Friday, July 07, 2006

An honor for Andrae Crouch

You know how David Cassidy once said that the Beatles wrote the soundtrack to his youth? Well, sometimes I feel that Andrae Crouch wrote the soundtrack to my college years.

I can vividly recall my sister Lisa and I tooling around Springfield, Missouri in our little red Monza Town Coupe with "The Best of Andrae" 8-track (yes, 8-track--I'm old), blasting away (she with her Dorothy Hamill haircut, me with my Farrah 'do, in all our glory.)

Working in Christian radio in Springfield, I even wangled free tickets to Andrae's concert at the John Q. Hammons Center, circa 1977 or '78. (The opening act of the concert was Chris Christian. Now, there's a "whatever happened to....?")

Tonight in Grapevine, Texas, Andrae Crouch is being honored with International Worship Institute's Cherub Award. Past winners include prolific Christian songwriters Bill and Gloria Gaither.

So many great songs. "It Won't Be Long," "Bless His Holy Name," "Soon and Very Soon," "I Don't Know Why Jesus Loved Me," "(I'm Gonna) Keep on Singing"...the list goes on and on.

Our family sang together as we traveled around raising support when my dad was a missionary. My dad was a lover of music, and although he didn't have a lot of use for much contemporary Christian music, he fully appreciated--and so we sang--songs like "My Tribute (To God Be the Glory," "Through it All," and "The Blood Will Never Lose Its Power." So those songs, especially "Through it All," will forever make me think of my dad.

The Andrae music I had as a youngster was all on vinyl records or 8-tracks, so as the years passed, I lost track of those wonderful songs. At one point, though, my sister Lisa gave me a cassette tape of "The Best of Andrae"...and my kids were introduced to his music. Recently, Justin obtained a CD of Crouch songs, and we're falling in love with them all over again.

Andrae Crouch is now 64 years old and pastors the California church founded by his parents. This Sunday, he will sing a medley of his songs at the Franklin Graham crusade in Baltimore.

And Andrae is recording again! After an eight-year absence, he's out with Mighty Wind. USA Today gave it 3 and a half stars out of four.

I'm delighted that Andrae's getting some well-deserved recognition for his enormous contribution to Christian music. Songs like "Through It All" and others have found their way into hymnbooks, and will stand the test of time, continuing to stir Christians to praise for years to come.

Go here to listen to soundclips of music from "The Best of Andrae."

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