It seems that for the great festivals and seasons of the Church year there is almost an "embarrassment of choice," as there are SO many fine hymns to select from! The "Thanksgiving festival", whenever we observe it, also has many fine and wonderful "traditional harvest hymns" that we want to sing each year.
From time to time a true and genuine "new classic" appears, and in the case of "For the fruits of all creation" sung to Francis Jackson's spectacular tune, "East Acklam" is one such case.
Jackson, who was born in 1917 and STILL going strong, was one of the most influential British organists of the 20th century - as a composer, recitalist, and his 36 years as Master of the Music at York Minster.
On some occasions the tune of a hymn comes into being before the words. Francis Jackson composed ‘East Acklam’ in 1957 to be sung at a reunion service of old choristers, for the words ‘God that madest earth and heaven’. He named it after the village in Yorkshire where he lived. It was printed in the Methodist Supplement Hymns and Songs in 1969, but was not taken up until the Rev. Fred Pratt Green (1903-2000), then becoming known as one of our leading hymn-writers, wrote this harvest hymn for it. The words were published in The Methodist Recorder in August 1970 and used all over the country because of their freshness and realism. They were recognized as what we need to be singing at our harvest-thanksgiving services today. The author takes the three short lines of the tune and uses them for a refrain; he takes the three successive long lines to build up the message of the words, holding them back in the last verse for the climax of the tune on ‘Love has found us’.