Saturday, August 18, 2018

Softly and Tenderly

When I was young and arrogant, I thought Christian hymns were predictable, boring and not very good poetry. I think I thought that because I'd heard them all my life and the lines rattled around in my head much to the dismay of my determined agnosticism. Then I met Christ.

And the old hymns began to mean something to me. This scene from the 20005 movie "Junebug" is a sweet rendition of a hymn that became one of my favorites. The lyrics no longer seemed trite and foolish. This song and its brothers and sisters tucked inside my church hymnal became the echoes of my own heart. My choir teachers in academy taught us to sing four part harmony and how to follow the notes and the parts in the music.

My Sweet Baboo grew up singing hymns and one of the things we did quite a lot after we were married was to break out in old hymns while washing dishes or driving in the car or walking along a path on a Sabbath walk. Old hymns became old friends.

Tom King

Friday, August 17, 2018

The Good, The Bad and the Amazing Danish Symphony Orchestra

I went to see my first spaghetti western in my teens. Me and my buddy, Richard Hutchins went to see it at the Esquire in Cleburne, Texas one Saturday night after which we cruised up and down Main Street in a VW micro-bus between the Sonic Drive-In and City Park. While doing so we discussed and solved most of the burning issues of the day all the while wondering why no girls would jump in the V-dub with us. We were not great romancers of women in those halcyon days of our youth, but we knew good music when we heard it (Ennio Morricone for instance) and good movies (Clint Eastwood in practically anything he ever did) when we saw them. I like to think we were saving ourselves for the very special women we wound up with.

After seeing The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, Morricone's iconic Western theme song got stuck in my head big time.  I found myself running around randomly going, "Ah-eee-ah-eee-aaaaah!" when I thought no one was listening. Couldn't get that danged song out of my head for years.

Seeing the good folks from the Danish Symphony Orchestra take a run at this massively complex song using instruments ranging from recorders and ocarinas to trumpets and glockenspiels to choirs and soloists. It's no wonder that not a lot of high school bands ever attempt this music.

It's really amazing to watch and it makes you appreciate what a lot of talent someone like Ennio Morricone brings to his music.  I'd be doing good to figure out the recorder part, myself, but I'd like to think that in heaven and the new Earth, after several thousand (or perhaps million) years of practice, I might be able to crank out a reasonable facsimile of such a tune.



Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Glen Cambell Tribute to the Lone Ranger and Tonto

Stumbled on this little gem on Youtube. A lot of people don't realize what an amazing guitarist Glen Campbell was. He was a member of the famed "Wrecking Crew" of studio musicians who played the instrumentals for a massive number of hit records in the 60s and 70s for groups as diverse as The Monkees, Frank Sinatra, Jan and Dean, The Beach Boys and Ike and Tina Turner.  They played backup to Glen Campbell when he began his solo career.

This is Glen's tribute to his first Western heros, Clayton Moore as the Lone Ranger and Jay Silverheels as Tonto. Here Glen demonstrates his virtuosity on the Lone Ranger theme, better known (maybe) as The William Tell Overture.

It was amazing how long Glen's guitar skills held up even after his Alzheimer's became more advanced. It's funny what survives an assault on the mind is amazing. Campbell was as good as Jimi Hendrix and Stevie Ray Vaughn, but didn't get the hype by dying young.


Saturday, July 28, 2018

My Jesus I Love Thee

This rendition of the old hymn "My Jesus I Love Thee" sounds much like the version the kids at Bible Conference sang on the night I accepted Christ - May 1, 1971.  That makes me a 47 year old Christian. It has been a long walk with Him since that night and I have sung this song to comfort myself many times since that night and the subsequent Sabbath morning when Elder John Thurber baptized me in a freshly filled and very cold Jefferson Academy swimming pool. I caught the Spirit. Brother John caught pneumonia.


Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Puff the Much Maligned Dragon

If you believe the potheads, the Peter, Paul & Mary song "Puff the Magic Dragon" is about marijuana. Don't you believe it. The song is about a child and the loss of innocence. That's according to Peter Yarrow, the author his ownself. I got to meet Peter at a concert in Ft. Worth. He was there early and shook hands with fans as we were coming in. My kids got to meet him. He's a sweet guy, despite being a liberal. I respect his beliefs and his music very much. We all want the same things anyway and it's a free country after all.

It's just nice to know Puff was never a pothead.  Here's more detail on Peter's lovely children's song....


Saturday, June 23, 2018

Jesus Paid It All

This song has a little history behind it for me. First of all, it was the theme song to the 1888 Seventh-day Adventist General Conference at which the doctrine of Righteousness by Faith was emphasized and first became a major element of Adventist preaching. In the late 60s and early 70s of the 20th century, the Righteousness by Faith doctrine experienced a resurgence among Adventist Youth, bolstered by a lot of new religious music, not limited to the pages of the Adventist hymnal and even more youthful enthusiasm.

This song, "Jesus Paid it All", was one of the few numbers I coaxed my public singing shy wife, Sheila to sing with me.
We performed it at the Melrose New Mexico SDA church in 1979 and enjoyed a nice potluck afterward. Sheila hasn't sung publicly with me since, although during here college days she toured with the Arkansas-Louisiana Good News Singers.

Fortunately, my daughter inherited her mother's voice and has blessed many a service with her singing which sounds amazingly like her Mom's. I have a couple of surreptitious, videos of the two of them singing together. Sounds like angels.

We still, on occasion, sing this song together over the sink while washing dishes - the only audience the hummingbirds, wrens and chickadees.

Tom King

Thursday, June 21, 2018

The Swimming Song

This song is kind of my summer anthem. Five of the best summers of my life were spent as a canoeing instructor, swimming instructor and waterfront direct at Lone Star Camp in Athens, TX. This song by the inimitable Loudon Wainright III, composer of the equally famous "Dead Skunk in the Middle of the Road".  This versions features the also inimitable Earl Scruggs on banjo.

The song takes me back to the warm green waters of Echo Lake and the golden Texas summers of my youth and young adulthood. Enjoy!