Category Archives: Music

#387: The Song “Our God Is Good”

This is mark Joseph “young” blog entry #387, on the subject of The Song “Our God Is Good”.

I think I must have started writing this in the summer of 1986.  I remember being out in the yard at our Carney’s Point Manor Avenue home singing the two choruses and figuring out how they fit together.  I feel like I had this partial song, including the background music, for months without any progress.

Then we started into the 1988 Presidential Election race, and, wow, did that give me ideas.

1987 Democratic Presidential Primary Candidates, left to right:
Senator (later Vice President) Al Gore,
Representative Richard Gephardt,
Governor Michael Dukakis,
Senator (later Vice President and now President) Joe Biden,
Reverend Jesse Jackson,
Governor Bruce Babbitt,
and Senator Paul Simon.

For those who do not remember the race, there were more candidates vying for the office than you can easily remember.  Ronald Reagan was ending his second term, and it was not entirely clear that the party was going to support his Vice President George (Herbert Walker) Bush to replace him.  Meanwhile, on the Democratic side, Senator Gary Hart seemed to be the frontrunner.

Then Hart perhaps stupidly challenged the media to prove their allegations that he was having an affair–and they did.  Hart dropped out of the race before our accompanying photo was taken.

Joe Biden was knocked out of the race for being a chronic plagiarist and liar.  On the Republican side, it was uncovered that Christian Broadcasting Network president and 700 Club host Reverend Pat Robertson’s wife was pregnant before they were married.  Candidates were dropping like flies.

Former President Richard Milhouse Nixon once said that it was the job of the media to examine all politicians with a microscope, but in his case they used a proctoscope.

As I reflected on all this, it struck me that people expected our government leaders to be above reproach, but that we as people were not.  From that I constructed the verses, recalling those three specific cases, and challenging that if we want moral leaders we need to be moral people.

This recording features four vocals over midi instruments.  I had envisioned a fifth voice, a bass vocal beneath the second chorus, but was concerned that it would interfere with the bass guitar part so I didn’t attempt it.  I wrote it for piano, and then figured out how to play it on guitar, but the bass part was always part of the music.  I ranked the song twenty-third for quality of words and music, fifteenth for performance and recording, as it was well done; it just made Tristan’s list, tied for fifteenth, and so tied for twenty-second with last month’s song.  (The rating system is explained in connection with the first song, linked below.)

Our God Is Good.

So here are the words:

Our God is good.
Our God is good.
Our God is good.
Our God is good.

What does it matter, telling little lies?
Who’s ever hurt by words we plagiarize?
Hypocrites do these things ‘most ev’ry day,
But make our leaders care for what they say.

Our God is good.
Our God is good.
Our God is good.
Our God is good.

Ev’ryone wants to have a little fling.
Brief infidelities don’t mean a thing.
But when a leader does it, it’s a crime.
We crucify our leaders ev’ry time.

Only the Lord alone is good.
Only the Lord alone is good.
Only the Lord alone is good.
Only the Lord alone is good.

Past indiscretions all should be forgot’–
Put them behind you.  But the world will not,
For ev’ry leader’s life’s an open book.
Open the pages; come and take a look.

Our God is good.
Only the Lord alone is good.
Our God is good.
Only the Lord alone is good.
Our God is good.
Only the Lord alone is good.
Our God is good.
Only the Lord alone is good.

We are the people–people, “they” are we.
All that we are is what our leaders be.
How can a leader be a moral man?
He can be only what the people can.

Our God is good.
Our God is good.
Our God is good.
Our God is good.

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” | #349: The Song “I Can’t Resist You’re Love” | #353:  The Song “I Use to Think” | #356:  The Song “God Said It Is Good” | #362:  My Life to You | #366:  The Song “Sometimes” | #372:  The Song “Heavenly Kingdom” | #378:  The Song “A Song of Joy” | #382:  The Song “Not Going to Notice”

Next Song:  Why

#382: The Song “Not Going to Notice”

This is mark Joseph “young” blog entry #382, on the subject of The Song “Not Going to Notice”.

