Thursday 10 December 2015

James R. Murray's Away in a Manger

Away in a manger, no crib for a bed,
The little Lord Jesus laid down his sweet head.
The stars in the bright sky looked down where he lay
The little Lord Jesus asleep on the hay.

James R. Murray of Philadephia wrote the lyrics for the carol Away in a Manger for the Lutheran Song Book of 1885.  The music, known as Mueller, was composed in 1887.  The third verse was composed by John T. McFarland in 1904.  William Kirkpatrick composed an alternate tune in 1895.  Some believe that Martin Luther himself composed the original carol.  However, the hymn is not found among Luther's works.  It is more likely that the hymn was simply composed to celebrate the 400th anniversary of Luther.

Sir David Willcock's version of the carol is often performed by English choirs.  Petula Clark recorded a version of the carol on her 1958 EP A Christmas Carol.  Jazz guitarist Royce Campbell recorded a version on his CD A Solo Guitar Christmas (

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