Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Songs that are TRULY Different

As I mentioned in the last post, the Minister of Music at my church received two boxes filled with old hymnbooks and songbooks from ages past. Most were published in the 1920s, 1930s, and 1940s. One book in particular caught the attention of some of our staff as we met in Rodney's recently cleaned-out office: "Songs that are Different" by F.M. Lehman. I'll just present some of the songs that we are hoping Rodney never has us sing on Sunday:

Remember in the last post I spoke of "Jesus or my boyfriend" type songs. Those are not unique to the current age. Read the lyrics to this hymn: "My Honeymoon."
Jesus is the only lover of my soul (of my soul),
He has won my heart and now has full control (full control);
Other loves come and go, Jesus never leaves me so -
There's a honeymoon in my heart all the time (since He is mine).
F.M. Lehman (1917, renewed 1945)
Here's a song of warning of all the false teachers of the day, presented in "The Auction":
Come ye, come ye, bargain seekers!
Come and see our special wares;
We are stocked with worldwide notions,
Have our counters full of snares.
We have Mother Eddy's science, Pastor Russell's no-hell seeds,
What we lack in real gospel we supply in crooked creeds.

We have Theosophic lectures,
You may purchase by the yard;
We will sell you cheap religion
if you'll only sign a card.
You may buy an easy method
How to clime [sic] the golden stairs
We have just received a shipment of the the famous brimstone wares.

We have games of chance for ladies
for their Thursday afternoons;
Statuary nude and paintings,
spicy songs with racy tunes.
Ho, ye! Come and take off our bargains!
Hell today is out of date.
Easy creeds will surely give you entrance through the golden gate.
F.M. Lehman (copyright 1919, renewed 1947)
Did anyone ever sing this song - "The Brown Blade"- in North Carolina?
There's a very noxious weed, fed by appetite and greed,
That is chewed by worms and goats and foolish man;
It discolors tooth and tongue in the age and the young,
It is time we placed this poison under ban.
We have seen church members, too, often slyly smoke and chew,
Heard them sing of heav'n and golden crowns to wear;
But they never will get through be they Gentile, Greek, or Jew,
God has said the filthy folks will not be there.

Some use the filthy stuff in the form of powdered snuff
On their gums or else they snuff it up their nose;
And a snuffiend who can smell with his breath the taint of - - well?
He is soaked in nicotine from heard to toes.
Though you think this song is odd
It will take the grace of God to regenerate the users of the weed.
It is time we were afraid of the brown tobacco blade
For the manhood of the nation we will plead.

Hell will reap a harvest yet through the deadly cigarette,
For our boys and even girls are gone astray;
Can our youth be truly just when the great Tobacco Trust
Flaunts its deadly wares before them night and day?
It is not enough to frown; we must break this evil down
By publicity and pray'r, both far and wide;
With no tombstone at his head,
Ol' John Barleycorn lies dead - King Tobacco shall be buried at his side.

Heaven is a clean place, no tobacco there.
All the folks are holy over there.
If you refuse to do God's will,
The Book syas you shall be filthy still.
F.M. Lehman (copyright 1920, renewed 1948).
People REALLY hated cigarettes back then. Check out this song: "King Nicotine Must Die!"
I have walked the woodland meadows
where the sunbeams flashed and broke,
But I never saw the cattle nor the sheep and horses smoke.
I have watched the birds in wonder
When the world with dew was wet,
But I never saw a robin smoke a filthy cigarette.

We broke the beer and whiskey jug, we smashed the license plan,
We'll take away the pipe and plus - We will; we know we can.
We voted out the vile saloon and made the nation dry;
Tobacco, too, must go; and soon, King Nicotine must die!

I have fished in many a river
When the sucker crop was ripe,
But I never saw a catfish puffing at a brierwood pipe.
I have watched the playful monkey
eating peanuts from my hand
But I never saw it dipping snuff at some tobacco stand.

I have listened to the cricket
And the droning katydid
But they never sang their love song through the droolings of a quid.
I have seen the hooting wood owl
sitting on its lonely crag,
But I never saw if puffing at a two-inch Turkish fag.
Finally, hot on the heels of the Scopes Monkey Trial, churches (somewhere) sang this song:
The "wise and prudent" tell me just what once I used to be -
A "germ" and then a "tadpole" then a "monkey" up a tree;
But just because a coconut fell on their poor old head
should be no reason I believe what disbelief has said:
They're guessing! Just guessing - only guessing!
(slowly here)
God made you and me. We're no relation to the money up a coconut tree.

Some ignoramus of the schools in mortarboard and gown
Declares this "monkey business" has been ably shifted down;
He guessed because a coconut fell on his hollow head
that evolution must be true; that Christ the Lord is dead.
F.M. Lehman (copyright 1924, renewed 1951).
This puts "God of Earth and Outer Space" on the level of "When I Survey the Wondrous Cross."

1 comment:

Jim Pemberton said...

*sings* "Give me that old time religion; Give me that old..."