Thursday, August 21, 2008

Memories -- Gospel Music

Anyone who takes a look at my Blogger Profile will several names listed in my favorite music that may not be familiar to all.

One of them, Keith Green, was a gospel musician and evangelist, who was just a couple of years older than me, who died in a plane crash about the same time Karen Carpenter died, actually just a few months before she did. He was a promising singer at a young age but turned to Christ to a degree that most can only wish to achieve. He wrote most, but not all, of his own music and also wrote numerous Gospel Tracts that were published by his Last Days Ministry and he was quite an influence when he was alive and long after he died. His secret was that he never presented himself as the example of a great Christian, but always said "We have to do better." "We are failing to live up to this." "We need to be more dedicated." He always presented himself as a fellow struggler trying, and failing, to be more like Jesus. His genuine humility made his songs all the more powerful. He stunned the gospel recording industry when he produced his album So You Want to Go Back to Egypt? which he gave away for a freewill offering through his own office rather than sell it in stores. It was a protest against gospel artists, publishers, and record companies producing things mostly to make money. It was also, in my opinion, his best album. He died in a plane crash in the summer of 82 but his work lives on and his widow, Melodie Green continues the work. Already some of his works are appearing in Church Hymnals.

Here is a sample of one of his songs from a concert just a few weeks before he died.

Another fine work of his, I Can't Wait to Get to Heaven, can be viewed here. Actually there are several good works by him available at You Tube. Another really great one that portrays him as a fellow struggler rather than one to be looked up to is this one, My Eyes are Dry ; The singer is not actually Keith Green but the song and music was written by him and the singer is singing it an manner worthy of the composer.

Another artist that I mention is Kemper Crabb , though honestly I am only familiar with one of his albums. That is The Vigil and merely listening to it is almost a worship experience in and of itself. He mixes his original work, instrumental work, and classical hymns such as Be Thou My Vision and Fairest Lord Jesus into a wonderful mixture using a Celtic style and Medieval instruments. Sadly it is no longer produced, but for those so inclined, it can be downloaded in several places. There are not many videos from the album as it is not well known, but here is a dance troupe dancing to one of the cuts from The Vigil. It is a song called The Danse which is not my favorite from the album but it is an enjoyable cut from it.


Blogger Z said...

Wow....our pastor talked about Keith Green a couple of times and then his pastor brother spoke about him 2 weeks ago......there's something a little sad about his coming to the Lord (other than his dying, of course) and I don't remember what it was.....he wasn't QUITE there for a while or something?
Anyway, I'd personally never heard him so I thank you for filling in the cracks.

I like the dance, too....nice.


10:44 PM  
Blogger Gayle said...

I'd never heard of either of them so thanks, Shoprat. I'm going to see if there is a bio of Keith Green on the internet. He seems like he would have been someone I would have enjoyed knowing.

11:20 AM  

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