THE DESERT OF THE SEA

 This collection of songs was recorded for the purpose of witnessing to my childhood and school days pals.  I was saved the winter following my high school graduation.  It had been many years since I had last seen and witnessed to most of the old crowd and I wanted very much to let them know that the choice I had made to follow Jesus had been the right one.  I sought to testify to them that the path I had taken had been blessed indeed.  These songs were chosen from those I had written because they best told the tale of the life I had left them to pursue. 

 The Desert of the Sea was recorded at Slip Shot Studios in Homer City, Pennsylvania.  It was mastered by Bill Citeroni who produced the work along with Ed Billock.  Ed played guitar and sang harmonies on the record as did Charlie McEnytre.  Charlie also played his harmonica and Bill put down some keyboard tracks.  My wife, Lilian can also be heard on harmonies.

 The style of the album is very simple.  These are folk tunes with strong melodies. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


JESUS KNOWS MY NAME

 In 1978 I had been saved less than two years.  I had done my best to witness to all those with whom I had run as a lost teenager.  They had followed me anywhere before I came to Jesus.  I was sure they would follow me to the Saviour.  Not one did.  I wrote this song to express my sorrow over their rejection of Christ, and me, and in it one can hear the determination of a young Christian to go on without them.


In the Bible God said they would not understand
Friends they would mock, and then turn away
But there is a foundation, and it standeth sure
For my Lord heard the words I once prayed.

Jesus, He knows my name
In a world ever-changing He’s always the same.
Others may question and doubt and condemn
But Jesus, He knows my name.

How often I’m met with words bitter to taste
By those who must feel they know inward parts.
But Jesus, my Savior, knows I’ve claimed His blood.
His peace is the strength of my heart.

Jesus, He knows my name
In a world ever-changing He’s always the same.
Others may question and doubt and condemn
But Jesus, He knows my name.

Now I’m no longer the talk of the town
I’ve no longer access to fortune or fame
But the things I’ve forsaken I count them no loss
For Jesus Christ, He knows my name.

Jesus, He knows my name
In a world ever-changing He’s always the same.
Others may question and doubt and condemn
But Jesus, He knows my name.

 

 

 

 

THE SECRET OF THE LORD

 From 1981 to 1983 I labored with the help of two good Christian men to plant a church in my home town.  After being ignominiously dismissed from that pastorate I devoted a good deal of time to songwriting.  The contacts I had in the music industry spoke very highly of the material but rejected it as too complex and not commercial enough.
 In response to their appeal for songs sweeter and more shallow I wrote this number in August of 1983.  Short enough for radio (anything over three minutes is too long for modern Americans to concentrate upon) and upbeat in its message, this song was turned away.  The head of one Christian record company said, “Great song but it has too much scripture.”
 The piece is taken from Proverbs 30, Ecclesiastes 11 and Psalms 25.


How do the bones grow in the womb
Before the baby is born?
How does the whippoorwill know when to sing
Or the morning star to greet the dawn.
Who knows the way of a snake on a rock
Of the eagle that rides on the wind?
And who understands the a poor wretched man
By the grace of God is born again?

The secret of the Lord is with them that fear Him
He teaches them the truth each day.
The secret of the Lord is with those that walk near Him
Learning about His love along the way.

Consider the ant, diligent, strong
Working with none to guide
Or the spider that clings to the walls of a king
Where no valiant man would dare be spied.
Who knows the way of a ship on the sea
Or the way of a man with a maid?
And who understands the law’s every demand
In the blood of Christ is fully paid.

The secret of the Lord is with them that fear Him
He teaches them the truth each day.
The secret of the Lord is with those that walk near Him
Learning about His love along the way.

 

 


I SEE A ROARING LION

 We used to preach on weekend nights in front of the Glass Bar a block from the ocean in New Smyrna Beach, Florida.  To keep myself from being distracted in between witness opportunities, I would sing in my heart to the Lord.  This song captures the sights and sounds of the nightlife so appealing to those living in that darkness.  This was written in the spring of 1982.

No longer do I marvel at the beauty of the lights
The sepulcher is polished and disguised
But I know what lies beyond the glitter and the glow
The back beat ever muffles terror’s cries

Oh I see a roaring lion; and he’s looking to devour you
My boy, won’t you flee unto the light
The devil He’s prowling this street tonight.

Sonny’s got the shipment.  He’s the travel agent here
Can send you where you never want to go
Smoother than any viper, the venom from his lips
Will con you to the short end of the score

Oh I see a roaring lion; and he’s looking to devour you
My boy, won’t you flee unto the light
The devil He’s prowling this street tonight

Pandora waits for you boy, and her skirt slit up the side
Will hook your eye and poison your hungry bones
A painted nail is pointed, with a finger she draws you near
Yet you’ll find within her spell you’re so alone

Oh I see a roaring lion; and he’s looking to devour you
My boy, won’t you flee unto the light
The devil He’s prowling this street tonight.

The master of deception with his oils and with his brush
Has painted this old graveyard in pastels
And the colors will send you spinning till your senses he controls
Boy, keep from where that lion ever dwells.

Oh I see a roaring lion; and he’s looking to devour you
My boy, won’t you flee unto the Light.
The devil He’s prowling this street tonight.

 

 

A WAY IN A MANGER

 This is a literary allusion to Martin Luther’s famous hymn.  Telling the tale of why Christ Jesus came into the world, this song was composed in March of 1984.  The first two lines came to me one morning while I was walking my mail route and I sang them over and over again through the next five hours and the rest of the song eventually fell into place.

Scripture hath concluded all men under sin
And the law once given held no hope therein
For all of a man’s righteousness never could avail
His every effort to atone, it could only fail.
Blood was needed A sacrifice
Only perfection Could pay the price
Who’d have ever thought
That God would make a way in a manger.

Cursed is every one and all who continue not
In all things written in the law, each tittle and each jot
For Adam fell and thus his seed, his seed became corrupt
And from the heart of every man rebellious streams erupt.
Fount of cleansing Was the need
There was none Of human seed.
Who’d have ever thought
That God would make a way in a manger.

In the region and the shadow of darkness all did dwell
And every man at his best state is vain and bound for hell.
No one moral.  No one just.  No one worthy.  None to trust.
All men guilty.  All men lost.  All men blind among human host.
Full redemption Blessed prize
Hope of glory  Lasting life
Who’d have ever thought
That God would make a way in a manger.

 

 

 

 

 


THE PATIENCE SONG

 In the early days of my Christian life, I often wondered if I would ever have an opportunity to be of service to the Lord.  Assured by His word and comforted through prayer that His gifts and calling were without repentance, I studied and prepared for a day when He would open a door of service for me. 
 In November of 1983 I wrote this song which tells the tale of the truth revealed to me about waiting on God for the changing of the seasons in our lives.

God’s people were in bondage.  Egypt was the place.
But in the sandy desert Moses sat.
Forty years a-wondering’ just when his day would come
Oh my friend can you imagine that.

Well you may be nobody, and then you may be great
But everybody’s gonna have to wait.

David was anointed with oil upon his head,
Yet on the run in caves he had to hide.
He had praise and honor.  He had mighty men.
Just think what running did to that man’s pride.

Well you may be nobody, and then you may be great
But everybody’s gonna have to wait.

Jesus brought a message.  A kingdom He would preach.
The whole world sat in darkness till He came.
Still He was building houses for close to thirty years.
Yes even for the Christ it was the same.

Well you may be nobody, and then you may be great
But everybody’s gonna have to wait.

Now in an upper room there was gathered quite a host
One hundred and twenty folks in all.
They were there for many days continuing in prayer
Just hoping for the Holy Ghost to fall.

Well you may be nobody, and then you may be great
But everybody’s gonna have to wait.

Who are you man or lady, that’s called to go and tell
May as well accept what I repeat.
There’s a great inheritance, great victories to be won,
But God can’t make you strong until you’re weak.

So you may be nobody, and then you may be great
But everybody’s gonna have to wait.

 

I’LL BE PRAISING YOU

 It seems so silly to complain or speak of burdens when God has blessed us in a million ways.  When we look about us at what our brothers and sisters are suffering in lands where Christians are persecuted and killed, when we think of saints with broken bodies, failing health and the like it is a marvel that we consider ourselves in trouble.  Yet, our pain is so real to us that it is rarely kept in a proper perspective.
 Habakkuk tells the tale of a preacher overwhelmed by the trouble in his world.  In his despair he called on the Lord and emerged with a marvellous perspective and testimony.  This song is drawn from the words of Habakkuk 3:17-18.
 This song was composed during the summer of 1989.  Included here is the bridge which was not used on the Desert project but was used in the alternate version.

   A    D      A
I’ll be praising You when I see no cause for cheer.
   A    D      A
I’ll be praising You when the path has grown so drear.
    D          E
When the night does fall And the mountain wall
          F    C
Stands before to block my view,
     F   G
When I cannot see Proof You care for me
       F  G    C
I’ll be praising You.

I’ll be praising You when I’m standing all alone.
I’ll be praising You when evil fortune I have known.
When my gold does rust And my prayers they just
Don’t ever seem to make it through,
To Your throne of grace To Your holy place
I’ll be praising You.

I’ll be praising You when the crops die in the field.
I’ll be praising You when the fruit trees bear no yield.
When my hopes and dreams  Fly away and it seems
A few of the promises weren’t true,
When my joy is gone  And I can’t see beyond
I’ll be praising You.

  D     Eb   D     Eb
Show me, show me some direction Show me, show me some way out
        D  Eb      D
Give me, some cure for my infection
     D    Eb
Before I’m eat up with the canker of this doubt

I’ll be praising You when You’ve destroyed everything of worth.
I’ll be praising You when You shake the planet earth.
When the fire does burn Everywhere I turn
Purging everything right through
With the smell of smoke On my easy yoke
I’ll be praising You.


I DON’T HAVE TO GO TO KNOW

      In the early days we would go to shopping centers and public events and distribute gospel tracts through the day.  Then we would come home and build a fire out doors and sit around that fire praying, reading the Bible and making up songs.  Charlie would strum his guitar and I would come up with words and tunes on the spot.  Lilian and Linda Wilson would work out harmonies as we went along.  I think we could have written a new song every night – and we often did.
      While Charlie was fine tuning the chord sequences and the girls were working out the harmonies I was not content to sing the same verse over and over again.  A lot of the songs written during those seasons had a dozen verses or more.
      One of my favorites from those wonderful days is I Don’t Have To Go To Know.  This song testifies to the fact that one need not wait for heaven to enjoy the bounty of God’s salvation.  It seemed a perfect sentiment for inclusion in the Desert project.
      This song was written in October of 1981.  I really like what the crew did with the harmonies on this recording.

I hear men speak so fancifully – a teardrop in their eye –
about a home they look unto somewhere beyond the sky.
Well, I was long in darkness, but Jesus gave me sight.
So I don’t have to go to know, the Lamb He is the Light.

I hear men speak of brighter days when no more tears shall fall
For God, who dwells in saved men’s hearts,
shall wipe away them all.
But I’ve a friend who comforts whenever I’m distressed.
So I don’t have to go to know, Jehovah is my rest.

I hear men talk of golden streets as though they are amazed
And wonder at the sounds they’ll hear
when Christ is truly praised.
But I’ve a heart which once did moan in agony and gloom.
So I don’t have to go to know, there’s joy beyond the tomb.

I hear men speak of sitting down and speaking face to face
With the author of all truth, and He who saves by grace.
But I’ve a friend so trusted, who’s with me to each end.
So I don’t have to go to know, the Most High is my friend.

I hear men say that war shall end, how that thrills their soul,
To think that ne’er a shot shall sound
While all the ages roll.
But long a battle rage-ed within my selfish heart
So I don’t have to go to know that peace He doth impart.

I hear men say that someday soon they will be going home
And no more shall their weary feet
This pilgrimage have to roam.
But Jesus lives within this one born sentenced unto hell.
So I don’t have to go to know that I’ve a place to dwell.

I hear men speak of no more death, as if it were far away.
I hear them marvel at this truth within the songs they play.
Yet, I was born a sinner and Jesus paid my price.
So I don’t have to go to know
He gives eternal life.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’M SO GLAD

 The paradox in many of these songs is quite evident.  A dark lyric with an upbeat melody expresses the Christian life as I have experienced it.  There is so much sadness and hurting round about us and all the while there is so much cause for rejoicing.
 This song from April, 1982 was another heart-felt plea to those who had chosen to stay in the world rather than join me in walking with Jesus.  I wanted so badly to tell them how they were hurting themselves, how their self-inflicted wounds hurt me and, most of all, that I had something far better.  I did not like the world I lived in, but I could live above it, while they were drowning therein.
 We got a pretty good recording on this but failed to capture what I heard in the song when I wrote it.

There’s a multitude of souls on the broad road
Who, sadly, don’t know their way
And ambition for things that they never have seen
Takes them farther from Jesus each day.
I’ve seen violence and strife in the city –
Folks who don’t know who lives next door.
But the saddest of all
is the mamas and dads
That don’t know the kids on their floor.

But I’m so glad that I know Jesus
I’m so glad that He knows me.
I’m so glad that He walks beside me
To keep me company.
We can sit and talk it over and He’ll tell me how
That He wants me to be.
Oh I’m so glad that I know Jesus
And I’m glad that He knows me.

Well sufficient for today is the evil
Of tomorrow there’s no guarantee
And what may or may not lie beyond the next dawn
Is really no matter to me.
I can’t trouble myself with the questions
That have answers no mortal can know.
I’ll just trust in the Lord
in the light of His word,
As moment by moment I go.

Oh I’m so glad that I know Jesus
I’m so glad that He knows me.
I’m so glad that He walks beside me
To keep me company.
We can sit and talk it over and He’ll tell me how
That He wants me to be.
Oh I’m so glad that I know Jesus
And I’m glad that He knows me.

In the rear view if I stopped for the turning’
Would I see all the ones left behind
The friends and the foes who got tangled up
In discovering’ their own heart and mind.
Ah they tell me I can’t know their pleasure
As I toil with my hand on a plow.
Though I know but in part
there’s such peace in my heart
that nothing can stop me right now.

