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A CHILD WAS BORN by Jeff Carnie

 A Child Was Born Chapter 1

In order to give you an understanding of what shaped and molded me into the individual I am today, I must take you back to my beginnings. My parents relocated from the midwest, Des Moines, Iowa to California in search of a better life. They settled in Oakland, and rented a small flat on the west side of town; which was walking distance to Oakland’s downtown business district. They didn’t own a vehicle at the time, so this was a great location. I am told by both my mother and father that he walked for miles every day come rain or shine, looking for employment. Eventually, he found a job at the naval shipyard in Hunter’s Point located in San Francisco. He was hired as a pipe fitter to maintain the upkeep of all the docked warships. He was proud to have worked on the Enterprise, affectionately known as the “Big E”. His job required him to climb into the bough of these ships to work on the plumbing. He describes the crawl spaces as being small, dark, and wet. He says some spaces were so small, to the point that he could hardly fit into them with his torch, which was needed to work on the pipes. I can’t imagine working under such adverse conditions. 

One day, my dad was approached by a co-worker who introduced himself as Frank. They became quick friends, and regularly lunched together.  During one of their lunch breaks, Frank began to share his faith in God with my father. Although as a child, my father’s family were practicing Methodists, as an adult, he rarely attended church. He knew of God, but didn’t know God. Over time, my dad and Frank would begin to meet daily for lunch to discuss and yes, at times debate the Bible.  During one of their luncheons, Frank presented my dad with a Bible as a token of their friendship. He had taken the time to mark the Bible.  He had color coded it to connect the passages which supported whatever was being studied.  This was done to make it a study Bible, so the reader could understand, and navigate his/her way through the Bible alone.  This is when my dad began to love the “Word” of God. One morning, while working on one of the ships, my dad fell from the top deck. Because of the height of the ship, my father could have been killed, but he escaped with minor injuries. To this day, he believes it was the Bible, which he always carried in his coat pocket, given to him by Frank, that saved his life from that fall!  

On March 28th, 1960, a bouncing baby boy was born to Marcus and Fannie Carnie. The doctor told my parents that when I was born, I was ready to take on the world because my hands were up and clenched into a fist.  They named me Jeffrey, which means “Gift of peace, or peaceful one”. I would later come to understand and appreciate how a name can, and does define an individual. At least in my case it does!  

When I was three years old, my parents finally joined a church. Yes, it was the same church that Frank attended. My parents loved their newfound family. It wasn’t long before they both began to serve in the church. My father was a “youth leader”, while my mother worked in the “children’s ministry”. Church was fun growing up. We would be one of the first families to arrive, and the last to leave. Being an only child, I enjoyed having so many kids to play with. Back then, church was an all day event. After church we would always have potlucks. That was great also. Because our church was so culturally diverse, we would experience food representing all parts of the world. Let’s see, there was Samoan, Philippine, Russian, Chinese, Japanese, Spanish, and yes, Soul food! It was a banquet fit for a king. To close out the day, everyone would gather together and sing songs; each in their native language. As I reflect back on that time, for me it felt like a piece of heaven on earth. This explains my strong commitment to, and passion for diversity. There is nothing quite like it. It taught me more than tolerance; it taught me acceptance and appreciation of our differences. More importantly, it taught me to “love”.    Bump de Bump!



BUMPS by Jeff Carnie


Some years ago, a pastor friend gave me some valuable advice that has remained with me till this day! He said, “When you see things lining up in your life, it’s God’s way of directing your path”. At first, I didn’t understand what he was saying. Later, after giving it some thought, I had an “Aha” moment. Like the bumps on the highway that keep drivers in their lanes, the hand of God keeps us on the right path. If you cross the “bump”, you may wind up in oncoming traffic, which could be life altering. In the publications to come, when you read “bump de bump”, that will signify another situation that God has used to keep me on the path He has for my life.  

Armed with only the inspiration to start a band, I was facing a “BIG” dilemma. I didn’t own, nor could I play a guitar. I didn’t know any drummers or pianists. For that matter, personally I didn’t know any musicians. Where I grew up, musicians were few and far between. Not to be discouraged though, one day while hanging out with a few friends, I shared my dream of wanting to start a band. Now keep in mind, none of us owned or played an instrument. However, to my surprise it was unanimous that we would start our own band. In our minds we had accomplished the most difficult part of our dream, agreeing to start a band. Now, we would focus our attention on getting instruments. Aw! Let’s each ask our parents for instruments as Christmas gifts. We had come up with the perfect solution! Only one problem, all the parents weren’t on board. Actually, only the parents of our friend Willie gave him his requested instrument. He proudly unveiled to his fellow band members what would later become the flag ship of our group, a red flaked five piece drum set! We were all off the hook, running around in circles, jumping and yelling because this was the first step toward our dream. It didn’t matter that we only had one instrument. That was only a small detail to a kid who had “big” dreams. Not to worry, I borrowed a neighbor’s electric guitar and played the fifth and sixth strings. As I reflect on it now, it seems silly! No, it was tenacious.    

