Precious Memories

Woman on Beach

A Song for Sunday
lyrics & music by J. B. F. Wright, 1925

Precious mem’ries, unseen angels
Sent from somewhere to my soul
How they linger, ever near me
And the sacred past unfold.

CHORUS:
Precious mem’ries, how they linger
How they ever flood my soul
In the stillness of the midnight
Precious, sacred scenes unfold.

Precious father, loving mother
Fly across the lonely years
And old home scenes of my childhood
In fond memory appear.

In the stillness of the midnight
Echoes from the past I hear
Old-time singing, gladness bringing
From that lovely land somewhere.

I remember mother praying
Father, too, on bended knee
Sun is sinking, shadows falling
But their pray’rs still follow me.

As I travel on life’s pathway
Know not what the years may hold
As I ponder, hope grows fonder
Precious mem’ries flood my soul.


Happy Sunday all! I’ve decided to deviate just a little from sharing my own poetry to bring to you a hymn from the public domain in honor of the Lord’s Day, and I will do this every Sunday moving forward. One other disclaimer for this particular song: Some sources say that the lyrics are copyrighted (1966 Stamps-Baxter Music & Printing Co), but according to the CCLI website, it’s in the public domain. I particularly like this song, so I decided to go ahead and share it with you; however, if it is determined to indeed be covered under copyright, I’ll happily take it down.

Even if you know the song, I encourage you to read the words rather than singing it in your head. After all, every song was first a poem, and the words carried great significance to the writer. There are many truths to be gleaned from the lyrics of our hymns, so take a minute to pay attention to them—then sing it with a new understanding of the message.

About the Songwriter

John B. F. Wright was born in Tennessee on February 21, 1877, but he grew up (and died, 1959) in Texas. In 1898 he married Fannie Jackson, and together they had 8 children. He was a member of the Church of God and served the Lord actively in the church from a young age. His only music education was an 18-day singing school (not sure at what age), and yet he wrote both the lyrics and music to over 200 songs, with his first coming to him at the age of 15.

About the Song

Mr. Wright is quoted as saying, “I write by inspiration, only when the mood comes on, the words and melody flow from my soul like the water from a babbling brook; without this inspiration I could not write; ‘Precious Memories’ was born in the midnight hours as I bathed by [sic] pillow with tears, likewise all my songs came through life’s severest tests” (William J. Reynolds, DNAH Archives). John and Fannie Wright lost one of their sons, Everett Jackson Wright, in 1922 at the tender age of 3½. The song “Precious Memories” came three years later, while thinking back on this hard loss.


Credit for the biographical information and song text goes to Hymnary.org and to Bob Dylan Roots.

Photo taken at Virginia Beach, Virginia, 2013

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