Saturday, October 21, 2017

Who Am I?

This song is one of those that makes me tear up when I sing it. It's one of those that was on Micah's playlist and we played it at his memorial services. The song is by one of Sheila's favorite groups - Casting Crowns.  The song made it's way into my songleader's songbook that is a collection of song-service music from camp and youth programs and stuff that I collected over the years. I eventually made a smaller print version that we printed up and bound with my old comb binder and made up our own songbooks for worship at the Tyler church.

Here's Casting Crowns' version of "Who Am I?"

It's an extraordinary song about God's extraordinary grace in doing what He did to save us.


Sunday, October 15, 2017

Six of My Favorite Folkies

This morning we get a cornucopia of folk music goodness. This is a rare little medley/sing off by three folk powerhouses of the sixties. It starts out with the Peter, Paul & Mary, followed by the odd British minstrel, Donovan Leitch, capped by the inimitable Smothers Brothers. I stole songs from all these people when I did campfires at Lone Star Camp. I swiped some of these very songs, especially the Smothers Brothers blackouts.

So here for a quick blast from my hippie past are PP&M, Smothers Brothers and Donovan:

Well that was fun! Now I want to sit down and listen to my old folk music that I've collected over the years.

© 2017 by Tom King

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Morning Has Broken

This beautiful old hymn was a hit back in the 70s for Cat Stevens. Cat later left the music business and joined Islam for a strange and troubling journey for those who enjoyed his music. It always seemed odd that the gentle singer we knew would embrace a religion not known for it's peaceful ways. Cat changed his name to Yusuf Islam. He was born Steven Demetre Georgiou. Now he goes by just plain Yusuf. Over the years reporters used to seek him out to comment on some new official Muslim outrage like the fatwah against author Salman Rushdie. He made some comments that got him in trouble over the years. Eventually he returned to the music business and made some new music and engaged in peace activism. He has been given several humanitarian awards over the years.

Given that as an outspoken Muslim pacifist, Yusuf is a fairly rare bird, it's little wonder he gets a lot of attention from progressives in the entertainment industry and the political sector. I don't care if the man is a Muslim. At least he's a peaceful man and that is most important. And his rendition of Morning Has Broken is one of my favorite versions of this song.  Enjoy:

This song went into my songleader's handbook years ago. Cat Stevens/Yusuf is the reason I found it. I am grateful.


Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Shanghai Breezes

This poignant song foreshadowed the end of John Denver's marriage. The song is one of his better songs lyrically and the tune supports the words perfectly. Denver's tragic death in a plane crash shocked his fans, but as any artist hopes to, John left behind a brilliant body of work.

This song is a nice one to put on your playlist on a cold winter evening. You can almost feel the warm Shanghai breezes wafting through your living room. 

Born Henry John Deutchendorf, John was the son of a U.S. Air Force officer. At age eleven, his grandmother gave him her guitar. He took guitar lessons and joined a boys’ choir. At age twenty he changed his name to John Denver and began to pursue a career in music. Peter, Paul & Mary picked up and made a hit with his song "Leaving on a Jet Plane". The success of that song led to John catching a spot in the Chad Mitchell Trio. When they disbanded Denver took off on his own and he managed to catch the social, charitable and environmental sentiments of the 70s and 80s.

 Here's a live version of Shanghai Breezes from John's later career:

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Wisdom With a Simple Touch

My old friend Steve Borth has restarted his singing career with a new album or two and some new songs.  His latest album is called "Home as Soon as I Can." Steve was a year ahead of me at Valley Grande Academy and we bumped into each other in our summer youth work for a couple of years. We used to get mistaken for each other back when I was thinner than I am now.  We both play guitar, but that's pretty much where the musical similarity ends. He has talent. I hide in the back of the song service band and try not to mess up.

Steve left a trail of songs behind him during his days in Texas, including two, "Faith", "Peace" and "Nothing Soothes the Soul Like Jesus". His early songs went on to became standards for youth rallies all over the state. He also wrote a folk cantata called "The Great Controversy" that was quite good. A couple or three Adventist singing teams produced some really excellent versions of it. Another notable production was done by the Paul Johnson Singers. I always like the ones Steve did best, but then I liked his folksy sound better than the slicker versions with orchestration.

With his new music Steve returns to his country-folk roots - his "country side" as he calls it. This particular song piqued my interest. It's not your typical gospel song, but Steve doesn't do safe - he says what he has to say and doesn't worry too much about pleasing the folks down at Hal Leonard or at Review & Herald even.  

Steve's music is very personal and he has that unique deep bass voice of his that makes it special. All I know is that I like it. And Steve's a friend, which makes it even more fun. Some day, if not in this world, maybe the next, I'd like to get together and jam with Steve - just play some mellow old songs around a campfire. "I think I still know most of the words to "Toilet Man" even for the secular portion of the evening.  I expect the new Earth will be a great place for making music. I can think of a bunch of old friends I'd like to have around that campfire.

Good luck with the album, Steve and may God bless you in all you do.

Monday, September 25, 2017

Atheists Don't Have No Songs

Steve Martin may have come up with the answer to what's wrong with modern atheists. Atheists seem to be a troubled lot. Avowedly atheist nations are responsible for probably half a billion deaths by war, extermination, genocide, starvation and execution. It could be that the trouble is that atheists don't have any atheist music. The best they can do is some angry rock n' roll, grunge rock or rap.

I love this song. According to Steve Martin it's the entirety of the atheist hymnal. The song is called, appropriately enough, "Atheists Don't Have No Songs"

You've got to admit it's a catchy tune. Any song that can use the word "Underpants" to rhyme with "Gregorian Chants", you have to admire that in a lyricist...


Saturday, September 23, 2017

Lord I Need You - Matt Maher

This one comes from Sheila's favorites playlist. She's a big Matt Maher fan along with groups like Casting Crowns and Third Day. Here's the studio version of "Lord I Need You" with Matt Maher.