Wednesday, 3 October 2007

Come and Praise books

If you went to primary school in the UK, there is a good chance you will remember being handed a blue Come and Praise book on your way to assembly. If you went to my primary school, there was an even higher chance of being handed both the book and its cover, the latter having fallen off as the books were so old and shoddy.

The cover had a picture of children singing joyfully (or shouting angrily, hard to tell) and inside were mainly hymns, although there were apparently some songs within ‘for everyone’. And on page four, this might have been one of them…

Autumn DaysAutumn days, when the grass is jewelled
And the silk inside a chestnut shell.
Jet planes meeting in the air to be refuelled
All the things I love so well.
So I mustn’t forget…
No I mustn’t forget…
To say a great big thank you I mustn’t forget.


I ended up with a vague notion that jet planes only refuelled in the autumn months and there is another part of the song that continues:

Shoes so comfy though they’re worn out and they’re battered
And the taste of apple pie


Which we sung (joyfully) as ‘and they taste of apple pie,’ something that amused us greatly.

Did primary schools employ teachers who could play the piano or guitar, or was it just a bonus skill that was shared over coffee at break time, I wonder? Were they wannabe musicians, suddenly discovering they had a captive audience for their strumming? Or were they hastily shoved a tambourine on their way to assembly and told they must shake it in time with ‘Jubilate’?

We had both sorts in my school, an over-keen guitar player who used to bring his acoustic in and sing ‘Streets of London’ whilst tapping his sandals, and a reluctant deputy head who used to bang the tambourine crossly in a corner. The whole of the morning assembly would giggle in embarrassment if ‘When I Needed A Neighbour’ was chosen as the lyrics went ‘I was cold I was naked – were you there, were you there?’ which of course we thought was very naughty indeed.

But I liked singing in assembly, we sang songs from The Beatles (When I'm Sixty Four) and Simon and Garfunkel (Feelin' Groovy) - much of these thanks to our sandal-tapping teacher. Other songs I liked were One More Step and Kookaburra, where one half of the hall would start and then the next half start when the original lot were on the second line.

Kookaburra sits in the old gum tree
Merry, merry king of the bush is he
Laugh, Kookaburra! Laugh, Kookaburra!
Gay your life must be

(sound of music teacher counting ‘one, two, three, four!’)

I wonder if they still sing songs like those in assembly?

Slight update - I just noticed a lot of people are coming here looking for the lyrics to the Autumn days song - so here they are in full:

Autumn DaysAutumn days, when the grass is jewelled
And the silk inside a chestnut shell.
Jet planes meeting in the air to be refuelled
All the things I love so well.
So I mustn’t forget…
No I mustn’t forget…
To say a great big thank you I mustn’t forget.

Clouds that look like familiar faces
And winter's moon with frosted rings
Smell of bacon as I fasten up my laces
And the song the milkman sings.
So I mustn't forget...
No, I mustn't forget...
To say a great big thank you
No, I mustn't forget.

Whipped-up spray that is rainbow-scattered
And a swallow curving in the sky
Shoes so comfy though they're worn out and they're battered
And the taste of apple pie.
So I mustn't forget...
No, I mustn't forget...
To say a great big thank you
No, I mustn't forget.

Scent of gardens when the rain's been falling
And a minnow darting down a stream
Picked-up engine that's been stuttering and stalling
And a win for my home team.
So I mustn't forget...
No, I mustn't forget...
To say a great big thank you
No, I mustn't forget.

20 comments:

Bez said...

WOW. Thank you so much. I went through hell to find the full ltyrics to this song.

I'm only 17 but in primary school (around the ages of 6-11) i remember us rarely getting to sing this song as an entire school, and it flooded back memories.

Thanks for the full lyrics :D

Jayne Ferst said...

Ah, thanks for saying thanks! I get a lot of people coming to my blog looking for these lyrics, yet you are the first to say thank you :)

It seems like this song struck a chord with a lot of people growing up - fond memories for a variety of ages!

STUART said...

http://www.myspace.com/comeandpraise

enjoy!
(& we do a mean version of Autumn Days too! -but 'tis not the season right now)

lots of love

Come & Praise! x

Jayne Ferst said...

Hello Stuart and welcome! I did laugh at what you have put on your page... 'Did you have a wonderful little blue hymn book at school called "COME AND PRAISE"? You know, the one with all the extra's from Tucker's Luck on the cover, shouting loudly.'

Extra's from Tucker's Luck is perfect - just how I remember the cover of that book!

For some reason myspace is taking an age to download (my computer is creaking along on its last legs) but hopefully soon I will be able to have a listen! :)

paulkinm said...

I know the book you mean! I had one of those excellent blue books as well. They had a sort of textured cover on the newer ones. I have been trying EVERYWHERE to find one. Even Ebay doesn't yield any results :(

Jayne said...

Hello Paul! I too have looked for one on and off over the years, and cannot find one anywhere! They surely cannot all still be knocking around in a juinor school storeroom surely?

paulkinm said...

I have even tried Amazon with no luck. There must be an abundance of them somewhere!

Liz said...

