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Ake Hernandez
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Hermon Baptist Church - The Blue Nile 1983-2008

Hermon Baptist Church - The Blue Nile 1983-2008

If you are a fan of The Blue Nile, you may be surprised to learn that the Scottish band had a strong connection to a small church in Glasgow. Hermon Baptist Church was the place where the band recorded their first album, A Walk Across the Rooftops, and where they rehearsed and performed for many years. The church was also a source of inspiration and support for the band, who often incorporated religious themes and imagery into their music.


Hermon Baptist Church was founded in 1879 by a group of Baptists who wanted to establish a mission in the East End of Glasgow. The church was located on Hermon Street, near the River Clyde, and served a poor and industrial community. The church was known for its social work and outreach, as well as its musical activities. The church had a choir, an orchestra, and a pipe organ, and hosted concerts and recitals regularly.

The Blue Nile was formed in 1981 by Paul Buchanan, Robert Bell, and Paul Joseph Moore, who met at Glasgow University. The band was influenced by artists such as Van Morrison, Brian Eno, and Joni Mitchell, and developed a distinctive sound that blended atmospheric keyboards, guitar, bass, and drum machines with Buchanan's soulful vocals. The band signed with Linn Records, a hi-fi company that also had a recording studio in Hermon Baptist Church.

The band recorded their debut album, A Walk Across the Rooftops, in the church between 1981 and 1983. The album was critically acclaimed for its originality and emotional depth, and featured songs such as "Tinseltown in the Rain", "Stay", and "Easter Parade". The album also reflected the band's spiritual sensibility, with references to God, grace, and redemption. The band later said that they felt a special connection to the church, and that it gave them a sense of peace and purpose.

The band continued to use the church as their base for the next two decades. They recorded their second album, Hats, in the church between 1986 and 1989. The album was another masterpiece of melancholy and beauty, and included songs such as "The Downtown Lights", "Let's Go Out Tonight", and "Headlights on the Parade". The album also featured more religious imagery, such as angels, stars, and heaven. The band performed several concerts in the church, including a memorable one in 1990 that was broadcast on BBC Radio 1.

The band's relationship with the church became strained in the 1990s, as they faced legal disputes with their record label and personal difficulties. The band recorded their third album, Peace at Last, in various locations around the world between 1994 and 1996. The album was more upbeat and optimistic than their previous ones, and incorporated elements of gospel, soul, and folk music. The album included songs such as "Happiness", "Tomorrow Morning", and "Family Life". The album also expressed the band's gratitude to the church, with a dedication to "the people of Hermon Baptist Church" in the liner notes.

The band's final album, High, was recorded in various studios in Scotland between 2001 and 2004. The album was more minimalist and intimate than their previous ones, and featured songs such as "I Would Never", "She Saw the World", and "Stay Close". The album also contained some of the band's most spiritual songs, such as "Because of Toledo", which was inspired by a stained glass window in the church depicting Jesus healing a blind man. The band performed their last concert in the church in 2008, before disbanding later that year.

Hermon Baptist Church closed its doors in 2010, after more than a century of service to the community. The church building was sold to a developer who planned to convert it into flats. However, the church's legacy lives on through the music of The Blue Nile, who have been hailed as one of the most influential and respected bands of their generation. The band's fans have also organized tours and pilgrimages to visit the church and pay tribute to its role in their musical journey.

Hermon Baptist Church - The Blue Nile 1983-2008 is a tribute to a remarkable place and its relationship with a remarkable band. It is a story of faith, art, and friendship that transcends time and space.




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