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!


Saturday, May 26, 2018

Take My Life and Let it Be

This is one of my favorite hymns as interpreted by Chris Tomlin. I still like the original, but there is a kind of reverence and passion to this version that I find compelling. This song was sung the night I accepted Christ. May 2, 1971. My rebirth day.

Happy Sabbath all.

Tom King

Here's a more solemn and traditional version by the Generations Gospel Choir. I really like this one better.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

The Coal Quay Market Song

We saw Cathy Ryan and Cherish the Ladies more than a decade ago at the Southwest Irish Festival in Dallas. I even got to perform there once. I think they were desperate. This song is a fun little number that my daughter Meghan learned by heart. We'd sometimes break out in this song while we were riding in the car somewhere. I'd join her on the chorus. My little girl will never know how much those little moment meant to the old man.

I've always thought that life should be like a musical and we should just randomly break out in song at the slightest provocation. I suspect that's what heaven will be like.


Saturday, May 5, 2018

Will the Circle Be Unbroken?

Apparently not, if you listen to what Arlo Guthrie and Willie Nelson have to sing about it. Perhaps the song is only some sort of fire insurance for these guys, given the lifestyle they lead, but hey?  Even the mighty Elvis Presley put out a Gospel album to make his mama happy.

Meanwhile we get to enjoy this joyful rendering of the old Southern Gospel standard.


Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Freight Train

This is one of the first songs I learned to finger-pick on my guitar when I was learning. I once heard a recording of Elizabeth Cotten singing this song. This version for clawhammer is different from the one Elizabeth sang with her big dreadnaught guitar or the one I play on my classical guitar.

I love folk music because it's so open to individual interpretation.

Here is the original version as played in her unique style by Elizabeth Cotten playing a left-handed dreadnaught.

Here's a link to the Smithsonian Folkways biography of Elizabeth.

Tom King

Well here's a really good film of Elizabeth singing a kind of revenge song with this great line in it "I wish to my soul that old woman would die!"

You just can't get great lyrics like that anymore.