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August 2, 2007

Robin Roberts and A Few Musical Notes

Hey all,

A few weeks ago I had an interview air on The 700 Club with ABC’s Good Morning America co-host Robin Roberts. Just days ago she announced that she discovered she has breast cancer and will be undergoing an operation and ongoing treatment tomorrow Friday August 3.

Here you can find her personal announcement of her “challenge”. Obviously, she needs prayer as well as medical care. Her belief in the power of prayer is one of the subjects she speaks to in our interview.

You can send Robin Roberts a personal message by clicking here.

Musical notes

I am continually inundated with music CDs of all kinds, good and bad. The following are a few that have come to my attention in the last few weeks that you might be interested in; It’s quite an eclectic mix.

Ed BruceSing About JesusI interviewed Ed some time ago for The 700 Club, and he told his personal tale of “meeting Jesus” on his tractor on the back 40 of his farm in Tennessee. This is a country boy, who wrote a big hit for Willie Nelson a number of years ago, "Mama, Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to be Cowboys". With his resonant baritone, he also sang a song for us in our interview, "Jesus Loved the Hell Out of Me!"

Johnny CashJohnny CashCash Ultimate Gospel - Although John has gone on to be with Jesus, his music stays on, and this album is a compilation of the numerous gospel songs Cash recorded over the years, some with his wife June Carter Cash. Many of these are old gospel, hymns, and spiritual standards such as "Peace in the Valley", "When the Roll is Called Up Yonder", and "How Great Thou Art". This is a 24 track set.

DionBronx in Blue – Yo! Dion DiMucci, an old friend of Nedra’s and mine, the maker of so many hits, "Runaround Sue" (who he is still married to after over forty years, and she ain’t running around), "The Wanderer", "Abraham, Martin & John", "Ruby Baby", and on and on; plus he is a member of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

This album is Di with acoustic guitar, “No tricks. No (other) musicians. No vocal overdubs”. Just Dion.

As he says in the liner notes: “In the Bronx (N.Y.) there was no rock & roll in the early '50s,” and so Dion would listen to country music and the blues. This album is an expression of those influences in his musical life. And as he says, “Yes, surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses, in the spirit of the ‘Early Fathers of the Blues’ cheering us on, with their blessing, we rock!” And he sounds great! My personally autographed copy is not for sale.

2nd Chapter of ActsAnnie Herring with Michael Omartian – One on One – For those of you who hearken back to the “Jesus Music” of the '60s and '70s, here are a couple of real influences from that period. Although Michael Omartian, as a producer, arranger, and songwriter transcended Jesus music exclusively, here he shines as a keyboard accompanist to one of the best singer/songwriters of the outstanding musical groups of that era period, Annie Herring, of The Second Chapter of Acts, comprised of her sister Nelly Ward and Matthew Ward.

Annie is an old friend, and she sounds just like…well…Annie! And it’s great to hear her again. Omartian’s keyboard work is outstanding. Like Dion’s album, this is bare bones stuff with no bells and whistles. They don’t need it.

Phil Keaggy and FriendsAcoustic Café – OK, it’s a stacked deck with another old friend, Mr. Phil. Here he is joined by some other friends, including his daughter Alicia and Randy Stonehill on a wonderful cross section of fine songs from the pop music era.

George Harrison’s (of the Beatles) "Here Comes the Sun"; Bob Dylan’s "If Not for You"; "God Only Knows" by Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys; Lennon McCartney’s "In My Life" and "Here, There, Everywhere"; Billy Joel’s "She’s Got a Way" and other gems from our collective music history.

Ricky Skaggs & Bruce Hornsby – Just recently I interviewed Ricky Skaggs, whom I have known for many years. He has inherited the musical mantle of Bluegrass music from the father of that genus, Bill Monroe. But here Ricky stretches out into a fusion of sounds with the prodigious vocal and keyboard accompaniment of Bruce Hornsby (The Way It Is). This album really works; a perfect marriage of distinct and complimentary sounds.

A real fun CD for all you “doo-woppers”:

SantosStreet Corner Symphony – Here are many of the old “doo wop songs” from that '50s era, with an original himself, Walter Santos. A friend of Dion’s (see above) from the neighborhood. Santos and his cohorts have taken the tunes of that period and re-interpreted them with the sound of the originals. "Heatwave" (Martha and the Vandellas); "I Only Have Eyes for You" (The Flamingos); "A Teenager in Love" (Frankie Lymon & the Teenagers); "So Much in Love" (The Tymes), and 11 more.

This album is just out and out fun with a new spin on an old message.

Finally, from the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Boogie Queen, Nedra Ross, the re-issue digitzed CD of her original album Full Circle.

And my book Scott Free – limited edition

That oughta’ hold us for awhile,


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