ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY (2)

Baby, take a bow! – Unknown

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Happy Birthday, Mary!

Just in case you don’t think anything (or anyone) great comes from Kansas…  today we are going to say Happy Birthday to actress/singer Mary McCarty!  On this day in 1923 this talented little powerhouse was born in Winfield, Kansas!

My mother didn’t push.  She aimed me.  – Mary McCarty

McCarty was better known as a supporting actress than a leading lady, but let’s face it – it’s those supporting performances that make the stars shine even brighter!  She made a real splash early in life, beginning as a torch singer at a night spot called Hollywood Tropics, and ending up in front of the bright lights of Broadway and later in front of TV cameras.

Gotta dance!  – Unknown

Her Broadway début was in Sleepy Hollow when she was just 15 years old!  Even though the show fizzled after 12 performances, McCarty received a Theatre World Award for her role as Eva.  She continued to sing and dance her way into our hearts as Maisie Doll in the Irving Berlin hit, Miss Liberty in 1949.

I’m dancing as fast as I can.  – Unknown

She created the role of sassy Mama Morton in the Broadway stage version of Chicago.

In Bless You All she performed with legendary stars Pearl Bailey and Gene Barry, which firmly established her as a supporting actress.  And she appeared on an occasional television show…

https://youtu.be/xt5Zz5gRjik

By the mid 1950’s, she was more active in film than on the Broadway stage.  Movies such as The French Line, Pillow Talk, Babes in Toyland, My Six Loves and All That Jazz made her a familiar name and face to movie goers everywhere!

Brake a leg!  – Unknown

In 1977 she played Bertha Gardner in the popular daytime drama, All My Children.  And my favorite nurse, Clara “Starch” Willoughby, R.N. emerged in the television show Trapper John, M.D. with Parnell Roberts.

On April 30, 1980 at just 57 years old, Mary McCarty passed away after a heart attack.  She lived her life to the fullest, this Kansas girl.  May she rest in peace.

All you need are toe shoes, a tutu and a willing heart.  – Unknown

Wouldn’t it be a great tribute to watch one of her performances today?  I have a few of these wonderful movies on DVD.  It might take all day to watch all of them – I may not get anything else done.  Ah…  that’d be a real shame, that would.  LOL!!!

Bravo!!!  Encore!!!  – Unknown

She put more life into her life in 57 short years than many of us do with more time on earth.  Today we are reminded to appreciate each and every day.  Happy Birthday, Mary!  🙂

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY

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To this day, Elvis Presley is probably the most iconic figure in American music history.  From his truck driver hair style to his blue suede shoes, he took America by storm in 1954 and remained popular until his untimely death in 1977.

Every generation enjoyed his music.  Older people liked him because of his southern charm and good manners.  The fact that he recorded 4 gospel LP’s during his lifetime endeared him to the more conservative folks as well.  Younger people liked him because he seemed to understand them.  There was a little bit of rebel there that made us dig him.  His music had an appeal that spanned generations.

There’s not a baby boomer that does not have a favorite “Elvis” song.  Mine is “Don’t Be Cruel” and I’ll tell you why…

There’s a line in the song that says, “Then you’ll know you have me, and I’ll know then that I have you.”  Well, here’s how I sang it – “Then you’ll know you have me, and I’ll know LINDA I’ll have you.”

Hey – that’s what it sounded like he was saying!  It sounded like he was singing to ME!  How dreamy is that?

That great song was recorded on this day in 1956!  He also recorded “Hound Dog” on this day.  Both songs were hits – but by 1956, that came as no surprise to anyone.  There was just something about Elvis – he was driven when it came to music.

Over his two-decade career, Elvis recorded over 700 songs for the RCA label.  It’s thought, however, that there were other songs that never got recorded – which means that he probably knew and performed almost 1,000 songs!

I’ve been in a recording studio twice and recorded about 20 songs.  It was challenging to remember the chord progressions and lyrics to them.  I can’t even imagine what it takes to file 1,000 songs away in your mind.  I believe that’s just how much music meant to him.  There are some people who eat, drink and live music.  Elvis is definitely in that category.   There are Elvis impersonators on every corner, but there will only be one Elvis.  🙂

 

 

I WILL MISS YOU…

TL A TRIBUTE

CELEBRATING LIFE (Andre' Crouch)

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72-year-old Andrae’ Crouch, a truly anointed man of God, the father of modern gospel music and 7 time Grammy Award winner, is now a part of heaven’s awesome choir.  That has to be the sweetest sounding choir – but it’s much improved now.  I can’t help but think that those Grammy Awards, nice as they are, pale next to the awesome crown he has now, and casts at his Savior’s feet.

 I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do.  – John 17:4

His songwriting, singing and piano playing had a profound influence on my life!  I remember how the music in our little Southern Baptist church changed in a big way in the 1970’s because our new hymnal included some of his great songs.  We got to sing songs of faith such as “Jesus is the Answer”, “Through it All”, Take Me Back”, “It Won’t Be Long”, “Soon and Very Soon”, “The Blood Will Never Lose its Power”, “I Don’t Know Why”, and my favorite, “My Tribute (To God Be the Glory)”.

Hey – I was the pianist and I literally witnessed the change in people when we sang those gospel songs!  Don’t get me wrong – I treasure the old hymns, but there’s something about singing words that echo what our hearts really feel – instead of the words of a hymn penned hundreds of years ago – well, it just means more – and we can truly worship from the bottom of our hearts.

