Praise the Lord. Praise God in his sanctuary; praise Him in His mighty heavens; praise Him for His acts of power; praise Him for His surpassing greatness. Praise Him with the sounding of the trumpet, praise Him with the harp and lyre; praise Him with the clash of cymbals, praise Him with resounding cymbals.
Let everything that has breath praise the LORD. - Psalm 150
So how have you been spending your days while under the stay at home directives? I’ve been going through my CD collection and seeing what I can convert to digital or download into the cloud still haven’t figured out how to listen to the cloud in the car yet, so I’ll hold on to the CDs. I even found some “old” cassette tapes, better get out the q tips and rubbing alcohol and see if I can fire up a tape deck. No 8-tracks! I’m old but I’m not THAT old.
Anyway, my last few blogs have been pretty serious, so I thought I’d have a little fun with this one. Some of my favorite songs are songs that set a story to music. Thus a lot of my repertoire is of the folk music / 60’s protest genre. A good example of this is “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald” by Gordon Lightfoot. But dome of my favorites from all genres are those that are introduced by, interrupted by, or ended with a spoken monologue. So this week, I’d like to play “Name that Tune” using just the spoken parts of various songs - some of which you may know. I’ll post the answers at the end, but it’s no fair skipping ahead. Good luck!
#1 Breathe deep the gathering gloom; watch lights fade from every room;
Bedsitter people look back in lament, another day’s useless energies spent
Impassioned lovers wrestle as one, lonely man cries out for love and has none
New mother picks up and suckles her son. Senior citizens wish they were young
O cold hearted orb that rules the night, removing colours from our sight.
Red is grey and yellow white, but we decide which is right
And which is an illusion.
#2 On the side of a hill in the deep forest green
Tracing of sparrow on snow crested ground
In blankets and bed clothes the child of the mountains
Sleeps unaware of the clarion call
On the side of a hill, with a sprinkling of leaves
She washes the grave with silvery tears
A soldier cleans and polishes a gun
War bellows blazing in scarlet battalions
Generals order their soldiers to kill
And to fight for a cause they’ve long ago forgotten
#3 Oh my God, Becky, look at her butt! It is sooo big.
She looks like one of those rap guys’ girlfriends.
Who understands those rap guys? They only talk to her ‘cause she looks
like a total prostitute, okay? I mean, her butt, it’s just so big. Ughh.
I can’t believe it’s just so round, it’s out there, I mean, uggh, gross!
#4 O for a voice like thunder, and a tongue to drown the throat of war
When the senses are shaken, and the soul is driven to madness, Who can stand?
When the souls of the oppressed fight in the troubled air that rages, who can stand?
When the whirlwind of fury comes from the throne of God, when the frowns of
his countenance drives the nations together, who can stand?
When Sin claps his broad wings over the battle,
and sails rejoicing in the flood of death;
When souls are torn to everlasting fire, and fiends of Hell rejoice upon the slain.
O who can stand?
O who hath caused this? O who can answer at the throne of God? The Kings
and Nobles of the Land have done it! Hear it not, Heaven, thy Ministers have
#5 Darkness falls across the land The midnight hour is close at hand
Creatures crawl in search of blood To terrorize your neighborhood
And whomsoever shall be found Without the soul for getting down
Must stand and face the hounds of hell And rot inside a corpse's shell.
The foulest stench is in the air The funk of forty thousand years
And grisly ghouls from every tomb Are closing in to seal your doom
And though you fight to stay alive Your body starts to shiver
For no mere mortal can resist The evil of the thriller (maniacal laughter)
Have you guessed yet? Song #1 never made it very far on the billboard charts, but it always places in the top 5 of make-out songs - Nights in White Satin by the Moody Blues, released in 1967. The second song came out in 1966 as the US was becoming embroiled in a war in southeast Asia. The songwriters wrote a “canticle” which Paul Simon sung / spoke as Art Garfunkel carried the melody to a medieval ballad called Scarborough Faire. #3 I wasn’t sure if I was going to put on, but one cannot hear this intro and not know “Baby’s Got Back” by Sir Mix-a-Lot. You almost have to hear it in a Valley Girl accent. The fourth is one of my favorites and is actually part of a poem written by William Blake in 1810. It is read by Lord Douglas Campbell of the Royal Edinburgh Shakespeare Company. It is an epilogue to Loreena McKennitt’s “Lullaby” which was released in 1985. I highly recommend you-tubing this to hear it read properly. The last one I hope you got. If you need a clue, think Vincent Price, for this is the epilogue from Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” of 1982.
So why these five? I’m sure that you may have other songs which have monologues before, during, or after the music. The point is that music can move us and lift our hearts and imaginations to places we’d never otherwise go. The Psalmists also had this heart of a poet, though it gets a bit lost in translation sometimes. Music, poetry, the arts in general have a special place in our hearts and minds and every so often we may hear an echo of heaven. Happy listening.
- Pastor Brian
Pastor Brian Handrich graduated from Concordia Seminary, St. Louis in 1997. He first served a dual parish in northeast Nebraska before coming to Flemington, New Jersey in 2002.