I am guessing that I wrote this sometime in the late ’70s, although it might have been as late as the early ’80s.  It’s a country song, and I have never taken country music terribly seriously.  Perhaps that influenced my rating on it, putting it number thirty-one for quality of the song, number 17 for quality of the recording and performance.  Tristan, though, ranked it tied for fifth, pulling it up to number twenty-two, tied with another to be published next month.

I am persuaded that country songs need to be funny.  My favorite country song is still Put Another Log On the Fire.  This one is light-hearted, with several parts of it very tongue-in-cheek, and I hope it brings a smile to the faces of at least a few listeners.  I connect it in my mind to my Sandy Becker Theory of Eschatology which I was starting to develop around the same time.  Both say that there’s no point to our arguments about the second coming or the end of the world or what heaven is like.  We can’t really know anyway, until it is ultimately revealed.

The recording, three vocals over midi instruments, is here.  If I could do it again it would be a tad faster, but it’s decent as is.

Not Going to Notice.

So here are the words:

You know that Jesus said He’d come again,
And raise us all from death, immortal men,
And then He’ll take us home
With a body like His own,
And we will be in heaven with Him then.

But I’m not going to notice, no siree!
‘Cuz when I finally reach eternity
Through the laughter and the tears,
For at least a million years
My precious Savior Jesus is all I’ll see.

You know the dead will rise out of their graves.
Well, that’s the kind of news that should make waves,
And then we’re going to fly
Just to meet Him in the sky,
And all the world will know that Jesus saves.

But I’m not going to notice, no siree!
‘Cuz when I finally reach eternity
Through the laughter and the tears,
For at least a million years
My precious Savior Jesus is all I’ll see.

They say that I can walk through any wall,
Or step off of high buildings and not fall,
And I’ll mount with eagle’s wings,
And do a million crazy things
That now I just can’t understand at all.

But I’m not going to notice, no siree!
‘Cuz when I finally reach eternity
Through the laughter and the tears,
For at least a million years
My precious Savior Jesus is all I’ll see.

Maybe I’ll meet Moses or have a chat with Paul;
Andrew, Peter, James, and John, I’m sure to meet them all!
I’ll have a chance to get to know each famous chosen man:
Eat breakfast with Isaiah and lunch with Abraham.

Many of my friends will meet me there;
We’ll have a great reunion in the air.
Won’t you come now?  Don’t be late!
Turn to Jesus, then go straight.
It’s a party to which nothing can compare.

But I’m not going to notice, no siree!
‘Cuz when I finally reach eternity
Through the laughter and the tears,
For at least a million years
My precious Savior Jesus is all I’ll see.

No, I’m not going to notice, no, not me,
‘Cuz when I finally reach eternity
Through the laughter and the tears,
For at least a million years
My precious Savior Jesus is all I’ll see.

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” | #349: The Song “I Can’t Resist You’re Love” | #353:  The Song “I Use to Think” | #356:  The Song “God Said It Is Good” | #362:  My Life to You | #366:  The Song “Sometimes” | #372:  The Song “Heavenly Kingdom” | #378:  The Song “A Song of Joy”

Next Song:  #387:  Our God Is Good

#378: The Song “A Song of Joy”

This is mark Joseph “young” blog entry #378, on the subject of The Song “A Song of Joy”.

This song is also tied for nineteenth on the list; I ranked it sixteenth for the overall quality of the song and twenty-seventh for the quality of the recording, but Tristan had it on his list, tied at number nine.  (The ranking system is explained in connection with the first song, linked below.)  The recording is another done with midi instruments, and in this case a second vocal part which was out of my range is covered by a midi trumpet in places.  It lacks the punch of a live recording, but captures the essence otherwise.  I think, too, that it should have been just a touch faster.

This is probably the third song in which I shifted between a 4/4 (or in this case a 2/4) and a 3/4, and put the the accent on the upbeat of the second beat of the three–quite prominently in this case.  It may have been, like Free, inspired by the work of Conrad Gempf; in any case, it was written around that time, in my first year at Gordon College.

That also means that The Last Psalm had broken up, and as I came out of the first bridge I thought it needed a lively instrumental, but as I would be doing it solo I wasn’t going to have a lead guitarist to play such a thing.  Thus I wrote a vocal cadenza for the space.  I connected with my then-fiance (and now wife for decades) at the wedding of a cousin, and she said that I should write a second vocal for it (not that I could perform it with two voices, but that she wanted to sing along), so I did.