One evening my mother and I were watching the Incredible Hulk, you know the show which starred the late Bill Bixbee. All of a sudden, my father walks in with this brown box. I didn’t pay any attention to him because I was more interested in watching the Hulk. He stood directly in front of me and handed me the box. Inside was a hollow body, black bass guitar! I was surprised and in disbelief. It was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen. It was love at first sight. After giving me the bass my father said, and I quote, “It’s on loan; you may have it after you learn to play it”. Well, true to form the guitar sat in my closet for an entire year before I started playing it. One Friday evening, I remember it well; I pulled the old girl out of my closet and started fumbling around. I wrote what would become my first song, “There Was a Boy.” Lyrics below:    

 There Was a Boy

 There was a boy born in Bethlehem He was a very special boy

He grew up in a town called Nazareth where the people were full of sin

As He grew up He told of stories both old and new

And how His kingdom would be made here soon

Then He was sentenced to die for the sins of both you and me

His name is Jesus sweet Jesus of Nazareth

He came to set us free and I love Him so

I love Him so! 

“Bump de Bump” 

To be continued!

“There Was A Boy” is available on the CD “A CARNIE CHRISTMAS” get it on iTunes!


My First Experience: cont. by Jeff Carnie

I’m amazed at how the hand of God direct the lives of people. How each step taken leads to the next, and each turn shapes and molds us. God in His infinite wisdom had a plan for my life. As a child I recall going from church to church either reciting Bible text, or sharing my hobby of  Herpatology, which is the study of reptiles and amphibians. With my menagerie of animals in hand, I gave lectures on the subject to a mixed audience of children and adults. By the third grade I was reading 12th grade science books on the topic with understanding. My excelled reading ability is attributed to my first grade teacher, Mrs. Robinson. She believed if  you equipped a child with a great reading foundation, he or she could accomplish anything. My aspiration was to some day become a scientist, but God had other plans. Looking back, music was not my first love. I floundered, attempting to find something which interested me.  I sang in school and church choirs; played an array of  instruments, flute, saxophone, clarinet and piano. I didn’t have a passion for any of those things. 

One day as I was listening to the radio, I heard this sound. I didn’t know what it was but I was immediatly captivated by it. So much so that I was determined to know what it was, who was doing it, and how could I learn to do it. I later discovered it was Larry Graham of the then popular group, Graham Central Station. The thumping grooving bass line guitar caught my ear. I was in love! I had to learn how to play this instrument that was making such incredible, never heard before sounds. I approached my father regarding my desire to play the bass guitar; which he quickly rattled off, “what makes this instrument so different”? “You’ve tried many instruments and didn’t stick with any of them”! Well that wasn’t quite the answer I expected or wanted; my father’s response sort of crushed me, no it actually did crush me.  

However not to be discouraged, I regrouped and moved on to plan B. But I didn’t really have a plan B, only determination, drive, and passion for this bass guitar! I was on a mission, a mission from God! At least I thought so. Without the assistance of my parents, I had to be clever. Alone, I had to figure out a way to get my hands on a bass.  Hmm what can I do, what will I do? Ah, there is a music store on the way home from school. I’ll just stop there each day and play their instruments. So with plan B now devised, that’s just what I did.  Every day after school I would stop by the music store, ACME Music, located on McArthur Blvd. in Oakland, California.

Daily, for hours after school, I would fiddle around with the bass guitars. After about two weeks, the owner came to me and said, “I noticed you are here every day around the same time”. I smiled and said yes. Thinking I was in big trouble, he unexpectedly said, “I really don’t mind, but if you could just keep the noise down, it would be appreciated”. He smiled, laughed and walked away. He left me thinking what he’d meant by the comment noise, after all I was making sweet music.  A few weeks later after being serenaded by my music, he approached me and said, “let me show you something”.  He proceeded to show me a few octave runs.  I was off the hook, my life forever changed. I was now ready to start my own band, or at least I thought I was!

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My first musical experience

Growing up I always had this desire to start a band.  I remember during school I would either draw stick people who looked like a band or write lyrics to songs. I listened to the radio constantly, singing all the songs from the hit makers of that day. One day while in school the teacher approached me and ask would I sing for a class project. I was only in the 5th grade, but I was up for the challenge! I gathered a few of my fellow students and started what would be my very first choir.  We worked diligently and put together the song “My Tribute” by Andrae’ Crouch!! It was a huge success! I guess you could say the bug bit me!!  (To be continued)

What was your first musical experience??

Jeff Carnie



Welcome to the Jeff Carnie blog. 

Here you will have the opportunity to talk to me directly.  Any questions? Ask them!! Any comments! Leave them. Here is your chance to ask the hard questions I will do my best to try to answer them.  Hope to hear from you!