The songs Andrae’ Crouch wrote were absolute genus because they were so simple.  His music and lyrics were not difficult to learn – and once I learned them, I could take the focus off the logistics of the written music – and focus my attention on God – on His Holy Spirit – and let Him have it – lock, stock and barrel.  Just let go and let God…  that’s when the worship really happens.  He was so wise because he kept the tunes and words simple to learn, simple to teach – so we could all get down to the business of praising our Lord!

By the early 1980’s, the music of Andrae’ Crouch was still popular.  I had a very close Christian friend and co-worker named Liz.  She happens to be African-American.  I wouldn’t mention it, but it’s important to the story.  Liz and I spent a lot of time talking about God, theology and so forth.   We thought it would be fun to visit each other’s churches when we had singspiration nights.  I don’t know if churches do that anymore – but it’s when people are free to sing, recite poetry, do skits or whatever they wish to do to worship the Lord.

We did this for a while and it was a lot of fun.  I began noticing an obvious, glaring trend and suspect she noticed it too.  When she came to my church, she sang something written by Bill & Gloria Gaither.  When I went to her church, I sang something written by Andrae’ Crouch.  I remember singing this one:

This went on for a while and I wasn’t sure whether I should say something about it or just let it ride.  I just kept thinking, “Surely she is seeing the same pattern I am”.  You’ve been there, right?  Not sure whether to broach a subject or leave it alone???  Well, I decided to just let sleeping dogs lie, so to speak.

We decided to take our brown bags outdoors and enjoy the lovely weather one Monday after we’d had a great night of singing and praising God the night before.  I still didn’t feel prompted to say anything – but apparently God was talking to Liz, because she said:

“Have you noticed that I sing songs by Gaither songs and you sing songs by Crouch?” 

Finally someone said it!  I was relieved.

We just sort of stared and grinned at each other for about two seconds – then laughed uncontrollably!!!  It was the longest I’d laughed in years!!!  From that moment on, the awkwardness was behind us.  We were finally giving each other a sort of permission to follow the Holy Spirit’s leading instead of trying to “fit in” – so to speak.

As I recall, the next time I went to St. Matthew’s for a singspiration, I played and sang a song that was not written by either Bill Gaither or Andrae’ Crouch.  I don’t remember what it was, but I remember knowing it was something God’s Holy Spirit was prompting me to do and it had nothing to do with fitting in.  I remember by that time feeling as comfortable at St. Matthew’s as I did at my church.

The music of Andrae’ Crouch broke down all sorts of barriers.  I remember some eyebrows being raised when his choir helped Madonna and Michael Jackson with some music videos.  But is it really any different from the Stamps quartet singing backup for Elvis?  I don’t know – but I do know that if we are proclaiming the name of Christ, we cannot just stay in our safe little houses of worship and proclaim it to each other.  We have to get out there in the world – the sick ones need the doctor.  Who knows what kind of impression someone in that choir might have had on Madonna???  Ya know???  

It occurs to me that this multi-talented child of God walked the path many of us walk today. He was a type 2 diabetic, had cancer and heart disease.  He was dyslexic!

My dyslexia contributed to my success.  – Andrae’ Crouch

We know a number of complications come our way when type 2 diabetes is on board, and dyslexia brings its own set of challenges, but look at what he did with his life!   He made it matter – he made it count – he followed God by using the talents and abilities he got from God. Shouldn’t we all be doing that???  Wow – I just admired this man so much. He showed us that no matter what is going on with these bodies, our spirits, our true light – cannot be dimmed because that’s where God’s Holy Spirit lives – inside us. God is so much bigger than anything that can attack this body.   🙂

 

 

 

 

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY

TL ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY (11)

A good-looking truck driver walked into the offices of Sun Records and the Memphis Recording Service on a Saturday night in the summer of 1953.  He paid $3.98 + tax to make an acetate record for his mother’s birthday.  Sam Phillips recorded Elvis singing “My Happiness” and “That’s When Your Heartaches Begin, ” and told his business partner Marion Kreisler something that made her write down “Good ballad singer.  Hold” in her notes.

Elvis would leave Sun for the big leagues of RCA Records by the end of 1955. But Phillips secured his place in musical history, and made a tidy profit even if it wasn’t $1 billion.

That was the beginning of an amazing singing career.  Elvis loved his mama and because he honored her, his life was blessed.

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Elvis with his parents. Army induction. March 24, 1958

There are literally dozens of You Tube videos of Elvis songs and tributes.  I invite you to visit You Tube today and listen to “That’s Alright Mama”.  What if Elvis had not wanted to honor his mother and make that recording for her birthday?  How different would his life had been?

What does the Bible tell us about honoring our father and mother?  It’s FOR it!  Pro-honor and pro-love of the parents:

 Honor your father and your mother, as the Lord your God commanded you, that your days may be long, and that it may go well with you in the land that the Lord your God is giving you.   – Deuteronomy 5:16

I think Elvis honored his mother in part because he felt bad about being the twin that survived.  His twin, Jesse Garon died at birth and Elvis often wondered why he was spared.  He never wanted to disappoint either of his parents, but particularly his mama.

The Bible instructs us to honor our parents.  It does not say obey.  We are to obey them when we are young, but when we are older we are to honor.  This is a wonderful example of honor:

THANK YOU MOM

To honor is to respect with patience and as much love as possible.  That is what makes our Lord smile and makes us good children.