar Sandra Wimbish - Trumpet Joy Waegerle- merchant, keeping us sane, smiling Past, possibly present, and hopefully future members: Ben Thompson- Bass, organ, Auxiliary Percussion Luke Thompson- Aux Percussion Chase Salmons-Drums Jennifer Millis - Cello Blake Burchette- Trombone Xavier Hobbs - Trombone Heather Faulkner-Violin Stacie Cummings-Cello Joanna Hampton- Piano, Trumpet, other doo-dads Steve Rozema -Trumpet, Glockenspiel, Piano, Banjo.”

Here’s a jubilant song called 'The Art of Dying.'


Death sits inside his office as we wait for the verdict 
he speaks our fate with a nervous tick; do we get the cure or the sickness? 
and when we die, what will it be - a graveyard grave, or a golden fleece? 
And will we fight or will we flee? 
Will you still have faith in me? 

I walk down the golden stairs and pray, again, the skeptics prayer 
my grandpa is still sitting there asleep with a book in his red chair 
I’m a father, and I’m a son, and I do not own any guns 
I hope death don’t come from my hands so I can die a peaceful man 

Can’t we say that we won’t know a single thing until the day that death itself is cast away 
and I believe there’s nothing left to mar, 
I don’t know where I stand, but when I fall, its not too far 

I hope you’re running down the road with a golden ring and a purple coat 
to meet me when I pass through death with my brother and the fattened calf 

I can’t see what it will be until my real name comes to me 
I can’t see what it will be, so dance with me until I sleep.

Get the album at

with song titles like From Dust, Capernaum, and Some Days I Don’t Want to Sing (O’ Death, Where Is Thy Sting?)

For the next few days, get the album as a free download (tips appreciated!) at

Learn more about the band, and the genesis of the album title and theme (on the heels of a friend committing suicide), at

Y’hi Shalom - Neshama Carlebach & Josh Nelson

Y’hi shalom becheilech shalvah be’arm’notaich. 
Let there be peace in your borders, tranquility in your palaces...

Neshama Carlebach and Josh Nelson released a powerful music video offering a heartfelt prayer for peace against searing images from Israel and Gaza. In the midst of a summer of bloodshed and strife, the duo performs Shlomo Carlebach’s iconic song.

Moved by a summer of pain and suffering in the Middle East, at home and around the world, Neshama Carlebach and Josh Nelson have responded in the form of a prayerful, riveting and emotionally raw music video, produced by Josh Nelson.

Musical artists with a lifelong commitment to Israel, trans-denominational appeal and a message of unity for the Jewish community and the world at large, Neshama Carlebach and Josh Nelson were compelled to record the legendary melody composed by the late, great Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach in the midst of the violence in Israel and Gaza…and in the face of the resurgence of anti-Semitism around the world.

“As a Jew, as a mother and as a human being, I am terrified by the escalating hatred that I see in this world,” stated Neshama Carlebach, daughter of Shlomo Carlebach. “I grew up knowing that my father’s family ran from Nazi-occupied Europe and was aware of my deep blessing; that I was living securely and free of fear. I hear his voice in my head. This song is our prayer.”

The song is based on Psalm 122:7 -
 May there be peace inside your walls and prosperity in your palaces.”

Individually and as a creative team, Neshama Carlebach and Josh Nelson perform widely across the denominational spectrum of Jewish life and in secular venues as well. Deeply invested in Jewish Peoplehood, they are spiritual role models in their community. As such, they felt the urgent need to call for peace and love in the middle of this time of unprecedented conflict, they said. “We believe that all people have the right to live their lives without fear, and when we decided to speak up, we knew of no text more poignant than this prayer for peace,” said Josh Nelson. 

Shlomo Carlebach’s version of “Y’hi Shalom” is beloved and meaningful for millions around the world, Jews and non-Jews alike, explained Josh Nelson. “We hope that this recording will inspire humanity to come together and to begin to move in a new direction. There are no simple answers to the incredibly complex situation in Israel and Gaza, but the message in this song may be a place to start.”

Text from

Y’hi shalom becheilech
shalvah be’arm’notaich

Let there be peace in your stronghold
serenity in your palace

You can learn about the Josh Nelson Project at


Homemade instruments in African church service

This short video came my way today, which you’ll appreciate and enjoy ….

The English translation reads, “I know that all our Levites are grateful to God for everything they have to offer the best praise to Jesus.”
No identifying information was given; if you recognize which country this is from, please leave a comment - thanks!

Psalms from Benin (audio)

You can read a short article about a workshop I led in Benin here:

It was originally written for Mission Frontiers and can be found at 
Mission Frontiers, Vol. 36:4 (Sept/Oct 2014)

The streaming audio file in this blog post is Side A of the live-to-cassette recording I made in 1995. I’m not identifying the people group because of security issues.