Yes I’m so glad that I know Jesus
I’m so glad that He knows me.
I’m so glad that He walks beside me
To keep me company.
We can sit and talk it over and He’ll tell me how
That He wants me to be.
Oh I’m so glad that I know Jesus
And I’m glad that He knows me.

Well I’m pressing along to my homeland
And continually I seem to pray
That every time that old sun comes up
This wound be that golden day
When my troubles and labors are ended
And I enter into my rest
When finally I know
In the way I am known
The One who has known me the best.

Oh I’m so glad that I know Jesus
I’m so glad that He knows me.
I’m so glad that He walks beside me
To keep me company.
We can sit and talk it over and He’ll tell me how
That He wants me to be.
Oh I’m so glad that I know Jesus
And I’m glad that He knows me.

 

 

 

 

 

ANY MORE ALIVE

 This is an inward look taken when I was a young man who was being stripped of his pride and self-righteousness.  I had done much for my God in the years since He saved me, but there was a proud and haughty spirit wrecking most of it. 
 After many double-minded years I began to realize that I was no better and no more important than any other child of God.  He did not need me.  I needed Him.  If He chose to use me, hallelujah.  If He did not it would be no loss to His majesty.
 I had come to see myself as the Lord saw me.  I was just another pitiful creature whose best option was to abandon all pride and live wholly dependent upon the Saviour. 
 We recorded the slowest of three versions of this song, which was penned in June, 1985.

If you came unto Your own
And Your own were just like me,
Would they receive you?
If you spoke unto the multitude
And the multitude was like me,
Would they believe you?
Am I any more alive than they.

If You shone Your light in the darkness
And the darkness was like me
Would it comprehend?
If you told your disciples to follow You
And they followed You like I do
Would you be alone in the end.
Am I any more alive than they.

Oh I hear men boast of their righteousness,
I must confess,
I’ve a different point of view.
I hear men talk about all that they do for God
I find it odd
They’ve so little to say
About all the things that
You alone can do.

If you bore a people to praise Your name
And they praised You like I do,
Would the rocks have to cry?
If you sought a righteous sacrifice
And every man was just like me,
Would Your Son have to die?
Am I any more alive than they.


JESUS THE NAME

      This hymn came to me while I was pushing a lawn mower in July 1989.  The words and music flowed into my heart in this very order.

Jesus the name that excelleth all others
Name of our confidence, name of our praise
Name on the lips of the child with its mother
And of the saint at the close of his days.

Jesus the name that excelleth all others
Name of the grace that once dwelt among men.
Name of the Lamb that was slain for our sinning
Name of our hope, our redeemer, our friend

Jesus the name that excelleth all others
Spoken through tears when the heart it is torn.
Name of all comfort, rest and consolation
Name that for ages our sorrows has borne.

Jesus the name that excelleth all others
Name that is whispered in effectual prayer.
Name that bears witness our heavenly Father
Knows every need, each desire and each care.

Jesus the name that excelleth all others
Name before which every knee soon shall bend
Name that is worshipped by all things enduring
Name ever holy.  World without end.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

WHY DON’T YOU TURN

 During the winter of 1984 a former classmate died of a drug overdose.  A man I had won to Christ had fallen away.  I had gone to see him in the jail where he was locked away.  Friends of our family, with whom we had gone to church, were headed for a divorce court.
 I have spent my life pleading with these people, and others like them, to let the Lord Jesus satisfy the longing of their tired hearts.  It kills me to see them destroying themselves while thinking that somehow Christianity would make them unhappy.
 The words and music to this piece, from the fall of 1982, have always been a personal favorite of mine.  It was chosen to close out the Desert session and, thanks be to God, it spoke to the hearts of many, many men and women.  Charlie did a grand job capturing the mood of the song with his guitar.

When your pride is stripped and scattered by the tyrant winds of time.
When the mount of aspiration’s proved too difficult to climb
And you turn in disappointment, longing only to forget
The failure and the emptiness which selfish aims beget

When the lady, who lay by your side is lying’ with your friend
And the man in whom you did confide betrayed you in the end
And no one stoops to lift you as you fall broken at their feet
Then you find only ice, and harlotry, but no help on the street

When the needle plays a phantom dance upon your trembling arm
And you find the dealer’s promised highs were only false alarms
How the craving drives you lunatic.  You’d kill, but you’d rather die
Yet you curse the one deliverer and damn the God on high

Oh in this world of stocks and bonds where gain is turned to loss
Midst empty stares and live night mares the shadow of the cross
Falls silently upon the hearts of poor, deluded souls
Who scorn the path of grace and truth for make-believe paroles.


Why don’t you turn, Turn to Jesus, in your need and in your grief
When in pleasures and in playthings you have found no sure relief
From the fear and the doubt which cripples
from the constant inner strife
Oh why can’t you turn to Jesus and find Him, to be, the life.

 


ALL THAT REMAINS

 For our second CD we tried to expand the sound.  Ed and Charlie were back with their guitars.  Lilian did some work with her mandolin.  Stephanie Novakovic lent hear considerable talents on the keyboards.  Bryan Reese added some fine bass lines and Wendy Smith joined the girls on harmonies.
 As it turned out, we tried to do more than our limited time in the studio allowed.  The results were some very good songs, and some which were obviously left in various stages of completion.
 Ed Billock recorded and produced the record in beautiful Shaelocta, Pennsylvania over five long, cold and snowy days in February, 2002.
 This project was aimed at Christians.  We sought to use songs from my collection that would edify and uplift them while magnifying the Lord Jesus.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE EMPTY TOMB

 This is a hymn written on the mail route in January, 1988.  It seemed to me at the time that gospel preaching properly held forth the cross-work of Christ but did not speak loudly or often enough about His rising from the dead.  This song was written to set forth the fullness of the gospel message.

       G         D       G     D        G
I realize that He bore my transgressions And I know that He bled for my sin
             D  G           D
And the cross lifted high was essential Eternal salvation to win.
  G  D G            D
But ‘twas not until three days passing Brought news from the garden so grand
       G        C      G        D
That the one who had died was arisen To give life to the poor sons of man.
    G        D  G  C
I believe Jesus died.  I believe that Jesus cried,
             G           D
It is finished, through Calvary’s gloom.
          G  D        G  C
But if the tale ended there I’d still be in despair.
   G   D G          C    D    G
My hope is the empty tomb. My hope is the empty tomb.

Oh I know that the world will not look past
A great teacher who gave up the ghost.
But the death of a martyr, though noble,
Could never redeem human host.
Had faithful men laid the body away
And the stone remained sealed on the grave
Our souls would yet be without ransom,
With no victor with the power to save.

-c-

Oh the old brutal cross with its terror
Was the place where our sin debt was paid.
And there lifted up from His own earth
The Lord Jesus our offering was made.
But the sun was gone dark and refused to shine
The world’s hope fell to blackness of night
But the rising of Jesus come morning
Proved His promise that He was the Light.

 

COME AWAY

 I was going to, and probably should have, led off the album with this song.  It is a simple call to worship which dawned on me during early morning Bible reading in the fall of 1990.  The third verse and second chorus were added during the recording session to fill out the number.

      A          E     A
Come away from the world for a time if you would
             E     A
Come away from the world for a time cause it’s good
        D   A   D  E  A
To be separated unto the Lord.

Come away from the world for a time if you would
Come away from the world for a time cause you should
Be separated unto the Lord.

          E
He made a way, through the veil of His flesh,
        A
into the holy of holies for me.
          E   
He made a way, when He died His great death,
                D
that in the presence of God I might be.

Come away from the world for a time while He’s near
Come away from the world for a time do not fear
To be separated unto the Lord.

Come away from the world for a time while He’s near
Come away from the world and be of good cheer
Be separated unto the Lord.

He made a way through the shedding of blood
into the throne room of mercy for me
He made a way, when He rose from the dead,
that a true child of God I might be.

Come away from the world for a time if you would
Come away from the world for a time cause it’s good
To be separated unto the Lord.

 

 

 

 


JESUS, WONDERFUL FRIEND

      This is song came to me while walking from house to house in May, 1989.  I have lost many songs which came to me in the midst of some activity.  Before I had a tiny hand-held recorder, or a cell phone (call home, leave the tune on the machine), songs that arrived while on visitation or at work often slipped away. 
      The melody to this one is so gentle that one could put a thousand verses thereto – and still tell but a little of the wonder of our Lord.
 
            D A  D G        A     D
Jesus, wonderful friend whom have I beside thee
            D A  D G        A     D
Jesus, wonderful friend in thy arms do hide me
    G      D  G        D
Safe and secure I know I’ll endure
          G    A
Because thy love knows no end
     G       A        D
Jesus, wonderful friend.

Jesus, wonderful friend see my frail condition
Jesus, wonderful friend be my great physician
Sick in my soul I long to be whole
In mercy my every ill mend
Jesus, wonderful friend.

Jesus, wonderful friend I bow my knees before thee
Jesus, wonderful friend in gentleness look o’er me
Lord you know my heart Its deep inward part
So I would not dare to pretend
Jesus, wonderful friend.

Jesus, wonderful friend when desire is calling
Jesus, wonderful friend keep my feet from falling
Full well I know That all snares below
Fly when my knees I do bend
Jesus, wonderful friend.

Jesus wonderful friend, hasten thy appearing
Jesus wonderful friend, I feel glory nearing
The darker the night  The greater thy light
Shines when the blessing You send
Jesus wonderful friend.

 

 


HANGING ON A TREE

 This is a pure guitar song from March 1982.  The idea is obvious, tying the fall of the first Adam to the triumph of the last Adam.

  D     G
In the garden was a lady And a man that God did make.
        A
They didn’t have a lot of rules To keep or else to break.
   G  D          G  D
All the loving Father asked Of that first family
   G  A   G     D
Was that the couple please not eat The fruit from off that tree.
              A  G         D
Hanging on a tree. Hanging on a tree.
    G     D          G        A
The balance of eternity Was hanging on a tree.
    D          A  G          D
Hanging on a tree. Hanging on a tree.
        G  D        G        D
The balance of eternity Was hanging on a tree.

The serpent he was subtle Said, “Eve why you look so blue?
Did your maker try and keep  The sweetest fruit from you?
Must be He don’t love you. Oh lady, can’t you see,
You’ll be a wise old woman  If you eat from off that tree.”

c

All men fell that tragic day  For Adam had no strength
To refuse his blinded lady. And so we find at length
That all of his descendants Are cursed eternally
Unless someone of sinless blood Could make a remedy.

-c-

Scripture calls a curse upon  All who the law don’t keep
And pictures every desperate man  A lost and helpless sheep.
But cursed also is the one – How grand this thought to me –
Who gives His life for mortal man By hanging on a tree.

-c-

 

 

 

 

 


WHEN THE CLOUDS ALL ROLL AWAY

 When I got saved in 1976 I had never heard a quartet sing a gospel song.  I quickly grew to love the harmony and joy of that genre.  I have only been able to write a few songs in that vein and this is one, composed in the spring of 1980.
 This was recorded late in the session, everyone was tired and we lost the rhythm we desired. 

        D      G      D
Have you ever watched a sunset with skies of gold and red
              A
and marveled at the beauty of that sight?
   D       G        D
As you looked did you ever wonder  if this could be the eve
      A       D G D
when all God’s children take their flight?

      G      E
Oh, I find myself a looking every chance I get.
    G         A
And I find myself a wondering if He’s a coming yet.
          G   A        D        G
Oh what a sight to vision Oh what a happy day
   G  A   G  D
I sure hope I’m a looking’ when the clouds all roll away.

Have you ever watched the gathering
of a storm from out the south
and watched the billows mounting in the sky?
Did it ever cross your mind, friend,
that before the hard rain fell
we could bid this sinful world goodbye?

Have you ever looked in the morning
at the hanging powder puffs
and felt that tingle running through your bones?
And you knew just any minute
You would hear Jesus call?
Well, brother, if you have you’re not alone.

 

 

 

 

 


NOW EVERY DAY IS WORTH LIVING

 This rollicking number was written in Daytona Beach, Florida in June of 1987.
 Guitars: Ed Billock, Charlie McEntyre Bass: Bryan Reese
 Harmonica: Charlie McEntyre


I wandered with no destination
And no hope of finding my way
Marching along the road to despair
I was farther from home each day
Then a light began to break through
The sin clouds that covered my heart
And Jesus said I’m the way, the truth
And a new life I can freely impart.

Jesus, oh Jesus, You’re a wonderful Savior to me
And I never shall forget the day You came to set me free
Now every day is worth living
At night I can lay down to sleep
Knowing there’s joy in the morning
Knowing that my soul You’ll keep.

Now I walk on a narrow way
But the footing below me is sure
For in the perfect will of God
I know that my soul is secure.
A new song it rings in my heart now
And that Light it still leads on my way
I can hardly wait to see His face
When He comes on that glorious day.

Jesus, oh Jesus, You’re a wonderful Savior to me
And I never shall forget the day  You came to set me free.
Now every day is worth living
At night I can lay down to sleep
Knowing there’s joy in the morning
Knowing that my soul You’ll keep.

Now every day is worth living
At night I can lay down to sleep
Knowing there’s joy in the morning
Knowing that my soul You’ll keep.
Knowing there’s joy in the morning
Knowing that my soul You’ll keep.

 

 


THANK YOU LORD

 I had been saved a little over eighteen months.  I had stopped writing songs when I got saved, unsure if I could use my former craft in my new life.  On a February weekend in 1978 our church took a group of young people to a place called Camp Horizon.  Friday night and Saturday was filled with play and flirtation and there was a little bit of watered-down Christianity worked in after the evening meal.  These church kids ridiculed my desire to talk about the Lord and wanted nothing to do with conversations centered on scripture.  I’d had my fill of their activities before I got saved and wished I did not have to wait for the church bus to drive me home at the close of the Sunday meetings.
 Early Sunday morning I wandered away from the camp and sat along a train track watching the sun come up.  There I earnestly prayed and asked the Lord to deliver me from a shallow, frilly, form of Christianity that made no mark upon the world.  I was so happy to have a life of meaning and purpose.  I did not want saved people (some of them must have been) to put a damper on what Jesus had put in my soul.
 The following week I wrote this song, the first I ever composed after my conversion.  “The horizon.”  Get it?

