Category Archives: Music

#346: The Song “If We Don’t Tell Them”

This is mark Joseph “young” blog entry #346, on the subject of The Song “If We Don’t Tell Them”.

Reaching song number fourteen in our publication efforts, I should mention that this was actually tied for thirteenth, but I had to choose.  Last month’s Joined Together had been number 17 for the song itself and number 9 for the quality of the recording, and this one was number 8 on quality of recording but 18 on the ranking of the song, so I went with the ranking of the song.  Tristan did not list either song on his choices.  (The ranking system is explained in connection with the first song, linked below.)

I don’t recall when I wrote this, but I know it was early.  The five vocals on the recording were the parts as sung by The Last Psalm with Peggy Lisbona on the melody, backgrounds (SATB) by Ruth Mekita, Ann Hughes, yours truly, and Jeff Zurheide; we lost Ruth, Ann, and Jeff in June of 1974 and never had five vocals again, so the song dropped from the repertoire.  (It would be remiss of me if having named all those people I did not mention that we had John Mastick on drums and Andy Nilssen on bass, with Dave Oldham and Ralph Bruno doing sound and lighting.  Jeff and I played guitars; Peggy and I covered piano, but not on this song.)

Astute Bible students will recognize that the lyrics closely (but not exactly) follow Romans 10, where Paul is saying that the church needs to send people to preach the gospel so that the world can hear it and turn to Christ.  The first two verses echo the importance of delivering the message, while the bridge and final verse actually do so.  Remember, The Last Psalm ministered during that time when every Christian musician was expected to do evangelism, and so the song is evangelistic in part, although it is primarily an exhortation to evangelize.

I have one minor memory about this song.  When I was teaching it, Peggy said she could not possibly leap up to sing “tell me” in the middle of the chorus (it’s a jump from a low G to an octave higher), so I sang those two words, while she sang the rest of the melody.  I thought it silly at the time–she sang the higher G twice on the bridge–but my singers were volunteers and I wasn’t going to push them to do what they didn’t think they could do.

The song is here.

If We Don’t Tell Them.

So here are the words:

Oh but how can they call on what they don’t believe,
And how can they believe in what they do not know,
And how can they know of what they have not heard,
And how can they hear if we don’t tell them?
Tell me how can they call on what they don’t believe,
And how can they believe in what they do not know,
And how can they know of what they have not heard,
And how can they hear if we don’t tell them?

There are many many people, they’re in every place and time,
People of all continents and people of all kinds,
People of all races looking for some peace of mind.
Just call on the Lord and be saved.

Oh but how can they call on what they don’t believe,
And how can they believe in what they do not know,
And how can they know of what they have not heard,
And how can they hear if we don’t tell them?
Tell me how can they call on what they don’t believe,
And how can they believe in what they do not know,
And how can they know of what they have not heard,
And how can they hear if we don’t tell them?

Many people ev’rywhere are dying to be free.
Many people say that that’s the way they’re meant to be.
Many people look, but not so many seem to see:
Just call on the Lord and be saved.

Oh but how can they call on what they don’t believe,
And how can they believe in what they do not know,
And how can they know of what they have not heard,
And how can they hear if we don’t tell them?
Tell me how can they call on what they don’t believe,
And how can they believe in what they do not know,
And how can they know of what they have not heard,
And how can they hear if we don’t tell them?

Jesus came and gave His life,
He died for you and me.
He said that if He set you free,
Indeed you would be free!

Someday you will recognize He came and died for you.
Someday you may realize the things He said were true.
Then I hope that you will know exactly what to do:
Just call on the Lord and be saved.

Oh but how can they call on what they don’t believe,
And how can they believe in what they do not know,
And how can they know of what they have not heard,
And how can they hear if we don’t tell them?
Tell me how can they call on what they don’t believe,
And how can they believe in what they do not know,
And how can they know of what they have not heard,
And how can they hear if we don’t tell them?
Oh but how can they call on what they don’t believe,
And how can they believe in what they do not know,
And how can they know of what they have not heard,
And how can they hear if we don’t tell them?

I can only hope you benefit from the song in some way.  I will continue with additional songs in the future.

*****

Previous web log song posts:

#301:  The Song “Holocaust” | #307:  The Song “Time Bomb” | #311:  The Song “Passing Through the Portal” | #314:  The Song “Walkin’ In the Woods” | #317:  The Song “That’s When I’ll Believe” | #320:  The Song “Free” | #322:  The Song “Voices” | #326:  The Song “Mountain, Mountain” | #328:  The Song “Still Small Voice” | #334:  The Song “Convinced” | #337:  The Song “Selfish Love” | #340:  The Song “A Man Like Paul” | #341:  The Song “Joined Together”

#349: The Song “I Can’t Resist Your Love”

This is mark Joseph “young” blog entry #349, on the subject of The Song “I Can’t Resist Your Love”.

This fifteenth song on our list was started by my wife.  It has to have been 1979 or 1980, as I remember her sitting in the dining room of the apartment we had in Pennsville working on it.  She was stuck for a chord and asked for help, and suddenly I was contributing words and music.  She didn’t like all my contributions, and we still argue about who wrote what, but ultimately we were pleased with the outcome.  I listed this the number twenty song on my list, and although there are a few places where I didn’t get the vocals exactly right (and embarrassingly it is the tenor–my part–that has the mistakes) I put it number 11 on performance/recording quality, probably largely for the vocals.  Tristan ranked it tied for fifteen.  (The ranking system is explained in connection with the first song, linked below.)

