Sorry for my absence, but the busyness of life keeps you from your hobbies at times. So, today I thought I would offer another page from my Southern Gospel notebook. As a kid, into my teen years, I wrote down my twenty favorite songs every month.
I started this in July 1982 and continued until December 1994. Today’s post took my notebook entry from August 1983. These were my twenty favorite songs. Enjoy!
DID YOU KNOW?: A regional artist out of Mississippi, the Bibletones, were a haven for several Dixie Echoes members in the early 1980’s. The most notable were Billy Todd and Paul Vinson.
The group also recorded songs from former Dixie Echoes members Billy Dale Sexton and Vaughn Thacker. Perfect Heart alumni, Mark Lanier, also spent time with the Bibletones in the late 80’s and had a charting hit with his composition, “The Ground Is Level At Calvary”.
Last year I started a new series that highlights the ten best songs an artist recorded during their career. We’ve seen lists for the Steeles, Anchormen, the Downings and Down East Boys. Today, I wanted to look at the best songs recorded by the Dixie Echoes.
1.”I Want To See Jesus” (Billy Dale Sexton; Live, 1973)
2. “Close To The Master” (Paul Hughes/Alphus LeFevre; Close To The Master, 1964)
3. “I’ll Take Jesus” (Dale Shelnut; Today, 1975)
4. “Trouble In My Way” (Traditional; Exciting And Inspiring, 1968)
5. “Salvation’s Plan” (Billy Dale Sexton; Harvest Of New Hits, 1974)
6. “Walkin’ On With Jesus” (Randy Shelnut; Walkin’ On, 1987)
7. “So Many Reasons” (Jimmie Davis/David Reece; For God So Loved, 1967)
8. “Suddenly A Rainbow” (Ray Holliday; Reunion, 2000)
9. “Too Near The Crown” (James Payne; 30th Anniversary, 1989)
10. “Tell It To Him” (Randy Shelnut; Assurance, 1982)
Just one night remains for the 2015 edition of the National Quartet Convention. It was literally a snooze fest for most of the evening as I nodded off several times only to be awakened by a high note. There were some hits. Lets get to it.
One moment toward the end that woke me up was the Dixie Echoes. How refreshing to hear just the voices accompanied by piano and bass guitar. The group showcased a new tenor on the quartet classic, “Hide Thou Me”. And, Randy can still get it done vocally with a song like “How Great Thou Art”.
The Hoppers set was a hit parade of their three biggest songs of the last twenty years; “I’ve Come Too Far”, “Jerusalem” and “Shouting Time”. Watching Connie during that set, you could see she was happy to be back on the stage.
I enjoy the new vocal blend of the Kingdom Heirs with Brian Alvey on lead and Arthur Rice on baritone.
Claude Hopper was a trooper helping emcee the entire program tonight. Michael kept him on track and even made for some funny moments.
Friday night of the NQC is still missing that spark it had when the Gaither Vocal Band was on the program. I also miss seeing the Isaacs this year.
The webcast had sound issues early on in the program that eventually cleared.
Overall it wasn’t an eventful evening. I don’t see many memorable moments made tonight that will have people talking and sharing. The entire 2015 edition of the NQC has had very few moments that fans will remember and share.
**Now to crown the best of the night:
Best single song performances (in order of appearance): (1) “When He Carries Me Away” – Collingsworth Family (2) “What A Meeting” – Childress Family (**Favorite song performance of the evening) (3) “There Is Jesus” – McKameys (4) “I’m Depending On Jesus” – Dixie Melody Boys (5) “I’ve Come Too Far” – Hoppers (6) “Crumbs From The Table” – Dixie Echoes (7) “He Locked The Gates” – Kingdom Heirs (8) “Lay Up Treasures” – Jubilee Segment
Best Set of the Night: The set I enjoyed the most this evening was the Dixie Echoes.
