Evelyn ‘Evie’ Tornquist was born on March 29, 1956 in Rahway, New Jersey to Norwegian immigrants. She released her debut album A SONG FOR EVERYONE in 1970. In 1977 and 1978 she won the Dove Award for ‘Female Vocalist of the Year’. In 2005 she was inducted into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame. Three of her albums were Grammy nominated, including 1977’s COME ON, RING THOSE BELLS. What I will be reviewing here is a best of project entitled OUR ReCOLLECTIONS (1996, Word). Evie shares: “Really, life begins with Jesus and never ends thereafter. It reaches its full meaning when we make Him center and Lord of our lives. I did that at a very early age and have been privileged to walk with Him for all of these years”.
First up is the adult contemporary ballad ‘Special Delivery’ about the uniqueness of Jesus: “Never was anyone like Him/Never will one be the same/A tiny babe, an infant King, Savior/We worship and honor the power of His Name/Oh, He came special delivery/Wrapped up in love/Bound by a promise/Sealed by a dove”. ‘Live for Jesus’ was penned by Nancy Henigbaum, better known as Honeytree. It talks about the importance of legacy: “Oh, I want to be remembered/As a girl who sang her songs for Jesus Christ/Who was willing to lay down her life/And do His will no matter what the price”.
Ron and Carol Harris wrote ‘Mirror’, an easy listening tune addressed to seekers: “You’re searching for Jesus/Looking to find hope for tomorrow and some peace of mind/When you can find Him in the Bible and many churches that I know/But ‘til you find Him in the mirror/You’ve got a long way to go”. ‘Step Into the Sunshine’ is a song of invitation: “Children, step into the sunshine, get out of the shade/This is the one time that you’ve got it made/And you can feel yourself smilin’ way down to your shoes/Step into the sunshine, find the great Good News!”
‘Give Them All to Jesus’ points to Him as Healer: “Wrap up the shattered dreams of your life/And at the feet of Jesus lay them down/Give them all (2X)/Give them all to Jesus/Shattered dreams, wounded hearts, broken toys/Give them all (2X)/Give them all to Jesus/And He will turn your sorrow into joy”. Andrew Culverwell wrote the classic country and western song ‘Born Again’ that uses tambourine. It’s a testimonial: “One day I prayed ‘Jesus take my sin away’/And that’s when I was born again/Born again, there’s really been a change in me/Born again, just like Jesus said/Born again and all because of Calvary/I’m glad, so glad that I’ve been born again”.
Kurt Kaiser wrote the campfire classic ‘Pass it On’. It begins with these familiar words: “It only takes a spark to get a fire going/And soon all those around can warm up in its glowing/That’s how it is with God’s love once you’ve experienced it/You spread the love to everyone/You want to pass it on”. Evie’s husband Pelle Karlsson wrote ‘Never the Same Again’, a country ballad of testimony: “I remember how He waited/How He called me by night/Yet I chose to wander my own way/And nothin’ worked out right/Till the day I finally surrendered/Jesus healed my life/I won’t be the same, no never the same again”.
‘Clean Before my Lord’ speaks of how Jesus transforms us: “Clean before my Lord I stand/And in me not one blemish does He see/When I placed all my burdens on Him/He washed them all from me”. John Daniels wrote the disco track ‘Broken Up People’ which offers a commentary on society: “Broken up people and broken down lives/Broken up homes, broken husbands and wives/All the world around us is falling apart/Broken up people with broken up hearts/There are so many things that money can buy/But it won’t buy peace of mind no matter how hard you try/Broken up people need brand new lives”.
Ray Hildebrand wrote the inspirational classic ‘Say ‘I Do’’. It anticipates heaven: “Anybody here want to live forever?/Say ‘I do’/Anybody here want to walk on golden streets?/Say ‘I do’/Anybody here sick and tired of living like you do?/Anybody here want a home with love forever?/Say ‘I do’”. ‘Praise You Just the Same’ includes these prayerful words: “Oh, but thank You for the trial if it will bring me close to You/Help me Lord to smile when things don’t go the way I’d want them to/If I suffer pain, help me that I don’t complain/But thank You Lord and praise You just the same/I want to thank You, Lord, and praise You just the same”.
‘Unfailing Love’ sounds like an epic ballad from a Broadway musical. It speaks of Christ’s goodness: “Unfailing love flows from His heart and heals my soul/In spite of who I am He loves and makes me whole/I almost can’t believe it’s true/Unfailing love and yet I know/He gave His life to give to me/Unfailing love”. Sharalee Lucas and Ron Harris wrote ‘Praise the Lord, He Never Changes’, a praise and worship ballad: “Praise the Lord/He never changes/I come to Him/He’s always there/He comforts me on every level, takes the burden that I bear/Praise the Lord/He never changes/He’s never any other way/And He’ll be the same tomorrow as He was and is today”.
‘The Blood Will Never Lose Its Power’ is one of two gospel numbers on this CD penned by Andrae Crouch. This one’s about the atonement: “The blood that Jesus shed for me way back on Calvary/That blood that gives me strength from day to day/It’ll never lose its power/It reaches the highest mountain/And it flows to the lowest valley/That blood that gives me strength from day to day/It’ll never lose its power”. Jessy Dixon wrote ‘Hold On’, a song of encouragement: “Weeping may endure for a night/But if you’ll trust in Jesus/Everything’s gonna be alright”.
‘Just Because I Asked’ is the song of one amazed: “I can’t help singing/I feel I’m bursting/I can’t keep it to myself, oh no/For the Spirit is moving in me/And has filled me and made me new”. Last up is another classic, ‘My Tribute’. It exalts God: “With His blood He has saved me/With His power He has raised me/To God be the glory/For the things He has done”.
If you enjoy the easy listening and inspirational sounds of Twila Paris, Sandi Patty, and early era Amy Grant, you should pick up this superb collection by a true Christian music pioneer. These are songs that come from a childlike innocent faith in Jesus Christ. The lyrics admit life can oft be difficult, but point to Jesus as the solution to our problems. He is loving and compassionate and yearns for a personal relationship with us. I’m rating OUR ReCOLLECTIONS 100%. For more info visit: www.eviemusic.org.