Friday, June 29, 2012

New Old Covenant House Songs!: "Prodigal Song", "Love Can Be" and “Reaching Out to You” 

Mike McBride & Dave with son Dan at our 2011 Reunion Concert where we did “Prodigal Song” for “Prodigal Song” [classic live] for “Love Can Be” [classic live] for “Reaching Out to You” [classic live]

On our new "Classic Track" website, the songs we are featuring at the top are several songs we featured in our concerts during our ‘Covenant House’ era (about the late 70’s and early 80’s). We have Jim to thank for this as he rescued the tape we had done for one particular fund-raiser which involved a road race as well as our concert. He put some of these on his phone and brought them to a Pot Luck we had at Jon & Caroline’s this past year. We were all jamming in the cellar - and cooking with gas, I dare say - when Jim plugged these into the sound system and we started to jam along with them. My comment was, “I don’t remember those lyrics!”, to which Jim pointed out that we were just forming the songs and they hadn’t taken their final form. I am SO glad we have these!

For several of these first few songs on the site from this concert, we have preserved the ‘witnesses’ we used to do in our concerts. (I especially love Mike’s witness before “Prodigal Song”, because we can see with our own eyes how God has answered his longing for children in his two beautiful daughters!) We did these witnesses for a couple of reasons. First, our main purpose was obviously to bring Good News, to reach hearts and minds and lead them to that Power of love that can do miracles, within ourselves, where we are made in God’s image. Secondly, we usually liked to have a thematic coherence to our shows (more on this in a minute). Thirdly, on a very practical level, these were necessary to make smooth changes without disturbing the flow of the show; if Dave had to move to synth and Mark to bass, we didn’t want dead silence while they did.

Now, as far as that ‘thematic coherence’, this was especially true of these Covenant House shows. These ‘classic tracks’ are a snapshot of our “Prodigal Daughter” shows in formation. In his witness for “Reaching Out to You”, Tony describes how this happened. He saw an article about the work being done throughout the world by Covenant House. They try to give a safe haven for runaway kids, most of whom have been enslaved in sex trafficking (don’t ever believe that old lie that pornography is a victimless crime; it is truly evil as centuries of wisdom has taught us). Our idea was to have an entire show tell the story of a runaway girl in this situation, played by Krissy. By the time we got to 1984, this show was tight, impactful and spiritually powerful; ask my wife who saw us do it at Providence Civic Center that year and felt impelled to come thank us. These clips display the early stages of these songs.

“Prodigal Song” was the ‘homecoming’ part of the story and what a HAPPY song it is! The dancers had a whole routine they did to this which heightened the effect. So many of us are doing such intricate things at once, and yet it all blends so well like a true community celebration. Yes you can hear my ‘twangy’ electric in the background going on a few rides – I liked to turn the treble ALL the way up! Greg’s electric part is genius, although he hasn’t quite found his distortion sound yet at this point. This is probably the best song for Chuck’s horn of them all (excuse me, ‘marching valve tromBONE'). We did this song at our Reunion Concert this past year and added Greg’s son, Josh, doing trumpet. His improvising was just SO darn good at practice that we all just broke down laughing because…well…it was just riDICulous!!

I think we’ll discuss the other songs another time; as Chuck once so succinctly said, enough is enough! Enjoy these tunes in good health, spiritual and otherwise!
Peace out
Mark L.
An earlier symbol used by the Covenant House ministry to runaways 

 At St. Linus, around the time we were raising money for Covenant House