Last week I began looking at what I consider to be the twenty least remarkable songs in the history of Southern Gospel music. This week takes a look at a song recorded in 1976 by the Sego Brothers and Naomi.
For those who suffered from physical abuse, I can’t imagine they would want to hear a song about the Lord striking you with the back of his hand. The second verse, if I am hearing it correctly, states you should thank the Lord for your home, food and clothes in fear that if you don’t the Lord may show you the back of his hand.
Penned by country music legend, Tom T Hall, “The Back Of His Hand” is not a Gospel song I want to listen. And, what were the Sego Brothers and Naomi thinking when they decided to record this song. Things may have been different 40 years ago when this song was recorded, but it is good to know a song with this connotation would never fly with today’s Gospel music audience.
The song ranked 19th among the least remarkable in Southern Gospel history; “The Back Of His Hand”. May it never be heard again.
Last week I announced the winner in our search for Southern Gospel’s greatest song series. This week I wanted to provide a final analysis by looking at the top songs (in votes) by decade. Did one of your all time favorite Southern Gospel songs make the list?
- “Because He Lives” (Bill/Gloria Gaither)
- “Sheltered In The Arms Of God” (Jimme Davis/Dottie Rambo)
- “Til The Storm Passes By” (Mosie Lister)
- “He Touched Me” (Bill Gaither)
- “Had It Not Been” (Rusty Goodman)
- “I Believe In A Hill Called Mt Calvary” (Bill/Gloria Gaither/Doug Oldham)
- “Who Am I” (Rusty Goodman)
- “Jesus Is Coming Soon” (RE Winsett)
- “The Night Before Easter” (Dwayne Friend/Donnie Sumner)
- “I Know Who Holds Tomorrow” (Ira Stanphill)
- “Sweet Beulah Land” (Squire Parsons)
- “The Lighthouse” (Ronny Hinson)
- “What A Lovely Name” (Charles Wycuff)
- “Through It All” (Andrae Crouch)
- “I’ve Never Been This Homesick Before” (Dottie Rambo)
- “The King Is Coming” (Bill Gaither)
- “Look For Me At Jesus Feet” (Squire Parsons)
- “Redemption Draweth Nigh” (Gordon Jensen)
- “The Blood Will Never Lose It’s Power” (Andrae Crouch)
- “Thank You Lord For Your Blessings On Me” (James Easter)
- “We Shall See Jesus” (Dianne Wilkinson)
- “God On The Mountain” (Tracy Dartt)
- “Midnight Cry” (Chuck/Greg Day)
- “When He Was On The Cross” (Ronny Hinson/Mike Payne)
- “Boundless Love” (Dianne Wilkinson)
- “Step Into The Water” (Kirk Talley)
- “Champion Of Love” (Carolyn/Phil Cross)
- “O For A Thousand Tongues” (David Binion)
- “Then Came The Morning” (Bill/Gloria Gaither/Chris Christian)
- “Greatest Of All Miracles” (Squire Parsons)
- “There Rose A Lamb” (Kyla Rowland)
- “One Scarred Hand” (Kyla Rowland)
- “I Am Redeemed” (Phil Cross)
- “He Is Here” (Kirk Talley)
- “My Name Is Lazarus” (Rodney Griffin)
- “Wedding Music” (Kirk Talley)
- “He’d Still Been God” (Rodney Griffin)
- “Please Forgive Me” (Gerald Crabb)
- “Through The Fire” (Gerald Crabb)
- “For God So Loved” (Barbi/Terry Franklin)
- “Four Days Late” (Aaron/Roberta Wilburn)
- “If You Knew Him” (Rodney Griffin/Joseph Habedank)
- “I Rest My Case At The Cross” (Kyla Rowland)
- “I Stand Redeemed” (Christina DeGazio/Kelly Garner/Belinda Smith)
- “God Saw A Cross” (Rodney Griffin)
- “I Found Grace” (Roger Bennett)
- “What We Needed” (Dianne Wilkinson)
- “He Saw It All” (Daryl Mosley)
- “He’s Still Waiting By The Well” (Rodney Griffin)
- “I Wish I Could Have Been There” (Wayne Haun/Joel Lindsey)
- “Good News From Jerusalem” (Jerry Salley/Dianne Wilkinson)
- “For All He’s Done” (Chris Allman)
- “Celebrate Me Home” (Wayne Haun/Joel Lindsey)
- “Greatly Blessed, Highly Favored” (Bill Gaither/Larry Gatlin)
- “I Got A Hold Of God This Morning” (Kyla Rowland)
- “Say Amen” (Jason Cox/Michael Farren/David Neesmith/Kenna West)
