Composer: J. L. Macbeth Bain

James Leith Macbeth Bain (1860–1925) was a Scottish hymn writer, religious minister and author who became known to his peers as Brother James. He is remembered for his religious publications, as well as the hymn tune "Brother James' Air". James Leith Bain was born at his parents' house on Inverness Road, Pitlochry within the Parish of Moulin, Perthshire on the 21st of November, 1860 to a John Bain (Colporteur) and a Margaret Leith. His parents had married on 1 November 1855 in Nairn Burgh, Nairnshire. James' siblings, also born in Pitlochry, were a John Jnr. (10 August 1856), Mary (9 October 1858), and Margaret ( 6 April 1863). John Bain Snr. had been born in Edinburgh Parish on 20 October 1826 to a John Bain (Shoemaker) and a Mary Cam… Go to person page >

Tune Information

Composer: J. L. Macbeth Bain
Incipit: 13515 61543 11711
Key: D Major
Source: Traditional
Copyright: By permission of Oxford University Press.


The Lord's My Shepherd

How lovely is thy dwelling-place

How lovely is thy dwelling-place,
O Lord of hosts, to me!
The tabernacles of thy grace
how pleasant, Lord, they be!

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BROTHER JAMES' AIR was composed by James Leith Macbeth Bain (b. Scotland, c. 1840; d. Liverpool, England, 1925), the healer, mystic, and poet known simply as Brother James. The tune was first published in his volume The great peace: being a New Year's greeting ... (1915). Born in a devout Christian home, Bain came to doubt the faith but later regained a mystical belief with the aid of the Christo Theosophic Society. He founded the Brotherhood of Healers, and he and his fellow healers often sang to their patients during healing sessions. In the latter years of his life he worked among the poor in the slums of Liverpool. He published a book on healing entitled The Brotherhood of Healers ... (1906).

This well-loved tune is in bar form (AAB) with an unusual final phrase that rises to a high tonic cadence. Ideally suited to part singing, the harmonization is adapted from the popular arrangement by Gordon Jacob (b. Norwood, near London, England, 1895; d. Saffron Walden, Essex, England, 1984) published in 1934, which was also titled "Brother James' Air."

Jacob studied at Dulwich College and the Royal College of Music and received his doctorate in music from London University in 1935. He taught composition at the Royal College of Music from 1926 to 1966 and was respected both as a fine teacher and as a composer of orchestral, chamber, and choral music and film scores. Included in his publications are Orchestral Technique (1931) and The Composer and His Art (1960).

--Psalter Hymnal Handbook


Instances (1 - 31 of 31)Text InfoTune InfoTextScoreFlexScoreAudioPage Scan
A New Hymnal for Colleges and Schools #204
Ambassador Hymnal: for Lutheran worship #569
Ancient and Modern: hymns and songs for refreshing worship #799bText
Baptist Hymnal 1991 #523Text
Chalice Hymnal #3Text Info
Chalice Hymnal #79Text
Chalice Hymnal #734a
Christian Classics Ethereal Hymnary #7ScoreAudio
Christian Science Hymnal Supplement: Hymns 430-462 #435
Christian Worship: supplement #766Text
Church Hymnary (4th ed.) #16TextPage Scan
Common Praise (1998) #498
Evangelical Lutheran Worship #778Text
Hymnal 1982: according to the use of the Episcopal Church #517Text
Hymns for Today's Church (2nd ed.) #45b
Hymns for Today's Church (2nd ed.) #591bText
Hymns Old and New (Rev. and Enl.) #723b
Moravian Book of Worship #720Text
Psalms for All Seasons: a complete Psalter for worship #4AText
Psalms for All Seasons: a complete Psalter for worship #23CAudio
Psalms for All Seasons: a complete Psalter for worship #84EText
Psalter Hymnal (Gray) #161Text InfoTune InfoTextScoreAudio
Singing the New Testament #67
Small Church Music #1166Audio
Small Church Music #3710Audio
The New Century Hymnal #479
The Worshiping Church #615Text
Trinity Hymnal (Rev. ed.) #86Text
Voices United: The Hymn and Worship Book of The United Church of Canada #748
Worship and Rejoice #73Text
Worship: a hymnal and service book for Roman Catholics (3rd ed.) #612
Include 5 pre-1979 instances