    C  F C  F
I feel a gentle breeze, blowing at my back
   C   F C   F
While I’m here upon my knees, beside this railroad track.
                 G     C         F
And as the gray mist falls The first faint rays break onto the horizon.
                G
But I fear no cold, for well I know My waiting will soon be done.
        C     G      F   C
I thank you Lord, for the wind That goes blowing through the sky
     G    F  C
Reminding me of Your blessed Spirit  That hearkens unto my cry.
         C           G          F    C
And I thank you Lord, for the sun Which each day shines down on me
  F              C   F   C    F 
Reminding me that the Light of the world Came to set me free.

High on Calvary God gave His only Son.
There to ransom me, one lost and so undone.
Oh, such a tale no man could forge
I know it must be true.
One need not even open their eyes
Lord, it’s so easy to see You.

-c-

Oh what a blessed hour of fellowship was this.
Dear Lord to feel Thy power and Thy tenderness
One need only to live the dawn of another glorious day.
Cause when I start the morn with You
I’m sent singing’ on my way.

-c-

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


PEACE IN THE VALLEY

 We could have recorded a softer version of this much-criticized song but I doubt that would have made much difference.  This literary allusion to the gospel standard There Will Be Peace in the Valley began with a folk song feel.  The stern preaching in the lyrics seemed to dictate the harder edge but the critics choked on Ed’s intro. 
 I wrote this sometime in 1980.  There are several other verses but they were over the edge; okay, farther over the edge.
 Guitars: Ed Billock, Charlie McEntyre Bass: Bryan Reese
 Harmonica: Charlie McEntyre

Day’s finally breaking
All night I been thinking
‘bout the snares that you lay at my feet.
No one’s more certain
‘bout the fact that you’re hurting
than this boy who was raised on your street.
Did I become your foe when I told you the truth?
Did I shake you from your reverie?
Well curse me at will
Reject me, but still
There’ll be peace in the valley for me.

Profligate lawyers
And angry destroyers
Followed my Lord as He walked.
Seeking’ a reason
To hang Him for treason
They twisted His words as He talked.
And now that I’ve chosen to follow His steps
The same contradiction I see.
But I’ll keep pressing’ on
Cause I know before long
There’ll be peace in the valley for me.

Making a living
And perpetual giving
Is the curse of the poor working man.
Socialist dreamers
And black tied redeemers
Take every third hour from his hand.
I see his rebellion.  It boils in the pot
As he thinks how he wants to be free.
When that tea kettle blows
There’ll be blood on your doors.
But there’s peace in the valley for me.
Practiced I love yous
And I’m thinking’ of yous
From hearts that do shift like the sand.
Some so audacious
So purely outrageous
As to tell you that they understand
The depth of your sorrow and the height of your joy
And the people that you’ve had to be.
But your heart ain’t my throne
So I’ll go it alone
Till there’s peace in the valley for me.

Public opinion
Holds quite a dominion
O’er foolish and fainthearted men.
Shaping’ a nation
With vain conversation
And lies they set forth with their pen.
But I’d always thought you were much stronger than that
And I’d hoped that you’d stand with me.
Though your turning around
Will for sure bring me down
There’ll be peace in the valley for me.

Nations are troubled
And price tags are doubled
So men steal what their money won’t buy.
Heartless defenders
Those master pretenders
Will sell you some sure alibi.
Cause judgment is winked at the hearts of young men
Are full set to work wickedly.
But Jesus well said
There’s a price on your head.
But there’s peace in the valley for me.

Rumor and riot Men try to deny it
‘neath robes, behind pulpits of gold.
But the wages of sin
Are fast coming’ in
As sworn by the prophets of old.
I claim opposition to your plans and your aims.
It’s a heavenly vision I see.
Your new world I abhor
With its famines and war.
And there’s peace in the valley for me.

There will be peace in the valley for me.
Peace in the valley for me.
When this wandering’ man
Lies down with the Lamb
There’ll be peace in the valley for me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


THE END OF THE WORLD

 While preaching a meeting in the Northwest in June, 2001, I met up with a friend I had not seen in many years.  Upon asking why she was home from the mission field she told of her husband’s fall and the subsequent ruin of their home.  She was still serving Jesus, but bearing wounds that would not heal this side of heaven.
 That afternoon I had time to take a walk in the woods and found this song along that pathway.  The bridge was added a month later. 
 This is the most popular of the songs we have recorded.
 I have included the alternate lyrics here.  They are used in live renditions of the song.

   C       G
She married a preacher and followed him out to the field
    F     C
Then to the lust of his flesh he began to yield
               G
He gave up his honor, his family, and all that he had
         F     C
Now she’s left alone  With a guilt not her own
           F   G
And a heart so incredibly sad.
     Am         G  F
She’s been to the end of the world
She’s been to the end of the world
She’s been to the end of the world
      G     C
And Jesus was there.

He knew, when he looked out the door and the sheriff was there
He was about to be handed a burden that he could not bear
He said, “Sir, I’m so sorry, but there’s been a crash on the bend”
And he heard nothing more as he fell to the floor
And knew he’d never see his boy again.

He’s been to the end of the world
He’s been to the end of the world
He’s been to the end of the world
And Jesus was there.

   F   G      Am  C F   G      Am        C
He knows all about sorrow. He knows all about loss.
  F   G      Am  C           G
He knows all about sadness.  Look at Him there on the cross.
       F   G       Am     C      F   G   Am    C
He knows all about heartache. He knows all about grief.
                F   G Am C              G
He knows about betrayal He will provide blessed relief.

He was my best friend.  He taught me so many ways
To preach and to witness, to pray and to give God the praise.
Without warning or reason the bright light inside him went black.
And I had the whole armor For the foe in my front
But none for the friend at my back.

I’ve been to the end of the world.
I’ve been to the end of the world.
I’ve been to the end of the world.
And Jesus was there.


Alternate verses
He knew, when he looked out the door at the officers there
He was about to be handed a burden that he could not bear
He said, “Sir, I’m so sorry, but there’s been a death in the war”
And he heard nothing more as he fell to the floor
And wondered what all the fighting was for.

He was my teacher as I flew along in the daze
Preaching and singing and too young to know of his ways.
But my best friend’s knife, rescued my life
From the pride that could kill off the truth.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


THY WORD

 Written for a Sunday school class in October, 1983 this is a lot of fun when sung as a round.

  A      D          E  A       E
Thy word have I hid in mine heart that I might not sin against thee.
    A      D   E
Thy word, by faith in its power I live eternally.
      A    D      E  A   E
Thy word, as I continue therein its truth shall make me free.
   A     D          E         A
Thy word have I hid in mine heart that I might not sin against thee.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

HOLY, HOLY JESUS

 One night in early 1984 I was reading through Isaiah and came across the first line of this song.  I am sure I had read it before but had never noticed what an awesome title that was for God.  I began to think of other things He was called in the word and got quite a blessing.  Over the next few days as I meditated upon the names and titles of our great God this melody formed to support those ideas.
 We had a real hard time getting the timing right on the recording but the ending vocal Ed and Lilian worked out saved the piece.

  D       G       A
I’ve heard Him called the high and lofty one who inhabiteth eternity
       G            A
I’ve heard Him called the great deliverer who sets the captive free
         D           G    A
I’ve heard Him called the fair Immanuel God born out of Mary’s womb
    G             A
I’ve heard Him called the resurrection as He triumphed o’er the tomb
         D          A  D
But I call Him holy,  Holy, holy Jesus Lord of Lords.

I’ve heard Him called the scepter rising out of Judah for to reign
I’ve heard Him called the glorious hope by those
Who look for Him again
I’ve heard Him called the prophet like Moses
speaking truth to every man
I’ve heard Him called the everlasting Father, Savior and great I Am
But I call Him holy,
Holy, holy Jesus Lord of Lords

I’ve heard Him called the bread of life to feed the children in the way
I’ve heard Him called the living water refreshing the weary day
I’ve heard Him called the promised Lamb of God
Who takes away all sin
I’ve heard Him called the blessed Comforter moving like the wind
But I call Him holy
Holy, holy Jesus Lord of Lords.

I’ve heard Him called the Daystar dawning, the morning on the rise
I’ve heard Him called the awesome man of war
that nations do despise
I’ve heard Him called the lowly servant the prophet, priest and king
I’ve heard Him called the Alpha and Omega
Children let us sing
For He is holy
Holy, holy Jesus Lord of Lords.

PRISONERS OF HOPE

 In 2003 we set to work on this CD.  A number of things were happening at this time that were crushing my spirit.  Our church experienced over twenty deaths (members or immediate family of members) in two years.  I had contracted a viral infection in my lungs and breathing was difficult and preaching was next to impossible.
 Out of this came a collection of songs about the longing for heaven.  Eleven of the thirteen songs have reference to the believer’s desire to depart and be with Christ, which is far better.
 I recorded this collection over several months in DeLand, Florida and then Ed Billock added his excellent touches and mixed the final product.  We tried to expand the vocal and musical sounds on this record and saving a couple of glitches (one minor, one major) came up with an excellent album.
 The intent behind this collection was to fill the hearts and minds of God’s people with many differing views of their blessed hope.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


FAR AWAY

 In May of 2003, in an attempt to help me regain my health, the good people at THE BIBLE Baptist Church sent me, with my wife, for a four day sail in the Caribbean.  Sitting on the deck in Nassau, watching the sun set, my heart longed to be free of the responsibilities and troubles that came with my calling. 
 Off in the distance a calypso band was playing and something in the rhythm of their song merged with the mood of my soul and soon I was scribbling these words on an envelope.

    C
Far away from all oppression  Far away from brazen skies
     F    C       F  G
Far away from knowing the best of men tell the best of lies
       C       F
Far away from every shepherd Who leads the flock astray
       G        C
He’s gonna come and take me far away

Far away from senseless gossip
Far away from evil men
Far away from sins I thought were dead, rising up again
Far away from trying to explain
What I should never have had to say
He’s gonna come and take me far away

Far away from angry women
Far away from spineless men
Far away from knowing it’ll fall apart
But never knowing when
Far away from every tender snare
Placed gently in my way
He’s gonna come and take me far away

Far away from rape and plunder
Far away from children’s tears
Far away from going under
The weight of nameless fears
Far away from every penalty
I’ve ever had to pay
He’s gonna come and take me far away

Far away from cast off elders
Far away from wasted youth
Far away from always wondering
Who’s telling me the truth
Far away from all the shallow games
That hollow people play
He’s gonna come and take me far away

Far away from cowardly silence
Far away from egotistical noise
Far away from all the drunken hands
On helpless girls and boys
Far away from every matter
About which I’ve had to pray
He’s gonna come and take me far away

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


PRAISE THE LAMB

 Each December there are parades in our area.  Since thousands gather to watch these follies, we attend to work those crowds with gospel tracts.  In 2002 we were working one such parade in Orange City, Florida.  Having made our way along one side of the parade route doing our job for Jesus I stood at the end of the line of spectators, waiting for the crew working the other side to complete their task.  The next day our church would remember the Lord as He had requested and as I stood on that sidewalk thinking of the upcoming communion service these words dawned in my heart.
 The music is from a song I wrote way back in 1974 while a junior in high school, for a lesser purpose.
 The lyric was originally called Give Him The Glory but Lilian said there was a well known song by that name and people would confuse the two.  Like we have such an audience.

    D
I take this bread to remind me of the death
          A
That Jesus accomplished at Calvary.
           D
It is broken to remind me
         G
Of the body that hung on the tree.
           G
He gave me His Spirit to take control.
     D
O He ransomed me, heart and soul.
        G         D
And I’m still a mortal, but eternal life is inside of me.
         G    D
Praise the Lamb.  Praise the Lamb who has rescued me.
         G    D
Praise the Lamb.  Praise the Lamb who has rescued me.
    G         A   D
I’ll do what I can to give Him the glory.

I take this cup to remind me of the precious
Sin-cleansing blood that Jesus shed.
And I lift it to remind me
He triumphantly rose from the dead.
He gave me His Spirit to be my guide;
To ransom me, from selfish pride.
And I’m still amazed that eternal life is inside of me.

Praise the Lamb.  Praise the Lamb who has rescued me.
Praise the Lamb.  Praise the Lamb who has rescued me.
I’ll do what I can to give Him the glory.

 

 

 

HE’S ALMOST GOT IT READY

 This is a quartet song I wrote in August, 1982 while happily singing with Jim and Linda Wilson.  The three of us, along with Charlie, made three pretty good albums in the early ‘80s but never did anything with them.

       C      G  C
Jesus said that when He left us He would go to build a place
        F   C  G
Where we shall dwell for ages and we’ll see him face to face
       C      G  C
He said when He was finished He would call us up above
    F  C  G        C
And I think that I can almost hear that trumpet of love.
     
Oh I think that He’s almost got it ready
   G C
Oh I think that the work is almost done
    C
Very soon the construction will be over
   G C
And I’ll sail to my home beyond the sun.

Jesus said that many mansions lie upon the other side
And everyone who loves Him has a place there to abide
He said He’s coming back to take us up to be with Him
And I think that I can almost hear that blast upon the wind.
Oh I think that He’s almost got it ready
Oh I think that the work is almost through
Very soon the construction will be over
And I’ll sail to my home beyond the blue.

Jesus said that we should fear not, said I’m coming back for you
And He cannot break His promise every word He said is true
All the angels will be singing as we leave this world of care
And I think that I can almost hear that shout ring through the air.

Oh I think that He’s almost got it ready
Oh I think that the work is almost done
Very soon the construction will be over
And I’ll sail to my home beyond the sun.

Oh I think that He’s almost got it ready
Oh I think that the work is almost through
Very soon the construction will be over
And I’ll sail to my home beyond the blue.

 

 


WHAT WILL IT BE

 The first verse sprang from my reading of the Song of Solomon.  That Shulamite looking through the window hoping for the coming of the one she loved set this song in motion.  The chorus is drawn from the 4th chapter of Malachi, while the second verse is based upon Ecclesiastes.  I wrote this in the summer of 1987.