We were working on it with Collision, and I feel a bit stupid about it because the problem was that Jonathan could not master the very difficult second vocal on the cadenza (singing it an octave lower), and it never occurred to me to have him play it on the keys.  Because of this failure on my part, it was cut from an originally planned place on the Collision: Of Worlds EP.  Some notes on it as part of the Collision repertoire are on the web here.  It was previously performed by both TerraNova and Cardiac Output.

I expect the lyrics arose from the music on the verses, being written together with the melody.  It was just such an upbeat sound that it had to be about something like joy.  I do not at all remember how I managed to include the major shift into the feel of the bridge.

I liked the gentle suspended ending featured in this recording and followed by Collision.  In TerraNova, Jerry Cregger thought that too many of my songs ended with what he generalized as “fade out” endings, which in his assessment included this one (along with Walkin’ In the Woods, Voices, and Time Bomb, but I don’t really agree about the first of those), and so an additional short vocal tag was added to give it a more powerful end.

The recording is here.

A Song of Joy.

So here are the words:

I’m singin’ to the Lord a song of joy.
He always gives me ev’ry thing I need.
He gives me life and breath and life again,
And now I want to say He’s Lord indeed.

He gives me life initially,
Increasingly,
Abundantly,
Assuredly,
Eternally.

I’m singin’ to the Lord a song of joy.
He’s always been a great and wondrous King.
He leads me in the way that I should go,
And now I want to give Him ev’rything.

He gives me joy initially,
Increasingly,
Abundantly,
Assuredly,
Eternally.

I don’t know what Satan really has to offer,
But I know he’s only trying to destroy,
And I’ve met the only one who’s from the Father–
If you turn to Him, He’ll fill you with His joy.

I’m singin’ to the Lord a song of joy.
He’s given me a brand new life to live,
And now I am convinced beyond a doubt
He gives me ev’rything there is to give.

I don’t know what Satan really has to offer,
But I know he’s only trying to destroy,
And I’ve met the only one who’s from the Father–
If you turn to Him, He’ll fill you with His joy.

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” | #349: The Song “I Can’t Resist You’re Love” | #353:  The Song “I Use to Think” | #356:  The Song “God Said It Is Good” | #362:  My Life to You | #366:  The Song “Sometimes” | #372:  The Song “Heavenly Kingdom”

Next Song:  #382:  Not Going to Notice

#374: Christian Instrumental Music

This is mark Joseph “young” blog entry #374, on the subject of Christian Instrumental Music.

Quite a few years back my wife and I picked up a pair of soprano recorders, and within a few days were playing a duet of the hymn Glorious Things to Thee Are Spoken.  One night a gamer friend, Bob Schretzman, visited, and we played it for him.  He thanked us for playing one of his favorite songs, Deutschland Uber Alles, the German national anthem.

That came back to me this morning as the local Christian radio station played an instrumental version of a spiritual song, and it being familiar to me I had the words to the first verse running through my head–but I only remembered the first verse, so when the music repeated, so did those words.  That got me wondering.

I’ve previously noted that Christian record producer and recording artist Chris Christian (who discovered Amy Grant) disdained Christian instrumental music, challenging that what makes music Christian is the words.  He would sit on stage and play Alley Cat, and at the end of each line speak a word related to Christianity, and suggest that made it a Christian song.  I have a hard time disagreeing with that.  I know that when I hear instrumental versions of What Child Is This, particularly around Christmas, those words are in my head–but I won’t swear that at other times of the year I don’t hear the words to Greensleeves, and I’m sure there are many out there for whom those are the first lyrics that come to mind for that melody.  The Reformers often put Christian words to bawdy bar songs, because their converts knew the music; at what point did those become Christian melodies?  It certainly seems that what makes music Christian is the words.

