Thursday, December 17, 2009

Secular songs

Seeing that title on the blog of a hardheaded, hardshelled, conservative Baptist, you might expect a diatribe against secular songs. Though such might have its place, you won't find it in the post. Last week while driving to Galveston, I heard on the radio one of my old favorites, The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald by Gordon Lightfoot. [For the 1976 recording, enter "The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald by Gordon Lightfoot" in Google and then in the hits you get click on "Play song from"]

Anyway, this got me to thinking about some "old favorites" which I enjoyed over my career of song listening (some which I would still listen to and some I might not). Some are:

"The Last Resort" by The Eagles
"I Will Always Love You" by Dolly Parton
"He Stopped Loving Her Today" by George Jones
"Love Hurts" by Nazareth
"Paradise" by John Prine (and others)
"Long Black Veil" by Lefty Frizzell
"Barbara Allen", (old folk song)
And many others

This list may reveal more about me than the songs -- an interest in a song that tells a story, often a sad song, or perhaps even a "negative" story. There is some disconnect, which is founded more in a feeling than the mental assent which I require in my Christian music. (I also get a feeling from the Christian music I enjoy.)

"The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald" is modern folklore, memorializing a Great Lakes ship wreck in the mid-1970s. I think its combined tune and lyrics ought to land it among the all-time classics. But I wonder how much "listening time" it actually gets??


Jim1927 said...

Gordon Lightfoot, a great Canadian performer, got plenty of attention wherever he performed in Canada.

Not long ago he had a near fatal illness which took his voice and mobility. He helped the singers in the Canadian Idol show and received a lengthy standing ovation.

There are plenty of modern singers with a good voice, a sense of correct songs, and te ability to entertain sensibly. He was indeed one of them.

Cheers, and thanks for the memories.



Anonymous said...

I've always believed a song does not have to be overtly gospel or religious in nature to touch peoples hearts and move them. There have been many that would fall under this category.

When you mentioned "Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald," I thought of another song which is similar in melody and convey's a powerful message. If I recall correctly, a minister once based a sermon on the song. It was "The Cat's in The Cradle" by Harry Chapin. I believe it was written around 1974 or so. It told the story of a busy father who never seemed to have the time to spend with his young son and watch him grow up. As the song progressed, the father becomes old and has retired. He craves the attention and company of his grown up son. But now the son is busy with a career and family of his own, and does not have the time for his elderly father. The father realizes his son is now just like he once was and probably acquired it subconsiously. Quite a message.