This week the ten on ten (redux) will re-visit the Dixie Echoes. On January 10th, 2012, I presented the original ten on ten feature for the Dixie Echoes highlighting the group’s ten best albums. This redux feature will shine the spotlight on the three lowest ranking albums of the group’s career thus far. First, the original list highlighting the group’s ten best recordings.
Harvest Of New Hits (1974)
Press On (2002)
Sounds Of Sunday (2006)
Shades Of Thought (1970)
A New Chapter (2005)
Exciting And Inspiring (1968)
One Mind And Many Chords (1991)
Memories – A Tribute To Dale Shelnut (1983)
The lowest ranked albums in the Dixie Echoes discography are as follows:
I happened to have my music playlist on shuffle the other day and the coincidence of two songs with the same title happened to play back to back. It made me think of all the songs in Southern Gospel music that have the same title, but are totally different songs.
Thus, this new feature is born; the Southern Gospel song list. The first song I want to feature is the song that happened to be the one that played back to back; “Welcome Home”. I have at least a dozen songs with the title “Welcome Home” in my music library. Of those, I will feature song snippets of all the “Welcome Home” songs that are different.
It all starts in 1966 with the Dixie Echoes and the song “Welcome Home” recorded on the album, Echoing. They would re-record it on their 1976 album, Get On Board. The Florida Boys also recorded this particular song on their 1968 album, Make Happy Tracks. The Happy Goodmans would also add their touch to this song on their 1968 Grammy award-winning album, The Happy Gospel Of.
The Speer Family, in 1966, on the album A Singing Heritage recorded the up-tempo “Welcome Home” most Southern Gospel listeners are familiar. The song was also recorded in 1967 by the Kingsmen on the album Sing Out. The Dixie Echoes would also record this version in 1967 (Coming On Strong) and 2006 (Sounds Of Sunday).
We move to 1982 to the next “Welcome Home” song. This one by the Paynes on their 1982 album, Ready Or Not.
The Bishops were next to record a song with the title “Welcome Home”. Their’s came with the 1988 album, Live At Fayetteville Community Church.
The Down East Boys recorded another up-tempo “Welcome Home” on their 1989 album, Miles Of Smiles. The Hayes Family also recorded this version on their 1992 album, All We Have Is Jesus.
Charles Johnson and the Revivers recorded a song (written by Johnson) titled “Welcome Home” on their 1990 recording, Until Then.
The Dixie Melody Boys were next with “Welcome Home” from their 1996 recording, Old Time Religion.
Finally, the most recent version of “Welcome Home” comes from bluegrass Gospel artist, Mountain Faith and their 2011 recording; Save Me.
Was there any other “Welcome Home” songs that I missed?
Slowly, but surely, I will be bringing back all my old regular features of Southern Gospel Views from the Back Row. Today, I wanted to bring back the song hall of fame feature that honors the best songs in Southern Gospel’s history. Since it has been a while since we had the last honoree, I thought I would provide a recap of all the songs inducted in to my Southern Gospel song hall of fame so far.
Today’s inductee in to the Southern Gospel song hall of fame is an early 1970’s Southern Gospel classic, “Clinging To A Saving Hand”. The song was written by mainstream country DJ legend, Bill Mack. Bill is currently a member of the Country Music DJ Hall of Fame as well as the Texas Country Music Hall of Fame.
Bill Mack is noted mainly for his mainstream country compositions including the 1997 mega smash breakthrough song for LeAnn Rimes; “Blue”. But it was “Clinging To A Saving Hand” that made the greatest impact in the Southern Gospel world. Recorded by many of the biggest artists in the industry during the early ’70’s, this song has endured through the years and crossed genres being recorded by artists such as Bill Monroe, LeAnn Rimes, Connie Smith and Conway Twitty.
One of the best Southern Gospel versions of the song can be found in this particular YouTube clip (published by akdal83) of the Dixie Echoes and the lead voice of Dale Shelnut. Enjoy!