On the other hand, Johann Sebastian Bach expressed the view that all of his music was written to glorify God.  We can certainly see that in the hundreds of chorales, the B Minor Mass, and other choral works–but how many of us are moved to worship by the Tocatta and Fugue in D Minor or the wealth of other fugues he wrote for organ or orchestra or chamber ensembles?  Does the fact that he says it is Christian music make it so?  Someone has written words celebrating Christmas to fit Pachelbel’s Canon; does that make the original song Christian?  What of Christian bands that do what would be called parodies of secular hits, replacing the original lyrics with Christian words?  In my 1970s band The Last Psalm our soprano sang the words to Amazing Grace to the music of The House of the Rising Sun (although I heard someone else do that first, and stole the idea from them); does that sanctify the music such that a folk song about life in a brothel becomes suitable as a Christian instrumental?

Perhaps we would like to claim that all music is ultimately Christian, and we might do that by asserting that all creative efforts are imitations of the image of God and so glorify Him to the degree that they in their greatness reflect His.  If music is a medium of communication, perhaps it can communicate something about God without being bound to words.  Yet Tubal-cain, father of all who played the pipe, was a descendant of Cain, not Seth, and so we might argue that all music is inherently secular unless it is somehow redeemed.

I lack the answer to this question.  I know musicians who perform instrumental music they assert is Christian, and it is usually arrangements of familiar hymns or other songs of faith.  I even have a collection of midi instrumental recordings of nine Christmas songs I arranged that I often play around the holidays.  Yet it still seems to me that for music to be Christian it must inspire thoughts of faith, and that seems to require words.

But then I come back to Bach, and wonder whether there is Christian instrumental music which inspires us to faith without using words.

#372: The Song “Heavenly Kingdom”

This is mark Joseph “young” blog entry #372, on the subject of The Song “Heavenly Kingdom”.

This song is tied for nineteenth on the list; I ranked it number eight for the overall quality of the song, and Tristan included it on his list, albeit at the bottom, tied for fifteenth.  The problem pulling it down was although there is a decent recording of it on Collision: Of Worlds, I don’t sing it, and I am still reluctant to use versions of songs I don’t sing.  Thus I had to do a recording in my living room on a digital recorder, with all the same “mistakes” I made when I recorded Still, Small Voice–automatic level control picking up room noise when the song got quiet (which this one does quite a bit), breathing difficulties because I had just gotten out of the hospital.  Add to that that the song was written for three vocals and never performed with fewer than two, and that at the ends of the lines there were always instrumental frills (lead guitar, keyboard, bass, and drums), and it’s a very disappointing rendition of the song.  However, it is a good song.  (The ranking system is explained in connection with the first song, linked below.)

The song was written during the 7dB days, and performed then.  It arose out of musings that I knew I was a teacher but I wasn’t sure how much of my music was teaching.  I had long had this idea in my head, but never as a song, and I decided it could work set to music, so I tackled it.

The idea arose from Jesus’ teaching about cutting off your hand and plucking out your eye if they caused you to sin, which for many years bothered and upset me until I realized that our body parts don’t cause us to sin–it is that inner person that does so.  This was such a relief to me, and ranks high in my list of great realizations.  I thus thought that a song that taught this, that it’s not your body parts of which you must rid yourself but that selfish person inside, would work.

My wife, not seeing it quite as I did, thought the song much too upbeat and happy for the message–that you have to die to yourself–but then, I found the happiness in the fact that I didn’t have to remove body parts.  Mohammed got it wrong, I would say.  Get rid of what really causes you to sin.

As mentioned, we started doing the song with 7dB and continued with CollisionThis recording is none of the above, and I tripped over several words and a few guitar strums, but it does give the flavor of the song.

Heavenly Kingdom.

So here are the words:

If your hand caused you to sin,
Would you cut it off to enter in
To the Heavenly Kingdom?
If your eye caused you to doubt,
To save your soul, would you pluck it out
For the Heavenly Kingdom?
If it’s not your hand and it’s not your eye,
Would you give your life, lie down and die?
Would you let yourself be crucified
For the Heavenly Kingdom?

If your feet caused you to stray,
Would you give them up, or walk away
From the Heavenly Kingdom?
If your tongue caused you to lie,
Would you bite it off–would you even try
For the Heavenly Kingdom?
But your feet don’t stray and your tongue won’t lie;
It’s your selfish self that has to die.
Would you let yourself be crucified
For the Heavenly Kingdom?
For the Heavenly Kingdom?

