It's been a while since my last post. That's mainly because I've been doing a lot of non-blog writing of late. I know, some of you were thinking the delay was all about the Redbirds losing out to the Astros. Actually, following a good cry, I had intended to say my congratulations to Houston and that I was pulling for the National League Champions. But before I could get the words out, the Astros promptly lost the first three games of the World Series! Baseball: the perfect blend of sport and the Book of Ecclesiastes. "Time and chance happen to them all."
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When I was in my late teens and early twenties--say, 1978 to 1984--if contemporary music was like plankton, then I was like a very large aquatic animal. It was during those years that I happened upon a group that in my book qualifies to win the "Best Band that Never Hit it Big" Award. In fact, I just invented that award and proudly present it to, . . . drum roll, please . . . Shoes.
That's right, Shoes. Four guys from Zion, Illinois. You've probably never heard them, or of them. But they were good.
Their "Boomerang" album, released by Elektra Records in 1982, wasn't their first. But it was my introduction to the band, and I've loved that collection ever since. With some tunes, like one called "Mayday," the sound is a nice blend of classic rock and then-popular New Wave (think, The Cars). Other songs, like "The Summer Rain" I would describe as melodic with a moderate beat (think, Bryan Adams).
I don't understand the popular music industry, then or now, so I'm not sure why Shoes didn't make it big (assuming they really wanted to). But I can guess. Very few of their songs have that sure-hit sound, although several of them could with just a little tweaking. The music is plenty good, but the recordings come across as spare and understated, begging to be a little fuller and brassier. But then, why critique a group that just received an award?
So tell me, who would you nominate for "Best Band that Never Hit it Big"? Who's your favorite no-name act? Oh, and you can listen to Shoes here.
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For me, life doesn't get any better than reading from the Psalms and singing traditional hymns that repeat their words and reflect their meaning. In our worship time last Sunday night, we read and sang the following:
"All People That on Earth Do Dwell"
"Hallelujah, Praise Jehovah"
"The Lord's My Shepherd"
"How Sweet, How Heavenly" (We held hands while singing this one)
I'd be interested to hear about the churchly experiences of others, especially well-planned times of worship and praise.