Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Carolina In The Morning

"Carolina in the Morning" was written way back in 1922 but it remains a popular song nearly 100 years later! The list of artists who have sung it is long, including Al Jolson, Danny Winchell, Bing Crosby, Dean Martin, Jimmy Durante, Dinah Shore, Judy Garland and Danny Kaye. It has been featured on shows like "I Love Lucy," "My Three Sons" and "The Dick Van Dyke Show."

The song was written by Gus Kahn (words) and Walter Donaldson (music), neither of whom lived in the Carolinas, oddly enough! It debuted on Broadway in 1922.

Since we are from South Carolina, we personally think the lyrics are quite appropriate! 

Nothing could be finer than to be in Carolina in the morning
No one could be sweeter than my sweetie when I meet her in the morning
Where the morning glories twine around the door
Whispering pretty stories I long to hear once more

Strolling with my girlie where the dew is pearly early in the morning
Butterflies all flutter up and kiss each buttercup at dawning
If I had Aladdin's lamp for only a day
I'd make a wish and here's what I'd say
Nothing could be finer than to be in Carolina in the morning

Available on "Joyful Harps Encore!" or as an MP3 download.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Need A Stocking Stuffer? Beautiful Music on Sale!

We're barely past Halloween (or Reformation Day, in our family!) and already the Christmas music is playing in stores. Unlike many people, we love it!

Christmas is more than one day a year. Christmas is a celebration of Christ coming to earth to save us from our sins. This gift from God the Father to us is the essence of amazing grace. And it's something we're thankful for all year, not just on December 25!

We love to mirror the Father's loving gift by giving gifts to our friends and family this time of year. And so we want to give YOU a gift too!

This holiday season, we are putting all of our CDs on sale!

PLUS we are giving you a package deal of our 2 Christmas CDs for only $15!!

PLUS we will give a free, handmade harp Christmas ornament to all of our friends who order 5 or more CDs!!!

It's our way saying "Thank you" for supporting and encouraging us to make beautiful music for you.

We wish you God's blessing this holiday season!
~Heather & Raquelle

Sunday, October 4, 2015

For the Beauty of the Earth

Folliott Pierpoint was a scholar who lived in Bath, England in the 1800s. He was just 29 when the beautiful countryside inspired him to write what is now a favorite harvest hymn: For the Beauty of the Earth. But he didn't write it as a harvest hymn.

Pierpoint originally intended the poem to be eucharistic, that is, a hymn sung for mass or the Lord's Supper. The chorus he wrote reflected that intention. It said, 

Lord of all, to Thee we raise
This our sacrifice of praise.

He even titled it "The Sacrifice of Praise," which was how it appeared in an 1864 hymn book. But later the words were slightly altered to says instead:

Lord of all, to Thee we raise
This our hymn of grateful praise.

Since then, it has become associate with the season of harvest and thanksgiving. At a time when we reap and gather the Lord's material blessings in our lives, it's good to step back and not only thank Him but appreciate the non-material blessings He has given us as well.

For the beauty of the earth
For the Glory of the skies, 
For the love which from our birth
Over and around us lies: 

For the beauty of each hour
Of the day and of the night, 
Hill and vale and tree and flow'r 
Sun and Moon and stars of light 

For the joy of human love,
Brother, sister, parent, child.
Friends on earth and friends above
For all gentle thoughts and mild.

For each perfect gift of Thine
To our race so freely given.
Graces human and divine
Flow'rs of earth and buds of heav'n.

Lord of all, to Thee we raise
This our hymn of grateful praise.

This hymn is found on our "Joyful Harps Hymns" CD or you can purchase the song as an MP3 download.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

I Wish I Was In Dixie

Dixie was written by Daniel Decatur Emmett, composer of other enduring favorites like “Blue Tail Fly” and “Old Dan Tucker.” Emmett was actually a Northerner, one of the famed Bryant Minstrels.

As the story goes, in 1869 the Bryant Minstrels were playing at a theater on Broadway but they were losing creative energy. One Saturday night Jerry Bryant, the troupe leader, decided the show need some new songs to generate enthusiasm among the audience. So Bryant asked Emmett to write a new grand finale song—and have it ready for rehearsal Monday morning, please.

Now, the typical minstrel shows of that time included parlor songs, caricatured mock-opera comedies, and scenes and music relating to life on a Southern plantation. Then there would be the grand finale. This grand finale was what Emmett was supposed to write.

So Emmett sat down to think out a song but he wasn’t feeling inspired. The day was rainy and cool and he sat in the kitchen glaring at the rain, wishing for the warm, sunny days of the South. “I wish I was in Dixie,” he muttered. That was it! Struck by his own words, he quickly penned the words and music.

When the song was first performed, even though Bryant opted not to use it as a grand finale, it became an instant hit and spread across the nation.

In December, 1860, John Dwight, the editor of Dwight’s Journal of Music wrote that the orchestra at a St. Louis theater played Dixie before the curtain rose on a play. A few moments later one of the actors stepped out for the opening scene—but the crowds roared for “Dixie” again. The audience would not settle down and the actor stormed furiously off the stage. The manager appeared.