- “I Want To Be That Man” (Lee Black/Ricky Free)
- “On The Banks Of The Promised Land” (Jason Dyba/David Moffitt/Sue C Smith)
- “Blue Skies Coming” (Wayne Haun/Joel Lindsey)
- “Never Walk Alone” (Jeremy Johnson/JP Williams)
I am sure many of you are aware of Kim Davis, the Rowan Kentucky county clerk who is attempting to become the martyr of the day for not doing her job and issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
I rarely ever do social justice commentary because of the opposing, sometimes passionate views of both sides of the argument. After following this story in its entirety for the last several weeks, I felt compelled to offer some thoughts on this civil servant’s ‘Freedom of Religion’ and the hypocrisy surrounding her motives.
After the Supreme Court denied her request for stay and demanded she begin issuing marriage licenses yesterday, she defied the court and again turned away same-sex couples who were there to get their license. She said she felt obligated to tell them that there will be judgement (from God) for their actions. All of this, in a public courthouse where all citizens are to be treated equally, under the law, whether she feels like they should or not.
No one, even those wanting marriage licenses, denies the fact that Kim Davis is free to practice her religion in her home, in her church (as is protected by the constitution). The problem Davis runs in to is she is a civil servant (government employee) who took an oath to uphold the constitution of the United States.
Agree with it or not, as of June 26, 2015, the Supreme Court ruled that same-sex couples are protected (under the 14th amendment of the constitution) when it comes to the civil, legal protections that marriage provides; the same constitution that protects her freedom of religion. That means, as a civil servant, she can not deny individuals the same equal protections afforded straight couples because she doesn’t agree with it. The failure to do her job has landed her in contempt of court, which means hefty fines, penalties, she will probably lose her job and could even serve jail time for not doing what she swore under oath she would do.
Many conservative Christian commentaries will paint her as a hero/martyr, when the sad truth is her hypocrisy will only give Christianity another black eye in a country that is already turning away from the church in droves because of this very same hypocritical, ‘do as I say not as I do’ attitude.
Why is she hypocritical you may ask? Lets see:
- She wants to protect the sanctity of marriage, yet she has been married four times herself.
- If she is following the bible and turning away couples because of their sin, I would ask her when was the last time she asked a straight couple if they had sex before marriage or if the couple getting a license had been divorced before issuing a license.
- These kind of individuals who choose to cherry pick the bible to suit their own needs, while claiming to be righteous/holy is hypocritical by its very definition.
When did certain church folk decide the Love of Jesus was not enough. A song, recorded by the Old Paths recently keeps running through my mind; “Love Them To Jesus”.
**I wanted to also talk about freedom of religion, which is making headlines (even from Presidential candidates), but I will save that for a future commentary.
The calendar has turned another month and today we kick off September 2015. As I start each new month, it is time to showcase the most played Southern Gospel radio singles (or should be) in my musical playlists over the preceding month. Ernie Haase & Signature Sound top the list for September as 11th Hour, Greater Vision, McCray Dove Band and Northern Ireland’s Revelation round out the top five. Enjoy!
