Crouch: (v) to stoop or bend low.
I’m going to do what I don’t normally do—but when I do it, I feel free to do it at will.
I’m going to abandon this definition and tell you a story about a man named Andre Crouch.
It’s spelled the same.
Many, many years ago, when the United States was recovering from a war and an egotistical President who was a tyrant, and crooked (pause)…
Anyway, it was a while back.
There was a young, black soul and Gospel singer named Andre Crouch who came on the scene for a season and did his part to open up the United States to racial harmony and integration—taking the land of Dixie and the world of Southern music, and twirling it on its head.
For these old church singers did not want to accept a black man into the inner circle (which could not be broken) but also could not deny that this gentleman was one helluva songwriter, and an even greater performer.
Arguably, it could be stated that he was the father, or at least uncle, of contemporary Christian music.
He was my friend.
I had a puny little group from Central Ohio. We were desperately seeking some attention from the marketplace when I met Andre Crouch. He did something he should never have done. He took us in—pale though we were—and allowed us to be the warmup group for his large concerts.
Even though he was gradually integrating, most of his audience was of a darker skin color. Why he thought he could get away with having a white warmup group when there were probably hundreds of black brothers and sisters in the audience who sang a “choir’s-full” better than us, is a mystery.
But it’s what Andre wanted to do—his way of integrating his race—by using us.
He was an unpredictable, never-on-time, kind, flakey and humorously fussy individual.
He helped me.
I got to see firsthand how an audience is to be gently handled—loved to life.
I got to climb onto his tour bus and drive around with him, seeking good barbecue in Toledo, Ohio. (We failed).
And I was shocked one Saturday morning when he arrived at a tiny gig I had—a breakfast for about forty people. Andre decided to drive up some 150 miles from Detroit, where he’d been in concert the night before, and surprise us.
Needless to say, that itsy-bitsy audience came alive once Mr. Crouch entered the room, and soon forgot I was even there once he walked over to my Wurlitzer electric piano and banged out some tunes.
Andre died several years ago.
But as is the case with all of us, he lives on because one of the people he loved and helped is here to tell a good story.
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