        G         C  G
Sometimes in the midnight I think that I hear
        D   C  G
His voice in the distance calling me near
            C  G
I race to the lattice but only darkness I see
    C     G     C      G
But I stay through the night Waiting for the light
    C     D    C      D G
What will it be beyond the sunrise for me?
        C    G
What will it be when the Sun of righteousness
              D
Rises with healing in His wings for all to see?
          C  D        G 
When the light of the world does reign in His glory
          C       G     C      D G
What will it be beyond the sunrise for me?

When I take my last journey through the valley of death
In the shadow of blackness I draw my last breath
In the distant tomorrow a glimmer I see
At the and of my travels
When the silver chord unravels
What will it be beyond the sunrise for me?

What will it be when the Sun of righteousness
Rises with healing in His wings for all to see?
When the light of the world does reign in His glory
What will it be beyond the sunrise for me?

 

 

 

 

 

THE CRY FOR PEACE

 This song got me some nasty write-ups by angry little men whose so-called ministries consist of tearing down their brethren on obscure web sites.  That’s what you have to do if God is not using you.  I am not sure why it is wrong for a Christian to sing an anti-war song.  I am for peace.  Jesus is not coming back to set up a thousand years of war.  Praise the Lord!  I long for a day when the killing and bloodshed are over and when young men no longer have to die in the place of the old men who sent them into combat.  If that makes me a bad man, so be it.
 The tune here is my adaptation of an old folk melody which had a revival in the 1970s.  The lyric is my adaptation of a poem I found in a book over one hundred years old.  The verse was penned in 1891 by Clara Davidson.  I amended it in 2004 to make its theme scriptural.

 G  C   G        C       D
They tell us of wars and rumors of wars and the orders of kings to lowly men
        G7   C      G  D C  G
and little they heed of the sorrow decreed by the stroke of the ruler’s pen.

And little they care for child and wife
when both the wife and child do moan
while nations fight for their rulers’ greed
and the fighter dies all alone.

The woman with hair like sunset gold
the woman with hair like midnight coal
each of them does lose the love of her life
the man that is half of her soul.

Aye! you that flatter a rulers’ greed
and you that fawn at his great power
and you that fight when there is no need –
you too shall come to your dark hour.

When in the doom of that dreadful hour
when for your deeds you’re called to pay
then shall cry your cry for peace
as we do cry for peace this day.

And we shall know peace on that day.

 

 

 

SAILING WITH YOU

 In December, 2004 my father had surgery from which he could not recover.  As his strength failed we both regretted the four decades during which we had no real relationship and rejoiced in the ten years we had spent serving the Lord together.
 The third week of the following January I was moderating our church’s annual Bible conference, then driving the thirty miles to the hospital to spend afternoons with him.  It was his last week in this old world.
 On those trips back and forth between his death bed and the exciting church services I struggled through a thousand emotions.  This is the song that came to me as I rode along.
 He went to heaven that week.  Lilian and Stephanie learned the song in a day and we sang it at his memorial service.  We held up the record long enough to include this number, for it surely fit the theme.


  C              G
They tell us the old boat is broken And none has the skill to repair
   C     F G C
The damage from many a journey Out on the oceans of care
  C               G
It’s no longer fit for its service Though it is not what any desires
  C      F       G         C
They’re taking it out of commission And the captain is forced to retire

            F  G     C
So we push your boat out into the current
     F         G
And watch as you drift from the shore
     F        G  C
With tear filled eyes we realize
     F   G
It will sail this way no more
     F  G       C
We commend your soul into the deep
       F   G
And thank you for being so true
    F  G     C
As your frail vessel slips out of my sight
     F  G     C
How I wish I was sailing with you.

We passed through many a terrible storm
When it seemed that all would be lost
Then we would enter a haven of rest
That made it all seem worth the cost

So often we feared the stern captain
But he made us into a loyal crew
Though sometimes we questioned his judgment
He steadfastly carried us through.

So we push your boat out into the current
And watch as you drift from the shore
With tear filled eyes we realize
It will sail this way no more
We commend your soul into the deep
And thank you for being so true
As your frail vessel slips out of my sight
How I wish I was sailing with you.

We commend your soul into the deep
And thank you for being so true
As your frail vessel nears heaven’s bright shore
How I wish I was sailing with you.

Dad I wish I was sailing with you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


BE SURE

 A good Bible lesson would be to find all the scriptures cited in this lyric.  This was written as a very hard, driving, preachy song in December, 1980.  It evolved into a children’s song.  By the time we recorded it for the Prisoners sessions it had drifted to a point somewhere between the two.
 I wrestled with including it on this project as it does not fit the theme, but it came out so well that we decided not to hold it over.
 It is a real thrill to visit churches and watch children sing this song.

   C     G       C
Guess you thought that nobody was looking at you
    F  C          G     C G
When you did what you did guess you thought nobody knew
   C     G       C
You looked every direction to make sure you were alone
    F      C  G  C
But Jesus once said, there’s a voice in the stone.
     F    C
And there’s one thing I want you to be certain about
    G    C G
I’ll make it quite simple, so’s to leave no doubt
              C G C F
Be sure Be sure Be sure Be sure
     C     G     C
Be sure your sin will find you out.

When you curs-ed the king in your chamber that night
You must have felt certain it would not come to light
But Solomon warned you, and warned you right well
That a sweet little song bird was liable to tell.
And there’s one thing I want you to be certain about
I’ll make it quite simple, so’s to leave no doubt
Be sure Be sure Be sure Be sure
Be sure your sin will find you out.

Did you cover up all of the possible ends?
Did you silence with bribery all of your friends?
Did you stop once to realize, in your reveling mirth,
That the eyes of the Lord walk throughout the whole earth?
Oh there’s one thing I want you to be certain about
I’ll make it quite simple, so’s to leave no doubt
Be sure Be sure Be sure Be sure
Be sure your sin will find you out.

What you did in the closet, they’ll shout from the roof
And the book of remembrance will reveal the proof
And the shame and the torment that bring you so low
Only serve to remind you, you reap what you sow.
And there’s one thing I want you to be certain about
I’ll make it quite simple, so’s to leave no doubt
Be sure Be sure Be sure Be sure
Be sure your sin will find you out

 


BEYOND THE RIVER

 I have to be honest with you, I have been singing this song for so long, and its melody sounds so familiar, that I cannot recall writing it.  It seems I’ve always known it.  It may be a tune I heard as a boy or something I caught once on late-night radio and never forgot.
 We recorded this for the A T R record but did not like the sound and left it off.  We reworked it a bit and gave it what Ed called “a bunch of hillbillies on the front porch” sound.

   A            D
Sometimes I’m so burdened Sometimes things go wrong
        A       E
Sometimes I get weary  With life’s busy throng
     A       D
I long for contentment  And a satisfied mind
     A   E       A
The way I will follow  Green pastures I’ll find
         D        A
Beyond the river That has no bridge
    D      A         E
Beyond the river That has no bridge
     A         D
God will not forsake me  By grace He will take me
          A        E      A
Beyond the river That has no bridge

The path that I follow  Is narrow and steep
It leads down to Jordan  Dark river so deep
The old ship of Zion  Will soon cross the tide
And I shall be sailing  To Canaan’s bright side

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


PRINCE OF PEACE

 Here is another song born on the mail route.  Came up with this one in October of 1986.  This has always been Lilian’s favorite melody.  You would not believe all the work she and Stephanie do getting this music worked out for me.  I give them the rough idea of what instruments I hear and how they are to be used and they do the rest.  Thank the Lord for their talents.  Ed does some great vocal work here as well.

  C        F          C        F
Jesus would you calm me When the things of earth alarm me
     C  F  G
Would you let me feel your presence in my soul?
  C   F  C   F
Jesus would you soothe me When tribulation starts to move me
     C     F     G
Would you let me know that you are in control?
  C          G   F      C
Lord you know that I’m a weak I’m a weak and fearful man
  C   G       F    G
And sometimes I need a tender touch  From your strong right hand.
 C    G    F  C
So with a promise from your blessed word Would you bid my trouble cease?
  F  G    F G       C
Ah prove to me one more time That you’re the Prince of Peace.

Jesus would you love me
When the sky turns bleak above me
Would you let me know that everything’s alright?
Jesus would you cheer me
When the tears of sorrow near me
Would you give to me a song in the night?

Jesus would you show me
What it takes to make me holy
Would you help me not to falter in my way?
Jesus keep me praising
All your sweet grace so amazing
Would you help me show I’m thankful all the day?

Jesus would you aid me
When some evil has waylaid me
Would you lift me up and let me stand again?
Jesus don’t desert me
When some cutting word has hurt me
Oh remind me that you’ll always be my friend?

 

 


JUST ME AND MY BEST FRIEND

 This rambling folk song tells the tale of life on the road, hour after hour, city to city, moving on to take the gospel to another congregation or sidewalk gathering.  I first wrote this while riding in and out of Franklin, North Carolina during the winter of 1981. 
 During the Prisoners sessions Ed reworked the tempo and turned a mediocre song into a very good one.


Rode out again this morning, staking my soul to the wind.
On the highway, all alone, just me and my best friend.
Been so long since anyone saw Him, but I sure know He’s there.
And when I speak out the word of truth
His power fills the air.

Highlands how I’ve missed you.  Good to pass your way again.
Singing through the mountains, just me and my best friend.
And He teaches me with the sunshine and the swaying of the field
and He shows me things men through all the age
have prayed to have revealed.

Filled with joy and gladness rounding still another bend
Feeding on freedom’s beauty, just me and my best friend.
And each village reaches to us with its hands so warm and strong.
And He tells me with a whispering voice
We’ll stay but not too long.

Got no time to look back on things that have met their end
We know this road started but it never stops,
just me and my best friend.
Oh He keeps me looking onward, and He keeps my sights on high.
And the place He’s gonna lead me to I’ll get there by and by.

Rolling, rolling, rolling on.  Chasing stars till the sun comes again.
Guided through the nighttime; just me and my best friend.
Wondering how many’s dying just beyond my sight.
Still finding only one to save, makes everything alright.

Wish I could cling to every soul who a smile did lend
To cheer us on our journey, just me and my best friend.
When this pavement turns gold and the last mile has been run
We’ll gather round and talk about our travels with the Son.

 

WHEN I HEAR THE PRAISES START

      Of the many songs which ministered grace to my heart as a young Christian, this Keith Green composition was one of my favorites.

My child, my child why are you striving?
You can’t add one thing to what’s been done for you.
I did it all while I was dying.
Rest in my love and peace will come to you.

When I hear the praises start  I want to rain upon you
Blessings that will fill your heart Oh I see no stain upon you
Because you are my child, and you know me
To me you’re only holy
Nothing that you’ve done remains Only what you do for me.

My child, my child why are you weeping?
You will not have to wait forever.
That day and that hour is in my keeping.
The day I’ll bring you into heaven.

When I hear the praises start  I want to rain upon you
Blessings that will fill your heart Oh I see no stain upon you
Because you are my child, and you know me
To me you’re only holy
Nothing that you’ve done remains Only what you do in me.
Just what you do in me.
My precious bride the day is nearing
When I will take you in my arms and hold you
I know there’s so many things that you’ve been hearing
But you just hold on to what I’ve told you

Cause when I hear the praises start
I want to rain upon you
Blessings that will fill your heart
Oh I see no stain upon you
Because you are my child, and you know me
To me you’re only holy
Nothing that you’ve done remains
Only what you do for me.
Only what you do for me.
Only what you do for me.
Only what you do for me.

 

 

 RUNNING OUT OF TIME
 
      A week before the trip that yielded Far Away I was sitting on my front step, too weak to attend to the hundreds of tasks at hand and very depressed over my inability to muster enough strength to be about my Father’s business.  I thought of the labor that had brought me to this place of weakness, of the work yet to be finished, and realized for the first time that I might never accomplish all I had hoped to accomplish for the Saviour and His church.
      That morning I composed this personal testimony of doubt and certainty, of triumph and defeat, of success mingled with regret.
      We did an early version for the ATR album with which I was not pleased and this effort justified the wait.
 
   D          G   D
 There’s a siren in the distance  It’s someone’s sorest test
   D      G       A
 I want to follow and to be of help But I need a little rest
    G  D  G     A
 Every burden in this city I still want to make it mine
          G   A       G      D
 Oh yes I am still running I’m just running out of time.
 
 Oh I tried to be the leader
 Sought to rally all the brave
 To stand and wage the war of wars
 Against all that would enslave
 I’m still hungry for the action
 But I can’t march in the front line
 I never will stop running But I’m running out of time
 
 Circumstance and obligation
 Another call, another page
 Ate away the days of fervor
 Stole my passion and my rage
 That ghost that broke my sleep last night
 His face looked just like mine
 Oh yes I am still running I’m just running out of time.

 I was gonna change the world you know
 Then my babies came along
 I worked my job and earned my pay
 While the world kept rolling on
 I’ve reached the days of might have been
 And my failure haunts my mind
 Oh babies I’m still running
 I’m just running out of time.
 There are millions out there crying
 Once I heard every call
 In my heart I know they are still there
 But now I can’t hear them all
 There’s a dragon in the vineyard
 Get my sword, that devil’s mine
 Oh yes I am still running I’m just running out of time.
 
 I still press toward the same mark
 How did I get so far behind?
 Oh yes I am still running I’m just running out of time.

 

 

 


 RUNNING OUT OF TIME

 This is the alternate lyric.
 
 There’s a siren in the distance     Someone’s world has come apart
 I want to follow and to be of help   But today my heart won’t start
 Every burden in this city I can’t help but feel it’s mine
 Oh yes I am still running I’m just running out of time.
 
 I tried to be the leader   Sought to rally to the Light
 All who saw the cause was just all who loved the right
 I’m still hungry for the action
 But I can’t march in the front line
 I never will stop running But I’m running out of time
 
 All the pressing obligations Irons all glowing in the fire
 Ate away my days of fervor Took my strength not my desire
 That ghost that broke my sleep last night
 His face looked just like mine
 Oh yes I am still running I’m just running out of time.

 Once I thought that I might change the world
 I stood up tall and strong
 Seems the world is none the better   But I don’t think I was wrong
 I’ve reached the days of might have been
 And my failure haunts my mind
 Oh yes I’m still running I’m just running out of time.
 