*Video Credit (#ErnieHaaseAndSignatureSound)
*Video Credit (#The11thHour)
*Video Credit (greatervisionmusic)
- Album – Rock Of Ages: Hymns And Gospel Favorites
- Artist – Oak Ridge Boys
- Label – Gaither Gospel
- Style – Country
- Release Date – 05/26/15
- Available For Digital Download? – Yes (Apple Music/Spotify)
Joe Bonsall (tenor), 42 years; Duane Allen (lead), 50 years; William Lee Golden (baritone), 42 years; Richard Sterban (bass), 43 years. You can see how long these four gentlemen have been performing together and have been members of the Oak Ridge Boys. Unmatched by any other quartet in Gospel music.
2015 finds the release of Rock Of Ages: Hymns And Gospel Favorites; a fifteen song, all Gospel collection of song covers. The only reason the album received the rating it did is because the songs included have been heard a hundred times before.
The group uses their country-style, mastered over the last 35 years to create an enjoyable listen.
- The top musical moment for me is the group’s duet with Merle Haggard on “Sweet Jesus”. This song was a co-write of Merle with Kenny Vernon. This is one of two not so familiar tunes that listeners may not know. Duane tackles the first verse while Merle takes the second. A must listen!
- William Lee Golden is one of those vocalists I could never tire of listening. The way he conveys a song to the audience has always been one of his biggest strengths as a performer. Even though “Angel Band” has been recorded more times than one can count, William Lee seems to add that special touch that makes the song that much more enjoyable.
- William Lee also shines on the Southern Gospel quartet classic, “Time Has Made A Change In Me”.
- Richard has several features, but none better than on the second verse of “Rock Of Ages”. His bass voice remains strong and can still take a lead on a song without the listener needing to figure out what he’s singing.
- Duane turns in a strong performance on the classic, “Hold To God’s Unchanging Hand”. This song was chosen as the first radio single from the album. Duane gets some help from the Isaacs on the albums closing number; “Peace Within”. A newer song that needs a listen.
- I can’t leave Joe out of the mix. He really out does himself on the seldom heard Charles Wesley song, “Father I Stretch My Hands To Thee”. I couldn’t even tell you the last time I heard this song recorded. A great find and choice to record.
- Strongest songs included in order: “Sweet Jesus”, “Father I Stretch My Hands To Thee”, “Angel Band”, “Peace Within”, “Rock Of Ages”, “Hold To God’s Unchanging Hand”, “Time Has Made A Change In Me” and “Just A Little Talk With Jesus”.
- There are several songs on Rock Of Ages that have been so over recorded, the group can’t add anything fresh to the arrangement. They include “Blessed Assurance”, “In The Garden” and “There Is Power In The Blood”.
- Weakest songs included in order: “Blessed Assurance”, “In The Garden” and “There Is Power In The Blood”.
It is great to hear a group that has been performing together for 42 years still recording great music. I don’t want to let my rating scare you away from giving this album a listen. Even though the majority of the songs on Rock Of Ages have been recorded more times than they probably should be, the Oak Ridge Boys give each one their musical touch.
SONG/Featured Vocalist – Songwriter: 1. “In The Sweet By And By”/Ensemble – Sanford Bennett, Joseph Webster 2. “Rock Of Ages“/Ensemble; Richard – Thomas Hastings, Augustus Toplady 3. “Sweet Jesus”/Duane w/Merle Haggard – Merle Haggard, Kenny Vernon 4. “Angel Band”/William – Jefferson Hascall 5. “There Is Power In The Blood”/Ensemble; Duane – Lewis Jones 6. “In The Garden”/Ensemble; Richard – C Austin Miles 7. “Hold To God’s Unchanging Hand”/Duane – Franklin Eiland, Jennie Wilson 8. “I Love To Tell The Story”/Joe – William Fischer, A Katherine Hankey 9. “Life’s Railway To Heaven”/Ensemble – ME Abbey, Charles Tillman 10. “Time Has Made A Change In Me”/William – Harkin Frye 11. “Blessed Assurance”/Ensemble; Richard – Fanny Crosby, Phoebe Knapp 12. “Father, I Stretch My Hands To Thee”/Joe – Charles Wesley 13. “Farther Along”/Duane – JR Baxter Jr, WB Stevens 14. “Just A Little Talk With Jesus”/Ensemble – Cleavant Derricks 15. “Peace Within”/Duane w/the Isaacs – Dickey Lee, Allen Reynolds, Susan Taylor
DID YOU KNOW?: The Goodmans 1982 album, Chosen, is regarded by this writer to be the best recording in the entire (Happy) Goodmans discography. The vocal line-up of Rusty Goodman, Sam Goodman, Tanya Goodman Sykes and Michael English created a masterpiece. Southern Gospel radio must have agreed because on the July 1983 Singing News top 40 chart, four songs from that album were charted in the top 40.
