I went out to the garage to look for a tape recorder so I can tape some jazz standards I am working on and since I moved out of my last home so quickly I have no idea where anything is, everything is in storage and boxes. I hate being disorganized like that. It is very hard for me to not know where my stuff is. I feel like I am constantly looking for things; like a cd I want to listen to or a book I want to read.
It’s an annoying problem but not an important one.
Anyway I didn’t find the tape recorder but I did find a Song Journal I started years ago, probably in my late mid thirties.
It’s a book I have, a blank Journal basically and I would write my favorite Songs in there, like Lyrics and maybe some commentary about the song or a picture. I opened it up and there was a handwritten foreword there that I must of wrote a really long time ago. It made me laugh because It said exactly what I just spoke about in my last blog about my love affair with music.
This is what it said.
The Only thing sadder than a life without Love would be a life without Music. For without it I could not take another breath. Maybe for a while I would breath but soon I would fade away. Like a flower with no sun, just shrivel up and die. Like a beautiful Bossa Nova being played in a distant café, as you walk away your hearing the music slowly fading away until there is only silence.
The songs written in this book are songs, music that means something special to me. So special I had to write them down on paper. Somehow this helps me deal with the Joy I feel when I hear these songs, sometimes sadness too, But oh the pure beauty of it, it helps me deal with that.
Whether it be the lyrics or the melody or the message given or the voice, whatever it is; something has struck me, makes me shiver when I hear them. I will always have these songs, no matter what happens around me, things I cannot control. I will always have these songs burned into my memory of my being. No one can ever take that away from me—- signed me. Thank you for the Music.
The Journal is only half full today so I still have room to add to the collection. I have Bob Dylan, Louis Armstrong, Sam Cooke. Etta James and you know Billie is in there. Even a Cars song is in there. I have many ideas and canidates for those blank pages. I call them Soul Burnin’ Songs.
One of the songs I wrote in the journal is a Song that I fell in love with as soon as I heard it. It is a Christian hymn called Softly and Tenderly Jesus is Calling. Written by Will Thompson. God it’s a beautiful song. Its a song about going home.
I think the first time I ever heard it was in the soundtrack in the Academy Award winning movie, Trip to Bountiful (1985) with Geraldine Paige and John Heard. I loved that movie: I watched it many times. It was about a old woman going back to her hometown, a place called Bountiful one more time before she dies. After I heard that song I told myself I would record it some day. It is so beautiful. When my dad passed I made sure that was one of the hymns we sang in the service. He would have liked it, he was a religious man.
I did some research on the Hymn and I was surprised there weren’t more recordings of the song. What I did find out is that it was sung at the Memorial service for American Civil Rights leader, Martin Luther King Jr.at the Ebenezer Baptist Church, Atlanta Georgia. April 8, 1968.
I thought to myself, how interesting since he has always been a hero of mine and has always been such a huge presence in my life and here is this song now that ties back to his life and sadly to his death.
If you watch Trip to Bountiful you will not only see a beautiful Movie but you will hear a beautiful Song.
SOFTLY AND TENDERLY
Softly and tenderly Jesus is calling,
Calling for you and for me;
See, on the portals He’s waiting and watching,
Watching for you and for me.
Come home, come home,
You who are weary, come home;
Earnestly, tenderly, Jesus is calling,
Calling, O sinner, come home!
Why should we tarry when Jesus is pleading,
Pleading for you and for me?
Why should we linger and heed not His mercies,
Mercies for you and for me?
Time is now fleeting, the moments are passing,
Passing from you and from me;
Shadows are gathering, deathbeds are coming,
Coming for you and for me.
O for the wonderful love He has promised,
Promised for you and for me!
Though we have sinned, He has mercy and pardon,
Pardon for you and for me.