Long Black Train and others

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I have not been, until recent date, a country music fan. I probably still am not by the standards of the dyed-in-the-wool fan. I probably won't be populating my collection with the greatest hits of Merle Haggard, Travis Tritt, or Tanya Tucker (although given the sea-change in my attitude of recent date, who knows?). However, I have acquired a taste for certain new country music. For example, almost anything by almost any of the women of country music--Shania Twain, Faith Hill, Gretchen Wilson, Julie Roberts, Katrina Elam, Terri Clark, Martina McBride. . .

So far the men still leave me mostly cold--they tend to have high tenor voices that grate on my nerves. But I've found a few that I really like. Tim McGraw (on and off), George Canyon, and most recently Josh Turner. What I like about Josh Turner is the deep, smoky, Johnny-Cash-Like voice, particularly demonstrated on the title track of this album.

"Long Black Train" is called a country-gospel song. Can't say that I really understand what all that means; however, it is compelling and interesting listening. Most particularly the chorus:

'Cause there's victory in the Lord, I say.
Victory in the Lord.
Cling to the Father and his Holy name,
And don't go ridin' on that long black train.

(By the way, if you need lyrics this is the place to go. Be warned, it has an unfortunate propensity for pop-ups, which Firefox puts in their place.)

There is something is this chorus that is just catchy. I can't remember much of the rest of the song, but I find myself humming along with the chorus and even singing it to myself. It's good to have the reminder that "there's victory in Lord." And it's nice for it to have a hook that sticks with you.

On a side note, yesterday I was listening to some Johnny Cash (yes, I know he's classified as country, but I've never really thought of him that way), an album called My Mother's Hymnbook. A song came on that had Samuel suddenly joining in from the back seat. I had never heard it before, but it was another one of those punchy Baptist Hymns that get inside your head and won't fall out. This one was called "Do Lord."

Do Lord, O do Lord, O do remember me,
Do Lord, O do Lord, O do remember me,
Do Lord, O do Lord, O do remember me,
Way beyond the blue.

(If you haven't heard it before you can listen to a rather polka-ized over-droned midi here.)

Well, this was one obvious evidence of where he's been to school. However, it was amazing to hear him say--"Play it again. Play it again." He loved hearing something he knew--and it's a peppy little song with a bright chorus, and because of its simplicity a real hook that gets inside and won't come out. Given today's music, I don't mind so much a few reminders of the Lord getting in there and rattling around in my head. Sure as shootin' few of those OCP hymnal things that stick around five seconds after you've sung it.

And finally, yesterday at Mass (we went to the youth Mass) we sand yet another song that Sam knew by heart.

Our God is an awesome God
He reigns from heaven above
With wisdom, pow'r and love
Our God is an awesome God

Not your traditional Latin Mass, but it sent me out of Church on fire and alive. Don't ask me why, but the music lifted me up and brought me into His presence in a way few things have done in a long time. I'll be among those who praise the glories of the diversity available in the Mass. So long as you don't mess with the prayers, I can take in a wide variety of Masses. I've been to a Calypso Mass, a Creole Mass, a Mariachi Mass, an African Drum Mass, and several Asian varieties of the Mass, and each was beautiful in its own right. Now, I'm not sure I'd want a steady diet of any of these--but the Youth Mass at our Church is just fine with me. Late enough in the day that I can actually sing, and giving praise to God at my "peak time" is surely worth the time and energy.

Okay, so enough of my peculiarities in the realm of music. If you haven't heard it, I'd recommend hitting up the local public library or a friend and listening to Josh Turner's wonderful album Long Black Train. I really enjoyed every song on it. And it's nice to hear a country music song mention Florida, even if it is only in terms of a place you want to get away from.

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Oh, Steven, before too long you'll be wearing boots. ;-)

Country has deep roots in gospel, and I don't think there's a country singer alive who hasn't done some gospel. And I'm with you on "Long Black Train."

I love High Mass, and I wouldn't be very comfortable at your Teen Mass. BUT, and this is a big BUT, I am a huge fan of praise and worship music outside of Mass. My whole family laughs at me, because I listen (and SING) music in my car that I would be appalled to hear during Mass. Go figure.

But on a Wednesday coming home from the grocery store, it's certainly a GOOD thing for me to remember that "Our God is an awesome God".......

Dear MamaT,

Were it not for high arches and wide feet, I'd be in boots already. Most of my formal gear is western style with mother-of-pearl snaps up to here (about 50 gazillion of them last time I wore the shirt--they seem to multiply.)

I think I would enjoy high Mass as much as I do youth Mass, if only we had one. What I like about Youth Mass is it is one escape from OCP blandness. But we're having a diocesan synod to talk about the shape of the Church in Orlando. I intend to attend--more about that later. I'll keep in mind the idea about High Mass.

Thanks for writing. And I'm glad you like "Long Black Train" as well. On your recommendation I am sampling the works of Willie Nelson--strong stuff for one not inclined to country-western, but very nice in parts.



Hi. I will be sure to have a listen to Josh Turner and Willie Nelson

Two months ago I would never have envisioned myself finding inspiration from a country music artist. Then I discovered Johnny Cash.

For those who haven't heard it, I would humbly recommend the album 'Unchained' by Johnny Cash (and just about everything else he has ever done) I don't think I have ever been moved by a song as much as I was moved by the tracks 'Spiritual' and 'Unchained'. The power and emotion in Cash's voice is incredible

Reading some (or indeed all) of the lyrics does not do the tracks justice but here's a sample anyway.

From 'Spiritual'

Jesus, I don't wanna die alone
Jesus, oh Jesus, I don't wanna die alone


I know I have sinned, but Lord I'm suffering
Jesus, oh Jesus, I don't wanna die alone


All my pain, all my toubles, will leave me
All my pain, all my troubles, will leave me
Once again

From 'Unchained'

Oh, I am weak
Oh, I am vain
Take this weight from me
Let my spirit be

I cut my teeth on folk - the real stuff. Scratchy 78s. My mom singing western and 40's 50's pop
to me (she was born in Childress TX). My Popo's cabinet record player and the brittle recordings of "The Yellow Rose of Texas. Early Joan Baez (I still own her debut album) singing from the Childe ballads and her own Mexican heritage. When I saw "Long Black Train" my mind treid to read it as "Long Black Veil".
I have always loved The Man in Black. Yep, he was a sinner like all of us and I grieve that his marriage to June started off in adulterous love. Yet I think that he and the Lord did some serious talking in those last few years of his life.
You might find a lot of interesting stuff in the Arhoolie record catalogue (Erik Keilholtz used to work for them) and the Smithsonian has been publishing a lot of the early recordings of traditional american music.
Even though Woody Guthrie gets pasted with the 'pinko liberal' label, his music and lyrics captured the souls of a part of America that had not been previously gathered. Ditto Phil Ochs (Dawn Eden agrees with me on this one, I think).
On another note - do you know the song "I've got that joy, joy joy joy down in my heart"? That is another great to sing with the kid in the car about Jesus song.



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This page contains a single entry by Steven Riddle published on May 23, 2005 7:42 AM.

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