- #6 – “The Cloud He’s Coming Back On”
- #8 – “Look For Me”
- #18 – “The Message Of His Coming”
- #23 – “Somebody Prayed For Me”
**Speaking of radio charts; I am looking for Singing News top 40 charts for the years 1979, 1980, 1981 and 1982. Any help would be appreciated. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Two days ago I announced the winner of Southern Gospel’s greatest song series. Today we look at the opposite end of the spectrum by singling out Southern Gospel’s least remarkable songs. It took me a few weeks to go through a catalog of over 30,000 songs recorded by Southern Gospel artists over the course of the last 60 years.
While there were more than twenty songs to include in this list and some back and forth, I settled on this list of twenty. It can’t be argued that Ronny Hinson is one of Southern Gospel music’s greatest songwriters. “The Lighthouse” was in the final ten among Southern Gospel’s greatest songs.
But, even the greatest songwriters can pen a tune that leaves you scratching your head after you hear it. Such is the case with the song landing at #20 among Southern Gospel’s least remarkable songs; “Already Sold Out”. In 2005, the Freemans released a greatest hits album titled, The Very Best Of…And More.
The album was mainly filled with prior hits, but did include three new songs. One of those songs was “Already Sold Out”. In all the years I’ve been listening to Southern Gospel music, I don’t think I ever had a picture painted of the devil pushing a shopping cart or a reference to a shopping mall or bargain basement sale.
On the rare occasion this song pops up on my shuffle, I am still left scratching my head at the concept presented in the song. Do you think this song deserves to be considered among Southern Gospel’s least remarkable? Discuss among yourselves.
*Video Credit (Ryan Carlile)
The voting has ended in our search for Southern Gospel’s greatest song. After starting with over 500 songs from the 1960’s to current, we narrowed it down to the final ten. After voting finished, the song to win the title of Southern Gospel’s greatest song is Dianne Wilkinson’s, “We Shall See Jesus”.
The Cathedrals first recorded the song on their 1983, Live In Atlanta, recording. While the song was never a radio single for the group, it went on to become one of the Cathedral’s biggest concert show stoppers. Glen Payne’s feature made it all the more grand when seeing the song performed live.
Other groups would go on to record (cover) the song after the Cathedrals, but the definitive version would always belong to Glen Payne and the Cathedrals. Congratulations to Dianne Wilkinson for penning what readers of this blog have deemed Southern Gospel’s greatest song.
Here is the final vote tally:
- “We Shall See Jesus” – 126 votes
- “God On The Mountain” – 118 votes
- “Sweet Beulah Land” – 116 votes
- “Because He Lives” – 103 votes
- “Sheltered In The Arms Of God” – 101 votes
- “Midnight Cry” – 94 votes
- “Til The Storm Passes By” – 94 votes
- “The Lighthouse” – 88 votes
- “He Touched Me” – 75 votes
- “Had It Not Been” – 70 votes
Be on the look out next week as I do a final analysis on the best songs broken down by decade.
*Video Credit (herecalico)