Would you be crucified with Christ,
Baptized and buried in His death,
Raised up and living in His life,
Breathing Him in with ev’ry breath?

If your heart is filled with strife,
Would you let it die to give you life
In the Heavenly Kingdom?
If your soul is filled with pride,
Would you let yourself be crucified
For the Heavenly Kingdom?
Give up your soul, give up your life,
Give up your pride, give up your strife,
Come and let yourself be crucified
For the Heavenly Kingdom.
For the Heavenly Kingdom.
For the Heavenly Kingdom.

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” | #349: The Song “I Can’t Resist You’re Love” | #353:  The Song “I Use to Think” | #356:  The Song “God Said It Is Good” | #362:  My Life to You | #366:  The Song “Sometimes”

Next song:  #378:  The Song “A Song of Joy”

#371: The Twenty-Twenty Twenty/Twenty

This is mark Joseph “young” blog entry #371, on the subject of The Twenty-Twenty Twenty/Twenty.

I believe the correct greeting is Happy New Year, as we enter 2021.  That means it is time for us to look back at everything that we published in 2020.

The big deal is the book, in paperback and Kindle format, Why I Believe, a compilation of evidence on the basis of which intelligent people believe in God and in Jesus Christ.  I’m told the hardcover version is out, joining the paperback and Kindle versions, but haven’t seen it yet.

The year began, appropriately, on January 1st with a look back at the previous year, web log post #325:  The 2019 Recap, doing then what we are doing now, providing a quick look at everything from the previous dozen months.

On the first of the year I also published a song, the first of a dozen continuing from the seven of the previous year:

  1. web log post #326:  The Song “Mountain Mountain”;
  2. web log post #328:  The Song “Still Small Voice”;
  3. web log post #334:  The Song “Convinced”;
  4. web log post #337:  The Song “Selfish Love”;
  5. web log post #340:  The Song “A Man Like Paul”;
  6. web log post #341:  The Song “Joined Together”;
  7. web log post #346:  The Song “If We Don’t Tell Them”;
  8. web log post #349:  The Song “I Can’t Resist Your Love”;
  9. web log post #353:  The Song “I Use to Think”;
  10. web log post #356:  The Song “God Said It Is Good”;
  11. web log post #362:  The Song “My Life to You”; and
  12. web log post #366:  The Song “Sometimes”.

That series continues with another song later today.

On the subject of series, there are several others, including both the Faith in Play and RPG-ology monthly series at the Christian Gamers Guild.  These are both indexed, along with other excellent material from other contributing authors, at 2020 at the Christian Gamers Guild Reviewed, posted yesterday.  Thanks to the editorial staff of the French edition of Places to Go, People to Be, a large collection of the original Game Ideas Unlimited articles, thought to be lost when Gaming Outpost closed, have been recovered and are now appearing slightly repolished in these series.  (Quite a few of them plus other articles have been translated into French for their site.) We also finished posting the rest of the novel Versers Versus Versers, along with updated character sheets in the Multiverser Novel Support Pages, and started on the seventh, Re Verse All, which will continue well into the new year.  There were quite a few behind-the-writings web log posts connected to those, but they are indexed in the novel table of contents pages so we won’t burden this entry with them.

There was also the continuation of another series, reminiscences on the history of Christian contemporary and rock music from the early 1980s, which picked up with:

  1. web log post #329:  CCM Guys at the Beginning, a conglomerate of artists from Randy Matthews and Randy Stonehill through Michael W. Smith;
  2. web log post #332:  The Wish of Scott Wesley Brown;
  3. web log post #335:  Bob Bennett’s First Matters;
  4. web log post #342:  Fireworks Times Five, one of the best rock bands of the era;
  5. web log post #345:  Be Ye Glad, one of the best vocal bands of the era;
  6. web log post #358:  DeGarmo and Key, Not a Country Band, another excellent early rock ensemble.

I should mention for the time travel fans that there is indeed a book in the works, possibly with a sequel, but it’s still in the early stages so that’s on the list for the coming year.  Meanwhile, temporal anomalies were not ignored, as we had several posts and pages.

Among the miscellaneous posts this year is one about the fact that my work appears under several slightly different names–Mark, Mark J., M. Joseph, M. J., and Mark Joseph–and the story behind that is explained in web log post #331:  What’s With the Names?  A musician asked a question on a Facebook group, which I answered in web log post #352:  Why No One Cares About Your Songs.