 I know I’ve hurt some people and there’s now way they can know
 That realizing I have failed them Brings me oh so low
 While we both dwell on my weakness  I press on they stay behind
 I’ve got to keep on running For I’m running out of time.

 There’s a shadow on my heart and mind
 Since childhood I have known
 I am chosen to serve others Though I long to be alone
 I’m as frail as any mortal I’m indwelt by the Divine
 Don’t know if I’m running to or from
 But I’m running out of time.
 
 There is pain in every victory,  There is joy in each decline
 Oh yes I am still running I’m just running out of time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


IN THE BEGINNING WAS THE WORD

The John To Music Project     Volumes 1 & 2


      This is a collection of songs setting forth a word-for-word musical rendering of the first six chapters of the book of John.  These are fragments of songs I never finished, tunes that came to my heart to which I never put lyrics, and traditional melodies.  I put this together during the fall of 2005. 
      The following spring we recorded these songs in a very sparse style so that the words would have the predominant place.  The recordings were then mastered by Chris Jackson in July and August of 2006.
      The purpose behind this project is to enable the child of God to use melody and the meter to commit this grand portion of God’s word to memory while singing in their hearts with grace to the Lord.

 

John 1:1-14  In the Beginning

This is an old tune from the Scottish Highlands known as Loch Lamond.  This is a shorter arrangement than that commonly heard.
Keyboards: David Brown Backing vocals: Mark Thren, Stephanie Novakovic


1:15-23 John Bare Witness 

This tune is called Canyon Wind.  I wrote this in the mid nineties but never had any lyrical direction.  Lilian came up with the bridge melody, which greatly helped the song.
Guitars: Lilian Knox   Mandolin: Christianna Novakovic, Lilian Knox
Backing vocals: Lilian Knox


1:24-36 Beyond Jordan

In the early ‘90s I wrote a song called Running My Race.  The lyrics were simple and repetitive, the tune was catchy.  It was just right for radio.  Just the sort of song I never cared for.  So I gave it up for use in this project.
Guitar: Lilian Knox


1:37-42 Come and See

This is a tune called Whistle and was originally a scripture song of verses from Titus for use in a Sunday school class.  I think I wrote this in 1997.  The bridge was added for this project.
Guitars: Lilian Knox   Backing vocals: Lilian Knox


1:43-51 Finding Others

I wrote a song in 1975 called Empty Table.  I was an unsaved teenager writing about the joy I saw in the lives of Christians who lived in poverty.  The song was published and brought me quite a bit of acclaim.  This is adapted from that melody.  The original was much slower and more dramatic.  I like how this rendering suits the subject matter.
Guitars: Lilian Knox   Backing vocals: Stephanie Novakovic


2:1-11 Water To Wine

This is a tune called Bouncy.  At one time I was going to do an album of songs for children but I’ve never been able to write anything on purpose.  This is one of the remnants from that project.
Guitars: Lilian Knox  Trombone: Sam Jackson Backing vocals: Lilian Knox


2:12-22 Down to Capernaum

The dark mood of this tune is owing to its beginning.  After conducting a funeral I began a song denouncing death but never got beyond a first verse.  I do not labor over songs or lyrics.  If they flow I keep them, if they don’t I leave them alone.  That tune, Scourge, seems well suited for this passage.
Guitars: Lilian Knox  Organ. Backing vocals: Stephanie Novakovic 
Backing vocals: Stephanie Novakovic


2:23-3:10 Nicodemas

This is the well-known and oft-used Ode to Joy from one of Beethoven’s hit albums.
Keyboards: David Brown  Trumpet: Wade Rowdon
Trombone: Sam Jackson  French Horn: Chris Jackson
Backing vocals: Mark Thren

3:11-16 So Loved

Alfred Smith is credited with this tune which I learned in Sunday school as a boy.
Keyboards: David Brown  Backing Vocals: Mark Thren, Stephanie Novakovic


3:17-21 Not Condemned

This tune is called Beachside.  I came up with it specifically for these verses during the recording of this project.
Guitar: Lilian Knox  Backing Vocals: Lilian Knox


3:22-31a After these Things

This started out as a tune found in many first-lesson books for keyboard players under a variety of titles.  I learned it as Brown Eyes.  Through the course of this project we lost the meter and something of the melody, so I guess it’s mine now.
Harp: Sarah Wickham


3:31b-3:36  The Father Loveth the Sun

I call this tune Trumpet’s Tone.  It is one of many that Lilian has written to teach her Sunday school class verses of scripture.  She allowed me its use for this recording.  Nice girl.
Guitar: Lilian Knox   Backing vocals: Lilian Knox


4:1-15 Through Samaria

I was always frustrated by this one because I really liked it.  I wrote the tune Hillside in 2002 but never came up with any suitable lyrics.
Twelve-string-guitar: Linda Strand  Guitars: Lilian Knox, Les Peatt
Backing vocals: Stephanie Novakovic


4:16-29 Woman at the Well

Another melody from the 90’s.  While recording this version it dawned on me that this tune has its roots in a ditty we used to sing in elementary school.  I laughed and laughed.  If I told you the song you would know it, but then you too would laugh each time you heard this one.  So I’ll just leave you to puzzle over the mystery.
Guitar: Lilian Knox   Piano: Stephanie Novakovic
Backing vocals: Stephanie Novakovic, Lilian Knox


4:30-38 White Fields

I wrote a song about 1988 or 89 called I Wonder What Happened to Him about a school chum named Jon Novinski.  Having no plans to record the song it was given over for use in this project.
Guitar: Lilian Knox Keyboards: Stephanie Novakovic Trumpet: Wade Rowdon


4:39-46 Many Samaritans

Some of the worst traffic in America is on US 74 between Charlotte and Monroe.  It was while stuck there one afternoon I came up with You’ve Got the Look which is the song used here.  This is a most difficult sequence of changes and the girls did a fine job working it out.
Guitars: Lilian Knox   Piano: Stephanie Novakovic


4:47-54 Nobleman’s Son

Here is another traditional melody of the highlands.  The tune, Slane, is centuries old and is best known for its use in the hymn Be Thou My Vision.
Keyboards: David Brown  Violin: Emily Wickham
Backing vocals: Mark Thren


5:1-9  At Bethesda

This snippet is called Parapets.  I cannot recall how long ago I first recorded it but it never had any lyrics until now.
Guitar: Lilian Knox  Piano: Stephanie Novakovic  Flute:  Lauren Riley


5:10-21 God Was His Father

This tune is based on a traditional folk song about a condemned criminal waiting out his days.  I had formerly adapted the tune and its mood in Truck Driving Man, which told about another form of boredom.  The melody seemed a good fit for this section of John.
Guitar: Lilian Knox  Mandolin: Christianna Novakovic, Lilian Knox
Backing vocals: Mark Thren


5:22-31 Death to Life

In the days of my youth gospel songs and folk songs were captured by various protest groups and used for political purposes.  I have taken a measure of criticism for restoring these melodies to their rightful place.  It seems those who stole them should be censured and I should be applauded, but some of the brethren lack sufficient depth of understanding.  This is the lovely tune, Overcome.
Twelve string guitar: Linda Strand  Guitars: Les Peatt, Lilian Knox
Backing Vocals: Stephanie Novakovic


5:32-40 Witnesses 

Another unfinished song from the early ’90s.  This tune is titled Simmering Scale.
Guitar: Lilian Knox  Piano, Backing Vocals: Stephanie Novakovic


5:41-47 Honor From Men

In 2001 I started a song called Look At The Prints in My Hands but never did finish it.  The meter and feel perfectly matched “I receive not…” This is Lilian’s favorite tune from the project.
Guitar: Lilian Knox  Bells: Stephanie Novakovic


6:1-9  Over the Sea

This melody has popped up in a lot of places over the years.  It was used in a Hollywood musical.  I learned it in music class in the third grade as Early One Morning.  Many of you learned it in Sunday School as Ha-Ha-Hallelujah. 
Keyboards: David Brown


6:10-15 Make the Men Sit

During work on the Prisoners of Hope album I wrote When I Went Out One Morning but was not satisfied with the lyrics and dropped the song from that session.  Here is that tune with a much better set of words.
Guitar: Lilian Knox
Organ: Stephanie Novakovic
Autoharp: Laura Holt


6:16-35a Even Was Come

This is the tune from a song I wrote in 2004 called Rising Sea.  With no foreseeable plans to record that song I opted to use its music here, with some regrets, for I really hated to give up a melody of which I am quite fond.
Guitar: Lilian Knox   Mandolin: Lilian Knox
Piano: Stephanie Novakovic  Backing vocals: Lilian Knox

6:35b-46 The Father

Once more we cross the water for a traditional tune from the highlands.  This is the haunting Londondary Aire.
Keyboards: Stephanie Novakovic  Harp: Michaela Novakovic
Backing vocals: Lilian Knox, Stephanie Novakovic


6:47-59 Eat This Bread

This is Glistening Pines, a song I wrote around 1997 but did not finish.
Guitars: Lilian Knox  Backing Vocals: Stephanie Novakovic


6:60-71 Going Back

One last folk melody from the old country.  This beautiful tune is my adaptation of Mary of the Wild Moor.
Guitar: Lilian Knox  Guitar: Les Peatt Violin: Tiffany Bach

20:30-31; 21:25 Life

I just could not bring myself to end this session with the material on Judas, so I wrote this tune for the verses taken from the end of John.

 

 

 

 


BRIGHT ARROWS

 
     This is the album that was brought to the birth but could not be delivered.  I recorded the rhythm and timing tracks for this collection with Charlie McEntyre in Mt. Airy, North Carolina in the spring of 2005.  Life got in the way and the project was set aside for a year.  In the spring of 2007 the work was taken up again with Lilian and Stephanie tackling the job of translating what I was hearing to diverse instruments and harmonies and Casey Harr bringing his love for these songs and considerable talents to the table.  Then the work came to a halt once again when a mysterious affliction left Casey unable to play his guitars.
     The songs were finally finished in December.  Knowing that we had come very, very close to getting a great album tracked, Casey labored for months to get just the right mix on each song. 
     On this recording we have come as close as our limited skills, restricted schedules and audience convictions will allow to reproducing these songs as I heard them when they were given to me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I WONDER WHY

     One winter evening in 1984, Lilian, Charlie and I were sitting around a campfire singing praises to the Lord.  Charlie was picking about on the guitar and played the notes “oh I wonder why” two or three times and the chorus popped into my head.  I sang, he played, and the verses flowed forth just as they are recorded here. 

          D    G  D
Got in my car to ride on a Monday afternoon
            A
Wondered how the week had come and gone so soon
          D    G  D
Turned on the gospel radio to kind of ease my ride
     G    A  D
But those new songs somehow couldn’t reach inside.
      G     D        G  D
Oh I wonder why they don’t sing any more
       G      A
‘bout the blood of Jesus Christ that saved my soul
              G      D        G  D
Oh I wonder why they don’t sing any more
   G         A   D
‘bout the precious blood of God that made me whole.

From Alabama to Mississippi heard a lot of good quartets
But I hit old Louisiana and not one of them had yet
Talked about the cleansing flow from the back and from the side
Of the sinless, spotless lamb once crucified.

Oh I wonder why they don’t sing any more
‘bout the blood of Jesus Christ that saved my soul
Oh I wonder why they don’t sing any more
‘bout the precious blood of God that made me whole.

It’s a long way across Texas and the airwaves they are filled
With fancy singers not quite froze but chilled
‘twas Tuesday night and I was tired and weary from the road
but the darkness of my land was the heavy load.

Oh I wonder why they don’t sing any more
‘bout the blood of Jesus Christ that saved my soul
Oh I wonder why they don’t sing any more
‘bout the precious blood of God that made me whole.

Well my journey was almost over when I rode into L.A.
Couldn’t help but wonder how we’d drifted oh so far away
From the founding of our fathers and their faith in Jesus’ blood
Oh judgment must be coming like a flood.

Oh I wonder why they don’t sing any more
‘bout the blood of Jesus Christ that saved my soul
Oh I wonder why they don’t sing any more
‘bout the precious blood of God that made me whole.

 


ALL OF MY DAYS

     One does not write a song like this.  It is as old as the breeze.  I woke up one morning in March 2007 singing this song.  You could put a thousand verses to it if you saw fit.  I think the overlap is probably something lingering in my mind from one of the Praise albums of the 70s.
  Guitars: Lilian Knox   Piano: Stephanie Novakovic
  Harp: Michaela Novakovic  Backing Vocals: Tiffany Bach

Lord let me ever give you the glory
Lord let me ever give you the praise
Lord let me ever tell the glad story
Worship you only all of my days.

Lord let me ever love all my brethren
Lord let me ever put others first
Lord let me show the dying of Jesus
By lifting those suffering under the curse.

Lord let me ever show that I’m thankful
Lord let me ever rejoice in your care.
Lord let me ever lift up my glad hands
And offer my praises everywhere.

Lord let me ever sing to your honor
Lord let me ever give you my heart
Lord when I’m waking, Lord when I’m sleeping
From my every thought never depart.

Lord let me ever magnify the Lamb
Lord let me ever exalt your Son
Lord let ever marvel in Jesus
Speaking his praises to everyone.

 

 

 


FROM LAW TO GRACE

     Our church is full of dedicated workers.  Jim & Joanne Westmoreland have given many years of service to the inmates in the Seminole County Jail.  Joanne uses her singing and guitar to great effect in ministering to the female population.  In one of those rare instances where I set out to write a song, I wanted to capture the emotion of being locked away and then finding Jesus.  This song was composed while driving from North Carolina to Florida in April 2004.
  G   C  G   C
Doesn’t matter how I got here You don’t really wanna know
   G  C  G  C
I don’t wanna talk about it Only makes my tears flow
   G  C  G       C
Everybody is a stranger. We are so crowded and alone.
   G  C  G       C
Living ever in the danger Of what remains unknown
          G          D    C D
Everything in thing in here is so cold and hard
        G  C D     C
There is no sky.  There is no yard.
   G  D   C  D
Who would have believed that in the midst of all this strife.
   C          D
I would meet the very man who could save my life.