It was always envisioned with at least four vocals, which is what is used here, a guitar providing a fifth at the end.  We used this as our closing song in TerraNova, where we had five vocals, but I knew I wasn’t going to be able to sing the soprano (which was an added part anyway, as Debbie Kregger was not an original member).  It is a rock anthem, with the intention that the ending chorus would keep repeating more than it does in the recording, but it’s a long song with two instrumental verses (one of them done with contrapuntal vocals) and two bridges, and for the recording I thought it was long enough with four choruses.  (It is a short chorus.)

My wife gets full credit for the concept, that the world is very alluring, but ultimately the love of Christ outpulls anything offered elsewhere.  She also gets credit for the truly unique rhyme and meter scheme on on the verses.

The song is here.  It is again a wav file, and so a large download, but I think worth it.

I Can’t Resist Your Love.

So here are the words:

I can’t resist Your love,
I can’t resist Your love,
I can’t resist, I can’t resist Your love.

So many times I see
The world is rushing by me,
And everything I see
Looks so good.
I only want a part–
I feel it tug on my heart,
And that is when I start
To wish I could,

But I can’t resist Your love,
I can’t resist Your love,
I can’t resist, I can’t resist Your love.

People are getting high,
And life is passing me by,
And so I wonder why
You call my name.
I’d like to be a star
And drive a fancy sports car,
But I know Who You are
And why you came,

And I can’t resist Your love,
I can’t resist Your love,
I can’t resist, I can’t resist Your love.

And I can’t resist Your love,
I can’t resist Your love,
I can’t resist, I can’t resist Your love.

I don’t need you for your money:
I will serve you without pay.
‘Though you may think it sounds funny,
I just wanna hear you say,

“Welcome home thou good and faithful servant;
Over few things you have proven true.
I will make you ruler over many.
Enter in the joy I have for you.”

Now when I look around
I see the joy that I’ve found
While all the world is bound
In chains of sin.
They need to turn to You–
If they could see what You’d do,
Then they would know You’re true,
And let you in.

How I wish that they could hear me
Telling them You are the way.
If I let Your Spirit steer me,
One day I will hear You say,

“Welcome home thou good and faithful servant;
Over few things you have proven true.
I will make you ruler over many.
Enter in the joy I have for you.”

I thought that I was free,
But You reached out and drew me,
And though I tried to flee, where could I go?
I couldn’t resist Your love,
The kind of stuff I dream of.
I want you far above
All things I know.

And I can’t resist Your love,
I can’t resist Your love,
I can’t resist, I can’t resist Your love.
I can’t resist Your love,
I can’t resist Your love,
I can’t resist, I can’t resist Your love.
I can’t resist Your love,
I can’t resist Your love,
I can’t resist, I can’t resist Your love.
I can’t resist Your love,
I can’t resist Your love,
I can’t resist, I can’t resist Your love.

I can only hope you benefit from the song in some way.  I will continue with additional songs in the future.

*****

Previous web log song posts:

#301:  The Song “Holocaust” | #307:  The Song “Time Bomb” | #311:  The Song “Passing Through the Portal” | #314:  The Song “Walkin’ In the Woods” | #317:  The Song “That’s When I’ll Believe” | #320:  The Song “Free” | #322:  The Song “Voices” | #326:  The Song “Mountain, Mountain” | #328:  The Song “Still Small Voice” | #334:  The Song “Convinced” | #337:  The Song “Selfish Love” | #340:  The Song “A Man Like Paul” | #341:  The Song “Joined Together” | #346:  The Song “If We Don’t Tell Them”

#345: Be Ye Glad

This is mark Joseph “young” blog entry #345, on the subject of Be Ye Glad.

I want to put this band down as one of the great ensembles of the eighties, despite the fact that they kept morphing into something else.

Their self-titled debut album in 1978 was promising.  Ed Nalle was the original lead vocalist and as far as I know remained so giving his characteristic vocal quality to the band.  They picked up lead guitarist Wayne Farley from Found Free, and give that band credit for helping them launch.  I don’t have specific memories of that disc, but that I expected to see more from them–and I did.

When Beyond a Star came out in 1980, it was obvious that these were musicians of the highest caliber.  I remember in an interview they told me that the opening a capella cut The Reason had forty-some vocal tracks; this portended much about their future, as it displayed their brilliant vocal arranging.  But from there it moved into Take a Stand, and the fact that the entire band was music college graduates came through as they gave us a sound very like the band Chicago Transit Authority, a sound which continued through the album as it moved to the title song Beyond a Star.

The album was solidly aimed at the exhortation of Christians, a defining quality of much of the music of the decade.  The title song, for example, is a call to stop looking at celebrity Christians and look to Jesus.  This is followed by the mellower and perhaps slightly eerie Away, and the A-side closes with a frenetic Wayne Farley composition, Sing a New Song, not found in its original form on the web.

The B-side opens with what is probably the rockiest song on the disk, again strongly reminiscent of Chicago, Iron Sharpens Iron.  It then mellows to the introspective Lying, and picks up a bit into the moderate but again rocky Lonely Love.  In that interview, Ed told me that the people in this song were people they knew, one of them the mother of a member in the band, with events and situations that really happened.  There is then another frenetic Wayne Farley composition, It Is Good.  (Wayne left the band following this album, and was not at the interview.)  The disk wraps with a wonderful quiet vocal-driven Pierce My Ear the original version of which does not appear to be on the web, although this later a capella version does.

