Saturday, February 03, 2007

"Victory in Jesus" and Sixteen Horsepower

What? Strange title eh? Let me explain. I bought a clever turntable (record player) a few weeks ago which will allow me to start to digitise the old 78rpm records that have been in the family for a few generations. Last night I digitised The Gleaner Quartet, an old Belfast gospel group, singing "Victory in Jesus", on the Evangelical Records label. I have no idea what year it was recorded, but it's absolutely magnificent. If all goes according to plan, and if I can get legal advice on copyright, I'd like to produce a CD of some of these old gems called "Fae Ma Granda's Oul Records" later in the year, with the title unashamedly inspired by the Johnny Cash album My Mother's Hymn Book

If you've never heard "Victory in Jesus" you're really missing something special.

David Eugene Edwards is the Colorado-based frontman of a now-defunct American alt-country band called Sixteen Horsepower. For a sheltered Ulster-reared believer like me (and maybe like you) he's a highly unconventional man. But I wonder how John Knox and Robert Blair were viewed in their generation? Did they look as foreboding as that photo of David? Musically, Sixteen Horsepower is impossible to describe - if you think that some of the Johnny Cash "American Recordings" gospel stuff is heavy, it's featherlight compared to Sixteen Horsepower. You can download a wonderful vocal-only recording of David and his grandfather singing "Victory in Jesus" here

"O victory in Jesus,
My Savior, forever.
He sought me and bought me
With His redeeming blood;
He loved me ere I knew Him
And all my love is due Him,
He plunged me to victory,
Beneath the cleansing flood"

"But thanks be to God, which giveth us
the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ."
1 Corinthians 15:57

In this interview, he says "...“Religion is kind of a weird word today … you know I grew up in the Church. My Grandfather was the preacher of the Church that I went to. It was small and he led the music. Socially that was a major part of my life. There are a lot of people that grow up in the Church or what ever and they don’t care about it or they don’t follow it. Just because your parents believe doesn’t mean you are going to. But I have always believed in it, in the Bible, and it’s a huge part of my life, it affects everything I do. There is no separation between it and my regular life … you know what I mean … That’s what I sing about..."

and also

" one wants to be thought of as a Christian because it’s not cool. It’s not the cool thing to be in the world's eyes for the most part, but I can’t do anything about it because that’s what I am. You know it’s not even necessarily a choice really. I mean there is a choice involved, in a sense, but I believe that God took hold of me rather than me taking hold of him. I mean there is that exchange but it starts with him rather than me..."

Here's another interview with David, and here's another, and here's another, and here's another. Worth reading, and worth thinking about.