  G C  D  G      C      D  C
I didn’t want to be in this place But here it is, that I saw His face
          G        C  G  C
He came to my cell And saved me from hell
          G          C  G
He took me from law to grace.

They took away my freedom  They took away my pride
They stripped me of my dignity Left me tormented inside.
Then into the deepest sorrow  My tired heart had ever known
Came the gospel of Christ Jesus He said that I could be His own.
Now everything in here is so new and bright.
There is joy and there is light.
I believed the truth and in the midst of all this strife
I was redeemed by the one who is the life.

I didn’t want to be in this place
But here it is, that I saw His face
He came to my cell
And saved me from hell
He took me from law to grace.

 


ONE MORE TEST

     This simple guitar song has always been one of my favorite melodies.  I wrote this one in November 1986 for no particular but many obvious reasons.

    D   G  D
Lord You know my heart is weary from trying
            A
To do the things I know to be best.
    D   G  D
I’m a rebel child, and I feel like I’m dying
        G         A       D
When you put me to one more test.
   G   D G  D
Oh I don’t mean to grumble and I hate to complain
   G   D      F   A
But I’m tired of all my trouble and I’m tired of all the pain
   G      D  G  D
Still I know it’s by Your love each moment is possessed
    G      D       A   D
So Jesus if I need it put me to one more test.

Lord I want to prove, if only to myself,
That I really am glad to be blessed.
Yet I wonder sometimes as I cry if I’ll make it
When you put me to one more test.

Oh I don’t mean to grumble and I hate to complain
But I’m tired of all my trouble and I’m tired of all the pain
Still I know it’s by Your love each moment is possessed
So Jesus if I need it put me to one more test.

Lord I’m thankful You said, that You would complete
The work You’d begun without a rest.
But remember I’m not as strong as You are
When You put me to one more test.

Oh I don’t mean to grumble and I hate to complain
But I’m tired of all my trouble and I’m tired of all the pain
Still I know it’s by Your love each moment is possessed
So Jesus if I need it put me to one more test.

 

 

 

 

 


HOW LONG HAS IT BEEN

     Before there was Contemporary Christian Music there were Curt Kaiser, Jimmy Collins, Evie, Lanny Wolfe and such who were taking the music of Lawrence Welk and putting Christian lyrics to it.  Since only the hymnal and southern gospel were allowed, the adults in our churches listened to the aforementioned albums at home but never spoke of them openly.  One very popular piece from this genre and time went How long has it been since you talked with the Lord and told him …  It was a pretty tune about the need to pray.  This song presents the same idea, but with a bit more punch.  Sometime after its composition in 1980 I lost the fourth verse.

  D        A
You’re looking a little anemic Feeble I’d say in your knees
  D        A
Jumping at your very own shadow Complaining in varied degrees
  G         D  G   A
Don’t hear you speak too much of glory Or things of eternity’s glee
  G       D  G      A  D
Think that it’s time for a check up I know just what the trouble must be
   D          A  D
How long has it been  too long if it’s been five minutes
   D     A
A moment’s not worth living  if Jesus Christ ain’t in it
   G  D        G   A
So come along with me to the secret closet my friend
       D  A       D  G
And there we shall pray to the King of Kings
           D  A D
whose reign shall never end

Doubt fills your vain conversation
no trust springs forth from your lips
discouragement echoes in your words
and fear has you tight in its grip
seems that your smile’s on vacation
have the foundations started to slip
I know of a grand place to rebuild
and I think that it’s time for a trip

Your boast in Christ Jesus is silenced
Boldness seems a thing of the past
You pass without blinking such comments
And thoughts as once left you aghast
Conviction, you take it or leave it
Your hope, oh how long can it last
The Father is waiting to aid you
And relieve all the guilt you’ve amassed

 

 

WOULD YOU TELL ME YOU LOVE ME AGAIN

     The year was 1991.  Lilian and I were very tired.  The demands of a job, children, trying to build a church, etc. were great.  She was in the midst of the only time in her life when doubt and uncertainty were troubling her.  I remember sitting at the dining room table and writing these verses for her, one after another, in hopes of showing the Lord how badly she needed Him to draw near and strengthen her heart.  The music came as I wrote the words and I trust the song will bring hope and healing to many others.

   D  G       D  G
Well I’m coming once more, through the wide open door
   G        D        G  A
Into the blessed presence of Your beauty and grace
   G        D        G  A
To find the sweet assurance known alone in this place
   G        D        G  A
And the very fact I’m welcome has made it quite plain
    G         D
But would You tell me You love me again.

Well I’d wondered for years, through my laughter and tears
If there was truly such a gladness and joy to be shared
If there was truly someone somewhere who honestly cared
To give my heart a shelter from the cold, blowing rain
Oh would You tell me You love me again.

And I fought You so long, felt it made me so strong
To turn from all affection and intimacy
A captive in the bondage of my own liberty
I don’t seek mere repetition, so don’t think me vain
But would You tell me You love me again.

Well I’ve waited to see, if this was reality
or just some grand delusion, another swift passing hope
Could it be my life and not my death at the end of this rope
Please take all my confusion with that glorious refrain
Would You tell me You love me again.

Where’s the rejection I’d feared, would have welcomed me here
When I yielded up my honor and confessed all my need
When I promised to go with You, wherever You lead
What’s this giving and a taking without any pain
Oh would You tell me You love me again.

You know how I cried, when You looked deep inside
And saw me in my true state with all defenses torn
Cause I knew You wouldn’t want me, so filthy and worn
And it’s still so hard to comprehend why You choose to remain
But would You tell me You love me again.

There were words oh so grand, I sought to place in Your hand
I just pray You know the feelings that I can’t bring to light
I’ve tried so oft to tell You but some lingering fright
Makes my will to live and die for You so hard to explain
But would You tell me You love me again.

 


LET IT GO

     It was on a Sunday night in October, 2003, that I sat like so many times before, listening to a Christian try and explain why something that had happened long, long ago was destroying him in the present hour.  So sad, so unable to help, I drove home, praying for this one, then that one, then a dozen more.  As I prayed this chorus played over and over in my mind.  The next day I wrote the verses.  Some time later I added the bridge.  I believe this is the most important song God has ever given me.  I trust He will use it to the help of many.

    G   D  C     G     D  C
You tell me that your daddy was a bad man You tell me that he broke your will
     G      D    C      G       D  C
You tell me that your daddy was a mean man That he made you want to kill
        G  D  C     G     D     C
But he is long gone and you know it Yet he still can make you cry
        G   D  C           G  D        C
He has never pulled his hands from you  Yeah he’s dead but you still die.
     G       D  C
Ooo, ooo, you better let it go.

So you married your high school sweetheart
And she got a boyfriend on the side
You were thinking happily ever after
And every time she kissed you she lied
Now she’s living off in Paris
Tasting wine and vain romance
You sit alone and try to hurt so bad
She’ll feel it all the way to France.
Ooo, ooo, you better let it go.

 G       D         C  G  C  D
Why must yesterday haunt each new day Why must things done leave you undone
        G        D   C         G  C  D
Cast your care upon the One who cares  There is deliverance in the Son

You tell me you trusted in a Christian
And that brother robbed you blind
Every time you think of how he’s prospered
Man, it tangles up your mind
You never, never will get even
You can’t injure him at all
Every pit for him your heart digs deep
Is one into which you fall.
Ooo, ooo, you better let it go.

 


HOW HARD THE HEART

     I am not apologizing to those who criticize me for writing what they call anti-war songs.  I certainly prefer peace.  If some do not then they will find the millennium quite disappointing.  With that said, this is actually an anti-humanism song written sometime in 1993.

  D         A
You’re so defiant, so self-reliant You stand like a giant man of renown
          D
But while you’re ascending, with evil intending
         A
You keep pretending none can bring you down

    G   D
How hard the heart of man has grown
         G  D   G  D
He’s adamant, he’s like a stone
         G    A
He will not yield or give or bend.
    G   D
How hard the heart of man has grown
         G  D   G  D
It’s evident, he’s never known
         G    A
The love of Christ his dearest friend.
    G   A  D
But the heart of stone is broken in the end.

You’re planning the next war
It’s so easy to ignore
All the treaties you signed before
The troops rolled out.
But your plotted rebellion
In the land that you dwell in
Became the pit that you fell in
And now you can’t get out.

You curse father and mother
You betray your brother
But you will discover
At the judgment bar
That God is on the throne
And you’re totally alone
And you quake to the bone
To see how wrong you are.

 


WILL IT STAND IN THE JUDGMENT DAY

     I was reading an old book of poetry and came across a piece by F. L. Snyder written in 1894.  I adapted the words to what you find here because it cried out for this melody I had composed in February 2001, but for which I had no suitable lyric.
Piano: Phillip Little  Tabret: JWK
Backing Vocals: Mark Thren, Daniel Pollard, Chris Jackson

If I’m building my hopes on good deeds of myself
The vain pleasures of earth and its honors or wealth
If I yield unto sin and continue that way
Will it stand, in the judgment day?

Will it stand (no, no) will it stand (no, no)
will it stand in the judgment day
If thus I shall live, while live I may
Will it stand in the judgment day?

If I live for myself and my brother ignore
If I turn a deaf ear to his kindly implore
If my selfishness causes his going astray
will it stand in the judgment day?

If I live in defiance of God and His truth
If I fail to serve Him from the time of my youth
If thus I shall live till I die, then I pray
Will it stand in the judgment day?

If to God in devotion myself I shall give
If for Christ and His glory alone I shall live
If to all that is evil I boldly say nay
Will it stand in the judgment day?

Will it stand (oh yes) will it stand (oh yes)
will it stand in the judgment day
If thus I shall live, while live I may
Will it stand in the judgment day?

 

 


THE EYES OF JESUS

     This is one of the first songs I wrote after my conversion.  It is from the spring of 1978.  The melody has been reworked a couple of times.  What appears on this album is slower than the original but seems a better fit.
        Piano, keyboards, backing vocals: Stephanie Novakovic
   Guitar: Lilian Knox

There is little beauty on this earth that I’ve not stood before
As I trod the pathways of my youth
But oh what lies before me, now that I’m within the door
And my savior is the author of all truth.
And the things of all most lovely Lie beyond that sea
and we shall gaze upon them through all eternity.

Oh the quiet eyes of Jesus
Oh to bathe in those pools of peace
When I see the eyes of Jesus
My praise shall never cease.
Oh the quiet eyes of Jesus
Shall greet me up above
When I see the eyes of Jesus
I’ll be with the one that I love.

There are few wonders in this world that I have not seen
As I’ve watched my lifetime unfold.
The glories of creation and the displays of His power
It has been my portion to behold.
But all of nature’s splendor just whets the appetite
And one day we shall look upon the source of all delight.

 


ANY OLD BUSH

     Each January we host a Bible Conference.  During the 2007 meeting missionary John O’Brien was preaching and made mention of the fact that it was the burning not the bush that was of significance and that God could have used any bush in that wilderness to accomplish his purposes.  While he preached this song burst upon me.  I was trying to write it down while still paying attention to the rest of his message.  By the time he finished I had this song.

 C       F  G      C
Out there in the wilderness, Moses turned aside  To see a thing he’d never see before
  C      F  G     C
A bush it was on fire, but it wasn’t burned Such a sight he could not ignore.

Then out of the fire came the voice of God
Moses I have got a job for you
I have all the power.  I have all the might.
I just need a vessel to work through.

    C   G
Any old bush will do.  Any old bush will do.
        F         G
God is looking to use someone.  May as well be you.
  C      G   F
He’s got the fire.  He’s got the light. He just needs someone to ignite.
      C       G        C
You could be His true delight. Any old bush will do.

This world it is a wilderness, a dry and barren land
Yet men will stop to see God’s glory burn.
In Jesus you have the root.  In Christ you have the branch.
Show the world His power, it’s your turn.

If God could make that bush to burn and make that coward lead,
There’s no doubt He can use me and you.
Surrender all your weakness.  Cast off all your fear.
The Lord has said that any old bush will do.

 

 

FOR ALL THE YOUNG GIRLS

     It was Thanksgiving morning, 1982.  I was the low man on the totem pole, so that morning I was driving a one-ton postal truck from station to station picking up mail.  Sleeping on the sidewalk behind a station near the beach in Daytona was a young girl.  She was a mess.  I had no time to stop and speak with her but I drove away thinking of how many precious girls rapidly turn into miserable women because there is no one stand between them and moral ruin.  By the time I clocked off from work that day I had written this song.
                   Guitars: Lilian Knox, Casey Harr
                  Keyboards: Stephanie Novakovic

Here’s a song that I’ve written for all the young girls
who find themselves lured by the ways of the world
and I write as a man who once did you much harm
but who now stands beside you as a strong right arm.

When the tempter comes jeering and throws in your face
a charge that you’re foolish for trusting the grace
of Jesus, remember that your savior died
and shed His life’s blood for a pure virgin bride.

When you’re placing your trust in some sick magazine
that teaches for fashion what Christ calls obscene
and you’re flaunting your body, exposing your flesh
do you think that will earn anything, girl, but death?

When that boy whispers softly, “I love you so much”
I’m certain he only wants your flesh to touch
if he swears he respects you when he asks for a date
why’s he take you out driving and keep you out late?

When your eyes have grown heavy and his hand starts to roam
He has no intention of taking you home
and when you wake in the dawn and realize what you’ve lost
it will be far too late then to count up the cost.

When you find in your heart that first faint voice of charm
and the mongrels in bright clothes say “there is no harm”
be sure this world’s praises are sung by its slaves
and their silk beds of passion are truly their graves.

In the house of the Lord, girl I’m sure there’s a man
who’s yielded his life for the Lord to command
and he’ll love you and keep you and bless you always
if you patiently wait, girl, you’ll be glad all your days.


LOVE SONGS
FROM THE GRASSY KNOLL

     How can you blame me for this?  I don’t set out to write songs.  They just arrive and I pass them on.  This collection of lyrics and the tunes which accompany them are unlike anything ever recorded.  They are intensely humorous and unmistakably hostile toward all that sets itself against the honor and majesty of the one true God – the Lord Jesus Christ.
     In the summer of 2005 I found a collection of old folk recordings from the 1920s and 1930s.  Listening to these sixty+ songs rekindled in me a surge of creativity that had been dormant for a decade.  Most of the material on this album was composed during a two-week span in July 2005.
     I recorded a few of these songs with Charlie in the spring of 2006 and laid down the basic tracks for the rest with Lilian in April 2008.  The following month Ed Billock added his expert guitar work to the project.  The mixing was ably handled by Casey Harr.