Title: Acanɔ Tom Kpátaa. Fɩ́ɩ Dɔ́ɔsɩ Yʊkʊm!
All villages (nations), Praise God! (Ps. 117:1a)

  1. Song based on Psalm 117:1-2.
    Yeeyee bɩlaŋɛɛ, Dance Yeeyee, a woman’s dance

  2. Introduction

  3. Reading of Psalm 1

  4. Song based on Psalm 1:1-4
    Doŋmiilee bɩlaŋɛɛ, Collective Work Dance

  5. Reading of Psalm 5:1-3, 11-12 

  6. Song based on Psalm 5:1-3, 11a (not including title)
    Bicisaa bɩlaŋɛɛ Marching dance

  7. Reading of Psalm 100

  8. Song based on Psalm 100:1-2 (not including title)
    Kawaa buìbuŋɛɛ bɩlaŋɛɛ. Covering of the calabash, a traditional dance.

  9. Song based on Psalm 100:3
    Kawaa buìbuŋɛɛ bɩlaŋɛɛ, Covering of the calabash, a traditional dance

  10. Reading of Psalm 117

  11. Repeat of No. 1 above

ArtistPsalms from Benin, Side A

'Death may approach' - New Scottish Hymns

New martyrs are killed every day. We may encounter martyrdom ourselves one day. This recent song, while not explicitly about martyrdom, has a relevant message to us all … as well as a terrific melody.

One aim of the New Scottish Hymns album was to introduce some new songs that churches in Scotland (and further afield!) might find useful in their own unique worship services. Scottish traditional music and folk melodies have an adaptable quality that renders the best of them timeless. It’s important to remind new generations that these ancient words of scripture remain profoundly relevant, and that the gospel of Jesus is still the greatest thing worth singing about!”
Website -
Buy on iTunes -
Facebook -


Death may approach I shall not flee
For daily I have trained to be
Alive to Christ and dead to sin
Death cannot end what Christ begins

No longer warmed by Satan’s fires 
Yet burned by unreformed desires 
Spirit of God, attend our flesh
Fountain of life, our souls refresh

Whether at risk to life or limb
Ever our hope is found in Him
As Jesus suffered, so shall we

But not beyond His wise decree

Take up His yoke where freedom reigns
In love He chastens those He trains
Joy has its root, and grace its key
In patience and humility

Many the saints who fell before
Grief for our loss is fresh and sore
Though death may hold them for a day
Jesus has conquered, so shall they

Hallelujah! Christ arose
Bearing the wounds He gladly chose
Emblems of pain transformed by grace
Sins cancelled out, joy in their place

2012 Greg De Blieck CCLI - 6467955

Performed by Ellyn Oliver
Words & Music: Greg de Blieck
Whistle: Siobhan MacAuley
Accordion: Gary Innes
Drums: Stuart Spence

Download the lead sheet at

'The Word In Worship' - J & E Martin

Jonathan & Emily Martin are some favorite friends, composers of marvelous songs, and worship leaders. They were founding members of the popular band ‘Mosaic’ and now minister as a duo.

They have a ministry called ‘The Word in Worship.’ Here’s a video about their exciting current project …

We believe that the scriptures are literally the words of God and therefore powerful, helpful, and beautiful. And so, as a ministry, we have this phrase that sums up what we are most passionate about in regards to our music and ministry, “the Word in Worship.” Our songs are an overflow of the worship that the Word of God is producing in our lives. That is what “Word in Worship” means to us. You can click this link later to read a whole blog we wrote about our thoughts on “the Word in (Whole-Life) Worship.”


We write Word-saturated songs mainly because we love it, but also because we believe that the Word of God fuels both corporate and personal worship. We seek to lift up, obey, and glorify the one and only Jesus Christ, Son of God, that is revealed to us in the Word of God. We aim to do this in our lives, but in our ministry that looks like us leading corporate worship for churches across the country. We write songs, record albums, and do concerts in hopes of encouraging the body of Christ and spreading the gospel through our craft. And finally, we teach, write blogs, make funny videos, and all sorts of other things… all with the calling and drive to be not only musical worship leaders, but whole-life worship leaders. We want to see the church of God truly worship God and that happens when our singing is an overflow of the worship happening in our lives.


We have been writing songs and traveling the country for the past 5 years. We are in the middle of a 4 EP project called “The Overflow Project.” We have already released 2 EP’s the first called “O Great Vine” and the second is called “Set Your Eyes.” 

Support their next 2 EPs by pre-ordering them here - today!