The next album, Captured In Time, shifted to a more commercial sound, that is, sounding more like all the other contemporary Christian bands of the time.  It is difficult to fault them for it; a lot of bands did this, because it sold records.  Unfortunately as a result the only song I remember from it (which was not the song their distributors the Benson group was pushing) is the wonderful quiet closer Be Ye Glad (there is also a later a capella version of this).

Perhaps annoyingly, shortly after this album reached us we also received, from the same distributors, Noel Paul Stookey’s Band and Bodyworks, which also had a recording of this on it.  He’s further down the list, though, so we’ll hold off on those comments.

Eventually Glad released an entirely a capella album, and it went gold.  More than half their work thereafter was a capella, and quite good, as this version of The Second Chapter of Acts classic Easter Song demonstrates.  They were also famous for something originally released to radio stations and appearing in several different versions over time, but the version I knew included on their fourth release, No Less Than All, under the title That Hymn Thing or Variations on a Hymn.  It presents something of a music history by taking an old hymn melody with its original secular words, singing the early Christian version, and then rewriting it in several styles running through time up to how they would do the song in their own 1980s rock style.  Musically it’s a lot of fun.

According to their discography they continued releasing albums up through the year 2000, but became known for their a capella recordings rather than their contemporary/rock sound.

*****

The series to this point has included:

  1. #232:  Larry Norman, Visitor;
  2. #234:  Flip Sides of Ralph Carmichael;
  3. #236:  Reign of the Imperials;
  4. #238:  Love Song by Love Song.
  5. #240:  Should Have Been a Friend of Paul Clark.
  6. #242:  Disciple Andraé Crouch.
  7. #244: Missed The Archers.
  8. #246: The Secular Radio Hits.
  9. #248:  The Hawkins Family.
  10. #250:  Original Worship Leader Ted Sandquist.
  11. #252:  Petra Means Rock.
  12. #254:  Miscellaneous Early Christian Bands.
  13. #256:  Harry Thomas’ Creations Come Alive.
  14. #258:  British Invaders Malcolm and Alwyn.
  15. #260:  Lamb and Jews for Jesus.
  16. #262: First Lady Honeytree of Jesus Music.
  17. #264:  How About Danny Taylor.
  18. #266:  Minstrel Barry McGuire.
  19. #268:  Voice of the Second Chapter of Acts.
  20. #272:  To the Bride Live.
  21. #276:  Best Guitarist Phil Keaggy.
  22. #281:  Keith Green Launching.
  23. #283:  Keith Green Crashing.
  24. #286:  Blind Seer Ken Medema.
  25. #288:  Prophets Daniel Amos.
  26. #290:  James the Other Ward.
  27. #292:  Rising Resurrection Band.
  28. #294:  Servant’s Waters.
  29. #296:  Found Free Lost.
  30. #299:  Praise for Dallas Holm.
  31. #302:  Might Be Truth and the Cleverly-named Re’Generation.
  32. #304:  Accidental Amy Grant.
  33. #312:  Produced by Christian and Bannister.
  34. #315:  Don Francisco Alive.
  35. #324:  CCM Ladies of the Eighties.
  36. #329:  CCM Guys at the Beginning.
  37. #332:  The Wish of Scott Wesley Brown.
  38. #335:  Bob Bennett’s First Matters.
  39. #342:  Fireworks Times Five.

#342: Fireworks Times Five

This is mark Joseph “young” blog entry #342, on the subject of Fireworks Times Five.

When I first heard Fireworks first album, I was very disappointed.

That, though, was very unfair.  I had already heard their second and third albums, two of the best Christian rock albums of the era, and that the lighter more pop sound of their earlier work was a disappointment is hardly a criticism of it.  It really was a good album.

The only name I ever knew was Marty McCall, who was lead vocalist and keys through most of the band’s career as many others changed around him (although he once mentioned someone named, I think, “Gwen”, as having sung on the live album).  He also released a solo album in the middle of the run of Fireworks albums, which tended to confuse people because the band was so much him but the solo album was a much lighter sound.  I spoke with Marty more than once, so I have a number of anecdotes; I also have a huge number of favorite songs.  Marty had a powerful Irish tenor voice that dominated the music and made the rock sound work.  He told me that before they were a band they were studio musicians providing support for other artists, and then they realized they could do this themselves, wrote some songs, and went forward.

The back cover of that first self-titled album explained that the name Fireworks was talking about the works that pass through the fire.  I don’t remember any titles, but it opens with upbeat New Day, followed the memorable slower Don’t Look Back (this video has a full minute of dead air at the end), the funkier Carrying On (also with dead air at the end), the upbeat rockier Presence of the Lord (and again), the gentler rock ballad Forever With You (seems to be a thing), the bouncy Maybe It’s Love and offbeat Family, the racing Open Your Eyes, the calmer Talks With My Father, another bouncy Takin’ A Rest, and finally New Man (another long space at the end).  Overall it was very good stuff for 1977, and very promising.

Yet I don’t think it prefigured the next release, listed by Christian Contemporary Music Magazine as one of the best of 1979, Shatter the Darkness.  From the powerful opening chords of Change My Heart it was evident that this was now a rock band.  The gentle opening of Beautiful Woman still moved into a rock sound.  After the Rain had the familiar bouncy racing sound of some of the first album’s songs, followed by the quieter rock ballad Calling My Name.  The A side ended with the rocking Rock Band, a musical defense of Christian rock music.

