Paul Jones Songs of Praise


Paul Jones

Singer Paul Jones is Aled Jones's guest and talks about how he went from being a militant atheist to a devout Christian, and leads the congregation in some popular hymns.


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Transcript


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One day in 1967, a famous pop star sat in a TV studio,

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having a go at another famous pop star, Cliff Richard.

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This young man was a passionate atheist and relished

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his chance to argue with Cliff, then a newly converted Christian.

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He was, he admitted, rather unpleasant to Cliff

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but a few years later things would change in a dramatic way.

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# Five, four, three, two, one #

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The man in question was Paul Jones,

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the lead singer of the group Manfred Mann.

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With a string of hits,

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such as Pretty Flamingo, Five Four Three Two One and Doo Wah Diddy,

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they were up there with The Beatles and The Stones.

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# Doo wah diddy diddy. #

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Nearly 50 years on, Paul is still delighting audiences both

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touring and on his weekly Radio Two blues show.

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A venerated member of the British music scene,

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he's as popular as ever.

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In this week's Songs of Praise, Paul is my special guest

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and will be performing some of his favourite songs.

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There'll be some classic hymns

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and he'll take some searching questions from his fans

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and I'll be asking Paul just what happened to the militant atheist.

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Welcome to the East End of London and to Christ Church, Spitalfields.

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Now, it's been a place of worship for three centuries

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and its beautiful architecture attracts thousands of visitors

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each year but these fine people are here for more than

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a glimpse of a Georgian portico, oh yes, they are.

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They're here to sing and to see our very special guest,

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the one and only, Mr Paul Jones.

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APPLAUSE

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So, Paul, a celebration of your life,

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-I would imagine is going to involve music.

-A-huh.

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-A bit of blues...

-Yes.

-A bit of rock?

-M-hmmm.

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-How about a few hymns?

-Oh, yes.

-I'm glad you said that.

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Why do you love hymns so much?

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Well, you know, first of all I used to sing in cathedral choir

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-as I was a boy...little fella.

-We've all been there and done that.

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Of course, yes.

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And I loved it, I just loved the physical experience of singing

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and I loved the music and everything.

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But also nowadays things have changed

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-and it's the content of the lyrics that's most important to me.

-OK.

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What have you chosen for us all to sing, magnificently first?

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Magnificently, What a Friend We Have in Jesus!

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That's a good one, take it away.

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# What a friend we have in Jesus

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# All our sins and griefs to bear

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# What a privilege to carry

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# Everything to God in prayer

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APPLAUSE

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-How can we better that? That was brilliant.

-Oh, we'll have to.

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When you're up there on stage,

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do you actually feel that God is your mate these days?

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You know, someone told us off once for thinking of him

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as God all matey instead of God all mighty.

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But, yes, I do feel that, you know, his friend.

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It wasn't always that way though, was it?

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I think we need to clear up you and Cliff Richard, don't we?

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HE SIGHS

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What happened?

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I'd become an atheist and I decided that all Christians were stupid

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and I particularly was gunning for Cliff. I mean, how bad could I be?

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I really was obnoxious to him, I was.

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-He wasn't horrible back at all, was he?

-No...he was lovely.

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But, you know, talking about those days,

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the heady days of the '60s, I've seen lots of cuttings

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and clips where you've given interviews

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and the people that are interviewing you almost hold you on a pedestal.

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Do you think you let all that adulation go to your head at all?

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Oh, yes...oh, yes! Adulation is a very, very addictive drug.

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It should be up there with the other Class A drugs, it really should.

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-It's very, very dangerous.

-Why do you say that?

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Well, people can't handle being somebody much more than

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they actually are in real life.

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It's so great to become a Christian and know who you are in Christ.

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Cos that's another story entirely.

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So, how did the angry atheist come back to Christianity?

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Basically I fell for a particular painter who lived two

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centuries ago, in Germany, whose name is Friedrich.

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Caspar David Friedrich.

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-Right.

-And he painted both Christian paintings and secular paintings.

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Since I was still trying to be an atheist, this around 1980, I was more

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interested in the secular ones and yet I knew that they were spiritual.

