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Weekend Soundtrack

'Come O Thou Traveler'

Michael Raphael

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Man on a mission
(Thomas Biatek)
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What is the soundtrack to your weekend? When you want to get into a space that's all your own, what song do you keep going back to? We've been asking you that for a goodly time now, and we've gotten all kinds of stories set to many types of music.

Our latest story comes from Pastor Thomas Biatek, who listens to us in Shorewood, Minn. on KNOW radio. Biatek is a minister there, and the soundtrack to his weekend is a hymn called "Come O Thou Traveler."

Bill Radke: Tom, why is this hymn your weekend soundtrack?

Thomas Biatek: I fell in love with this hymn when I took a hike in Scotland. My church sang it as the last hymn before I took off from the trip. And it was my 40th birthday and I wanted to treat myself -- and I'm Scottish in heritage -- and thought I'd hike the West Highland [Way] trail and had a disastrous, disastrous time. But this was the song that I sang to myself as I hiked along.

Radke: What was the disaster?

Biatek: It was me being stupid, basically. I hiked the first part of it and I should have stopped in the town of Drymen but I thought I could keep going. And I kept hiking and got caught in a horrible storm climbing the mountain, and ran out of food and ran out of water and found myself utterly depressed and hurt and wet and soaked and cold. Feeling just lost, completely lost. The desperation in the song, talking about wrestling and fighting and worrying and wondering just absolutely fit that trip -- so as a perfect moment in an imperfect trip.

It was a struggle of not knowing where you're going and then despairing because you don't have any direction -- but then finding that, actually even when you are lost, it has meaning, and even when you are struggling that has meaning, that has purpose... That burst where the hymn makes its shift to understanding. We are always struggling with love and we are always struggling to find our place. That's the human connection and where we are, we are supposed to be doing.

How is this hymn connected to your weekend?

In ministry, you do a lot of working with people and you do a lot of leading groups and meeting with committees and you're always involved with people. So when I get time off and I have a weekend -- I don't work on Sundays -- but on my Saturdays, it's time for me to be solitary. So I take very long bike rides or I take long hikes. And I just find -- try to find -- some peace and quiet with myself, and allow all the struggles and all the worries and everything to work itself out in my mind. And by the end of the day, I feel alive and energized and ready to go back into it.

Tom, thank you so much for sharing your weekend soundtrack with us.

Oh, thank you very much. It's been a pleasure to do it.

More stories from our Weekend Soundtrack series


  • Comment | Refresh

  • By Jim Boitz

    From Catonsville, MD, 08/24/2008

    so...do we know who recorder the song and how we can get it? Really would like a copy. By the way...I'm from Minnesota too.

    By Alan Werner

    From Cincinnati, OH, 06/29/2008

    This week-ends broadcast 6-28, in total was just great. I enjoyed all the stories and was particularly touched by Ms. Cooper's story of her Dad and that of Mr. Biatek. Nice production work and very much appreciated by a former broadcaster. All the best !

    By Rachel Levy

    From Denver, CO, 06/29/2008

    And just in case you were all wondering, the background singers are none other than The Jordanaires... yes, Elvis's back-up group. They are also featerd on several others songs from his "Why I'm Here" album.

    By Rachel Levy

    From Denver, CO, 06/29/2008

    My name is Rachel Levy and I manage Mack Bailey, the singer you all have been searching for. More information about him can be found on his website, www.mackbailey.com, as well as our MySpace page www.myspace.com/mackbaileyandrachellevy.

    If anybody still has any questions, I can be reached at scm@mackbailey.com.

    Glad you all enjoyed it!

    By Don Naber

    From Waterville, ME, 06/28/2008

    After a little web digging, I believe the version of Come O Thou Traveler heard was sung by Mack Bailey, from his album "Why I'm Here" recorded in 2003.

    By Laurene Kelly


    I think I found him: Mack Bailey http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0000AZVKE/soundflavor-20?dev-t=D3HHKR72P9JQPV%26camp=2025%26link_code=xm2

    By Don Naber

    From Waterville, ME, 06/28/2008

    I agree with Terry. Superb work in preparing this segment and others, urges some of to find your sources, seek and acknowledge the authors, poets and composers and further enjoy (in this case) the music. Perhaps its all that higher education that taught us to cite sources......more likely you have stirred us, and we enjoyed it and seek more. Thanks for providing for interests and passions we often didn't know we had until you aroused them. Don Naber, Listener of the Maine Public Broadcasting Network

    By Laurene Kelly


    I'm chiming in with Mr. Terry. I have just been searching for this recording and would love to know who the singer is. Share with us, please?

    By david terry

    From durham, NC, 06/28/2008

    Hello there...
    To begin with, thank you for the program.

    Secondly (however), I'd be fairly irritated if I were the singer who recorded the version of "come O Thou Traveler) which you just played. As things stand, I'm not the fellow...but I just spent about twelve minutes trying to find a way to get that recording.

    Would you please, in the future, give a readily-accessible link to the musicians you use as "background" to your stories (in this case, the error is particularly glaring, since there would be utterly-no story without the song...).....

    thanks as ever for your always good program,and I hope that,in the future, you'll help folks like me to not only enjoy your program, but also to BUY the music you're playing as "background".

    And I would, when you have the time to help me out, like to know what the recording was that you were playing...

    Sincerely (and I hope thatthis doesn't sound too sharp...but its frustrating to be unable to find what you're discussing, when I like your program so much,

    David Terry
    email: dterrydraw@aol.com

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