Just As I Am, recorded by the request of an old friend. It doesn’t matter how many years go by, hearing this melody never fails to bring back memories. This is the song most likely to be played at the altar call. Quiet, reflective, it reminds us all… we’re loved, no matter what.
Written in 1835 by Charlotte Elliott, the story goes that she was visiting some friends and was introduced to Cesar Malan. Himself a minister of some fame, and songwriter as well, Malan asked Charlotte if she was a Christian. Offended, she declined to discuss it.
Unperturbed, Malan apologized and explained that he always liked to “speak a word for his Master.” Nearly
a month later, they met at a mutual friend’s home. Charlotte confided she had been trying to find salvation ever since their first conversation. She asked how to come to Christ, and he replied “Just come to him as you are.”
Soon after this conversation, Charlotte Elliot wrote Just As I Am. Her brother was quoted as having said “In the course of a long ministry, I hope I have been permitted to see some of the fruit of my labor, but I feel that far more has been done by a single hymn of my sister’s.”
Sounds funny, but how often does one person write something that resonates through the generations like Just As I Am? Not that I kept count, but I probably heard this song nearly 50 times a year in my childhood.
As far as the playing goes, it’s difficult for me to play a 3-beat tempo, and you can tell. This is also the first song recorded on my DGX-640 that I actually studied and learned new chord combinations. It’s been a favorite of mine for years, but my style has always been to play in mostly major chords. It was fine as far as it went, but to me, lacked the rich nuances and subleties it needed.
Went to http://www.scottbradford.us/files/2008/03/01-chordchart.pdf and found a handy-dandy piano chord chart in pdf format. It’s printable, the chords are labeled in a logical format and there’s an actual image of the keys showing which ones to press. I’ve already started learning stuff…
Found a wonderful site called The Church Pianist that showed a very helpful clip on chord substitutions for this very song. Her short video clip really helped. I knew most of the chords, but sometimes you have to see someone else do it to realize which ones fit best.
After that, it was a matter of playing around for a while. Turned the video recorder on (use a Flip Mino HD), and then just improvised until I got a few verses that sounded decent. Still had mistakes, but I’m trying very hard to improve.