Flipping the album over (yeah, we did that with vinyl), it opened with the quietly pleading Like Children, followed by I Know Power, an upbeat friendly piece.  The dramatic Love You Tonight leads into the rocking title song Shatter the Darkness, and then the album closes with the eerie The World.

It was an incredibly good album that still stands up today; yet the band then topped it the next year with Live Fireworks.  Opening with the driving fast-paced Rescued (“You might as well have been pushed off Niagra Falls in a paper sack”), it kept the tempo as it ran right into Listen and then the playful Target Practice (“taking up the bow and arrow, aiming for the straight and narrow”) before slowing a bit for Someone’s Got a Hold on Me.

The B side opens with another playful one, humorous lyrics that make a point in Toll Free (“He won’t forget your number, and He’s there all the time, You can go to the Lord when you ain’t got a dime.”), followed by the slower but powerful Good Thing, and the moderate and again playful Rusty Burdens.  It slows down again to a gentle call in It All Comes Down to You, and then goes out strong with Ready for the Rest of You.

As good as that live album is, Marty says it embarrasses him.  He couldn’t hear himself in the monitor, and instead of making a fuss to get someone to turn up the monitor he forced his voice, and when he listens he hears the forced sound.  I don’t; I think he’s in great voice on the record.  But I understand how he feels–there are a lot of recordings I’ve made over the decades that embarrass me for reasons that listeners who aren’t me can’t hear.

The following year Marty released a solo album entitled Up, but MCA/Songbird marketed it as by Marty McCall & Fireworks, presumably because members of the band were his studio musicians for it.  One song on it got heavily requested, entitled Adam, so when I had the chance to interview him I asked about it, and he said he did not like the song, but for reasons that really had nothing to do with the song.  He had set aside a week and rented a space for the specific purpose of writing songs, and in the week this was the only song he wrote.  So as good as the song is, it always reminds him of that failed week.

There was one more album from the band, Sightseeing At Night, pushing the envelope a bit further.  I am less familiar with that one, but I remember No Strings and Incognito.

It was a couple years later that I heard the band had dissolved, but I caught up with Marty at a solo concert in our area and chatted with him informally.  He said that he planned to stay home and write music for other people to sing.  Thus I was surprised a decade later to see his face on the album cover of Undivided by First Call.  It was good work, but heavily jazz influenced with an Andrews-Sisters vocal style.  Then another decade passed and he put his degree in medieval and renaissance music to good use by creating the album Images of Faith, using period instruments to create songs with an ancient flavor with modern and contemporary touches–we have gone through several copies of it by now.  But that’s long after the early days, and we could argue about whether it’s actually contemporary.

*****

The series to this point has included:

  1. #232:  Larry Norman, Visitor;
  2. #234:  Flip Sides of Ralph Carmichael;
  3. #236:  Reign of the Imperials;
  4. #238:  Love Song by Love Song.
  5. #240:  Should Have Been a Friend of Paul Clark.
  6. #242:  Disciple Andraé Crouch.
  7. #244: Missed The Archers.
  8. #246: The Secular Radio Hits.
  9. #248:  The Hawkins Family.
  10. #250:  Original Worship Leader Ted Sandquist.
  11. #252:  Petra Means Rock.
  12. #254:  Miscellaneous Early Christian Bands.
  13. #256:  Harry Thomas’ Creations Come Alive.
  14. #258:  British Invaders Malcolm and Alwyn.
  15. #260:  Lamb and Jews for Jesus.
  16. #262: First Lady Honeytree of Jesus Music.
  17. #264:  How About Danny Taylor.
  18. #266:  Minstrel Barry McGuire.
  19. #268:  Voice of the Second Chapter of Acts.
  20. #272:  To the Bride Live.
  21. #276:  Best Guitarist Phil Keaggy.
  22. #281:  Keith Green Launching.
  23. #283:  Keith Green Crashing.
  24. #286:  Blind Seer Ken Medema.
  25. #288:  Prophets Daniel Amos.
  26. #290:  James the Other Ward.
  27. #292:  Rising Resurrection Band.
  28. #294:  Servant’s Waters.
  29. #296:  Found Free Lost.
  30. #299:  Praise for Dallas Holm.
  31. #302:  Might Be Truth and the Cleverly-named Re’Generation.
  32. #304:  Accidental Amy Grant.
  33. #312:  Produced by Christian and Bannister.
  34. #315:  Don Francisco Alive.
  35. #324:  CCM Ladies of the Eighties.
  36. #329:  CCM Guys at the Beginning.
  37. #332:  The Wish of Scott Wesley Brown.
  38. #335:  Bob Bennett’s First Matters.

#341: The Song “Joined Together”

This is mark Joseph “young” blog entry #341, on the subject of The Song “Joined Together”.

This is the thirteenth song in our publication efforts, and you might think that given our methodology (explained in the first song post, linked below) all the best ones are gone.  Indeed, I ranked this song number 17 for the quality of the song, and Tristan did not include it on his list at all; it was helped by the fact that as midi-instrument recordings go it was pretty good, coming in number 9 for performance and recording quality.  So maybe the really good ones are done.

