Martin Wroe - Greenbelt
· Waiters Union
Listen to Dave Andrews & Songs in the Key of Be as Recorded on Radio National's Rhythm Divine.
Songs In The Key Of Be
50 Song Music Book
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Songs In The Key Of Be
50 Song Lyric Book
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Songs In The Key Of Be
50 Song Boxed 4CD Set
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Songs of Joy and Sorrow (Frank Communications, Brisbane 2008)
Songs of Hope and Protest (Frank Communications, Brisbane 2007)
Songs of Grace and Struggle (Frank Communications, Brisbane 2007)
Songs of Love and Justice (Frank Communications, Brisbane 2006)
I’m a church-based community worker, and I’ve worked in solidarity with disadvantaged groups for over forty years. During that time I have written, sung and recorded fifty songs we can sing along the way to sustain us in our struggle for genuine spiritual, personal and social change.
I started out with a very basic three- or four-chord, do-it-yourself, song-writing-for- dummies approach to writing songs, so they are all easy to play and easy to sing. In writing the songs, I worked through a simple three-step process.
First, I picked a theme by being present in my community, observing the issues people are struggling with, keeping my eyes, ears and heart open and then picking a Christlike theme that is both important to my community and matches their mood—not just the highs of hope, but also the lows of despair.
I can remember a time when there was a lot of painful conflict in our community, and we desperately sensed a need for forgiveness, so I began to write a song that expressed our deep need for mercy in the form of a prayer.
Second, I selected a melody by choosing a style that is popular in my community. I used to consider some melodies by popular artists, but not ones that were so well-known that everyone knew them. I would select a tune with a good hook that would catch people’s attention. If the music was too complicated, I’d simplify it to ensure that it would be easy enough for people in my community to play and sing.
I remember searching for a melody for the prayer for mercy song when I came across Van Morrison’s “Lover’s Prayer.” It was a typically lively Van Morrison melody, but few people in our community knew it, and so it was a perfect fit.
Third, I wrote and rewrote the lyrics. I started with a draft, usually a pretty bad draft at first, knowing I could fix it up later. Then each time I did a re-draft, I tried to make it a bit better, over and over again, until I got it more or less right. I know I’ve got it more or less right when the lyrics match the melody—when they are memorable and meaningful, and they say what I want to say and what I think my community wants to say.
I remember writing and rewriting the lyrics and melody for “Need Your Mercy,” which emerged gradually and eventually became a much-beloved prayer song in our church.
Lord, Lord, Lord, Lord, Lord. Won’t you listen to me Lord,
Lord Lord, Lord, Lord, Lord, Lord. Need your mercy, mmm.
We don’t wanna hang about, fightin’ anymore.
Don’t wanna leave nobody hurt, lyin’ at the door.
Resentment causes vengeance, vengeance causes pain.
Pain breaks like a cloudburst, tears pour down like rain.
We don’t know quite what to do, we’re under so much strain.
Don’t know who’s there to talk to, the line’s on hold again.
Often feel like givin’ up, layin’ down and dyin’.
But you told us we could call on you, I guess we’ll keep on tryin’.
A desperate prayer . . . oh yeah!
We need you there. Need you to care.
We need to hear you, gently speaking to our soul.
Whisperin’ forgiveness, grace that makes us whole.
You leave us with the feelin’, you’re givin’ us a chance
To get ourselves together, to join in with the dance.
As time has gone by, I’ve gained confidence in writing my own melodies. I believe that people learn much of their theology through songs, so we need to write good songs to teach good theology. I think that it’s even possible to communicate quite complex theology through simple songs.
In writing down this music, I was helped by Greg and Katie Manning. In recording these songs, I was helped by some of the most talented musicians I know: Peter Branjerdporn, Andrew Kennedy, Dave Fittell, Rob Haysom, Paul Young, Luke Page, Martin Richards, Evonne Richards, Hudson Read, Eleanor Owles, Rachael Brady, Andrew Wilcox, Katei Chang, Benjamin Hooper and Marty Kendall.
'Dave Andrews and some talented musician friends have put together CDs of songs that remind us that God is "close to the broken-hearted and saves those crushed in spirit" (Psalm 34).'
'They are songs of community encountering hope in the midst of hopelessness. "What Love Is This?" and "The Way of Christ" express the pure amazement we must have for the love that was shown to us by the cross of Jesus. Some songs support moments of deep reflection, others stir us to do the good we know we should do. "Hey Hey You Say" is an anthem-like call to end the war and feed the poor. "We Can Be" is a great encouragement that there is significance in the things we can do - especially when we do them in community. "Set My Heart on Fire" is a song to sustain us in times of struggle. "Don't Be Afraid" calls us to face the fear of encountering those on the margins. After all it is the community that cares for the needy that will find itself in the kingdom where "Love Reigns". This is a great resource for musicians trying to communicate that God is in the midst of those who seek grace and call for justice and do these things in love.'