Giving extra confusion to the year, in February my second grandchild, my first grandson, was born, roughly a decade or so after his half-sister.  That was the beginning of a saga that still is not completely resolved, but it was several months before he came home, in time for Halloween.

My book reading slowed drastically, due largely to the fact that my Kindle was smashed and I’ve been trying to get it repaired, but there are a few book reviews (one of a book on writing) at Goodreads.  Also appearing are two republished book reviews, as web log posts #351:  In re:  Evil Star and #368:  In re:  Cry of the Icemark, recovered from the lost Gaming Outpost archives.

We were quiet on the political front until June, when events related to Black Lives Matter prompted the writing of web log post #344:  Is It O.K. Not to Make a Statement?  Some argued that it was not.  We later explained the mail-in ballot system adopted by our home state in web log post #360:  Voting in 2020 in New Jersey, with a follow-up a couple weeks later in web log post #363:  The 2020 Election in New Jersey.

The year ahead looks promising.  There should be another song posted today, with Faith in Play and RPG-ology articles already queued for publication later this month and well into the year ahead, chapters of the novel Re Verse All with their accompanying behind-the-writings peeks standing by, more CCM history, some time travel movies awaiting my attention, and–well, we’ll have to see what appears.  Meanwhile, this is your opportunity to catch anything you missed or re-read anything you forgot.

I would be remiss if I did not thank those who have supported me through Patreon and PayPal.me, and to invite and encourage others to do so.  The Patreon web log is the first place where all new pages are announced, and the place to go for glimpses of what is to come, and even as little as a dollar a month helps me immensely and gets you that information delivered several times a week.  Thank you.

#366: The Song “Sometimes”

This is mark Joseph “young” blog entry #366, on the subject of The Song “Sometimes”.

This is the nineteenth song on the list; I honestly do not remember when or where I wrote it, other than that it was done on a piano and was an effort to write a descending baseline song that was not the standard VI-V-IV-V of VI but didn’t sound like the classic Chicago song.  I wrote it in Bb minor, but when we did it with Collision I transposed it down half a step because it was much easier to play on a guitar in A minor and not more difficult for the piano part.  This recording is from the album Collision Of Worlds (as pictured, Jonathon Maness on keys, Kyle Baxter guitar, Nick Rhodes on drums, and me covering bass and vocals).  I’ve always been disappointed with the dynamics on the recording, but it’s the best recording I can offer.  (I think there is a good live version when Jonathan Maness and I played together at a retreat Mike Brantley asked us to do a week after Jonathan had left the band, but I was wading through all the concert and rehearsal tapes last year and got derailed at some point, so I don’t know where it is.)

I listed this as my number two song for music and lyrics, and I’m not sure it isn’t becoming number one; it was pulled down by the fact that I was so disappointed with the recording that I placed it at number 31 for performance and recording (although in retrospect it’s really pretty good, and my disappointment might be a bit of an overreaction), and Tristan didn’t include it on his list.  (The ranking system is explained in connection with the first song, linked below.)

Sometimes.

So here are the words:

Sometimes only you and I alone can see
I am not the things that I know that I should be.
Sometimes people ’round about me cannot tell
In myself I’m only fit to be damned to hell.
No, I hide behind this smile upon my face,
Me of all most mis’rable, saving for your grace,
Me of all most mis’rable, saving for your grace.

Given time I’d only waste it all away;
I do not deserve to live even one more day.
Given talent, I would spend it on my pride–
I am such a sinful wretch, yet I choose to hide.
Given power I would work my selfish will.
How can God give life to one only fit to kill?
How can God give life to one only fit to kill?

He calls me by my name;
He tells me, “Child, arise!”
I’ll never be the same:
I have looked into His eyes.

Now I see the one who died upon the cross;
All that I had counted gain there was counted loss.
Now I have no reason, nothing left to hide:
I’m the one deserving death; I’m the one who died.
Now my eyes are clearing–now I start to see,
Ev’rything that Jesus was God is making me,
Ev’rything that Jesus was God is making me.