On the other hand, I have a set of CDs in the car which have all these songs in this order, and when my wife is driving she will insert this CD and advance it to start with this song.  There are others she likes better, and she doesn’t dislike any of the first twelve, but she finds the string of songs starting with this one to be particularly good.  (I invited her to contribute to the selection process, but she never did until after it was completed.)  Maybe it’s because I had a couple friends perform this at our wedding; maybe it’s because it’s the first Christian marriage song I wrote–but she often complains that I didn’t write it for her (we were engaged at the time) but for our good friends David and Jess Oldham (nee Sue Parliman), who were getting married before we were.  They did not ask me to sing it at their wedding.  I offered to sing it at my sister’s wedding, who wanted me to sing something, but there was a line in it she didn’t like, insisting that death parts us.  I don’t know that we know that, exactly, but she makes a point.

I wrote it at Gordon College, between the fall of 1975 (or possibly late that summer before I left for school) and that Christmas; Dave and Jess got married right around Christmas, and I had a recording ready for them to hear before that.  It was written on the piano, the piano part probably the most complicated I had written to that point (mostly for the use of the left hand).  I later figured out how to play the same chords in similar positions on the guitar, and made a recording of it to play for Dave and Jess prior to their wedding.  I had recently installed a third pickup on my Harmony Rocket guitar so that I could reach the volume control and do cry effects (I had first heard and seen this done by the lead guitarist in Rock Garden (I think his name was Eddie Newkirk, but I never knew him) using a pedal, and later seen Phil Keaggy do it with the volume control on the guitar), and so I improvised the lead guitar part on a one-shot through recording.  (I was using two stereo reel-to-reel decks at the time.)  Decades later when I was doing the midi instruments I realized that I didn’t have a cry guitar, but that the effect approached the sound of a violin, so I used a midi violin instead.

The song is here.

Joined Together.

So here are the words:

Nothing else in Father’s plan
So affects your life:
Will you take him for your man?
Will she be your wife?
There is now a covenant
As love makes one of two.
Love will teach you what you meant
When you said, “I do.”

Love is patient, love is kind.
Never leave your love behind.
Love each other more each day
‘Til you’re old and grey.

Who knows what is yet to be?
We may spend eternity
Joined together, you and I,
Still as one when we die.

Bridegroom, stand beside your bride;
Keep her always by your side.
She has been God’s gift to you;
You are her gift, too.

Submissive to each other,
And bound with cords of love.
We know our loving Father
Ordained this up above.
Let no one ever separate
What God has joined as one,
But work out day by day this great
Thing God’s already done.

I can only hope you benefit from the song in some way.  I will continue with additional songs in the future.

*****

Previous web log song posts:

#301:  The Song “Holocaust” | #307:  The Song “Time Bomb” | #311:  The Song “Passing Through the Portal” | #314:  The Song “Walkin’ In the Woods” | #317:  The Song “That’s When I’ll Believe” | #320:  The Song “Free” | #322:  The Song “Voices” | #326:  The Song “Mountain, Mountain” | #328:  The Song “Still Small Voice” | #334:  The Song “Convinced” | #337:  The Song “Selfish Love” | #340:  The Song “A Man Like Paul”

#340: The Song “A Man Like Paul”

This is mark Joseph “young” blog entry #340, on the subject of The Song “A Man Like Paul”.

I can pinpoint fairly precisely when this song was written.  I was at Gordon College, and Pope Paul VI had just died.  The process of electing a new Pope had begun; it would result in the appointment of Pope John Paul (who died a month later, the process repeating with the appointment of Pope John Paul II).  Recognizing the significance of the appointment of so public a leader in Christendom, I was contemplating that, and my mind made some connections.

The Apostle Paul by Abraham Bloemaert

Peter, of course, is said to have been the first Bishop of Rome, and so the first Pope.  (That’s contested–James appears to have been head of the church when it was led from Jerusalem, and the Eastern Church has never accepted that any individual was the head of the church, holding to a first-among-equals view.)  I began my song with a verse about that first Pope, thinking that the church needed someone like him in particular ways, willing to stand for the message.

I also remembered that the Pope prior to Paul VI was John XXIII, known for his efforts to extend an olive branch to Christians outside the Roman Catholic Church, and I connected that to the writings of John the Apostle, who wrote so much about love in his short epistles.  My second verse unfolded carefully in a way that could be identified with either of these Johns.  So, too, my third verse, as radio news commented that Paul VI had focused on spreading the message and expanding the church, and the connection to the missionary work of Paul the Apostle was at that point obvious.  I thus pieced together a song about five men, under three names.

That the song was about selecting a Pope was never obvious on its face, but the first person for whom I played it, one of my fellow students, knew that was what I had in mind.  His response was that we had to find a way to deliver a copy of the song to the Vatican.  I could not imagine any way to do that, and did not expect that the Vatican would pay any attention to anything I sent.  A month later when the selection of John Paul was announced he came to me and said it appeared that the church got the message, but of course it had nothing to do with me.

Without the backstory, the song is a challenge to all of us to be imitators of the great men of the faith.

Written on the piano, it was probably the most complex chord progression I had created to that point, each verse beginning with the same half line and then diverging into its own unique music, diminished chords coming into the third verse, and the opening line becoming the closer.  Playing it on the guitar was a challenge.  I think I surprised myself when I was able to bring the third verse back to the opening chords for the last couplet.

This is another recording done in an office with midi files for instruments, and it is a .wav file so it is rather large.  It was number ten on my list for the quality of the song itself, number nineteen for the quality of the recording and performance due in significant part to the fact that it uses the midis and lacks the flavor of a live piano.  It made Tristan’s list, tied for fifteenth, and so falls twelfth here.  The recording can be found here.