'The(se) aren't superstar songs - so I suggest you look somewhere else for that kind of music. They are songs to evoke the journey of faith in community. (But) Dave has worked with quite a hot band to put down songs that express the joy and sorrow of that journey. 'Jesus Is On The Mainline' rocks us into this album that helps us to find voice for longing. 'Time Was When' is a gentle look back on the reminiscent glow of many times together with one another and with God. 'For Our Friends' is a soft, jazzy celebration of the ragtag, yet beautiful, community of immigrants who have gathered in our country. 'Tell To Me Now' and 'What A Shame' are poignant songs of longing for healing and fellowship. 'Most Dearly' is probably the least rock-n-roll song on the CD, yet so close to the prayers of our partners as we look for hope in difficult times. I loved the plaintive cello sound that brought such richness to the theme. There's even a couple of love songs tucked away in this collection of 16 songs. Yet the 'rebel Jesus' is the centre of the dreams fulfilled in joy and struggles through sorrow.'
Tony Thorpe Target Magazine
These songs are dedicated to all the people I have lived and worked with over the last fifty years. 'On the mainline' is the No 1 hit at St Andrew's Community Service where I worship. 'I've got a friend' is a West End 21st Century 23rd Psalm which I wrote one Sunday night with the St Andrew's congregation. 'For our friends' is a song of thanks giving for all the friends we have made along the way. 'Those were the times' celebrates some of the luminous moments that we shared together. 'Only certainty' is an affirmation of faith in the midst of the grief we feel about the friends we have lost along the way. 'Tell to me now' is the longing for healing that I always carry with me like an ache in my heart. 'Living in eternity' is a mantra for our friends in the Waiters Union, Sahara and Servants. All songs are in memory of 'The rebel Jesus'. Please feel free to take these songs, make them your own, and use them as you will.
The last set, including ‘This Is My Song’, 'Love Only Love’, ‘What A Shame’, ‘Have No Fear’, ‘Most Dearly’, and ‘So Good, are quiet gentle personal songs reflecting on our fidelity to one another in spite of our fragility. This set of Songs Of Joy and Sorrow is streamed on Spotify as Songs of Fragility and Fidelity
All lyrics and music were written by Dave Andrews (except 1 - a traditional adapted by Dave; 3 - written with St. Andrew's on 18/9/05; the music for 10 was written with David Fittell, Rob Haysom; the music for 9 was adapted from a theme by John Hall.) Recorded by Dave Andrews (vocals) and Friends: Peter Branjerdporn (vocals and rhythm guitar), David Fittell (bass guitar), Rob Haysom (lead guitar), Marty Kendall (saxophone) Eleanor Bowles (cello), Andrew Kennedy (lead guitar, acoustic guitar, bass guitar, percussion, keyboards, cutlery, vocals). Tim Minchen recorded tracks 1,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10. David Fittell organized the contribution of the blues band - 'The Adventures Of...' featured on those tracks. Andrew Kennedy recorded track 2. The album was produced, engineered, mixed and mastered by Andrew Kennedy. This music are available for streaming from iTunes/Apple Music, Spotify, YouTube Music, Amazon, Pandora and Deezer.
When Lech Welensa was asked 'What did the church contribute to Solidarity?' 'Music' He said. I'm a church-based community worker. I've worked in solidarity with disadvantaged groups for over fifty years. And this is the music that I have written to help sustain my friends in hope and protest. The songs on this album are some of the favourites that we sing most often in fellowship with our neighbours with whom we gather on Sunday evenings in the basement of St Andrews’ Church South Brisbane to affirm our ongoing long-term solidarity.
‘We Can Be’ explores our capacity to change and be the change; 'Let Justice Roll’ challenges us to deal with our complicity with the injustice in our political economy; ‘Need Your Mercy’ is a prayer from the heart of despair; ‘Comfort Of Love’ is a reflection on the gentle touch of God’s love; ‘Hey-Hey You Say’ contrasts our prayer with the Lord’s Prayer;’ 'God's Love Is Good’ is an upbeat appreciation of God’s love that gives us a reason to live (which I wrote for people in our community after a series of suicides); ‘Set My Heart On Fire’ celebrates the ‘spark that sets my heart on fire’; ‘Hope For Nothing Less’ voices a longing for ‘real peace and happiness’; ‘In Everything There Is Grace’ expresses my panentheistic theology of prevenient benevolence; ‘May The Wonder Come’ expresses the hope ‘heaven’s work on earth be done through you and your family forever’; the last song is a beautiful reflective solo saxophone reprise of ‘Comfort Of Love’.
All lyrics and music were written by Dave Andrews (except 1 written with Peter Branjerdporn, 2 - written by Garth Hewitt, the music for 3, 7 & 8 was adapted from themes by Van Morrison, Kenny Loggins & Jim Messina and John Hall). Recorded by Dave Andrews (vocals) and Friends: Peter Branjerdporn (vocals and rhythm guitar), Hudson Read (lead guitar), David Fittell(bass guitar), Paul Young (percussion), Andrew Wilcox (keyboards), Luke Page (saxophone), Martin Richards (Trombone), Rachael Brady and Evonne Richards (vocals). It was organised, arranged and pre-produced by Peter Branjerdporn; produced, engineered, mixed and mastered by Paulie B. from the band George in the Tanuki Lounge, West End, Brisbane. This music are available for streaming from iTunes/Apple Music, Spotify, YouTube Music, Amazon, Pandora and Deezer.