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” | #349: The Song “I Can’t Resist You’re Love” | #353:  The Song “I Use to Think” | #356:  The Song “God Said It Is Good” | #362:  My Life to You

Next song:  #372:  The Song “Heavenly Kingdom”

#362: The Song “My Life to You”

This is mark Joseph “young” blog entry #362, on the subject of The Song “My Life to You”.

This is the eighteenth song on the list, written during the 1977-78 school year in the study of our Landmark Lane apartment in Rockport, Massachusetts.  It is one of my youngest son’s favorites (I think he likes songs with angst in them), but he didn’t respond when I invited him to contribute to the selection process.  I listed it twenty-second for the quality of the song itself, eighteenth on the quality of the midi-instrument recording and performance; Tristan had it on his list, tied for ninth, which pulled it up.  (The ranking system is explained in connection with the first song, linked below.)

By the time I wrote this I was making a point of trying to make my songs different from each other.  I thus started this on a Bb major seventh chord, making for a rather difficult song to play on an acoustic guitar.  (Guitars and most stringed instruments prefer sharp keys; flat keys are packed with hard-on-the-fingers bar chords and difficult notes on violins and violas as open strings are eliminated.)  I also went for a mellow jazz flavor.  I intentionally jumped the octave and inserted a transitional chord at the end of the second verse into the first bridge, and then specifically did not do so when the third verse goes into the second bridge, both times to create surprise.  I admit that I stumbled into the extra couplet and the diminished seventh chord on the last verse, pushing the end of the verse up an octave and increasing the build–but this isn’t supposed to be a songwriting instructional, just memories about the song.

As to that, I don’t have many.  We never included it in the repertoire of any band, and because of the bar chords I don’t often do it in solo appearances.  I remember struggling with the lyrics in the second bridge–I wanted it to say that if I asked Him to change my days to bring joy He would change my ways, but I couldn’t get that and had to say the reverse.

This midi-instrument recording is the one on which I based my decisions.  When I was trying to find a copy to upload I stumbled on this live recording from a late December 2014 Sunday morning appearance at the Silverlake Community Church using a borrowed acoustic guitar, complete with introductory comments.

My Life to You.

So here are the words:

When I was young I went to Sunday School,
And there I learned about the Golden Rule:
Do what you want men to do to you;
But I found that too hard to do,
So I thought I would write my own:
Now I do what I don’t condone.
It seems that I am rotten through and through.
Someday I’ve got to give my life to You.

Now I’ve grown, and I am wise indeed:
I know love is what we really need.
Love will bring us to a peaceful state,
But my own life is full of hate.
I am striving to work my will.
Love means serving, I know, but still
I keep on doing what I want to do.
Someday I’ve got to give my life to You.

I just can’t seem to see, or understand,
No matter how hard I try,
If I make You my king, you’ve wonders planned.
That’s why You came to die.

Then when finally I saw my sin,
I tried to change me from the outside in.
I tried to go ways I couldn’t go;
I tried to show love I didn’t know.
Now I’m learning beyond a doubt:
Man must change from the inside out,
And that’s what You say You want to do.
Someday I’ve got to give my life to you.

If I would say to You, rearrange my ways,
And make You my sovereign king,
Then this is what You’d do, You would change my days,
And oh, what joy you’d bring.

Will I say with my dying breath,
“Give me freedom, or give me death”?
Will I keep on ignoring you,
Doing just what I want to do?
Will I keep going my own way?
When I’m dying, what will I say?
I’ve been dying for many years;
I’ve been crying, You’ve seen my tears.
Jesus, You make all things new;
Someday I’ve got to give my life to you.

Someday I’ve got to give my life to you.

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” | #349: The Song “I Can’t Resist You’re Love” | #353:  The Song “I Use to Think” | #356:  The Song “God Said It Is Good”

Next song: #366:  The Song “Sometimes”

#358: DeGarmo and Key, Not a Country Band

This is mark Joseph “young” blog entry #358, on the subject of DeGarmo and Key, Not a Country Band.

It was said that when Amy Grant realized she wouldn’t listen to her own records if they weren’t hers, she called Eddie DeGarmo and Dana Key to collaborate with them on something with more of a rock sound.