A Man Like Paul.

So here are the words:

A man like Peter, a man like John, a man like Paul.

A great confession gave this man the keys,
The man who opened up the door.
The Jews and gentiles both came to believe–
I ask, could God have used him more?
And when it counted, he took up his cross,
And like his Lord before him, there he died.
We need more men like that, who count this world as loss,
And take the pain God calls them to with pride.

A man like Peter–such a man was John,
A man who gave himself completely to the King.
A church divided, and soon it would be gone.
Love for each other was the most important thing.
A man of faith, a man of prayer,
Waiting just to hear what God would ask.
We need more men like that, for only those who dare
To live for God are equal to the task.

A man like Peter, a man like John,
Someone must be found to spread the word,
In all the land, to every man,
Making sure that ev’ryone has heard.
God needs a man of faith and prayer,
Someone who will answer to His call
And for his Master would go anywhere–
Only such a man could reach them all.
Such a man was Paul.

A man like Peter, a man like John, a man like Paul–
Only such a man could reach them all.
A man like Peter, a man like John, a man like Paul.

I can only hope you benefit from the song in some way.  I will continue with additional songs in the future.

*****

Previous web log song posts:

#301:  The Song “Holocaust” | #307:  The Song “Time Bomb” | #311:  The Song “Passing Through the Portal” | #314:  The Song “Walkin’ In the Woods” | #317:  The Song “That’s When I’ll Believe” | #320:  The Song “Free” | #322:  The Song “Voices” | #326:  The Song “Mountain, Mountain” | #328:  The Song “Still Small Voice” | #334:  The Song “Convinced” | #340:  The Song “Selfish Love”

#337: The Song “Selfish Love”

This is mark Joseph “young” blog entry #337, on the subject of The Song “Selfish Love”.

This song, like Time Bomb, was inspired by the people I worked with when I got into the secular work world after being cloistered in Christian colleges and radio ministry.  The attitudes they had toward going out with each other caused me to recognize that for them physical love was a way of getting something, not giving something.  The concept gave me this song.

This was my number thirteen song, and I put the recording and performance quality at twenty-five.  That low ranking was partly because this is another that I recorded using midi instruments and I’m not entirely happy with that aspect particularly with the percussion, and also because although the four voices here are pretty good they’re not great, and when we did this with TerraNova we had a soprano that I recognized was outside my range, so I feel like the song is missing something in spots.  On the other hand, I think this recording is better than the one on Collision Of Worlds.  That one is rushed a bit, Kyle forgot what he was going to play on the instrumental and played something very disappointing, there were only two voices, there were problems with the rhythm in spots, and overall I was rather disappointed with it but didn’t see an easy repair within the time constraints.  Tristan, meanwhile, put this as tied for number one on his list, one of his undisputed favorites, which kicked it up quite a few steps to place as number eleven overall.

This version has the bass guitar duet on the instrumental (and behind the last chorus) which I particularly like.  The Andrews-Sisters-like vocals on the second verse came into existence because in TerraNova I wanted to have each verse sung by a different vocalist but my wife, our contralto, refused to sing a solo verse so I had to innovate by creating the trio there.  I like it, so I’ve kept it.  I think my wife didn’t like this song, at least then.  She and Barbara used to call it Shellfish Love and do the little clam things with their hands that I remember as the Clam Cheer from scouts.  It was another attempt to do the rock guitar thing (of which Passing Through the Portal was the success, Walkin’ In the Woods and Convinced appearing as other good songs that failed in that), but it came out more pop than rock, I think–but I still like it.

The recording is here

Selfish Love.

So here are the words:

Lookin’ for a love, for a love that’s true.
Lovin’ isn’t lovin’ if there’s more than two.
Askin’ what a lover’s gonna do for you.
That isn’t love, that isn’t love,
That isn’t what lovers are s’posed to do.

You’ve got a selfish love,
That’s not what love is made of.
You’ve got a selfish love,
What will you do with your selfish

Love is still the answer to your achin’ heart.
When it comes to lovin’ you just play the part.
Lovin’ ’em and leavin’, you think you’re so smart.
That isn’t love, that isn’t love,
That’s the kind of lovin’ that tears apart.

You’ve got a selfish love,
That’s not what love is made of.
You’ve got a selfish love,
What will you do with your selfish, selfish love?

Love is never measured by the things your heart can feel.
Love is never anything unless it’s something real.
Love is not a miser seeing how much he can take.
Love is a commitment you will never ever break.

When you fall in love, you never fall too deep,
Makin’ all those promises you never keep.
What you sow today you’re gonna surely reap.
That isn’t love, that isn’t love,
That’s the kind of love that will make you weep.

You’ve got a selfish love,
That’s not what love is made of.
You’ve got a selfish love,
What will you do with your selfish

Selfish love,
That’s not what love is made of.
You’ve got a selfish love,
What will you do with your selfish love?

I can only hope you benefit from the song in some way.  I will continue with additional songs in the future.

*****

Previous web log song posts:

#301:  The Song “Holocaust” | #307:  The Song “Time Bomb” | #311:  The Song “Passing Through the Portal” | #314:  The Song “Walkin’ In the Woods” | #317:  The Song “That’s When I’ll Believe” | #320:  The Song “Free” | #322:  The Song “Voices” | #326:  The Song “Mountain, Mountain” | #328:  The Song “Still Small Voice” | #334:  The Song “Convinced”

#335: Bob Bennett’s First Matters

This is mark Joseph “young” blog entry #335, on the subject of Bob Bennett’s First Matters.