I Miss My Little Mohammed

Old Joe Smith

It’s A Christian Song Now

Dig Me Up
(The Christian Science Hymn)

Slowly Turns the Second Hand

Sell Them Watchtowers

In My N.I.V.

Send the Cash

You’re In Hell
(Requiem For Charlie Darwin)

Our Lady of the Pedophiles

Babylon City Blues

Million Dollar Bash

Church of Christ Blues

When You Don’t Love Me
(1 John 4:20)

Big Fat Buddha Blues

When You Finally Meet Jesus

 

 


I MISS MY LITTLE MOHAMMED

     In July 2005 I composed this little ditty.  It is the world as seen through the eyes of the mother of a suicide bomber.  She expresses the pride and appreciation that one would expect from a loyal participant in the jihad.

   G              C
I miss my little Mohammed, since he blew himself away.
         D      G
Drove a little Nissan van, down to Isaac’s café.
         C
He was wearing a snappy vest loaded with C-4
       G
Wish I could have heard the screams
     D    G
when he rode right through the front door.

                C
Of all my sons he was my favorite for he was the most full of hate
       D        G
I knew one day he’d make us proud when himself he did detonate
          C
I cherished his anger and violence, I loved to hear him rave
          G
If I could find just one piece of him now
     D   G
I’d lay him in a hero’s grave

I miss my little Mohammed, since he went out with a blast
He was the first killer in our family, but I pray he won’t be the last
Killed 34 innocent people, a puppy and two police
He murdered them so splendidly to spread our religion of peace.

He listened intently to his imams, and learned his lessons well
Every time he stepped on a bus
we knew he might blow himself to hell
Saved us so much money, he needed no education or skill
All he needed to please us all was a willingness to kill

I miss my little Mohammed, he was my delight
I think about him as I squeal, tortured sounds at night
At the masque we tell the tale of how he made the death toll increase
Blew away thirty-seven lives to spread our religion of peace.

 

 

 

DIG ME UP
(THE CHRISTIAN SCIENCE HYMN)

     It is probably only a legend that Christian Science founder Mary Baker Patterson Glover Eddy was buried with a live phone line so she could call and report that she was not really dead.  Whether or not that tale is true, one thing is certain – she was a real nut case.  From her giant rocking chair to her satanic religion, this woman was the perfect example of what happens to those who reject the Light.  This song was written in November of 1993 after reading some of her teachings and looking into her bizarre life story.


    C  G        C
I’m Mary Baker Eddy, Dig me up, dig me up
    F   C
I’m down here and I’m ready, Dig me up, dig me up
    G   F
I’ve been waiting for a long, long time
     C  G
To prove death’s only in your mind
     C         G     C
I’m Mary Baker Eddy, Dig me up.

It’s all a grand illusion Dig me up, dig me up
That preys on your confusion Dig me up, dig me up
If you’re not sure the dead to die
Just check my bones, they’ll testify.
I’m Mary Baker Eddy, Dig me up.

I know you think that I was chosen Dig me up, dig me up
But right now I’m decomposin’ Dig me up, dig me up
I’m trying to deny my death
But I can’t seem to draw a breath
I’m Mary Baker Eddy, Dig me up.

Bible says the worms are feeding Dig me up, dig me up
But you don’t trust what you’re reading
Dig me up, dig me up
Six feet down in a wooden box
Nothing there but my teeth and sox
I’m Mary Baker Eddy, Dig me up.

Hey, you rebellious nation Dig me up, dig me up
That worships education
Dig me up, dig me up
You’ll gladly sing my strange refrain
That makes a god of your own brain
I’m Mary Baker Eddy, Dig me up.

In case you have forgotten Dig me up, dig me up
I’m down here getting rotten
Dig me up, dig me up
I tried to call you on my telephone
But I can’t get no dial tone
I’m Mary Baker Eddy, Dig me up

Oh I know what you’re fearing Dig me up, dig me up
The end you know is nearing
Dig me up, dig me up
But a cunning fable I’ll devise
Reject the truth if you’re so wise
I’m Mary Baker Eddy, Dig me up.

In case you have forgotten
I’m down here getting rotten.
I tried to call you on the telephone
But I can’t get no dial tone.
Dig me up.

 


THE TV PREACHERS’ THEME SONG

     Everybody knows these guys are crooks, except the dim-wits that make them rich.  I put these words to a familiar hymn back in 1985 and we’ve been having fun with this song ever since.

Piano: I can’t tell you because she did not want her part in this conspiracy to be known.

There’s a call comes ringing o’er the old airwaves
Send the cash.  Send the cash.
There are debts to conquer, there are bills to pay
Send the cash.  Send the cash.

Send the cash.  The blessed gospel cash.
Hear us beg, from shore to shore.
Send the cash.  The blessed gospel cash.
We’ll go off, if we don’t get more.

We have heard our banker make his call today
Send the cash.  Send the cash.
So a golden offering at our feet please lay
Send the cash.  Send the cash.

Send the cash.  The blessed gospel cash.
Hear us beg, from shore to shore.
Send the cash.  The blessed gospel cash.
Just next week, we’ll want some more.

We will not grow weary, it’s your purse we love
Send the cash.  Send the cash.
For a fifty dollar gift you get a ten cent dove
Send the cash.  Send the cash.

Send the cash.  The blessed gospel cash.
Mascara tears, you can’t ignore.
Send the cash.  The blessed gospel cash.
You’ll get mail, for evermore.

How we pray that dimwits everywhere abound
Send the cash.  Send the cash.
And that our true intentions never will be found
Send the cash.  Send the cash.

Send the cash.  The blessed gospel cash.
Hear us whine, from shore to shore.
Send the cash.  The blessed gospel cash.
We’ll go off, if we don’t get more.

 

 


YOU’RE IN HELL
(REQUIEM FOR CHARLIE DARWIN)

     The droning, repetitious melody is deliberate.  We all know there is hardly any preaching on hell these days.  It’s pretty certain no one has bothered to write a song about the place, or those who have made it their home.  Until now, that is.


   C         FC        FC
Half a planet lies above you in a grave yard somewhere.
   C          FC      FC
They are covering your cold bones but you cannot be there.
   Christ            FC      FC
You have come to dwell forever in the place of your choice
  C    FC    
Where you cry in your anguish but there’s none to hear your voice.
       GC
You’re in hell.

Here in outermost darkness where your worm cannot die
You’ve eternity to ponder every sin and each lie
And it doesn’t matter down here what good deeds you have done
For the crime that condemned you was rejecting God’s Son.
You’re in hell.

For a single drop of water for the smile of a friend
For a single moment’s respite for the misery’s end
For a single glimpse of daylight for a single second chance
But you did not heed the warning you had well in advance.
You’re in hell.
You’re in hell.

When a million years have ended up on heaven’s bright shore
Down inside the lake of fire you will burn a million more.
And the glory you despised is the greatest torment
For into this place of terror you so willingly went.
You’re in hell.
You’re in hell.

 

 


WHEN YOU DON’T LOVE ME

     It has always amazed me how people can lie about you, stab you in the back, betray your confidence, seek to destroy you and do it all with the alibi “You just don’t have enough love.”  The words of 1 John 4:20 reveal the heart condition of those who think love is just a four letter word.  If you talk about it, but do not practice it, the only love you have is self-love, which is not love.  This expose’ on hypocrites was composed in April 1983 in wake of the assassination of my character by my two best friends.  It has perfectly fit similar situations ever since.


    G
I’ve heard you criticize my being critical
    C   G  D
Heard you say that you hate my hatred too.
   G 
I’ve heard you speaking out against my speaking out.
   C   G         D
Never thought at my judgment I’d stand before you.
    C         D      G
And I want to ask you one small question.
    C
If you think you can answer truthfully.
  C   D   C        D
How can you say that you love the Father whom you’ve never seen
          G D   G
When I’m visible, and you don’t love me.

I’ve heard as you’ve condemned my condemnation.
Seen you look at me dirty for my dirty looks.
I’ve heard you say you would not yield to one so unyielding.
But how are you gonna fare when they open your books?

And I still want an answer to my question.
Maybe you can’t answer truthfully.
How can you say that you love the Father whom you’ve never seen
When I’m visible, and you don’t love me.

Oh you know as well as I what the Bible says
If you don’t have the love in your heart
You’re abiding in the shadow of death.
And you know that Jesus said we gotta love one another.
How can you say you belong to Him
When down in your heart you hate your brother?

I’ve seen my lady weeping o’er your slander.
Seen your gossip crawling in every place.
I’ve listened as you mocked my lack of kindness.
While you were throwing dirt in my children’s face.

And you still haven’t answered me Mr. Hypocrite.
Could it be that you see you’re just like me.
How can you say that you love the Father whom you’ve never seen
When I’m visible, and you don’t love me.

 

 

BABYLON CITY BLUES

     Some things stand out in your memory.  It was November 1976.  I was under deep conviction and would be saved within a month.  I was really tired of the world and the life I had so enjoyed.  That morning a college professor had assigned us a literature project.  We had to write an essay on our home town and the people there.  I left class, sat on a bench with Heather McDonald, a classmate whom I did not know and why I remember her name I cannot tell, and said to her, “I can sum up my town in less than one half hour.  Want to watch?”  She said yes.  I began humming this tune and writing these verses.  The whole thing took about 20 minutes.
     I dropped a few verses from that original piece and for this record added the “homeland security” verse.

Guitars: Charlie McEntyre, Ed Billock
Harmonica: Charlie McEntrye


I don’t know where this wind’s from but it’s got an icy breath.
Apartment house behind me, it reeks of pain and death.
And sitting in the trashcan is the morning news.
And me I’ve got the Babylon, Babylon city blues.

Shadows fall at random across the concrete world.
Black banners fill the skyway, from smokestacks they’re unfurled.
Kids ramble in their street gangs, they’ve got nothing to lose.
And me I’ve got the Babylon, Babylon city blues.

Queen Jane lives on that corner it must be where she was born,
she’s out with every sunset and she’s died again by dawn.
She took in the city socialite and made him pay his dues.
And me I’ve got the Babylon, Babylon city blues.

The college kids are talking outside Fisher’s joint.
They all voice their opinion but none seems to see the point.
Their higher education, has them all confused.
And me I’ve got the Babylon, Babylon city blues.

Smiling, friendly agent from homeland security
Throws me up against the wall and says it’s best for me
He used to wear a brown shirt, now he’s red white and blue
Man he sure is giving me the Babylon city blues.

They call him Jeremiah.  He’s the prophet of these walks.
He knows by heart the scriptures.  No one listens as he talks.
He had a friend called Daniel.  Kid musta blew a fuse.
And me I’ve got the Babylon, Babylon city blues.

Grandma’s on the front porch watching lovers stroll
The way she’s watched her lifetime, like an ocean roll
Ceaselessly to nowhere, endlessly it moves
And me I’ve got the Babylon, Babylon city blues.

Professor he knows everything eats facts at nine and noon.
He wears a coat of tangerine.  His slacks are bright maroon.
Unless it’s wrote in numbers he cannot read the hues.
And me I’ve got the Babylon, Babylon city blues.


A song fell from a window four flights of stairs above
made me think of someone and a place I once did love
But it’s not on the road map and I got no walking shoes
And me I’ve got the Babylon, Babylon city blues.

Moon man walks in circles round and round the block
He talks to all the pigeons that sit up on the clock
Told me once he sent his mind on a Caribbean cruise.
And me I’ve got the Babylon, Babylon city blues.

The admiral says my hair’s too long so he won’t loan me time.
His wife just swims in cocktails – she’ll get hers in time.
Their lifeline is the people that they so abuse
And me I’ve got the Babylon, Babylon city blues.

Mary’s got a market at the edge of town
No one’s ever seen her they just know that she’s around
Each tale whispered bout her is taken to be true
And me I’ve got the Babylon, Babylon city blues.

The night is coming quickly and the silence stalks its prey.
The wheels they cease their motion till time brings another day.
Guess they’ll all pass the nighttime with something to amuse
And keep their minds from Babylon, Babylon city blues.

 

 

 


WHEN YOU FINALLY MEET JESUS

     This song has gone through about five transformations.  It was a very hard, driving thing when I wrote it.  Then Charlie and I recorded it as a bluesy choppy piece for an album in 1983.  Then Ed toned it down for this record.  However you sing it, the truths herein must be addressed.

   C    G   CFC
When you finally meet Jesus  How you gonna plead
          F         C
Will you argue bout the heathen in some far away land
           F            C
Or will you say the Bible you just couldn’t understand
    F   G   CFC
When you finally meet Jesus  How you gonna plead

When you finally meet Jesus  What you gonna do
Will you stand there in your glory and stick out your chest?
Or will you fall down at His feet and say He is the best?
When you finally meet Jesus
What you gonna do

When you finally meet Jesus  What you gonna say
Will you argue that you never thought He was the Lord?
Or will you tell Him in your eyes His way was just too hard?
When you finally meet Jesus
What you gonna say

When you finally meet Jesus  How you gonna feel
Will you feel great joy and gladness bursting out of your soul?
Or will you want to crawl away and hide in some dark hole?
When you finally meet Jesus
How you gonna feel

When you finally meet Jesus  What you gonna see
Will He be the feeble rascal of the Hollywood screen?
Or will He be the greatest power you have ever seen?
When you finally meet Jesus
What you gonna see

    F        C
Oh I know you’ve got all kinds of ideas
     F       C
Inside your little ole mind
         F    C
But it could well be while you think you see
          F      G
You’re actually so spiritually blind.

