22 July 2016

Music Day - Father's Arms

Monday night/Tuesday morning I was working and was listening to Daniel Amos to keep me awake. I was just picking songs at random and hit on this one that I'd apparently played exactly twice before. (Just for comparison, the entire Vox Humana album sits at about 48 on the iTunes play count -- and that doesn't include playing the CD approximately four thousand times during the summer of 2013.) I didn't know this song well and I wasn't really listening at first, but then the lyrics began to sound familiar...

'And the darkness comes whispering down the halls
And you're a scared little child who dreams he falls...'

How many times have I daydreamed of falling -- falling off the overpass, off a bridge -- over the past two months?

I was listening more closely now, and the song got even more autobiographical:

'You assure them while composure is breaking
And they watch as you run and you hit the wall
Slump to the ground and begin to crawl
To the edge of the cliff where you start your fall...'

Parenthetical paragraph: These lyrics also call to mind another song that would come from Terry Taylor's pen ten years later: Safety Net, from Darn Floor, Big Bite. Specifically this part:
'Down to the black bridge of sighs
She drains her head by the river
Bowed to the father of lies
And hangs on the ledge of forever...'
(End parenthetical paragraph.)

The invitation issued in the chorus, though, still gives me pause -- 'Come fall in your Father's arms...'

Do I trust God even that much anymore? Do I trust Him to catch me as I fall apart, as I fall off the edge of faith, of joy, of everything that was good in my life? The call is so gentle, but still I stiffen and pull away. It's a nice thought, but is it really true? I wish it was, but I honestly don't know. The last couple times I trusted God, He just went ahead and wrecked everything anyway. This invitation here is so sweet and gentle though -- it makes me miss that assurance that He would catch me if I fell.

Now for the arrangement.

First -- those harmonies. DA has always been noted for their harmonies, especially in their early days. They're lovely here in the chorus. That third line where someone (Terry?) takes a higher harmony -- that's my favourite part.

Second, the melody is both beautiful and unique -- classic TST. I love the leap upward it makes at the end of the second line of each verse. I don't think anybody but Terry Taylor would write a melody like that. And I like the slightly-offset rhythm of the 'All right, okay, oh yeah...' line -- gives the song a little bit of verve.

Plus, the strings and piano add a bit of drama and almost-symphonic beauty to the song (particularly in the interlude), while the electric guitar keeps it in rock territory. This song is darn near perfection.

Title: Father's Arms
Artist: Daniel Amos
Album: Shotgun Angel
Year: 1977
Label: Maranatha! Music
Buy the (deluxe two-disc remastered) album directly from the band here.
iTunes here; YouTube here.
Lyrics here.

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