The book is still available, but it has, of course changed its cover. There is Come and Praise part one, the original, still with a blue cover, but modernised, and Part 2. Or you can get a combined version which is red! I'm sure if you go into your local Primary School you will still find originals being used!
Thank you Jayne, I too was lyrics hunter. :-)

Jayne said...

Cheers Liz! Thanks for the info - all helps when hunting them down! And yes I agree - those poor battered originals are probably still being wheeled out for assemblies somewhere!

And not a problem, glad you enjoyed! :)

ediamond said...

When I was at primary school 8 years ago, we still had those books!!!!! I have still got my copy, a very tattered book covered in pink teddy wrapping paper and with pages so thick with stickers I can't read half the lyrics!
I remember singing the kookaburra song in assembly about 6 years ago, so it is still sung, but at my secondary school we no longer sing the Beatles - we have modernized to songs like 'Year 3000' by Busted or whoever, which we had to sing last week. When we stood up to sing, there was complete silence in the whole hall, something unusual in itself, apart from a few sad little Year 7s singing weakly and the girl beside me, who sung out as loud as she could, which is very loud indeed. The entire school turned to stare at our row. However, the girl carried on singing, and after a few lines, some of the other girls in our form joined in, then some girls from other forms, until almost half the school was singing, including one French teacher who REALLY can't sing but insists on joining in very loudly with every hymn.

Jayne said...

Hello ediamond - that did make chuckle - thanks so much for sharing that! It's interesting to hear what songs are being sung as well, and that the kookaburra song is stil going strong! :)

STUART said...

Hey Jayne!
At the risk of looking for a shameless plug (-; we have just put back up our (only original) version of Hymn number 4: AUTUMN DAYS on our Myspace page here:

http://www.myspace.com/comeandpraise

-due to the weather turning somewhat inclement of late.
Hope you all enjoy it and stop by to say hi sometime

See you in assembly!

C & P! x x

Jayne said...

Hello Stuart! Shameless plug accepted!

Just listening to it now - am almost back in assembly, apart from this is much nicer! Lovely, think I'll have another listen... :)

ediamond said...

I was just on a website called www.musicroom.com and I found a whole load of books called come and praise, including words and sheet music....

ediamond said...

also if you go on the dr who website (on the bbc) there is a game that plays the kookaburra song.

paulkinm said...

Hi Ediamond! Please, please scan the front cover in and email over it over to me! I would have fond memories of school-hood seeing it again! :)

Liffonmelsmork said...

Really enjoyed reading your memories of that hymn book. The fraying, worn texture of the spine - the shiny, creased appearance of the cover. I remember it all!

Thanks so much to Stuart for posting the link to that MySpace page. It's the first time I'd seen those covers in nine years and they look exactly how I remembered them.

I'm glad to see I'm not the only one who has fond memories of singing Autumn Days. Gave me goosebumps reading those lyrics again. My friends and me would shout "THE TASTE OF APPLE PIE!" as loud as we could! Surely the greatest lyric of all time?

I'm tempted to blog about this myself now!

Thanks for posting!

Jayne said...

Hello! Glad you enjoyed the post - thanks for letting me know! I am beginning to think that when the books were printed, they were given to someone to kick around a dusty floor for a while before handing them out to schools, as it seems like everyone remembers a fraying battered copy!

I think we used to shout out the same line, apart from we thought shoes tasted of apple pie. I do remember puzzling about that a lot.

And do blog about it! The more Autumn Days / Come and Praise memories the better, surely?! If you do write about it, come back and let me know here, and do a link back to your post so others can find it. :)

Neil Welton said...

Come And Praise was central to the collective worship at my infant and junior schools in the late 1970s and early 1980s. It was very much a crucial part of my spiritual, moral and religious development as a child. We had morning assembly three times every week and I so vividly remember singing these hymns, and then experiencing or seeing God as I did so. I have to admit that, as a boy, I found morning worship to be quite profound. I took it very seriously indeed and I actually looked forward to it. I looked forward to being with God in the school hall so that I could worship Him. I remember when I first began to experience God too. I must have been aged about six and, as we sang Sing Hosanna, I just went into this sort of trance as I became aware of God in my mind. I felt such an overwhelming sense of joy and happiness and, for some reason, my cheeks burned bright red as I sang my heartfelt praise. It was quite magical. Like this great mystery had been revealed deep within my mind. I began to see God quite clearly and, after the hymn had finished, I remember wanting to worship what I had seen. I was only aged six but I really wanted to worship God. Thirty years later I am a Christian and I am grateful for the spiritual journey Come And Praise encouraged me to take. This is especially so when you consider my own parents were atheist and agnostic. For being able to worship at school was the only opportunity to worship God and to experience God that I had. Indeed, it was only when I started at school that I first began to learn about God. To learn about the Christian Faith. I am very, very grateful Come And Praise was a part of that. That it had such a crucial role in my spiritual, moral and religious development as a child.

Neil Welton said...

Just to add, if I may, that I think my favourite hymn has to be I Have Seen The Light. For I had no idea what it meant. Until I saw the Light myself. Hallelujah! Praise the Lord.