When you finally meet Jesus  What’s He gonna say
Will He say “Hello my servant you have truly done well?”
Or will He say “I never knew you, boy get on to hell?
When you finally meet Jesus
What’s He gonna say

 

 

IT’S A CHRISTIAN SONG NOW

     I have always known that musical tastes and preferences are varied.  I have always known that saved people fall into one of two categories, they have no convictions about Godly music or worldly music and will listen to anything, OR, they have lit upon music that blesses them and sentence everyone who differs with their tastes to hell or worse.  Most of those in the latter group either decry contemporary music while feeding on Southern Gospel (go figure) or pretend that there is a style of music used in the church that cannot be found in the world. 
     My purpose in writing, recording and singing has always been for two reasons, to try and be a blessing to saved people and to try and draw the lost to Jesus Christ.  The fury and nature of some of the criticism leveled against me for our music projects has been disappointing but is consistent with the way people respond to the preaching of the word.  This is a fun little tribute to those critics.
    This was the first of the July 2005 songs.

Guitars: Charlie McEntyre, Ed Billock


Thought that I would sing about the beauty of the Lord
Thought that I would magnify His name.
Thought that I would help His people dwell upon His truth
Thought if I praised Him they would do the same.
But I shoulda known the brethren cannot get beyond
The force of their opinions to the real
Meaning and the message and the intent of the heart
Their authority is how they feel.

So I didn’t change the words, didn’t change the beat
Didn’t change the melody and yet somehow
This time when I sang, I did it with a twang
And brother it’s a Christian song now.

Those hillbilly singers are such a worldly crew
I been around em long after the show
I’ve heard their testimonies while they wept upon the stage
But how they really live I really know
But I shoulda known the sisters don’t pay that any mind
Long as mama’s preaching brings a tear
I’ve them grumble when I sang, I know the reason why
I got their whiny message loud and clear.

So I didn’t change the words, didn’t change the beat
Didn’t change the melody and yet somehow
This time when I sang, I did it with a twang
And brother it’s a Christian song now.

 

 

OLD JOE SMITH

     After reading over twenty detailed works on the history, doctrine and practice of true Mormonism, as set forth and lived by its founders, it is apparent to me that it is not a religion but a sex cult for men.  Here is the history of the cult – past, present and future – summed up in five minutes.
     This was the second of the July 2005 songs.

Guitars: Ed Billock


Now old Joe smith he tried his hand
At working for a living like an honest man
But one day a flash of inspiration came
And this old world would never be the same

Joe told his buddies that an angel of light
Showed him some gold plates in a cave one night
He could read their hieroglyphics with his face in his hat
But then forgot where the plates were at

Take a little Bible, take a little lodge
Take a big imagination, make a big hodge podge
A new religion growing out of the dust
Collecting lonely ladies for a god of lust.

Joe’s womanizing got him throwed in jail
And no one cared to come and post his bail
Died in a shootout like a crim in el
But his polygamous religion fared very well.

Bring ‘em young, bring ‘em old
Bring him all the women his cabin can hold
Bringham moved the faithful out to Utah
Beyond the arm of the law.

Out in the desert with lots of space
They bred like rabbits their master race
Can’t be a priest if you got dark skin
But any blonde lady can walk right in.

Now Joe’s got boys riding through the world
Seeking lustful ladies and silly girls
They say hey baby if you’ll be my wife
Joe smith said you’ll have eternal life

Old Joe smith, he was such a liar
Now he thinks about it while the flames get higher
Instead of making babies with his spirit bride
He’s calling out for water while his soul gets fried.

 

 

SELLIN’ WATCHTOWER PAPERS

     This had more of a country flavor when I wrote it, but we tweaked it a bit in the final version.  This was the third of the July 2005 songs.

Guitars: Charlie McEntyre, Ed Billock


It’s Saturday, we’re on our way
Knockin at your door
It’s clear that you don’t want us here
Knockin at your door

You wonder why we never learn
Knockin at your door
Cause eternal life we’ve got to earn
Knockin at your door

Sellin papers, sellin watchtower papers
Selling papers, knockin at your door

We used to long for heaven fair
Knockin at your door
But then they filled the space up there
Knockin at your door

One hundred and forty four
Knockin at your door
Thousand get in and not one more
Knockin at your door

Sellin papers, sellin watchtower papers
Selling papers, knockin at your door

We built Jesus a mansion fair
1914 He’d come live there
The secret we may never know
As to why He did not show

Sellin papers, sellin watchtower papers
Selling papers, knockin at your door

We’ve got a Bible we rewrote
We took out hell you’ll gladly note
Another thing that you will see
We removed Jesus’ deity

Hop in we’ll take you for a ride
Roll along with a blind guide

 

 


OUR LADY OF THE PEDOPHILES

    What no one can explain to me is why child molesters go to jail – UNLESS they are Roman Catholic priests, then they get reassigned to a new hunting ground.  This is the fourth of the July 2005 songs and was composed in one of my favorite writing spots, pushing the lawn mower.

Guitars: Ed Billock


Hey there mama, where’s your little boy
Hey there daddy, where’s your little boy
Hope you didn’t leave him, to serve a while
Down at our Lady of the Pedophiles

They got pretty candles, and incense fine
They got pretty statues, and incense fine
Beautiful scenery designed to beguile
Helpless souls at our Lady of the Pedophiles

Old Father Nimrod slipped out of town
Old Father Nimrod ain’t seen him around
Transferred down the road a thousand miles
To another branch of our Lady of the Pedophiles

A billion dollars paid and more to come
A billion dollars paid and more to come
All the money in the world cannot reconcile
Or pay for what’s done at our Lady of the Pedophiles

Look at that shiny robe, look at that hat
Look at that big ring and that pointy hat
You gotta admit they wear some crazy styles
Dressed to kill at our Lady of the Pedophiles

What do you expect from a band of men
What do you expect from a band of men
Who’d chose to live without the comfort of wife and child
To dwell with the brothers at our Lady of the Pedophiles

Remember Father Ramses the way he looked at you
Remember Father Ramses, you said it couldn’t true
Now you know what made it such a creepy smile
He was all you imagined at our Lady of the Pedophiles

I heard the archbishop calling the pope
I heard the archbishop frantically calling the pope
Four more lawsuits, they’re gonna cost a pile
So he wrote another check to our Lady of the Pedophiles

I’m looking through the door and I wanna know
I’m looking through the door and I want to know
I see you like a zombie lined up in the aisle
Why are you still at our Lady of the Pedophiles

 

 

SLOWLY TURNS THE SECOND HAND


     Traditional Christian music, such as found on our previous albums, does not allow for the lyricist’s highest aim – to be visual.  What the composer of words most enjoys is being able to create a picture for the reader/listener.  The subject matter of this record makes room for that.
     This is one of Lilian’s favorite melodies.

       G   C       G   C
Slowly turns the second hand  Slowly comes the dawn
   G   C       D
Slowly turns the planet earth That I stand upon
   G         C  G       C
Laughing comes the river Laughing comes the wind
        G   C G       D 
Laughing comes the tempter Calling me his friend.
   G         C  G       C
Falling is the powder snow Falling is the curse
        G  C  G       D 
Falling is the landmark Woman can’t you nurse
   C           G  C        G
That baby that’s a hungry That baby that’s in need
   C  D   C  G
That baby that’s a crying cause She’s born of mortal seed.

Marching are the soldiers
Marching are the foes
Marching are the hangmen Who the day oppose
Fleeing are the guardians
Fleeing are the true
Fleeing are the fearless ones That our fathers knew
Thirsting for the water brooks
Thirsting for the light
Thirsting for a tender touch They think would make it right
Paint upon their faces
Paint upon their walls
Paint upon the wickedness That talks within your halls.

Swiftly comes the hammer
Swiftly comes the doom
Swiftly comes the judgment On all brought from the womb
Fleeing to the mountains
Marching to the grave
That baby’s grown to sorrow Falling is the slave
Paint upon the doorposts
Thirsting for reprieve
Laughing comes the tempter You would not believe

Slowly turned the second hand
Now it turns no more
Time has ceased its motion You’re locked without the door
Slowly burns the dawn
Slowly burns the planet earth
Slowly burns the one who swapped Eternity for mirth.

 


IN MY N.I.V.

     The fifth of the July 2005 songs deals with verses omitted from the corrupt New International Version.  This song was done one morning during the thirty-minute drive from my home to the church house.

   A  E A E       A
Oh Colossians chapter one   Many times just for fun
              E
I dwell upon what Jesus did for me
  A   E      A  E        A
Yet searching for that crimson flood   The Redeemer’s holy blood
     A         E  A
I couldn’t find it in my NIV

I love to read about the way  Jesus up and flew away
From the mount outside of Bethany
But alas I must lament   I looked find out where He went
But couldn’t find it in my NIV.

     DA      D  E
NIV what have done to me?
    D  A   E
Where are all those verses, that I used to see?
          D A D  E
NIV it’s time I let you know
    D          E  A
You shouldn’t change the Holy Bible so.

Hail the blessed three in one  The Father, Spirit and the Son
The blessed doctrine of the trinity
I sought to read the record fair   But after searching everywhere
I couldn’t find it in my NIV.
.
Riding through the desert sand   A noble Ethiopian man
Said to Philip will you baptize me
The preacher said you must believe   The reply? I’ve got to grieve
I couldn’t find it in my NIV.

NIV what have done to me?
Where are all those verses, that I used to see?
NIV it’s time I let you know
You shouldn’t change the Holy Bible so.

I learned so much blessed truth   From godly men in my youth
I’m glad they gave a KJV to me
Sadly in our modern world   Good church going boys and girls
Can’t find these truths in their NIV.

NIV what have done to me?
Where are all those verses, that I used to see?
NIV it’s time I let you know
You shouldn’t change the Holy Bible so.

 


CHURCH OF CHRIST BLUES


     This is a leftover musical piece from my high school days.  We redid the vocal with these lyrics and tried to get the sound of a very old LP.  I have a collection of blues and gospel records from the 1940s and 1950s and tried to duplicate that sound and feel.  We hope the irony of using a full band for a song about the Church of Christ will not be lost on our audience.
     The lyric was part of the July 2005 writing spree.

Music: Danko, Helm, Robertson
Lyric: JWK
Performed by The Hawks

Well I got up Sunday morning went down to the Church of Christ
Well I got up Sunday morning went down to the Church of Christ
Them dapper men and handsome ladies well they sure was nice.

I said excuse me for intruding, it’s salvation that I seek
I said excuse me for intruding, it’s salvation that I seek
The minister jumped up smiling said let’s hurry down into the creek.

I said I remember mama told me something bout the blood
I said I know mama told me something bout Jesus’ blood
He said you’ll find it swirling round down in the flood.

I don’t mean to be contentious but ain’t I got to be born again.
I been hearing people tell me that I got to be born again
He said I’ll baptize you and it will happen then.

He put me in the water I opened my eyes and looked for blood
I opened up my eyes and looked for that swirling blood
I didn’t nothing man but a few crawfish and mud

Climbed out of the water said I’m going to heaven now
I shouted Hallelujah I’m going to heaven now
They said you got lot’s of works to do and you might make it there somehow.

I said you mean I’m baptized but I can’t sure of heaven yet
They said you been baptized but you can’t be sure of heaven yet
It was then I realized I got nothing that day but wet.

Well let me tell you children if you want eternal life
Let me tell you something children if you want eternal life
You better get yourself to Jesus and stay away from that church of Christ.

 

 


MILLION DOLLAR BASH


     When Bob and The Band recorded The Basement Tapes they did several dozen songs that were never completed.  This tune was recorded three or four different ways and the lyric was made up on the fly.  There had to be a song on this album about the number one religion in America, watching television, and the worship of the gods and goddesses of celebrity.  I rearranged the tune, wrote what I dare say is the perfect lyric, and with Lilian did this song in one take. 

Music: Robert Zimmerman
Lyrics: JWK
Guitars: Lilian Knox, Ed Billock

         C     F
The bell tolled midnight, the red carpet’s out
    C        G
The vermin and sleaze is crawling about
     C       F
Idols retouch their makeup, false gods tighten their sash
     C  G        C
It’s all on display at the million dollar bash

     Am        F       C
Ooo baby, ooo wee,
why live your life when you can watch tv
      GC  C
It’s that million dollar bash

Now the rehab maiden with snow up her nose
Is cavorting and shaking in her designer clothes
She’s glazed and glossy, she’s reeling and smashed
But she’s the hit of the party at the million dollar bash

The tramp of the month with his mistress was there
The foul mouthed rapper with his dreadlock hair
The media drooled at their pockets of cash
And followed them into the million dollar bash

That big dumb blonde arm in arm with the beast
Provides all the tabloids with a scrumptious feast
The paparazzi scream and the cameras all flash
While they chase them inside that million dollar bash

That football player with the steroid head
Smiles with uncertainty at the living dead
America loves him cause with a ball he can dash
He’s touching down now at the million dollar bash

The acting man with no lines to read
Says that the president is not fit to lead
He smarter than ever since he smoked his stash
And took his thespian genius to the million dollar bash

The brain-dead brunette with the chain in her nose
Has run out of ways herself to expose
It’s matter over mind with an awful crash
Falling headlong into the million dollar bash

Losers in limos, pornographers in pearls
Sodomite madmen and heroin girls
It’s like the devil cleaned his garage and took out the trash
And dumped it all at the million dollar bash

 

 

 

BIG FAT BUDDHA BLUES

     When I wrote this song in July 2005 its original lyric was Pig Trappin’ Blues and was a tribute to a man from the north who thought food came from a grocery store before he came south and found out the origin of sausage.  It did not seem this record would be complete without a look to the east, so this new set of words was put to the tune.  Ed’s oriental intro and close had us laughing like children.

Guitars: Ed Billock


I got the big fat Buddha blues.  I got the big fat Buddha blues. 
From the top a my head to the sole a my shoes
I got the big fat Buddha blues. 

How many times must I come here?
How oft must I reincarnate?
No matter what my color, no matter what my shape
I always meet the same old fate.

Last time I was toad frog.
Next time I might be a snake.
It don’t seem to be getting no better
How many lives can I take.

Checked into the shoalin temple
Thought I might raise some cain
Snatched that pebble from the blind man’s hand
But still they sent me back again

Eat my rice in the morning.
Eat my rice when night does fall.
I’d love to eat a nice hamburger
But it might be my grand ma.

Sitting cross legged for hours
Trying to perfect my hum
Looking for the cosmic explosion
But instead my feet get numb