We live in an information overloaded society, yet we really know so little. While I was reading this book I took a straw poll of several people I know, and 100 percent of these had no idea who the Colwell brothers, or Herb Allen are. So much information, yet so little knowledge is a real problem in today’s world. The three female brothers and Herb, probably did more for world peace, or at least peaceful co-existence than any President, or any government organization has ever done. Frank McGee has produced a wonderful book that chronicles the story of these diverse people. Even better the book is peppered with photos of the real people and events.
The story starts right after WWII, the Colwell’s are in their teens, and also have a true skill from the entertainment world, originally self taught, they make their mark on the radio landscape, appearing from the Tex Williams weekly show. Invited to ‘tour’ overseas for a single month that the young brothers can not resist, and against their parents better judgment they set off on their adventure. Included in MRA (Moral Re-Armament) and later Up With People that they combined in the youthful mission to attempt to make the world a better place. If there was battle, you can guarantee that the Colwell brothers were not far away, acting as ambassadors of peace.
A Song For The World is a fantastic and heartfelt work, Frank McGee has certainly done his homework, he follows the Colwell’s and Allen across the planet. From India, Africa, China, Russia, and pretty much every other country you can think about, we vicariously see these kids grow into men, and then fathers. Very late in the book McGee talks about how they became married men, and I have to admit it is a pretty odd tale. As nomadic minstrels they had little opportunity to go through the traditional courtship rituals. Rather they married first and obsolete later! While this sounds odd, the formula obviously worked for them.
There are not many world music musicians that have the bragging rights that these men have, they have played for Kings and Queens, Emperors and Empresses, they’ve entertained millions of individuals, and yet never had a top 10 hit! This really is a fascinating read and shows a side of humanity who today is sadly in short supply, happiness, caring, and most importantly giving. We can learn much from your selfless actions of the Colwell brothers and Herb Allen.