When I Needed a Neighbour

Song title superimposed over a picture of a poor village with houses featuring thatched roofs and many people - 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? 2.  I was hungry and thirsty, Were you there, were you there? 3.  I was cold, I was naked, Were you there, were you there  4.  When I needed a shelter Were you there, were you there?  5.  When I needed a healer, Were you there, were you there?  6.  When they put me in prison Were you there, were you there? 7.  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.
This song about social justice was written by English historian, folk-singer and poet / song-writer Sydney Bertram Carter (1915-2004) - best known as the author of Lord of the Dance.

It was written in 1965 to be the theme song of Christian Aid's Beat and Folk Festival (ref) and recorded on a single by Carter and the Notting Hilk Folk Group. Althought not intended as a hymn, it is used in this way by a number of churches, and also by schools as an assembly song which incorporates their ethos without explicity naming it as .

With meter 7 6 7 3, it is set to a tune that Carter wrote - and no other tunes have been located.   This is sometimes called NEIGHBOUR.  This has a 4/4 time signature. In the key of Em, the first few notes are B,B, E EF GF EG B Bd B with accompanying chords Em / G / B7.
    Hymn-books which it has been published in include:
    A hymn book is the only known source of sheet music for the song today.




    Downloads


    Examples


    Duet with guitar, home recording:



    Singer with guitar accompaniment:



    Large choir with orchestra accompaniment - recorded for a TV programme:



    Lead singer and band, rock-style accompaniment, professional recording:


    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?

    2. I was hungry and thirsty …

    3. I was cold, I was naked …

    4. When I needed a shelter …

    5. When I needed a healer …

    6. When they put me in prison…

    7. 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.

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