Friday Five: Songs of Life

My response to today’s RevGals post.

1. What song do you listen to or sing to deal with times when you are sad?

“Drowning Man” by U2… I think the title echoes Leonard Cohen, and there are several Scripture allusions throughout the song, along with a direct quote of part of Isaiah 40:31 at the very end.  There was a time when this album was relatively new and I was in high school that a kid a few years ahead of me in school was killed in a car accident.  I didn’t know him, but for a teen, as we learned the hard way here at the beginning of this past school year, any death of someone close to your own age hits very hard.  I was doing career exploration at the local newspaper and was sent back to the school to gather information about the young man for the article they wanted to print about his death, and this song was playing on my car cassette player as I drove.  Even now, 30 years later, it can still provide some comfort when things are unsettled.

2. What’s a song that inspires you?

“True Colors” by Cyndi Lauper…Cyndi has quite a heart for LGBT youth, as do I.  This song inspires me to let all the youth I work with, no matter how God created them, know I accept and love and stand with them, as God also does, no matter what.  (My husband also happens to really like Cyndi Lauper, which I find odd, but pleasing…)

3. What’s a song that reminds you of a happy time in your childhood?

“Diamond Girl” by Seals & Crofts… this was on heavy rotation on our local radio station the summer before I started kindergarten.  I think their “Summer Breeze” was popular the year before.  There was pretty much always music at my house when I was little.  The radio was on, with Bill Miller (and his alter ego, Jasper P. Jones) in the morning and Rodney Lay in the afternoon.  Or my mom would put me down in front of the stereo and put on a record, if she needed me out of her hair for awhile.  We had a record called “One Stormy Night,” by somebody called the Mystic Moods Orchestra.  It was easy listening-type music laid over a stereo recording of a thunderstorm (apparently there were a lot of people putting out records in the late 1960s and early 1970s to showcase stereo sound…that’s part of why the Moody Blues did what they did with “Days of Future Passed”).  In the course of the thunderstorm, the audio also captured the sound of a passing train, and my mom told me that if I watched carefully, I could see it on the “tracks” behind the stereo (the power cord, I think).

4. What’s a song that makes you want to dance?

Acadian Mouth Music from Grey Larsen (flute) & Andre Marchand (voice, feet)…I first heard this on Thistle & Shamrock around the time I moved to Oregon.  Listened to it a lot as I struggled to adjust to the new situation.

5. What’s a song that you share with someone you love?

“Boney Fingers” by Hoyt Axton (and, I believe, Ronee Blakely)… As I said, there was always music around when I was a kid.  I remember a family trip over to Roaring River State Park in Missouri when this song was popular (and in the days before the Walkman and headphones made it possible for someone not to listen to what was on the radio if they so chose).  As we went from one radio station’s range to another, we got to hear it two or three times over the course of the drive over and back, and whenever we did, we would all sing the chorus at the top of our lungs.

Bonus question: What’s a hymn or spiritual song you love to sing?

It’s always gotta be shape note singing… This is #72b, BELLEVUE (familiarly known as “How Firm a Foundation”), one of my favorites.  I believe the treble in the white bonnet may be Ruth Wampler, who traveled to Iowa for one of our all-day singings awhile back.  (When a class is this large, most leaders only lead a couple verses of each lesson, to allow more songs to be sung and more people to lead, which is why only two of the five verses are included.)

Bonus bonus:  #198, GREEN STREET, a fun fuguing setting of Edward Perronet’s “All Hail the Power of Jesus’ Name.”  This is the second All-Ireland Sacred Harp convention…shape note singing has made its way to Ireland (according to some theories, that should read back to Ireland…).

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