I'm not a musician. I'm a community worker. My songs are not for performance, but for participation. These songs are for people to sit with, to walk around with and to sing along with. Feel free to take these songs, make them your own, and use them as you will.
'Jesus Song' celebrates the Beatitudes/Be-Attitudes articulated in the Sermon On The Mount; 'Love reigns' calls us to incarnate the 'kindom of friends' by loving one another 'in truth and in deed'; and 'Don't be afraid', is a song, written after the infamous Cronulla race riots, which gently encourages us to overcome our 'fear of others'.
'What do you want' asks the question about what you want after you've learnt 'your love's not enough'; 'I still long for love' is a heartfelt affirmation of love after all hope is gone; 'All I have to offer' is a 'promise to be here', 'faithful as a friend', 'faithful to the end'; and 'I believe in you' is a thoughtful reflection on the ambiguity and ambivalence of our doubt-full faith and our faith-full doubt.
The next three songs are a set for mass or communion:- 'Its Christ that bleeds' is a Confession 'At The Foot Of The Cross'; 'What love is this' is a Commemoration of 'The Face Of Compassion'; and 'The way of Christ' is a Consecration 'In The Footsteps Of Christ'.
'Praise the saints' is an acknowledgment of all those who practice the Beatitudes/Be-Attitudes - whether they are Christians or not. 'Light the candle' is an accompaniment for our ritual of lighting a candle as a faltering, flickering 'prayer for the darkness to end'.
All lyrics and music are written by Dave Andrews (except 2 - written for our community by Steve Bevis and 7 - lyrics and music adapted from Derek Lynd). This album was recorded by Dave Andrews (vocals) and Friends: Peter Branjerdporn (vocals and rhythm guitar), Katei Chang (violin), Dave Fittell (bass guitar), Peter Fletcher (percussion), Benjamin Hooper (cello), and Andrew Kennedy (vocals, piano, acoustic guitar, electric guitar, bass guitar, drums and chimes). It was pre-produced by Peter Branjerdporn; produced, engineered and mixed by Andrew Kennedy; and mastered by Matthew Gray. This music is available for streaming from iTunes/Apple Music, Spotify, YouTube Music, Amazon, Pandora and Deezer.
These are not Hill Songs, but Valley Songs, songs about the joys and sorrows of ordinary people struggling resolutely for love and for justice 'in the valley of the shadow of death'. We sing ‘Kindness’ in our community to remind ourselves ‘It’s not about might. It’s not about rights! It’s all about the light of the kindness in your eyes.’ ‘All We Ever Talk About’ asks: ‘When will we ever learn to care? For someone else - other than ourselves?’ In ‘Sorry’ I reflect on the great myth that we are ‘fair go’ people, saying ‘Sorry, Aussies, I think we're against what we say we're for!’. The next song asks the question ‘What Are We Gonna Do when our luck runs out?’ ... ‘What Are We Gonna Do when our karma kicks in?’
In ‘We Believe’ we say ‘The secret of the universe is in the heart of God. The secret of heaven on earth is in that heart of love. Love that breathes reality into our sacred dreams, stirs forgotten memories, and sets our spirits free.’ In ‘Not For Me’ I say that ‘I won’t raise my hat to status. Won’t bow my knee to wealth. But I’ll sing and dance for justice with the “wretched of the earth”.’ In ‘Jesus For Prime Minister’ I share ‘He’s looking for some extra hands. To build a better land.’ In ‘Wanna’ I attest to the fact that I ‘Wanna care for the rich, care for the poor. Care for the stranger knocking at the door. I wanna care for myself - and everybody else.’ But it isn’t easy. 'The people ahead of us are daunted. The people behind us are tired. The people in the middle, ground down by the struggle, find the going is getting too hard.' We need songs that strengthen our resolve - that help us all to 'Keep On Goin'
‘One Day’ is our dream for a world of love and justice. ‘One day the dollar will rule no more. One day the gospel will be the lore. One day the promise of heaven on earth will come to pass. One day the rich will share with the poor. One day the poor rejoice for sure. One day the promise of heaven on earth will come to pass.’ The last song is ‘Do It’ - ‘Please do it! If we don't do it - the dream won't do! Do it! Please do it! Unless we do it - it just won't do! It doesn't matter whether what we do is great. It doesn't matter whether what we do is small. It only really matters that we don't do nothing at all.
These rough cuts were originally recorded 'live' in three hours by Dave Andrews (vocals) and Friends: Peter Branjerdporn (electric guitar) Dave Fittell (bass guitar) and Paul Young (drums) in the basement at St Andrews, Vulture Street, South Brisbane. Luke Page (saxophone) and Andrew Kennedy (guitars and keyboards) added extra instrumentation. Recorded and remixed by Andrew Kennedy, mastered by Matthew Gray. This music is available for streaming from iTunes/Apple Music, Spotify, YouTube Music, Amazon, Pandora and Deezer.