Friday, 7 November 2014

Crud From the Heart

Every once in a while I come across a record so diabolically awful that It makes me consider the possibility that I may have finally come to the end of my quest: that I have finally found the World’s Worst Record.

Released in 1981 Cry From the Heart, backed with My Thankful Song, is a double-sided horror, two pro-life songs written and performed by a Franciscan monk who has spent more than 50 years spreading God’s word. Apparently being a member of the Order of Capuchin Friars Minor (OFM Cap) – whose lives, according to their founder St Francis of Assisi "consist in living in obedience, chastity and without property" – gives you the right to guilt women into abandoning their plans for abortion. As father Francis says on the reverse of the sleeve: “I would like to dedicate this song to any young girl or woman who may listen to it and decide not to have an abortion. Life is God's gift.”

According to ‘the song has saved many babies from abortion. Their pregnant mothers heard the song and decided not to go ahead with abortion...Father Francis met a young boy who told him that his mother heard the song when pregnant and decided not to have an abortion. The boy said he owed his life to the priest. Father Francis has received over 20 other similar testaments of babies being saved.”

It’s no secret to followers of this blog – or to anyone who has read my book – that I am 100 percent pro-choice. That alone would make me hate this record, but its’ winsome lyrics and the priest’s sickly delivery shoot it into the stratosphere of bad records. Have a look at some of Father Francis’s words:

Why are we lying down, being drawn on four wheels?
Bang! We go through the door and there’s people dressed in green.
Everything seems so strange and so clean.
Mummy, if they hurt you, just let out a scream
And I know someone will come to help you and me.

Mummy what’s going on? I am starting to cry
Come quickly they are forcing me to die.
They are killing me mummy, they are pulling me apart
My arms and my legs and now they’re at my heart.

It’s all very Diary of an Unborn Child, isn’t it?  And before you get all holier than thou on me, or claim that I wouldn't ridicule this depressing pile o toss if it were performed by a Muslim rather than a Christian think again:  I'd be aiming brickbats at anyone - irrespective of their faith - who thinks that they have the right to guilt other people out of what must be one of the most traumatic expriences of their lives.

The words, written by Father Francis himself, were – it is claimed on the sleeve – inspired by a poem written by a 13 year-old Glaswegian boy. The music is credited to Irish musician Phil Coulter, co-author of Puppet on a String, Congratulations, Forever and Ever (the Slik hit, not the Demis Rousoss song) and Back Home amongst many others.

Father Francis Maple has been singing in public form many years – he’s known in Catholic circles as the Singing Friar - and has released at least nine albums, containing  a mixture of secular and religious songs, which were mostly recorded in Amazon Studios, Liverpool.  According to the good Father ‘has raised over £1m for charity. He has also written several books (sermons, cooking recipes, jokes), and has contributed (and still does) to many newspaper columns and Catholic newspapers and magazines. He spends a lot of time travelling throughout the UK leading Missions in various Catholic churches’.

Well, good for him. Appearing in schools, churches and concert halls around the UK, he’s perhaps best known for his habit of singing the Lord’s praises in shopping centres – a habit which had him forced into a standoff with a town centre warden in Nuneaton in 2005. Said warden was branded a jobsworth after he tried to move on the busking monk, who had been visiting Nuneaton for over a decade to bolster his fundraising. The then 68-year-old priest was drawing crowds, belting out hits by the Dave Clark Five, The Searchers and – of course - Cliff Richard when the warden told him to cease and desist. “He was determined to get rid of me,” said Father Francis. “He said I should move and asked what authority I had to be here. He was like the warden in Dad's Army. I said he would have to move me - and I am fourteen and a half stone!”


  1. Abortion, a traumatic experience? Not on the basis of the sneering comments. Probably quite empowering, I suppose.


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