The subject matter of this track will appeal to some more than others; if you’re a militant atheist, you should probably look away now.
Sydney Carter’s songs were written out of an intense but idiosyncratic Christian faith. His Lord of the Dance has become such a cliche that we may forget how odd, even heretical, the idea of Christ dancing was at the time (any resemblance to the figure of the dancing Shiva was entirely intentional). This song is less heterodox but just as forthright: the verses state in typically plain language what Christian doctrine implies – that for nine months, the last of which we now call Advent, Mary was pregnant with God. (Christian doctrine makes some very large claims in places, and Carter was never shy of spelling them out.) The chorus (“All the while, wherever I may be, I carry the maker of the world in me”) is another matter: Carter stressed that this is not specific to Mary (“the chorus can apply to anybody”). The Quaker George Fox, a hero of Carter’s, held that there was “that of God in every one”.
The arrangement is one of the more complex ones I’ve recorded; by the last chorus there are melodica, recorder, a rather squeaky G whistle and drums all going at once (and all recorded separately). If I did it again I might use a simpler drum pattern, or else work to a click track. See what you think, anyway.
One response to “NS13: Come, love, carolling”
I just love it, you’ve captured the subtlety of the melody yet somehow kept the whole thing beautifully simple.