Mark J. Young

  It was late in 1975 or maybe early 1976; Mark was living in a dorm at Gordon College, and a "coffeehouse" concert had been announced as an on-campus event.  One of the artists was listed as Conrad Gempf.

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Conrad was in one sense just a fellow student in the Biblical Studies department.  However, Mark had heard of him.  When he was at Luther College, a fellow student, a young girl who was then a close friend to Janet, spoke frequently of her friend who was the great musician.  Mark decided to see just how good Conrad was.

Conrad was pretty good, but more significantly he was different.  He had a maniac style that had his fingers flying from chord to chord in rapid succession as he sang.  Mark couldn't remember ever having written anything like that.  The music sounded so free, so excited.

So Mark went back to the dorm and wrote Free.  It was not quite the kind of song Conrad wrote, but it was different from anything Mark had previously written (despite using the syncopation of dotted quarters against three-four time with time changes to a straight four, which he had used previously in a considerably more mellow setting).

The next day he found Conrad in his dorm, and played the song for him.  Conrad was enthusiastic in his praise, and particularly of the ultimate line, "for He has raised me from the dead."

The rhythm guitar parts feel like they're flying, but they're crawling compared to the keyboards and bass guitar.  Singing while playing the song on bass often leaves Mark winded, catching his breath.  In the studio recording for Of Worlds, after a failed take and a second attempt that sputtered out when Mark could no longer keep up the pace of the vocals, they recorded the instrumentals without the voice and then dubbed the voice over top.  Mark had hoped, in conversations with Sara about her range, that this would become a soprano solo and he would be freed from singing it, but Sara proved not to be a soprano so it stayed on Mark's list.

Interestingly, before the band considered doing it, Mark sang it as a solo at the September 2011 outdoor ice cream party.  The band liked it, wanted to play it, and had worked it up rather quickly, playing it at the October fall festival.  Jonathan wanted to include it as one of the Christmas songs on the parade float, but the pastor nixed it, saying it was not a Christmas song.  Sara and Jonathan suggested adding vocals to the chorus and the bridge in 2013, which worked although they took some work to get them working.


Jesus came and Jesus made me Free!
Jesus came and gave His life to me.

I live a life that pleases my Father up above
I try to live a life of love.
I listen for His Spirit; He speaks and I obey.
I know there is no other way!

Jesus came and Jesus made me Free!
Jesus came and gave his life to me.

He filled me with His Spirit to fill me with His Word,
The greatest thing I ever heard.
And I can see a promise in each divine command,
For this is what He says I am!

Jesus came and Jesus made me Free!
Jesus came and gave his life to Me!

Whatís written in Godís Word--
I know this may sound quite absurd, but
God is going to do that in my life!
I know it may sound odd,
But itís already done by God
He did it when He gave me Jesus Christ.

Now I donít have to worry; it wonít depend on me.
My Lord has won the victory
And so I take each promise, believing what He said,
For He has raised me from the dead!

Jesus came and Jesus made me Free!
Jesus came and gave his life to Me!
Jesus came and Jesus made me Free!
Jesus came and gave his life to Me!

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