St Michael le Belfrey - The Vinyl Years
St Michael's was one of those Anglican churches that was at the vanguard of Charismatic Renewal, though always in a way that was respectful of its tradition. And that's expressed in the music, which was influenced by folk music - The Fisherfolk were regular visitors and a great encouragement in the use of all of the arts - but remained within the English Church music stream.
Listening today, the songs retain their beauty, simplicity, creativity, biblical and theological content, and that elusive 'something else' which for me made them highly significant. In a very real way it provided something of a musical bridge when I was finding faith again - I certainly didn't expect to hear a worship song, 'Jesus, my Saviour' in 5/4 time! Maybe it was the lovely oboe playing of Andrew Maries, the musical director and driving force, which provided a link with my world at that time. Or maybe it was the creativity and musical excellence of Chris Norton, now a good friend, and with whom we enjoyed a splendid day in London on Saturday, talking among many things about 'The Vinyl Years'.
I guess that I still listen out for hymns/songs that have 'beauty, simplicity, creativity, biblical and theological content, and that elusive "something else"'. I don't expect every hymn/song to have all of these qualities, but when there is a good mix the result can sometimes be something special. The grumpy old man in me, especially in a nostalgic mood, wants to say, 'But it doesn't happen that often!' Am I asking too much?