Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Grandmother's Stories Helped Forge Song `Sweet Liberty'

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Grandmother's Stories Helped Forge Song `Sweet Liberty'

Article excerpt

When Oklahoma City attorney Grover Miskovsky heard his grandmother telling stories of her immigration from Czechoslovakia and the feeling t hat came over her when she saw the Statue of Liberty for the first time, he told himself one day he would view the statue in the same manner - from a ship entering New York Harbor.

But time and dreams have a way of becoming elusive, and Miskovsky never really thought much about the Statue of Liberty until one day in 1983, when he was in the Big Apple to promote a song he and fellow attorney Lyle "Slats" McPheeters had written.

The song, "Skoal Dipping Man," was written for Bobby Murcer, who was then retiring from the New York Yankees baseball club. It had become a local hit and was being promoted by the United States Tobacco Co.

While in the New York, Miskovsky and McPheeters were invited aboard a friend's yacht to tour New York Harbor. To hear Miskovsky tell it - it was almost as if the world had stopped for a moment and the beacon of freedom to the world's oppressed had come alive.

The memories of his grandmother and her stories of her first days in America, once again ran through his mind.

"I had always reserved going to see the statue until I could see it the way my grandmother did when she came here in 1904," Miskovsky said.

"We had a day off from the festivities (from promoting Skoal Dipping Man), and we went on the boat for a tour. You know how you get on a boat. . .all the noise and all.

"But suddenly I heard the captain say, "There she is,' and I took one step higher. . .my mouth gaped open and I said "God we have to write a song about this.'"

And write one they did. It's called "Sweet Liberty," and the words literally came to him on the boat, Miskovsky said. And when he and McPheeters put the lyrics to a melody they already had written,they knew they had something big.

Miskovsky sent a demo tape to Lou Battle, chairman of the U.S. Tobacco Co., who had helped produce and distribute Skoal Dipping Man.

Battle encouraged Miskovsky and McPheeters to continue work on the song which led to the discovery of Roz Bowie, who has recorded the song for the two.

"I just wrote a song and that's where we ended up," Miskovsky said. "The whole concept of the song has taken on a personna of its own. It's Oklahomans, lawyers, blacks. . .it's all Americana. It's like it was really intended to happen."

While writing the song itself may seem to be the hardest part of creativity, it's no good if no one hears the music. Miskovsky took the song, and Bowie, to a National Trial Lawyers convention in Seattle where it, and Bowie, received a standing ovation.

The two decided the song had more potential than becoming a mere commercial success - it had a higher calling if you will.

That calling would be to help with the restoration of the Statue of Liberty currently underway.

"Lou (Battle) was there and he told me that he had signed an agreement with Lee Iococca, the chairman of Chysler Corp. …

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