Saturday, August 22, 2009

Saturday Soundtrack: Fret Not sings I'll Fly Away

This song was sung often in the churches of my childhood. There is probably a sociology paper in here, but I don't have that much time. I think it is interesting how the music of American evangelical protestants, especially the pentecostals/charismatics has changed over the years. This song was only written in 1931 but is now considered old, as can be seen by the dress of the musicians. The songs of that era, such as Farther Along, In the Sweet Bye and Bye, and this one spoke of suffering in this life and attaining rest after death. Those are not the kinds of songs one is likely to hear in the materially prosperous churches of the grandchildren of those Depression-era American Christians. Ifthey are sung it is usually for nostalgia's sake. (For the record, I am not opposed to nostalgia.) Unlike today, death and suffering were everywhere. Small pox and the flu killed enormous numbers of people every year. Rickets and tetany were plagues. Penury was one untimely hail storm, or one anthrax outbreak away for most of the country. Most families had lost at least one child. Suffering was real and it was hard. That suffering was reflected in the church music of the time.

Fret Not, a local Bay Area band specializes in the Christian music that was written during the 1st third of the 20th century, and they dress the part. Here is Fret Not singing I'll Fly Away, a song often sung in the little pentecostal churches in which I grew up.

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