skip to Main Content

Carter, Sydney: When I Needed a Neighbour. SATB

£2.00£20.00

SATB unaccompanied (with divisions)
Arranged by Thomas Hewitt Jones

Thomas Hewitt Jones’s brilliant new SATB arrangement of Sydney Carter’s visionary anthem When I Needed a Neighbour is an inspiring call for compassion, solidarity and renewal – and a unique reminder of the power of choral singing to strengthen community through words and music in these Covid-disordered times. A cappella with divisions, his setting is hugely fun to sing, with drama and deft precision of deep feeling that are the hallmarks of this exceptionally gifted young composer.

This title is available either as a printed title by post, or as a digital download with a single or 30-copy print licence. Please select:

Clear

Description

Written in 1965 for the use of Christian Aid, Sydney Carter’s When I Needed a Neighbour long ago transcended its original purpose to become a popular anthem of compassion and unity. Quite a few of Carter’s much-loved songs followed a similar rising trajectory of appreciation – from local use at a moment forgotten except by those fortunate enough to have shared it, to the status of timeless contemporary classic, familiar to many in the way that folksong is familiar, as Carter, a folk-singer himself, would have relished.

Lord of the Dance and One More Step are celebrated examples of this pattern; and it is a truth of Carter’s unique poetic insight – some might call it genius – that his themes in these songs, though inspired by a specific time and function, are truly universal in appeal, thus of enduring impact. In the case of When I Needed a Neighbour, while Carter’s plea for love and understanding amongst people has always been relevant – what subject could be more so? – there is also the paradox that at that unique time and place we are wont to call ‘now’, the need for compassion has always seemed greater than ever.

Though Sydney Carter (1915–2004) was neither by temperament or training a graphic artist, some might draw parallels between his visionary, aspirational themes and those of William Blake. Or even of the legendary singer-songwriter Bob Dylan. In much of their work there is certainly a shared strain of maverick creativity, seeing new things in the old, old things in the new, and the numinous in the everyday, habitually asking hard questions of ourselves and those around us. Perhaps this is true of all great poets and songwriters. It is definitely the spirit in which When I Needed a Neighbour is offered to a new generation of musicians, at a time of unprecedented challenges to our understanding of one another, and with the call to offer solace.

Lyrics

When I needed a neighbour were you there, were you there?
When I needed a neighbour were you there?
And the creed and the colour and the name won’t matter,
Were you there?

I was hungry and thirsty, were you there, were you there?
I was hungry and thirsty, were you there?
Chorus

I was cold, I was naked, were you there, were you there?
I was cold, I was naked, were you there?
Chorus

When I needed a shelter were you there, were you there?
When I needed a shelter were you there?
Chorus

When I needed a healer were you there, were you there?
When I needed a healer were you there?
Chorus

Wherever you travel I’ll be there, I’ll be there,
Wherever you travel I’ll be there.
And the creed and the colour and the name won’t matter,
I’ll be there.

Sydney Carter (1915-2004)
© 1965 Stainer & Bell Ltd.
13 10 & Refrain
CCLI#: 227923

Permission is required in advance for reproduction of these lyrics in any format – websites, order of services and any commercial purpose. More information…

Licences

SINGLE COPY PDF
This SINGLE/INSPECTION version is available for immediate download as an Adobe PDF file and is sold under the terms of a personal use licence.

30-COPY LICENCE
Also sold under the terms of a personal use licence, the purchase of this file includes a licence to print up to 30 copies for use by your choir. If you need more than 30 copies, simply purchase multiple copies of the file for each additional 30 copies required. For example, 30 copies cost £20.00, 60 copies cost £40.00 etc.

Note: The file (stamped with your name and email address) will be available for immediate download and the licence will be sent via email.

Back To Top