About Me

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Lake Mathews (Perris), CA, United States
I am a native of Illinois and grew up in Wilmette, a northern suburb of Chicago. I have one sibling, an older brother. After dropping out of college, I moved to California in 1973 with my first husband. I married my present husband, Butch, in 1977 and got 4 children in the deal. They have gone on to make me a grandmother 25 times over and a great-grandmother of 19. Three years after I married Butch I returned to school. I got my bachelors and masters degrees in speech communication and was a professor in that field for 13 years. I retired in 2001 to return to school and get my doctorate in folklore. Now I meld my two interests - folklore and genealogy - and add my teaching background, resulting in my current profession: speaker/entertainer of genealogically-related topics. I play a number of folk instruments, but my preference is guitar, which I have been playing since 1963. I work in partnership with Gena Philibert-Ortega with Genealogy Journeys where we focus on educating folks about Social History. More about that can be found at http://genaandjean.blogspot.com and more about my own business projects is on my Circlemending website.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

SUNDAY SINGALONG - More Gospel Songs

Last Sunday I decided to institute a Sunday Singalong on my blog, but I didn't post it until fairly late since I had been at Jamboree until mid-afternoon, so a lot of folks didn't learn about it until the next day. So here I will repeat some of my ideas on how this can go:

I will propose a general topic and you search your memory (but it's an "open book" exercise, so go ahead and look at music books in your home or look at old photos to jog the mind) and suggest a song that will fit the theme. If you want to share some of the words from your preferred version, that would be great, but if lack of time dictates that you to keep it short, then just enter a title! Links to lyrics, MP3s, or YouTube videos would also be a nice addition. You can also add why the song is significant or memorable to you.

Last week I proposed the topic "Gospel Songs," but since most folks didn't get a chance to play the game, I'm going to repeat that topic. I have a selfish reason for that as well - since this is Father's Day and since my Dad, though a devout heathen (self-proclaimed) throughout most of his life, played Gospel songs on the organ and was the son of a woman (my grandma) who was a prolific writer of Gospel songs, I want to honor Dad with this topic.

My offering this week: The songs of Pauline E. Wilcox, who sometimes enlisted the aid of my dad, her son, to write the music, but often used the artistry of Merrill Dunlop to carry her message. Merrill Dunlop was the music director for the Chicago Gospel Tabernacle, presided over by Paul Rader.

Dad always said that he liked Mr. Dunlop's compositions because they were challenging to play (for Dad, "the more difficult, the better" was his motto). Dunlop's collections are now housed in Wheaton, Illinois (I donated a number of things to their archives) but I do have a couple of his hymn books, at least one with some of my grandmother's songs:

So here is my "offering" for our Sunday Singalong - one of the songs written by Mema (that's what I called Pauline E. Miller Wilcox, my paternal grandmother):

I like to think that there is always a better day coming (I know, that's not what my grandmother meant by the phrase). Hope your life is filled with better and better days! Happy Father's Day to all the dads out there!


  1. I have always loved "Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing". It is one of my favorites. I remember when I had to look of the meaning of the work 'Ebenezer'. It simple means, "Stone of help". And signifies that all who sing the song acknowledge God's many blessings and the help in their lives.

    Come Thou Fount
    Text: Robert Robinson, 1735-1790

    Come, thou Fount of every blessing,
    tune my heart to sing thy grace;
    streams of mercy, never ceasing,
    call for songs of loudest praise.
    Teach me some melodious sonnet,
    sung by flaming tongues above.
    Praise the mount! I'm fixed upon it,
    mount of thy redeeming love.

    Here I raise mine Ebenezer;
    hither by thy help I'm come;
    and I hope, by thy good pleasure,
    safely to arrive at home.
    Jesus sought me when a stranger,
    wandering from the fold of God;
    he, to rescue me from danger,
    interposed his precious blood.

    O to grace how great a debtor
    daily I'm constrained to be!
    Let thy goodness, like a fetter,
    bind my wandering heart to thee.
    Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
    prone to leave the God I love;
    here's my heart, O take and seal it,
    seal it for thy courts above.

  2. I've always loved Keep On The Sunny Side, written in 1899 by Ada Blenkhorn and popularized by the Carter Family in 1928.

    Keep On The Sunny Side of Life
    Written by Ada Blenkhorn in 1899.
    Music by J. Howard Entwisle.

    There's a dark and a troubled side of life
    There's a bright and a sunny side, too
    Tho' we meet with the darkness and strife
    The sunny side we also may view

    Keep on the sunny side, always on the sunny side,
    Keep on the sunny side of life
    It will help us every day, it will brighten all the way
    If we'll keep on the sunny side of life

    Tho' the storm in its fury broke today,
    Crushing hopes that we cherished so dear;
    Storm and cloud will in time pass away
    The sun again will shine bright and clear.

    Let us greet with a song of hope each day
    Tho' the moments be cloudy or fair
    Let us trust in our Saviour alway
    Who keepeth everyone in His care

  3. These are great additions to our little singalong! Thanks for sharing. And, Patty, we'll see you in a few days in Flagstaff - can't wait!!

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  5. In the days before seat belts, I’d often hang over the front seat of the car and sing with my dad as he drove. We might start with popular songs or Broadway tunes but often we ended up singing a bunch of silly songs that always made us laugh.

    I’m not sure this is a “gospel song” but it taught me the gospel—at least one version of it. I only remember one verse and a Google search suggests to me that I might not have heard it quite right. King bing ruler? Or maybe this is a unique upstate New York Methodist version?

    At any rate, Sunday Sing-Along is a great idea. I’m looking forward to it!

    Old folks, young folks, everybody come.
    Join the Methodist Sunday School and have a lot of fun.
    Please park your chewing gum and raisins at the door
    And I’ll tell you bible stories that you’ve never heard before.

    Salome was a dancer. She danced before the king.
    She wiggled and she squiggled and she shook most everything.
    King bing ruler said we’ll have no scandal here but
    Salome said to heck with it and kicked the chandelier.

  6. LOL! Reminds me of Win Stracke's "Methodist Pie" - a song I remember from my Chicago childhood (Win was a Chicago folksinger & MP was his own creation, no doubt from memories of his childhood . . . your song here confirms his memories!). Thanks for participating.

  7. Not long ago I hear gospel, but I really like Naomi Shleton, one of my favorite songs is What have you done? I could not find the lyrics, but you must know ... I leave the video, greetings.