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Janice Kapp Perry
Friday, January 17 2014

New Words to Old Songs: “Like a dash of Tabasco on scrambled eggs”

By Janice Kapp Perry Notify me when this author publishesComment on Article
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It is very popular among English-speaking churches around the world. It commonly appears in hymnals and choir books, and various sets of lyrics have been written to this memorable music. I chose the title “Jesus, My Savior” for our version of this song, which is beautifully performed by Tammy Simister Robinson.

Click here to listen  “Jesus, My Savior” 

Jesus, My Savior
(Tune: Be Thou My Vision)
Lyrics: Janice Kapp Perry
Soloist: Tammy Simister Robinson

Jesus, my Savior, my refuge, my friend
My comfort in weakness, my hope without end
Though troubled my pathway, though weary my soul
Thy word gives me solace, Thy love makes me whole

Jesus, my haven from sorrow and pain
Thy light in the darkness my soul doth sustain
In all tribulations that daily befall
Thou art my safe harbor, my courage, my all

Jesus, my shepherd, my shelter and shield
My heart to Thy kingdom forever is sealed
Thy essence surrounds me with marvelous light
Thy spirit doth lead me to paths that are right

Jesus, my Savior, my joy and my song
An unfailing beacon that still leads me on
I give Thee my worship, my will and my heart
Please lead me to heaven to be where Thou art

Sample Song – “When the Burdens of Life Press Upon Me”

I only remember this melody from a book of “Home Songs” that I used to sing from as a teenager.

I played guitar and would sit out on our porch at night and sing these interesting folks songs to the animals or the wheat fields, not really understanding all the words but somehow being touched by them nevertheless. The original song was “Sally Gardens.” Fortunately, our favorite “Irish” tenor, Daniel Beck, moved back to Utah just in time to record this song for us.

Click here to listen  “When the Burdens of Life Press Upon Me”

When the Burdens of Life Press Upon Me
(Tune: Sally Gardens)
Lyrics: Janice Kapp Perry
Soloist: Daniel Beck

When the burdens of life press upon me
And become more than I can bear
When the shadows of darkness surround me
There is one who is always there
I turn to Him with aching in my soul
And He hears my pleading prayer
Gentle Jesus is there to console me
And to rescue me from despair

When misfortune and heartache befall me
And my soul yearns to find relief
There is one voice of comfort that calls me
And invites me to feel His peace
He speaks to me in whispers still and small
And my flickering faith is fanned to flame
As His spirit refreshes and warms me
I find courage to rise again

Oh the heart that must bear secret sorrow
Shall find refuge in One alone
He has borne all our sin and our suff’ring
And our anguish to Him is known
He sees our tears, He hears our pleading prayers
And He waits to comfort and console
In the arms of His love we find healing
By His ransom we are made whole

Conclusion

Hymns have inspired us from the time our church was organized and Emma was given the assignment to make a collection of hymns for the saints. I have a copy of her tiny book which includes words only which were mostly sung to well-known tunes of the day—mostly from other denominations. Regarding our present hymnbook, author Karen Lynn Davidson says:

     Quite a few of our hymns have become so thoroughly

   assimilated into Latter-day Saint hymnody that we have

     almost lost sight of the fact that they were not originally

     our own. . . . Often a melody intended for a very different

     purpose has been adapted as a hymn tune. This practice

     was common among Christian denominations. (4)


I have always enjoyed simplicity in music and some of the old melodies are so beautiful to me in their simplicity. Writing new words to them has been a joy, and something I may want to continue.

I have written close to 160 new hymn tunes in the last decade, mostly writing to beautiful texts by other LDS authors and poets, but occasionally writing my own words. We have published these new hymns in five volumes of “Inspirational New Hymns for Choir and Home.” These hymns were written specifically for members of our church.

Now I am enjoying writing new words to public domain music from the past, while avoiding topics that strictly apply to the LDS Church (prophets, Joseph Smith, temples, Book of Mormon, etc). Most of the songs on this new album are Christ-centered, and address more general gospel topics. I hope others will find these songs uplifting and motivating in their homes and choirs.

 

Janice Kapp Perry: Composer, author, lecturer


(1) Jerry Earl Johnston, Mormon Times, November 29, 2012.
(2) Ibid.
(3) Ibid.
(4) Karen Lynn Davidson, Our Latter-day Hymns, Deseret Book, 1988, pp.5-6. 

All songs are also available on iTunes.


11 Comments

  1. Inspiring, brings me to tears.
  2. I used to do a lot of composing, then came my career...I really love the concept you have. It might just stir me to do some myself...I love your music and never felt I could equal it! I have original songs that are just 'sitting there'.
  3. I want to thank you so much for the New Words to Old songs, I got so much pleasure from singing them, they brought tears to my eyes. I knew the tune of Danny Boy, but was amazed that I knew the other two tunes and could sing the songs as if I had known them all my life! Thank You so much, I do hope the words to the other songs are included with the CD
  4. The songs are beautiful and loved the Irish singers
  5. I love looking at the tune names in different hymnals. It's wonderful to hear new lyrics to familiar tunes, where we can hum along with the tune and listen with our hearts to the lyrics. Very powerful. Thank you!
  6. Oh what beautiful renderings of beloved tunes!! I can tell that this will become a favorite to me! Thank you for sharing your talent. "The Love of God" was breathtaking and evoked tears.
  7. I can't begin to tell you how privileged I feel to live at the same time you do; I enjoy and am touched by your own music and lyrics as well as these most lovely renditions for old songs. Thank you so much for sharing your God-given talent with the world.
  8. These beautiful songs bring with them such a calming, peaceful spirit. Thank you for sharing your talents with us. We all benefit from your gift, and that is what God intended.
  9. I love these songs and lyrics. They seem to call to my Celtic blood. Keep coming up with great ideas with music.
  10. I love the words to Old Songs, do you have sheet music for these songs, I have been asked to do a solo in church and would like have your version of the melodies. thank you Rita Easthope Lethbridge, Alberta Canada
  11. Simply marvelous, Sister Perry. The lyrics are heavenly sent inspiration to you and will inspire many who will hear the melodies with your words. Thank you for the insightful article as well. Bless you.

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