Bob Bennett’s debut album, First Things First, reached the radio station not too long after I did, and I was immediately greatly impressed.  From the opening cut Carpenter Gone Bad he shot straight for the mind, with solid arguments for believing in Christ set to comfortable light folk-rock music heavy on the guitar picking.  My fond memories include Whistling in the Dark, You’re Welcome Here, I Belong to You, and the closing Healings.  This was a gentle but heavily intellectual collection, and I was captivated by it immediately.

When an artist or band releases a great first album, the fear is that they have have done their best work, and that which is ahead won’t measure up.  Yet three years later he appeared again with a disk that was in one sense completely different, and in another a great continuation of what he had already done.  From the smooth processed sound and emotional message of the opening title song, Matters of the Heart again impressed as it talked about life in songs like Falling Stars, 1951, A Song About Baseball, Madness Dancing, Together All Alone, Beggar, and Come and See, then wrapping up like bookends with Heart of the Matter.  He had topped his debut impressively.

What really surprised me today was how many of these songs I remembered–not just recognized, but could sing along in sections of the words.  They were well written and got inside powerfully.  I have omitted songs that I would include simply because I have included so many from two albums.  Somewhere I have both of these on vinyl; I’m going to have to find them and transfer them to CD so I can listen to them in the car.  They are great collections throughout.

That was the last I heard from him, but he continued releasing albums every few years, the most recent in 2016 making ten in all.  Everything I heard impressed me, and that’s rare.

*****

The series to this point has included:

  1. #232:  Larry Norman, Visitor;
  2. #234:  Flip Sides of Ralph Carmichael;
  3. #236:  Reign of the Imperials;
  4. #238:  Love Song by Love Song.
  5. #240:  Should Have Been a Friend of Paul Clark.
  6. #242:  Disciple Andraé Crouch.
  7. #244: Missed The Archers.
  8. #246: The Secular Radio Hits.
  9. #248:  The Hawkins Family.
  10. #250:  Original Worship Leader Ted Sandquist.
  11. #252:  Petra Means Rock.
  12. #254:  Miscellaneous Early Christian Bands.
  13. #256:  Harry Thomas’ Creations Come Alive.
  14. #258:  British Invaders Malcolm and Alwyn.
  15. #260:  Lamb and Jews for Jesus.
  16. #262: First Lady Honeytree of Jesus Music.
  17. #264:  How About Danny Taylor.
  18. #266:  Minstrel Barry McGuire.
  19. #268:  Voice of the Second Chapter of Acts.
  20. #272:  To the Bride Live.
  21. #276:  Best Guitarist Phil Keaggy.
  22. #281:  Keith Green Launching.
  23. #283:  Keith Green Crashing.
  24. #286:  Blind Seer Ken Medema.
  25. #288:  Prophets Daniel Amos.
  26. #290:  James the Other Ward.
  27. #292:  Rising Resurrection Band.
  28. #294:  Servant’s Waters.
  29. #296:  Found Free Lost.
  30. #299:  Praise for Dallas Holm.
  31. #302:  Might Be Truth and the Cleverly-named Re’Generation.
  32. #304:  Accidental Amy Grant.
  33. #312:  Produced by Christian and Bannister.
  34. #315:  Don Francisco Alive.
  35. #324:  CCM Ladies of the Eighties.
  36. #329:  CCM Guys at the Beginning.
  37. #332:  The Wish of Scott Wesley Brown.

#334: The Song “Convinced”

This is mark Joseph “young” blog entry #334, on the subject of The Song “Convinced”.

At one time this was my favorite song.  It still ranks number 4 on my list, because I’ve written a few songs I like more.  Tristan placed it tied for 9, which is pretty high on his list.  The problem is in the recording.  I think the vocals are near perfect, and the instruments, done as midis, are pretty good, but the mix is terrible.  (For what it’s worth, it’s better in headphones than on speakers; played on CDs in the car and such the instruments are almost completely lost.  Even so, I’m not really satisfied with the balance between the instruments, either.)  It ranked 24th in recording/performance quality, entirely because of my dissatisfaction with the mix.

I was at the radio station.  I recognized that I had written a lot of “songs of doubt”, as I mentioned in connection with That’s When I’ll Believe, and I wanted to write something that expressed faith.  After all, I was putting doubt behind me and knew what I believed pretty firmly.  I wrote this song with that in view.

My wife wanted to sing it with me, so I wrote a second vocal part.  Then when we included it in the repertoire for TerraNova we wanted Barbara to sing also, so I wrote a third part.  In the recording, the original second part was the top part on the chorus but the middle part on the verse.  My wife still complains that when I wrote the third part I made her sing the middle part all the way through, so now when she hears it she doesn’t know which part to sing, but I didn’t want to be crossing the girl’s parts and Barb had the higher voice.

The recording is here

Convinced.

So here are the words:

Convinced.
Lord, You’ve got me convinced.
I will never doubt You
Since
I found out You
Can be trusted more than I knew.
Ev’rything You said has proved true.

You said that I was a sinner,
And hopelessly enslaved.
I thought that I was a winner,
So why should I be saved?
But when a habit tried to break me,
I was in a bind.
I tried to change and couldn’t make me,
So I’ve changed my mind.

Convinced.
Lord, You’ve got me convinced.
I will never doubt You
Since
I found out You
Can be trusted more than I knew.
Ev’rything You said has proved true.