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And it gradually dawned on me that if I could see that those

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paintings were spiritual, there had to be something spiritual in me.

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And at that point atheism had already left the building.

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The interesting thing is that, dare I mention his name again,

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I don't want you to get all aggressive on me but Cliff Richard

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played a part in you coming back to a Christian as well, didn't he?

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He did, he did.

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That man was so good, so faithful and one day he rang up and he said,

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"Will you come to White City Stadium and listen to this speaker?

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"His name is Luis Palau and believe me,

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"You really need to come."

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It was powerful.

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Gospel choir...loved it.

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Luis Palau preached out of Paul's letter to the Romans,

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chapter one and said, "Are you right?

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"Is your life right with God?" I went "No".

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-Thankfully it is now.

-Made it right.

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Here we are approaching Christmas, erm,

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what does the season mean to you?

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Oh, well, Christmas is something that a lot of people,

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unfortunately, unsaved people dread, don't they?

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"Oh, no, not Christmas again... All that shopping, you know..."

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-Spending money...

-Buying things for people, spending money, yeah...

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-Seeing the in-laws.

-Seeing the in-laws.

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Yeah, you become a Christian, the reason for the season...

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Jesus is the reason for the season!

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And you get it in here and Christmas is a wonderful, wonderful time.

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Well, the next piece you're going to perform, People Get Ready,

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not really a Christmas song but it has a Christmas message,

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I suppose, doesn't it?

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Definitely has a sort of Advent message in as much as it's

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really about the second coming, isn't it?

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Basically what the song is saying is be ready when he comes.

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Well, I can't wait to hear it,

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so if you want to go and get yourself ready?

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Absolutely.

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To perform People Get Ready with our wonderful house band, it is Paul Jones!

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APPLAUSE

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# People, get ready

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# There's a train a-coming

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# You don't need no baggage

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# You just get on board

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# All you need is faith

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# To hear diesels humming

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# You don't need no ticket

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# You just thank the Lord

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# So, people, get ready

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# For the train to Jordan

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# It's picking up passengers

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# From coast to coast

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# Faith is the key

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# Unlock the doors and board them

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# There's room for all

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# You know, we're loved the most

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# There is no room

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# No room for the hopeless sinner

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# Who would hurt all mankind

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# Just to save his own

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# Pity the man

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# Whose chances grow thinner

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# There's no hiding place

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# From the Kingdom's throne

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# So, people, get ready

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# For the train to Jordan

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# It's picking up passengers

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# From coast to coast

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# Faith is the key

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# Unlock the doors and board them

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# There is room for all

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# You knew, we're loved the most

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# Oooh-hoo...

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# You don't need no baggage, no, no

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# You just step on board

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# You don't need no ticket

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# You just thank the Lord. #

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APPLAUSE

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Not far from Paul's home in Surrey is Cranleigh Arts Centre,

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a charity he's been supporting for many years.

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It's a small space with a big impact.

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Closed temporarily for renovation, it gives Paul a chance to reflect.

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I played here and I actually really, really like it as a venue.

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It's lovely, the atmosphere is always really pleasant here.

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It's something to do with the people who run it.

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I help here because I don't want this sandstone ancient building

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to crumble, I want it to stay alive and be part of Cranleigh.

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It's just a fantastic place. I think a lot of people need an outlet.

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They go to work, it's a commuter town,

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and they love the fact that they can come here for music,

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art and activities, and I think that needs to keep going.

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It adds that little extra to a community.

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It's icing on the cake, I suppose.

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For Paul, the arts have a further purpose.

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There is a definite connection between the arts and God.

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Because he is the ultimate creator, creativity is from him.

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He was the person who said,

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"Let there be light," and there was light.

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You know, he wants us to use it for ourselves and each other.

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# That's the way God planned it

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# That's the way God wants it to be. #

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Well, it's time for Paul to have a well-earned break

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and foe us to do some singing. Feel free to sing along at home.

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It's a great hymn of praise, At The Name Of Jesus.

