Just some thoughts:
TAKE MY HAND
You say the name Tommy Dorsey and most folks will think of the great band leader. The band that Frank Sinatra sang his way to fame with. But there is is another Tommy (Thomas) Dorsey also of music fame.
This Dorsey was born in 1899 in a small town in Georgia the son of a black preacher. At about his teenage years his family moved to Atlanta and there is where he discovered his love of the blues. Shortly thereafter he began playing piano in Vaudeville theaters and became known as “Georgia Tom.” This would find him moving on to Chicago. There he ended up playing piano in one of Al Capone’s Chicago speakeasies and leading a jazz band.
In the 1920s’ he began his attempt to write gospel music. In 1932 one night while playing in St. Louis he was handed a telegraph. It read: “Your wife has just died.” A friend of his drove him thru the night to Atlanta only to learn upon his arrival that not only his wife (Nettie) had died but his baby boy also.
A week later he sat down all alone in a music room. “I had a strange feeling inside, a sudden calm and quite stillness. My fingers began to manipulate over the keys, words just began to come to me like water falling from the crevice of the rock.” Thus was born the famous hymn still popular in some circles today, “Precious Lord Take My Hand.” Thomas A. Dorsey is recognized today as the “Father of Gospel Music.”
As I sit here tonight typing these thoughts I just finished hearing Dinah Washington sing that hymn and now Dee Dee Sharpe doing such. I smiled as I listen to both thinking of how my dad loved to hear Red Foley sing that song. (Thomas also wrote the famous gospel song “Peace in the Valley.”
“I am tired, I am weak, I am worn.”
“”Hear my cry hear my call/ Hold my hand lest I fall”
September 20, 2019