Bryars created Jesus’ Blood Never Failed Me Yet in 1971 from a recording made, with permission, of an unknown homeless man, who had been singing a hymn that he had improvised. He found the recording was in tune with his piano, and, listening to it and playing it back in the art department he worked in (where, as the tape was being looped, “the normally lively room was unnaturally subdued, and people were moving about much more slowly than usual, a few sitting alone, quietly weeping”), formed an orchestral accompaniment to the man’s voice. Here, it is played with American songwriter Tom Waits, who participated from his love of the piece alone, singing the lyrics in unison.
Bryars found out years later that the homeless man had died, meaning he would have never heard the final piece, but it has been cemented in Bryars’ discography since. (via Genius.com)