“Gentlemen, what means this ill-mannered confusion, what do you want?” he bellowed in a rage.

“Dixie!” the audience thundered.

“Well, you can’t have it!” he thundered back. “You’ve had ‘Dixie’ once tonight and you’ll have ‘Dixie’ no more!” He walked off, thinking he had settled the matter. But as soon as the actor reappeared on the stage, the crowd roared for “Dixie” even louder than before. Fine! Down went the curtain, the orchestra played “Dixie” one more time, and everyone was happy and sat back quietly for the play.

“Dixie” was played at Jefferson Davis’s inauguration, linking it inextricably to the new Confederacy, and helping to establish the song as the unofficial national anthem of the South.

Interestingly, it is said that "Dixie was also Abraham Lincoln's favorite song!

Some Southerners objected to the slapstick nonsense words of the song. Henry Hotze, a reporter from Alabama who was sent as a delegate to England to spread sympathy for the Confederate cause, expressed wonder about the, “magic those rude, incoherent words, which lend themselves to so many parodies, of which the poorest is an improvement on the original.” The “rude incoherent words” are still a favorite today though, so apparently no one heeded his criticism.

Nonetheless, Albert Pike, a judge on the Arkansas Supreme court, apparently decided the words to the song needed a little help, so he wrote “The War Song of Dixie,” the version that begins—

“Southrons! Hear your country call you!
Up! Lest worse than death befall you...
To arms! To arms! To arms! In Dixie!

This version would prove very popular as well, in addition to many other spoofs, parodies, and alternate versions. Today Dixie is still a wildly popular song in both the North and the South.

We have two versions of Dixie on our CD "Joyful Harps 1865" - a slow version and a fast version. You can buy the CD by clicking here or you can buy the MP3 files in our shop.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

In The Garden

The hymn “In The Garden” is based on the text in John 20, where Jesus appears to Mary Magdalene after His resurrection. Here's part of that passage: 

Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb and saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus’ body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot. They asked her, “Woman, why are you crying?” “They have taken my Lord away,” she said, “and I don’t know where they have put him.”

Mary was deeply grieved. But then the beautiful part of the story occurs - Jesus appears. But she didn't recognize Him!

At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus. “Woman,” he said, “why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?” Thinking he was the gardener, she said, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him and I will get him.” Jesus said to her, “Mary.”

At the sound of her name from his lips, she realized it was him. Comfort flooded her soul. Many times when we are going through trials, we have Jesus present in our lives but simply don't recognize Him.

But Jesus is gentle with us too. In the same way He did with Mary, Jesus makes His presence known to us and speaks quietly to our spirits, reminding us that we are His dearly beloved child. As the hymn says,

He walks with me & he talks with me & he tells me I am his own
And the joy we share as we tarry there none other has ever known.

"In The Garden" is available on our CD "Joyful Harps Hymns" or you can buy the MP3 in our shop. 

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Stories About Lorena

"Lorena" is one of our most popular concert songs when we play 1860s music. The most widely-sung musical sweetheart of the Confederacy was Lorena. Many Southern girls were named for the song’s heroine, as well as several pioneer settlements and even a steamship! In fact, when we researched our family tree, we discovered an "Aunt Lorena" in our ancestry. 

Just before he died at the battle of Yellow Tavern in May 1864, General J.E.B. Stuart, the best-known singing general of the Civil War, sang this song as he headed his column.

The song was so prevalent that one woman snorted that by 1861, “there [was] a girl in large hoops and calico frock at every piano between …[Charleston] and the Mississippi, banging [out Lorena] on the out-of-tune thing—and looking up into a man’s face who wears [the] Confederate uniform.”

A story goes that Maj. Gen. Benjamin Franklin Cheatham of Tennessee and Brig. Gen. John Stuart Williams of Kentucky were riding home together from North Carolina to reclaim their ravaged homes. Arguing the what-ifs of what might have happened if Kentucky joined the Confederacy or if Tennessee had entered earlier than it did, Williams (of Kentucky) brought up another problem.

“If I had nothing else against your people, Cheatham,” Williams said, “I’d avoid them because they’re always singing that infernal heartbreaking song ‘Lorena’.”

Cheatham denied this and swore that no Tennessean ever had or ever would sing it. The argument continued for several miles and finally Williams bet Cheatham two silver dollars that the next Tennessean they ran into would either be singing “Lorena” or singing it before he was out of earshot.

Cheatham accepted the bet. Shortly thereafter they came upon a Confederate soldier resting on a log on his tramp homewards. Williams asked the soldier where he was from.

“That’s hard to say,” the soldier said, and explained that after being in the Confederate army for four years he felt like he no longer hailed from anywhere. But, he offered, he was originally from Tennessee so he supposed he could say he was from there. “It matters little now Lo-ree-na…” he sung.

Williams instantly turned to Cheatham and demanded his money!

You can purchase this song on our CD "Joyful Harps 1865" or you can buy the MP3 in our shop.