Rhythm of Life – Coleman & Fields

This article was written for the June issue of our parish magazine. Here it is for you again:

At first glance, this may seem to be an odd choice for this month’s article. Taken from the musical Sweet Charity, the scene featuring this song is widely thought to be a pastiche on west-coast American hippie pseudo-religious cults of the mid-sixties.

What if there’s more to it than that? What if we replace “Daddy” with “Jesus”?

Jesus surrounded himself with the underclasses. The poor, the uneducated, those living just outside the law. He had little time for those that considered themselves to be the great and the good. If Jesus had been amongst us 50 or 80 years ago, where would he have found those that need him most? How would he have reached out to them?

Daddy started out in San Francisco,
Tootin’ on his trumpet loud and mean.
Suddenly a voice said, “Go forth, Daddy.
Spread the picture on a wider screen. “

And the voice said, “Daddy, there’s a million pigeons
Ready to be hooked on new religions.
Hit the road, Daddy. Leave your common-law wife.
Spread the religion of the rhythm of life.”

Chorus:         And the rhythm of life is a powerful beat,
Puts a tingle in your fingers and a tingle in your feet,
Rhythm in your bedroom, rhythm in the street,
Yes, the rhythm of life is a powerful beat.

To feel the rhythm of life,
To feel the powerful beat,
To feel the tingle in your fingers,
To feel the tingle in your feet.

Daddy spread the gospel in Milwaukee,
Took his walkie-talkie to Rocky Ridge,
Blew his way to Canton, then to Scranton,
Till he landed under the Manhattan Bridge.

Daddy was the new sensation, got himself a congregation,
Built up quite an operation down below.
With the pie-eyed piper blowing, while the muscatel was flowing,
All the cats were go, go, going down below.

Flip your wings and fly to Daddy,
Fly, fly, fly to Daddy.

Take a dive and swim to Daddy,
Swim, swim, swim to Daddy.

Hit the floor and crawl to Daddy,
Crawl, crawl, crawl to Daddy.


Flip your wings and fly to Daddy,
Take a dive and swim to Daddy,
Hit the floor and crawl to Daddy,
Daddy we got the rhythm of life,
Of life, of life, of life.

The gospel of Jesus is indeed a powerful beat, giving a secure rhythm to every aspect of our lives. Jesus is amongst us now! He uses our hands, our feet, our voices to reach out to others and share the tingle of knowing him.

Here is Sammy Davis Jr in role as “Daddy” in the 1969 screen version of Sweet Charity https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xKSA049xkiU

Carol P

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