Saturday, May 13, 2017

Sweeping Up to Glory

Wedgwood when it was a quartet and had facial hair.

Lily of the Valley by Adventist folk trio, Wedgwood, is the one I want played at my funeral. It's such an upbeat and hopeful song as so many bluegrass or old time Gospels often time are not. This song retains some of the bouncy character of the Irish music that was such a huge influence on mountain music in the United States. Not everyone in my church quite understood Wedgwood at the time. It was the 60s and a lot of us who liked the Wedgwood Trio, dressed kind of hippie-like and were viewed with suspicious.

It got so bad that the president of Pacific Union College wrote them a letter saying they didn't meet "standards" after a performance by the group at PUC. The president also wrote letters (this was before email) to other Adventist college presidents telling them they shouldn't book the group. Loma Linda students greeted a concert by the group enthusiastically, but not so their elders. The group broke up finally, but thankfully reunited and repeated the Loma Linda University concert almost 30 years later in a concert dubbed the "Forgiveness Tour". The university president after his predecessor had panned them so badly years before issued an apology.

Me? I loved the songs and the music of Wedgwood (trio or otherwise)
. I judge gospel music by whether it lifts me up or not. The music of the Wedgwood Trio does precisely that. The fact that the venerable radio evangelist HMS Richards Sr. liked them back in the day and that SDA singing staple Del Delker actually performed with them only confirms my opinion that these guys were singing God's kind of music.

Here's Lily of the Valley by The Wedgwood Trio.

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