Hymns and Songs of Praise
This weekend the elder members of my family and I had a conversation about hymns – which are our favorites, which bring back memories, which we hated having to sing – it ran the entire gamut. While we all agreed on many of the classics (“Amazing Grace”, “Battle Hymn of the Republic,” “Rock of Ages” etc.) it was interesting to hear each person’s thoughts and insights on the songs. Three that stand out in my mind are:
“When I Survey the Wondrous Cross”
I first heard this song while attending my wife’s granny’s Primitive Baptist church in NC. It was printed words in a booklet called Lloyd’s Primitive Hymns which served as a hymnal – no music, since all of the songs in the PBC are sung without musical accompaniment. In fact, many of the songs in their church were sung to either the tune of “Amazing Grace” or “Rock of Ages” depending on their metre. The hymn was delivered in a plaintive minor key in multi-part harmony that made the hair on my neck stand up.
“There is Power in the Blood”
Sometimes when I need a pick-me-up. I’ll put on Mahalia Jackson’s version of this old rouser. Guaranteed to get your foot tapping. I regret I never had the opportunity to see her perform it live.
“Morning Has Broken”
This song was played during our wedding ceremony. First published in 1931, most of us are familiar with Cat Steven’s (Yusuf Islam) 1971 interpretation that went to No. 1 on the easy listening chart. A joyful song for a joyous occasion.
Anyone else care to share their favorites or memories?