It was Christmas Day 1966, looking back, it was a pivotal day in my life as a young artist. My Stepfather got me the most amazing gift ever. It was a cassette tape recorder. As I opened the box, the space around me was filled with the smell of new plastic and excitement as I put in the batteries, snapped on the microphone and put a brand new cassette in its place. He showed me how I could not only record my own voice, but my favorite music as well.
My Mother had just married Chuck, my Stepfather a few months earlier, so this was our first Christmas together. She was very religious at the time and only allowed gospel music to be played at home. I realize now, that she was trying to protect me. She knew the power muisc had, even if she wasn’t able to express it. Most evenings, the music of Tony Fontane, James Cleveland, The Soul Stirrers – before Same Cooke left the group to sing secular music, and country gospel filled our home. Occasionally she would listen to classical music or Henry Mancini on the radio.
Looking back on it today, my stepfather introduced a whole new world of music to me. The music of Wes Montgomery, Earle Garner, Count Basie, Duke Ellington. Singers like; Sinatra, Streisand, Ella Fitzgerald, Johnny Mathis and his personal favorite, Sammie Davis Jr.
That Christmas Day was spent recording, rewinding, and recording again. I recorded and assortment of music, my sister and I singing, family conversations. I even tried flushing the toilet to capture what I thought were space ship sounds. What fun!
I recorded Wes Montgomery’s album “Bumpin” and listened to it in my room late into the night, until “Alright, turn that thing off and go to sleep” came from my Mother downstairs.
It was the best Christmas of my childhood. That Christmas, our family was new, we were happy, I had a Dad.
It was the last Christmas we were intact.
When I feel sad and hurt and lonely, I go back and listen to some of those old gospel songs. They bring me comfort.
Now as an adult, a musician trying to walk out my life as a believer in Christ, I understand the power of music. How it can be used to influence people. I realize the responsibility I have to sing truth and life into the people’ lives. I share the gift God has given me.
When God created Lucifer, He gave him music, instruments, beauty. When lucifer was cast down from heaven God didn’t take those gifts from him. So consequently, he uses them for evil to hurt us.
It is our responsibility as Artists and Believers to use our creative gifts for good and for God.