Like wine that improves with age, Raymond Materick continues to write great songs and perform them with finesse. This is evident on his new CD “Rugged Cross,” a “collection of meaningful, hopeful, and timely songs,” as Materick describes them.
Best known for his ‘70s hit “Linda Put The Coffee On,” Materick turned his songwriting skills to the sombre subject of imprisoned Falun Gong practitioners in China who are killed so their vital organs can be sold to those willing to pay the price and not ask too many questions. Not an easy subject to vocalize in an eloquent way.
Materick wrote the track, “Blood Like Water: The Plight of the Falun Gong,” after he was contacted by Maureen Whyte, publisher of Seraphim Editions. Seraphim published the book “Bloody Harvest” written by Winnipeg-based human rights lawyer David Matas and former MP David Kilgour.
The book is a chilling compilation of evidence that ultimately concludes that Falun gong practitioners are kept as a living bank of human organs. They are killed during the operation to remove the organ the purchaser requires.
Before writing the song, Materick had read the book. He describes his reaction as “unbelievable, outrageous, sad.”
“But man’s inhumanity to his fellow man is nothing new. It's taken us to where we all are—the brink of devastation. How much love will it take to stem the tide?”
He asked Hamilton songwriter Jim Garvin to co-write the song, “He has a very down to earth style that I thought would really help get across the emotions of the piece. Our thoughts were to try to encapsulate the book, it's accusations, and it's outrage, into a three-minute song,” says Materick.
The Hamilton-based singer-songwriter has the ability, as he put it in a Robert Palley interview, to “present a story with a moral inside an envelope of melody.” His oak cask-aged voice is just the vehicle to get across the raw emotion engendered in the song.
Materick said he likes to sing about the human spirit.
“The human condition has always been the focus of a large part of my creative output. The older I get, the more experiences I have, the more I understand and learn, the more compassion I have, the more I can infuse some kind of comfort into my songs.
“It's part of my journey as well, to help keep me hopeful and creative against an onslaught of bad news. Every daughter and son is under the gun. I choose, in these times, to sing about the benefits of peace, love, and understanding.”
He further explained that the inspiration for his songs comes from “the ocean of suffering hearts and confused souls I see around me and on the news. It gives me a good feeling to apply my singer/songwriter craft to issues that might help someone feel better about himself or about the world.”
“I've been really stretching my vocal horizons and this has allowed me a greater dynamic to get my 'more mature' music and words across and has created a more exciting show as well. The music itself has grown like a plant because I’ve watered it with time, patience, practice, life experience and faith in God.”
The song and book can be obtained at http://www.seraphimeditions.com.