Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Music to Prepare Your Heart for Thanksgiving: A Review

Thanksgiving and Praise Music Go Together


When our hearts are especially thankful, we can often express our thanksgiving and praise best with music. Even when our hearts are heavy, music can remind us of all God has done for us and help us remember his faithfulness during times stress. Songs of praise can often bring gratitude back to our hearts. Today I'd like to share some music and verses that help my own heart give thanks for God's many blessings.

Prepare Your Heart to Praise the Lord with Music - Photo Courtesy of Pixabay

Let's get started with a song I first heard back in the seventies when I had many albums by the St. Louis Jesuits. I think I had all of them. Even though I'm Protestant, the Catholic Church was more innovative in writing music that expressed what was in  my young adult heart. Here's a sample I found on YouTube so you could hear the complete song, "Glory and Praise to Our God."




Even though  I'm now old, I still appreciate the simple melodies and beautiful harmony of many of the St. Louis Jesuits' songs.


The Music in This Thanksgiving Album Has All I the Qualities I Want

When I started searching Amazon for some of my favorite songs of thanksgiving and praise, I wanted to find an album with a variety of styles and artists. If I'm going to listen for a while, my attention wanders if the voices or music styles don't change periodically.  It's especially important to me that the rhythm changes. Even creators of albums by a single artist try to vary the rhythms as they put an album together.

I also wanted music with understandable words. All you need to do is listen to YouTube for a while to know that some choirs and smaller groups enunciate their words more clearly than others. It's wonderful that some videos show the words as they are sung, but most of us aren't able to watch our music on video when we are driving or doing the dishes. I don't know about you, but I normally listen to music to keep from getting bored while I'm doing some physical task

My personal music preference is songs with strong melody that beg me to sing along, and at least some harmony as the music flows. I want music that will lift my spirit, and tunes work with the words to do that.




This album meets all my criteria. There are a few songs included I wouldn't buy separately, but they work in the album to vary the styles and rhythms.  Click through to see a complete listing of all the songs and sample them right from the page. Although the thumbnails featured on the videos show different covers, the songs are the same ones by the same artists you will find on this video. OCP puts many of the songs in several different albums. If a song is only from a different album, I will tell you.



What's in the Glory & Praise: Third Edition, Vol. 26 Album?


Here are some of the videos I've found that will let you hear more complete recordings of some of the artists featured on the album. Most of the traditional hymns included are sung by the OCP Session Choir. Here is their YouTube presentation of one of the most popular Thanksgiving songs you will find in the album -- "Now Thank We All Our God." It dates all the way back to Pilgrim times and I grew up singing it every Thanksgiving.



I'll be the first to admit that the cover of this album is not very exciting, but one isn't going to listen to the cover.

There are also many songs associated with the St. Louis Jesuits which you can stream or still get on CD's.  Among them was the song in the first video I showed you above. This next one, also on the album, is by Bob Dufford and the St. Louis Jesuits. I'm giving you the visual version here. It's prettier than the album cover.






The album also features another of my favorite Thanksgiving songs: "Let All Things Now Living." It's sung to the popular folk tune of "The Ash Grove" by the OCP Session Choir.







Now let's vary the style and the rhythm a bit. This one is bilingual:
"Alabaré / O Come and Sing" by Manuel José Alonso and  José Pagán. It will start you dancing. It's also on the album.





The songs by Grayson Warren Brown are a bit slower and reflect a different cultural style.  Here's "Been So Busy." This artist was new to me.



If you'd like to sample more of this artist, which I did, you can not only steam his music, but also buy his CD. I like that, because I don't have an MP3 Player. Actually, I do, but it's ancient and I never figured out how to work it.


While checking out all this music, I see that to get the music I really want to buy and play it in a portable form I may need to invest in an MP3 Player. I'm checking out this one.


Still More Songs to Check out from More Artists on this Album


"Grateful" by Tom Tomaszek is also included in the album. Here it is complete. It's yet another style.




All these new styles are getting to me. I need to calm down a bit with another traditional hymn by the choir. Here's another of my favorites: "All Creatures of Our God and King." It dates back to St. Francis of Assisi in 1225 and was translated into English by William Draper in 1926. It appears some of the words have been modernized since then. The tune dates back to 1623. This version is from the Cambridge Singers and a different album, but the song is also sung by the OCP Session Choir on the Glory and Praise Album linked to above. I put this version here because I like the extra organ and trumpet music in many of the selections.



