Songs That Take My Breath Away

Each of us have songs that are very personal…

musical-notesTo each of us, an artist, a melody, or collection of words. A genre. A style. Something that just rings in our mind and heart when we hear it. We sing along even when we do not know all the words!

Growing up in the 50’s and 60’s, I remember artist like Jim Reeves, Eddy Arnold, The Kingston Trio, and Herb Alpert (who co-wrote Sam Cooke’s “Wonderful World”). In the Gospel Realm I thoroughly enjoyed some music by the Conqueror’s Quartet, along with all those wonderful groups we used to listen to at the Music Hall that included The Galilean’s, Imperials, Blackwood Brothers, The Happy Goodmans, The Florida Boys…and a host of other names that just slip through my mind like water through my fingers! After each night you could gather around their record sales booth and meet them personally.

The best thing, these singing events happened every other month or so!

The radio was not that important to me. I remember only AM in the car, and FM was only found in the house. It took a long time till an FM receiver would be added automatically to every car stereo system! Nor did I buy a lot of albums, but going to a place where these groups and individuals sang was often in the cards. I remember Marty Robbins and Ray Price, and then hearing Ray Price perform at the Pasadena Dodge Dealer in Pasadena, Texas! For Free!

My dad had a good singing voice, and he mostly sang acapella due to hearing issues. It seems he could carry a note and hit it right on without having music to guide him (like I need!). It always seemed he sang at church, gospel singing events, funerals (When They Ring Those Golden Bells was most popular), and then simply driving down the road. He was always singing, as I remember it.

It was 1974 and we asked dad to sing the Wedding Song (There is Love) at our wedding over 42 years ago. My sister played it on the piano, and I still have that song book here in my office. It was written by Noel Paul Stookey of Peter, Paul and Mary fame. They did not write everything they sang, in fact, several of their songs included writers like John Denver (Leaving on a Jet Plane). To which I unabashedly state that John Denver has been my favorite of favored singers and songwriters since the 70’s. More of his ballads take me to Alaska than any other writer I know!

So. My kids have learned what I enjoy and every so often they send me a name that I must listen to…and most of the time they are spot on. I have a few names and songs from their recommendations! There are names like Nora Jones and Allison Krauss, which opened the door for me to find other voices to enjoy.

It seems like most of the songs I enjoy are the songs I’ve sung for years, or from voices I can understand! My ear specialist tells me there is range of sound that I have no ability to hear, and if you talk or sing in that area then I am simply clueless to what you are saying.

Yesterday, our evangelist, Preston Plemons, closed out the service with an old favorite of Andrae Crouch. I remember this as a favored singer and song from the 70’s and it seems we sang a lot of his song in the Youth Choir I was a part of. Do you remember “Take Me Back“? It was ┬áthe name of an album and song from 1975.

Take me back, take me back dear Lord
To the place where I first received you.
Take me back, take me back dear Lord where I
first believed.

I feel that I’m so far from you Lord
But still I hear you calling me
Those simple things that I once knew,
The memories are drawing me.
I must confess, Lord I’ve been blessed
But yet my soul’s not satisfied.
Renew my faith, restore my joy
And dry my weeping eyes.

(Repeat Chorus)

I tried so hard
To make it all alone
I need your help
Just to make it home.

(Repeat Chorus)

Guess who co-authored the song… Wait for it… Elton John… Who would have guessed?! Go ahead. Click on the link to the song above and read it for yourself.

This song brought this thought to me. All those songs we have sung through the years that were the right song, sung at the right time. Most of these songs came at the end of church…sweet closures that sent us on our way.

After a number of services in my young teen years we had an elder lady in our church (Sis Odom???) that would dig into her purse and pull out an old harmonica and simply play some old and older songs. Or Tim Sonnenberg that knew how to lead a sweet grouping of songs with a tender voice. Or Mike Carlen that could lead songs with a range that could go from low to high and an ability to take us from song to song without pausing. And now in our modern world, I have appreciated all that Shantel does to bring us closer to God with special songs that come from the heart…

One last thought…

The Book of Psalms is not really a single book. Rather, it is a collection of 150 songs, and each song is essentially a book in and of itself. The longest book is Psalms 119. A collection of shorter writings that of 8 or so verses that start with the beginning to the end of the 22 letters in the Hebrew alphabet. Each section has a focus, and if you read it in this light you will see that every focused reference is about God’s Word. The law, testimonies, precepts, statutes, commandments, judgments…

It sort of tells us that this is an important section of David’s story and 119 tells us we must focus on His Word!

And most of the Psalms are written as a poem meant to be put to a melody. And sung with proper respect of the message being delivered. Imagine David penning Psalms 51 after he had sinned with Bathsheba. It is not a joyful writing, and it is obviously a very public event. I suspect it was known by just about everyone… Go ahead… Read it and imagine a country song trying to do it justice!

Somewhere in my stack of cassette tapes are a small selection that I found somewhere, sometime, that sing the Psalms to music that could very easily have been sung over 2,000 years ago. Through the years we have sung various Psalms in church services, and probably many songs found their roots in one of the books of Psalms. I will tell you that you could spend every day reading a new psalm and before long, you will find a good ol’ favorite that helps your through your valley (Psalms 23), or through your sin (Psalms 51), or if you are wanting to just Bless the Lord (Psalms 34)…

Starting jotting down your favorite sources because the future is coming when you will wish for that song that will take your breath away!