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So, Paul, you're a pop star, a broadcaster, a musical theatre star,

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the list is endless. Which of those is really you?

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If somebody said to me, "Right, it's a firing squad for you,

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"you have to decide what it is out of all those things

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-"and you can only do one of them"...

-That's what I should have asked you!

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-It's playing the mouth organ.

-Really?

-Yeah.

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It's never far away from you.

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It's never far away from me, it's right here.

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When I was 18, I heard for the first time electric blues.

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It was by a harmonica player called Junior Wells,

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real name Amos Blakemore. Don't ask me.

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Anyway, I heard that and I thought,

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that's what I'd want to do with the rest of my life.

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Some people would say that, you know, blues maybe doesn't belong in church.

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Well, I'm not sure that blues out and out does belong in church.

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But one shouldn't make the mistake of assuming that all blues

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is like the worst kind of blues, because,

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hey, you don't make the mistake of thinking that all classical music

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-is like the worst kind of classical music.

-Fair point.

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And there's a bad kind of every sort of music, really.

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The blues is capable of doing anything and everything,

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including worshipping the Lord.

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I'm sure everyone here would like to see him play the harmonica a bit, wouldn't we?

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-AUDIENCE: Yes.

-Come on, give us a bit.

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-Just there, what comes to your head?

-Gospel blues.

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OK, you're on. Go on.

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HARMONICA BLUES RIFF

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# I woke up this morning with my mind

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# Resting on Jesus

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# Woke up this morning with my mind

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# Resting on Jesus

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# Hallelu

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# Hallelu

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# Hallelu. #

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APPLAUSE AND CHEERING

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-Now, listen, we must talk about you and the Rolling Stones.

-Must we?

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I was big friends with Brian Jones.

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For so long, I cannot remember the actual circumstances of our meeting.

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One day, Brian rang me up and he said,

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"You know, we haven't been taking this thing seriously.

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"I'm going to move to London, I'm getting a flat,

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"I'm going to start a band and I'm going to become very rich

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"and very famous. Do you want to be my singer?" And I said, "No."

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LAUGHTER

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So he got somebody else. I can't remember who it was.

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Mick something(?)

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-Mick somebody, yes.

-It'll never work(!)

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But, you know, one of the main reasons I said no,

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I thought it was preposterously optimistic of him

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to think that we could make a living playing our music.

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But also, I'd just got a job with a dance band in Slough

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in a ballroom, and I was just having a good time and learning.

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It was good.

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The next song you're going to perform, well,

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it harks back to the Rolling Stones because they used to perform this.

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They, yes, they got it from Mississippi Fred McDowell.

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Anyway, it's a lovely song and it's called You've Gotta Move.

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Fantastic. Go and get yourself ready.

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Well, he could have been a Rolling Stone

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and tonight, I suppose, he will be. You Gotta Move, Paul Jones.

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HARMONICA SOLOING

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# You gotta move

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# You gotta move

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# You gotta move, child

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# You gotta move

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# When the Lord

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# Get ready

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# You gotta move

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# You may be rich

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# You may be poor

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# Have beggars or lenders in a line at your door

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# Yeah, but when the Lord, when the Lord get ready

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# You gotta move

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# Tell all your neighbours, all in your street

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# Tell everybody, everybody you meet

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# That when the Lord, when the Lord get ready

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# You gotta move

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# You may be an actor

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# Could be a doctor

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# A chiropractor

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# Or drive a tractor

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# Uh-huh, but when the Lord, when the Lord be ready

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# You gotta move

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# You may be a waiter, dishing out mashed potato

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# You could be a traitor or even a dictator

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# But when you realise that he is the creator

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# You gotta move

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# Yo-ou gotta mo-ove. #

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APPLAUSE

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Paul Jones there and You Gotta Move.

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And I tell you what, you've gotta love it.

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Now, we look forward to 25th December.

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It's time for a carol that's been given a rather different treatment,

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one guaranteed to make your Advent go with a swing.

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God Rest You Merry Gentlemen.

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Well, I think I've asked far too many questions this evening.