It was probably a good choice.  They were clearly a rock band at the beginning.  Somewhere on their live album No Turning Back–Live one of them says, “We tried doing country music, but nobody could figure out what country it was from so we gave it up.”

The first of their albums I encountered was their third, 1979’s Straight On, and four songs stand out from it.  The opener, Jericho, was definitely rock in the Christian music world.  My favorite was undoubtedly Long Distance Runner, but I also remember the short instrumental Enchiridion which preceded it(although this reminds me of Chris Christian’s challenge, what makes an instrumental Christian?), and I Never Knew You.

Amy got in on the next album, This Ain’t Hollywood, collaborating with them on Nobody Loves Me Like You, the cut that got all the attention, upbeat for Amy but already the band was starting to mellow toward a more commercial sound and look, as demonstrated by Special Kind of Love from 1983’s Mission of Mercy.  You can’t blame bands for trying to sound like whatever sells, but it is disappointing to lose something unique (and unique is never the popular sound).

They continued releasing albums through 1994, with two best-of albums following in 2003 and 2006.  I know nothing about that.

*****

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.
  40. #345:  Be Ye Glad.

#356: The Song “God Said It Is Good”

This is mark Joseph “young” blog entry #356, on the subject of The Song “God Said It Is Good”.

This seventeenth song on the list was written to celebrate the marriage of my friends Debbie nee O’Neil and Rich Van Norstrand.  I wrote it after we had all left Luther College but before my own wedding, and played it for them once, in the spring of 1976 when somehow all four of us (that is, with my wife Janet) were back on campus at Luther.

I must have heard someone say that the first thing God said was not good was that the man should live alone.  Up to that point, he had created the heavens and the earth, the light and darkness, the rain, the sea and the land, the fish, the birds, the beasts of the earth, and the human, and at each step saw that it was good.  Now there is something that is not good, and He fixes it.

I’m pretty sure that it was an ancient rabbinical observation that God made one into two so He could make two into one.  For God, marriage isn’t about sticking two random pieces together, but about putting back together what He originally sundered.

It ranked nineteen on my list for the song itself, but this midi-instrument recording placed number ten despite the fact that I stumble over a few words; Tristan did not list it.  (The ranking system is explained in connection with the first song, linked below.)  It was my wife’s favorite of my wedding/marriage songs, at least before I wrote the one for her which is further down the list (mostly because it’s a poor recording), and one of two songs I sang at my sister’s wedding (the other, which I think is an excellent song, is sadly lost).

I have performed it solo, but the only recording of such a performance I could find was not good; it was written for piano, and although I can play it on guitar I prefer not to do so.

God Said It Is Good.

So here are the words:

God said, It is Good, when He made the light.
God said, It is Good, when He made the day and night.
God said, It is Good, when the light shone from His face.
God said, It is Good, when the light reached every place.

But God said, It is not good for the man to live alone,
And so He made a woman for the man to call his own.
He made one into two so He could make two into one.
In Jesus I charge you to love one another, be thankful for what He has done.

God said, It is Good, when He made the earth.
God said, It is Good, when the heavens had their birth.
God said, It is Good, when His work had just begun.
God said, It is Good, when He looked at what He’d done.

But God said, It is not good for the man to live alone,
And so He made a woman for the man to call his own.
He made one into two so He could make two into one.
In Jesus I charge you to love one another, be thankful for what He has done.

He saw that it was good that He had made the stars of night,
And good that He had made the sun and moon to give us light.
He saw that it was good to have the earth bring forth its life.
He saw that it was good that He had made them man and wife.

God said, It is Good, when He made the man.
God said, It is Good, when he finished what He planned.
God said, It is Good, when the man stood on his feet.
God said, It is Good, when creation was complete.

But God said, It is not good for the man to live alone,
And so He made a woman for the man to call his own.
He made one into two so He could make two into one.
In Jesus I charge you to love one another, be thankful for what He has done.

He saw that it was good that He had made the stars of night,
And good that He had made the sun and moon to give us light.
He saw that it was good to have the earth bring forth its life.
He saw that it was good that He had made them man and wife.

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” | #349: The Song “I Can’t Resist You’re Love” | #353:  The Song “I Use to Think”

The next song: #362:  The Song “My Life to You”