Southern Gospel Tidbits

DID YOU KNOW?:  Dottie Rambo is regarded as one of Gospel music’s greatest songwriters. The unique thing about that is Southern Gospel radio must have missed that memo. Of all the standards she wrote during the 1970’s, the first song to go to #1, in 1972, was a song from her solo album, Heart Prints, titled; “Tiny”. The Rambos, as a group, would get their only #1 song in 1977 with “I’ve Never Been This Homesick Before”.  The only other Dottie Rambo composition to land at #1 during the 1970’s was the Downings cut of “Sheltered In The Arms Of God”.

*Video Credit (Mr. Scott)

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3 thoughts on “Southern Gospel Tidbits

  1. As an older fan who was there beginning in the 1960s with southern gospel music, I have several opinions why not many of Dottie Rambo’s songs made it to the #1 position in the Singing News charts:
    1) “Learning To Lean” sung by the Blackwood Brothers, maintained the #1 position for 15 straight months, until Dottie’s song “I’ve Never Been This Homesick Before” broke its streak. It was a nice song, but wow, what was the criteria? The 1960s and 1970s were dominated by the all male quartets even though the Rambos, LeFevres, Goodmans, Speers and others had made in-roads. They had no mixed groups at the National Quartet Convention until the Rambos broke through that barrier in the 1960s, at the invitation of J.D. Sumner;
    2) Record sales and radio play often did not equate to which songs made it to the top of the charts. I just looked over the Singing News charts I still have, from the 1970s, and I noted that Bill Gaither did not make it to the top spot much either;
    3) It can also be argued in Dottie’s case, that coming out with such a large number of new songs (more than anyone else) made it more difficult for specific songs to rise to the very top. Nevertheless, her songs were almost always in the top 40 and even in the top 10 for more than a decade! It was not unusual for the Rambos to come out with 3 or 4 albums in some of those years;
    4) Down By the Creekbank, Dottie’s children’s musical, was one of the biggest selling children’s albums in history, obtaining Platinum status, but very few of those songs ever charted or were featured on gospel radio – there again, sales do not always equate to the charts or radio play;
    5) Songs in the top 10 for Dove Awarded song of the year – likewise were often missing in terms of making it high in the charts – go figure? In Dottie’s case “We Shall Behold Him” was song of the year in 1982, but why did it not reach #1 in the charts, even though Sandi Patti’s rendition helped bring her to even more prominence in Sandi’s career? Same thing could be said for “I Go To The Rock,” huge recognition for Dottie Rambo in having it recorded by Whitney Houston, but I don’t recall how high that went in the charts – I don’t have the 1980s in my collection.
    So, just mentioning all this detail to say I don’t think the Singing News charts were really reflective overall of the radio play or the sales of the 1960s and 1970s – perhaps that has changed in our more modern era?

  2. This tidbit is absolutely stunning, I would have never guessed this, she was a songwriting legend, I would have guessed she had written at least a dozen #1’s. Gospel radio sometimes has no clue, just being honest!

  3. I was Dottie’s manager until her death. It seemed that while Dottie’s songs were recorded by who’s who of SG like crazy she’s always been held in higher regard outside the genre. Maybe because females as a whole weren’t taken as seriously nor as involved in the business side as much and like all things in business it’s based on patting your buddy’s back. Dottie was no victim by any means because what SG didn’t reward nearly every other gospel genre did and secular music. Dottie’s music was usually deeper than a lot if the early SG songs and more commercial. SG really didn’t do well by her until later in life as far as recognition as an industry. She was always a fan favorite and star (though she didn’t like that term). She’s been the most successful I’d say as an individual writer as far as major cuts in SG and Traditional gospel music male or female. Dottie rarely cowrote (tho some business deals were made thru naivity of handlers with names appearing w/her like Jimmie Davis). She was truly anointed and I think that’s what drew Hollywood stars, country stars, evangelists, SG, CCM, hymnal inclusion and Black Gospel to her writings and to her personally. The secular world gave her more awards than SG but I don’t think she ever noticed or minded. In all honesty she didn’t like the term SG label on her as she preferred the label Gospel Music and it did fit her better if you consider her entire career as a singer and songwriter.

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