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Thread: secular songs of praise

  1. #1

    Default secular songs of praise

    louis armstrong's version of "what a wonderful world" was brought to my attention recently but can you think of any other songs of joy and gladness which are devoid of specific religious references? nat king cole's "nature boy" has a nice metaphysical flavor to it but is still secular. can you think of any songs which herald man's scientific or engineering achievements? ... breakthroughs in medicine perhaps? ... woody guthrie was commissioned to write a song about the great coolie dam but has anyone ever written a song about jonas salk, for example - the man who discovered a cure for polio?

    how about songs written about the majesty, wonder, etc., etc. of nature?

    armstrong's version seems to enjoying a break from youtube ... but herrre's joey!


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  3. #2

    Default Re: secular songs of praise

    Well, there's this:

    http://www.symphonyofscience.com/

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  5. #3
    Registered User Darren Bailey's Avatar
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    Default Re: secular songs of praise

    What's the context for their use? Why the need to avoid religious content?

  6. #4
    Martin Stillion mrmando's Avatar
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    Default Re: secular songs of praise

    Well, there's always Dr. Stephen Baird and his "scientific gospel music." Sat through a live set of his once ... I can't remember if my band was on right after him or he was after us ... kind of a one-joke act that got tiresome after three songs or so. YMMV.
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    Innocent Bystander JeffD's Avatar
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    Default Re: secular songs of praise

    Who are we praising, then?
    Indulge responsibly!

    The entire staff
    funny....

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  10. #7

    Default Re: secular songs of praise

    Quote Originally Posted by JeffD View Post
    Who are we praising, then?
    exactly ...

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  12. #8

    Default Re: secular songs of praise

    Quote Originally Posted by OldSausage View Post
    thanks david - that's wonderful - going to share this

  13. #9
    Registered User Andrew Roberts's Avatar
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    Default Re: secular songs of praise

    I never thought I would see Symphony of Science pop up on the Mandolin Cafe, but I'm pretty pumped that it did! My personal favorites are Onward to the Edge and The Case for Mars. First person to upload some mandolin covers gets a big Mandolin Cafe thank you from your's truly. There is also a really nice remix of some Mr. Rogers clips by the same person behind SoS that might fit the bill, Bill.


    A secular song of praise from an ordained Presbyterian minister... something for everyone!

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  15. #10
    Mando accumulator allenhopkins's Avatar
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    Default Re: secular songs of praise

    Well, "secular..." I immediately thought of the late Dave Carter's Gentle Arms of Eden, but there's a "goddess" in there, which takes it out of the secular realm. However, if you listen to the words, seems that the "goddess" is really a flesh-and-blood person, since Carter sings:

    I will lay my burden in the cradle of your grace
    And the shining beaches of your love and the sea of your embrace


    which seems pretty immediate and not at all supernatural.

    In any case, a great song:



    I've heard Tracy Grammer do quite a bit of Carter's music, and his untimely death in 2002 deprived us of a really distinctive voice.
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  17. #11

    Default Re: secular songs of praise

    lovely song. "this is my home - this is the only home i know" sounds pretty secular and at a stretch, "goddess" might refer to an age of reason metaphor for "mom nature" but the garden of eden reference, alas, puts it squarely in a biblical context.

    i googled dave carter - thanks for the reference

  18. #12

    Default Re: secular songs of praise

    someone suggested this - george almost solo:


  19. #13
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    Default Re: secular songs of praise

    "Redwood Hill" is an old Country Gentlemen tune. Our banjo player refers to it as a gospel song for tree huggers and Wiccans I think the lyrics are ridiculous, but our guitarist/singer likes it, so we play it, and FWIW, the chord progression and melody are cool.

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  21. #14
    Registered User adgefan's Avatar
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    Default Re: secular songs of praise

    You might like "Here Comes Science" by They Might Be Giants with its songs about the scientific method, the elements, DNA, evolution and electric cars (amongst other things). All the tracks can be found on YouTube.

  22. #15
    String-Bending Heretic mandocrucian's Avatar
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    Default Re: secular songs of praise

    secular song of praise:

    "Boobs A Lot" by The Holy Modal Rounders (or The Fugs)

    = = = = = = = =
    or, more seriously:

    "Crown Of Creation" - Jefferson Airplane

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  24. #16

    Default Re: secular songs of praise

    How many here have that first Fugs album. We actually had them at the New Penelope Coffeehouse in Montreal. Ah, Sunflower, Weary of Time, Swinburne Stomp

  25. #17
    Registered User Laird's Avatar
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    Default Re: secular songs of praise

    Quote Originally Posted by allenhopkins View Post
    Well, "secular..." I immediately thought of the late Dave Carter's Gentle Arms of Eden, . . .
    I've heard Tracy Grammer do quite a bit of Carter's music, and his untimely death in 2002 deprived us of a really distinctive voice.
    Gosh, I miss Dave. What a sad, untimely passing--and what a beautiful song.

    There seems to be more in that vein coming out of my native Pacific Northwest than in other places. I'll have to put my mind to it, but Laura Love, Michael Franti, and even Hot Buttered Rum come to mind.

    Hey, how about "Best Feeling," by Keller Williams (performed here with the String Cheese Incident)?


  26. #18
    Registered User Laird's Avatar
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    Default Re: secular songs of praise

    One I've been enjoying performing a lot lately (our band tends toward eco-conscious, peace-loving songs) is "Old Man and the Land," by Railroad Earth:


  27. #19
    Registered User Laird's Avatar
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    Default Re: secular songs of praise

    Couldn't find a video, but here's Hot Buttered Rum's "Return Someday":
    http://www.myspace.com/hotbutteredru...meday-41999579

    And here's one of many relevant songs by Elephant Revival:


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  29. #20

    Default Re: secular songs of praise

    number one on the list:


  30. #21
    Registered User Laird's Avatar
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    Default Re: secular songs of praise

    Quote Originally Posted by JeffD View Post
    Who are we praising, then?
    I'm thinking "what" might be a more useful word here, in the spirit of Bill's post, since "who" encourages personification (with all of its attendant problems).

  31. #22

    Default Re: secular songs of praise

    my answer to both is "us."

  32. #23
    Mandolin addicted...So? Pete Counter's Avatar
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    Default Re: secular songs of praise

    Quote Originally Posted by Laird View Post
    I'm thinking "what" might be a more useful word here, in the spirit of Bill's post, since "who" encourages personification (with all of its attendant problems).
    Its an offhanded way of publicly proclaiming a distaste for religion. The same people if god is mentioned will start yelling about thier rights being violated. Seems like a thread with high potential for being locked.

  33. #24

    Default Re: secular songs of praise

    i'll add Three Dog Night's, Joy to the World and Travis Tritt's, It's a Great Day to be Alive.

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  35. #25
    Registered User Jesse Harmon's Avatar
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    Default Re: secular songs of praise

    Well one of my favorite's in this vein is James Taylor's "Up from your life", also on the same "Hourglass " album I think "Gaia" and also one called "Up Er Mei" seems to put me in a place that somehow doesn't seem to insult my life experience. Probably a little off the mark from "secular" I suppose.

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