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It's good to be in with the crowd, lots of Paul Jones fans here,

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-including Lindsay. How are you, Lindsay? Stand up.

-I'm fine.

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-Are you enjoying it?

-I am indeed, very much so, thank you.

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-You've got a question for the main man?

-Yes, I have.

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Paul, we've heard how you were once a very determined atheist,

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and yet you changed to become to become a very committed Christian.

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What I wondered was,

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do you ever now get any little niggling doubts about your faith?

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And if you do, what do you do about it?

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Ooh!

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I don't really get niggling doubts about my faith.

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I might have the occasional niggling doubt about

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whether I'm doing everything I should.

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But in either case, what I would recommend

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is God's word.

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It gives us everything we need to know

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and every piece of advice

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and instruction to live our lives, it's all in there.

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It's the only book that does that.

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Good question, Lindsay, thank you very much, you can sit down.

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Deborah's got a question as well, haven't you?

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I have, yes, thank you.

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Um, how do your colleagues in the Manfreds

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and the Blues Band feel about your other life as a Christian speaker?

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Well, that varies enormously from person to person!

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Literally everything from...

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erm, noticeable hostility, not to me,

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but to my beliefs, all the way from that to serious interest.

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Do you know something?

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It's the really nice guys who are completely

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apathetic about faith, they are the hard ones to crack!

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-Good question.

-Thank you.

-And we've got Julie here, haven't we?

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-Are you having a good time tonight?

-Yeah, awesome, thank you.

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Paul, if you had any advice to give to your young self, what would it be?

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He's still young! What are you talking about?

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LAUGHTER Your VERY young self.

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Younger! Yes. Um...don't.

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LAUGHTER

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Actually, I would say my advice would be, stop being proud,

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-get humble and get your life sorted.

-Cool.

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How do you feel when you listen to the main man sing?

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It just gives us so much joy, so much joy.

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And when you play that harmonica,

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the joy level just hits the roof, it's fantastic.

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-Thank you!

-I think everyone agrees, don't they?

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APPLAUSE

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Now, Uncle Paul - no relation - Jones, I've got a question for you

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as well, if that's all right, sir.

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Um, the next hymn, My Jesus, My Saviour - why?

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My wife and I once went to Hillsong,

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the church in the hills in Australia, which is

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where that song emanates from, and we loved it and we've always

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since loved their music, this one in particular.

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Let's sing it, shall we?

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# My Jesus, my saviour

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# Lord, there is none like you

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# All of my days

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# I want to praise

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# The wonders of your mighty love

0:28:200:28:27

# My comfort, my shelter

0:28:290:28:34

# Tower of refuge and strength

0:28:340:28:38

# Let every breath

0:28:380:28:41

# All that I have

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# Never cease to worship you

0:28:440:28:51

Hey, Paul, I hope you've enjoyed this.

0:31:170:31:18

I've certainly enjoyed it, thank you.

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-We've loved him, haven't we?

-ALL:

-Yes!

0:31:200:31:23

We've come to our final hymn. But it's a good one.

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It was written in the '60s, but it's already a classic.

0:31:250:31:28

It's perfect for Advent.

0:31:280:31:30

Based on Mary's words from the Gospel of Luke,

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it's Tell Out, My Soul.

0:31:320:31:33

From Paul and myself, and everyone here, goodbye.

0:31:330:31:37

Next week, Sally promises to get Wigan singing for Christmas.

0:33:290:33:32

We meet the schoolchildren putting faith first, and the youngsters

0:33:320:33:36

taking to the streets in the true spirit of the season.

0:33:360:33:39

Plus, candlelit carols from some of Wigan's finest young voices.

0:33:390:33:43

Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd

0:34:010:34:04

Singer Paul Jones is Aled Jones's special guest and talks about how he went from being a militant atheist to a devout Christian. Paul talks about his days with Manfred Mann and reveals how he chose to be the singer with a dance band in Slough, rather than join the Rolling Stones. Paul sings his versions of You Gotta Move and People Get Ready and leads the congregation in some popular hymns including Tell Out My Soul, My Jesus, My Saviour and At the Name of Jesus.


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