You said that freedom was in You–
I saw it in Your Word.
I couldn’t even begin to
Believe what’s so absurd.
But when I found no other answer,
You set me free.
You changed a mourner to a dancer.
Now you’ve got me

Convinced.
Lord, You’ve got me convinced.
I will never doubt You
Since
I found out You
Can be trusted more than I knew.
Ev’rything You said has proved true.

You said you’d meet my needs if I would put you first,
Yet when I trusted you, I waited for the worst.
But then you brought me through a very trying time,
And worked it all for good, so now I’ll say that I’m

Convinced.
Lord, You’ve got me convinced.
I will never doubt You
Since
I found out You
Can be trusted more than I knew.
Ev’rything You said has proved true.
All you said is true.
I will put my trust in
You
Because just in
Time I saw such clear evidence.
Lord, You’ve got me convinced.

I can only hope you benefit from the song in some way.  I will continue with additional songs in the future.

*****

Previous web log song posts:

#301:  The Song “Holocaust” | #307:  The Song “Time Bomb” | #311:  The Song “Passing Through the Portal” | #314:  The Song “Walkin’ In the Woods” | #317:  The Song “That’s When I’ll Believe” | #320:  The Song “Free” | #322:  The Song “Voices” | #326:  The Song “Mountain, Mountain” | #328:  The Song “Still Small Voice”

#332: The Wish of Scott Wesley Brown

This is mark Joseph “young” blog entry #332, on the subject of The Wish of Scott Wesley Brown.

I’m not sure how important Scott Wesley Brown was in the history of Contemporary Christian Music, but he seemed important to us at the time, probably for what were somewhat personal reasons.

His album I’m Not Religious, I Just Love the Lord–his third, according to sources–was already at the radio station when I got there, but for various reasons the only song I ever played from it was his cover of House at Pooh Corner written by (or possibly co-written with?) Kenny Loggins and previously released by The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band.  We also received his album One Step Closer, from which I remember nothing clearly.

However, at some point during my tenure he was live, solo with a piano, at a local church concert hall, and I took the opportunity to interview him.

As far as I recall, he was the only musician of whom I ever asked whether it was easier or harder to get into Christian music professionally then (the early eighties) than it had been a decade before.  His answer was indeterminate.  After all, he observed, at that time there were probably at least a dozen contemporary Christian labels and a host of supportive radio stations (ours had gone from being on a list of the top twelve to a list of the top fifty, an indicator of how much the field had grown in perhaps half a decade), but there were a lot more people seeking success in the industry.

I also asked him about one particular song, one of the great forgotten songs of the era, and he told me a story.  It seems that after a concert a nun came up to him.  I don’t recall whether he told me what she wanted, but as she was departing she said to him, “I wish you Jesus.”  He really liked the statement, thought it the best thing one could wish someone, and he wrote the song I Wish You Jesus, performing it on his live album Songs and Stories.

The backup band for that concert was Glad, whom we have mentioned before in connection with Found Free and to whom we will return.  There is a studio version, but I’ve always preferred the live one.

Every night, when we were not a twenty-four hour station, that song played as we ended our day, the FCC-required information spoken over the instrumental sections.  It was probably more our signature song than the Johnny Fisher song which I mentioned last time opened our broadcast every morning.  Our listeners loved it, and missed it when management made us replace it with a spoken only closing.

A quick check shows that Brown ultimately released twenty-five albums, and his songs were covered by everyone from Amy Grant to Placido Domingo.  His last reported release was in 2003, but his official website indicates that he is still available for ministry appearances.

*****

The series to this point has included:

  1. #232:  Larry Norman, Visitor;
  2. #234:  Flip Sides of Ralph Carmichael;
  3. #236:  Reign of the Imperials;
  4. #238:  Love Song by Love Song.
  5. #240:  Should Have Been a Friend of Paul Clark.
  6. #242:  Disciple Andraé Crouch.
  7. #244: Missed The Archers.
  8. #246: The Secular Radio Hits.
  9. #248:  The Hawkins Family.
  10. #250:  Original Worship Leader Ted Sandquist.
  11. #252:  Petra Means Rock.
  12. #254:  Miscellaneous Early Christian Bands.
  13. #256:  Harry Thomas’ Creations Come Alive.
  14. #258:  British Invaders Malcolm and Alwyn.
  15. #260:  Lamb and Jews for Jesus.
  16. #262: First Lady Honeytree of Jesus Music.
  17. #264:  How About Danny Taylor.
  18. #266:  Minstrel Barry McGuire.
  19. #268:  Voice of the Second Chapter of Acts.
  20. #272:  To the Bride Live.
  21. #276:  Best Guitarist Phil Keaggy.
  22. #281:  Keith Green Launching.
  23. #283:  Keith Green Crashing.
  24. #286:  Blind Seer Ken Medema.
  25. #288:  Prophets Daniel Amos.
  26. #290:  James the Other Ward.
  27. #292:  Rising Resurrection Band.
  28. #294:  Servant’s Waters.
  29. #296:  Found Free Lost.
  30. #299:  Praise for Dallas Holm.
  31. #302:  Might Be Truth and the Cleverly-named Re’Generation.
  32. #304:  Accidental Amy Grant.
  33. #312:  Produced by Christian and Bannister.
  34. #315:  Don Francisco Alive.
  35. #324:  CCM Ladies of the Eighties.
  36. #329:  CCM Guys at the Beginning.