The O Praise the Lord of Heaven album it comes from features only a couple of the Thanksgiving hymns in my featured album. Most of the selections in O Praise the Lord of Heaven will appeal more to those who are "high church" or who enjoy classical music. If that's you, try the downloads from this album.



Let's change the style again with "Lift Up Your Hearts" by Roc O'Connor - a song that comes from our featured album:



Now we'll bring in a female vocalist, Sarah Hart.  She sings "Hallelujah is Our Song" in our featured album.



If you enjoy this artist and style, you can buy the CD or stream the songs by clicking the link below.


We've almost got this album covered. I haven't shown you all the songs, but you can sample the rest on the Amazon site. I do want to leave you with one last song from the album by an artist who was new to me and I'm glad to have met. It's another song I love, "Alle, Alle, Alleluia" by Richard Ho Lung. It will wake you back up if the slower songs were making you drift off.



If you enjoyed that song, you might want to check out others by the same artist and a couple of others on Working for the Lord. Most feature the faster rhythms, and some of the songs include female vocalists.


We've Come to the End of the Album


At least we've reached the last song from it I want to share with you in video. This is the version you will find on our featured album. The hymn has been around  with many different tunes. The English translation by Jane Campbell has been around since 1861. This version of "All Good Gifts" is by Kevin Keil.




I hope you've enjoyed our video tour of Glory & Praise: Third Edition, Vol. 26. If you'd like to purchase the album or individual songs just click the link to see the Amazon listing where you can listen to parts of each song. You can stream 13 of them for free if you Try Amazon Music Unlimited 30-Day Free Trial. That membership will also allow you to listen to many of the songs in the other albums featured here. If you'd like to do that, I'd really appreciate it if you'd click the affiliate link above to look at the offer instead of the one on whatever Amazon page you land on if you go to look at the music.




I hope this music will help you nurture a grateful heart and teach you more songs to help you praise the Lord.


Photo Adapted from Pixabay Photo


For more Thanksgiving music, check out what our contributor Heather Burns, wrote: Thanksgiving Canon, A Hymn for the Ages




Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.

10 comments:

  1. Thank you for mentioning my review! I have the Praise the Lord of Heaven album and agree it is awesome. I listened to all your selections and that made for a lovely morning!

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    1. I'm glad to hear that from someone who has it. I've been doing all my listening from YouTube. I've been playing some of the videos again today -- some of the peppier ones to get me started. I really enjoyed the song you shared in your post, too. I loved the harmony.

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  2. We tend to think of holiday music associated with Christmas. It's nice to realize that there is also special music that reminds us of all we have to be thankful for ~ at Thanksgiving time and throughout the year.

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    1. It's a shame we tend to categorize so many hymns by holiday and then only sing them then. Some of the really old Thanksgiving hymns were written before we had a Thanksgiving holiday.

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  3. I haven't listened to all of the videos you shared yet, but I suspect they will be keeping me company throughout my day today. There truly is nothing more beautiful than a song of praise and voices raised to the King. I didn't recognize the names of all of the songs and I look forward to the discovery of music offered here today.

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    1. Many of the songs were also new to me, but most were old favorites. I think I have a couple of new favorites now.

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  4. What a lovely review Barbara. We listen to a lot of Christian music in our household. My husband who is a deacon, uses music with the children when he visits the schools, and he takes music with him to the prison too! Our old gals (in a long term care nursing home) also love singing or swaying to the music. I don't think we listen to enough of this type of music in our everyday world. It would be a much calmer place in my humble opinion, if the songs we heard were songs of praise.

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    1. When I was teaching Sunday School back in the seventies when much of this music was introduced I chose many of the newer Catholic songs to teach our Protestant kids. Back then I especially liked the Medical Mission Sisters. Remember them? Many of the songs were Bible stories. Years later in the eighties I taught many of those songs to a junior-age singing group. We even dramatized their version of the Good Samaritan story, "Who is my Neighbor" and the group sang it for the church on Mother's Day. I miss that music today. I have so little time to listen to anything with words because I find hearing words distracting when I write.

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  5. what a beautiful collection of music to give thanks by and to include on Thanksgiving day

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  6. Honestly, most of those songs weren't my cup of tea. Then I got to the Alle Alle Alleuia which is literally more my speed. :) I'll have to take a closer look at that artist.

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