All Seeing Eye Watching You

My life in appalachia - The Big Eye
Most of the songs the Blind Pig Gang do are old ones. Unless Paul or Pap wrote it-then you can almost guarantee the song is from days gone by. Even though I know that, sometimes I’m still surprised by just how old a song is.

I grew up singing about the all seeing eye in church and after I discovered how old it is, I’m assuming Pap grew up singing about it as well. The actual name of the old song is Watching You. It was written by John Melvin Henson and was copyrighted in 1915. Henson, who was born in 1887 in Curryville, GA, also penned Anywhere Is Home, I’ll Live In Glory, and Happy Am I all three familiar hymns from my growing up years.

As I googled around this morning I was surprised to see more than a few folks thought the old song was intimidating. I was reminded of the time, Vicki Lane, one of my favorite writers, pointed out the fear in a different old gospel song He Will Set Your Fields On Fire. When I first read her description I thought now that’s one of the peppiest songs I know it’s not scary. I popped in one of Pap’s old cds and gave it another listen and decided well I guess it could cause fear, after all the song does have a strong warning of what will happen if one doesn’t from sin retire he will set your fields on fire.

I’ve struggled on more than one occasion to try to describe or explain the strange correlation between fear, religion, comfort, and Appalachia. In the same way the people of Appalachia were drawn to the old murder ballads that came along with them over the big pond I believe many of them were (and are) drawn to the gospel songs of dire warnings and consequences.

For this Pickin’ & Grinnin’ In The Kitchen Spot-Watching You.

Hope you liked the old song I think Mr. Henson would be happy to know his song is still alive and well in the Blind Pig household.



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  • Reply
    February 14, 2011 at 8:48 am

    Loved that toe tapping song!
    And the self portrait. I can just see here staring in the mirror comparing one eye to the other. LOL

  • Reply
    Ron Corley
    February 14, 2011 at 8:47 am

    Great article, and I loved watching and listening to the video you provided for us all. I can only speak for myself, but I find comfort, not fear, in knowing God’s watchful eye is ever present. Yes, He is not only watching to see if I am doing and/or saying something I shouldn’t … but He is also watching, keeping an eye on me, to make sure I am safe from danger. I know He finds pleasure in all I do and say that is for my good, and for His Glory. And that is what I seek for my life … to please The Father. I’m not perfect, by any means, but, like many others, I’m striving more and more to be Christ-like. There’s no better life than that. Have a beautiful, blessed Monday … and Happy Valentine’s Day.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    February 13, 2011 at 9:10 am

    Those are beautiful eyes whether brown or green. I have always heard that brown eyes are genetically dominant. The Deer Hunter’s family eye colors are blue and green yet Chitter and Chatter have the beautiful, piercing chinquapen eyes of your family, so I guess it is true. I’ve never noticed Chatters eyes being different colors. I’ll have to take a closer look next time I see them.
    Fear may be the glue that holds most religions together. Without fear of the consequences why else would we continue to follow. I think you are correct. There is a correlation between fear, religion, comfort, and Appalachia. They are all tightly sewn together by a tight thread. We might need a Psychologist to explain it to us.
    The guys did a nice job on the song, as they always do!

  • Reply
    February 13, 2011 at 6:31 am

    Tipper – I’m always running my mouth about how your talent impresses me that I usually forget to say how much I enjoy Pap and Pauls music. After I post what I wanted to say then I usually think ” dummy ” you forgot to tell Tipper again how much you enjoyed the songs!
    My wife’s family was musically inclined like that. Her dad was the bass singer and all my sister-in-laws did the alto and high parts. My brother-in-law loved Chet Atkins. He had a Gretsch guitar (I think that’s how it’s spelled)and he was rather talented at playing it.
    When I hear Pap and Paul I always think back to those Sundays when we would gather and have a gospel singing!
    Maybe I haven’t been paying attention but, I know one of your girls is named Chatter and the other is Chitter but, I’ve never been able to tell which is which but, I know one thing, B. Ruth is right about the eye color not making any difference.
    Oh yeah, (been wanting to tell you for a while) you know how everything reminds me of something? Well, there’s something about those girls that remind me of that girl that used to be in the movies back in the late sixties and seventies: Remember Ali Mc Graw? What do you think?

  • Reply
    Dee from Tennessee
    February 13, 2011 at 4:54 am

    First, I have a cousin whose eyes are different colors. We’re all just used to it.
    Love the song and LOVE the way the switch from lead to tenor as someone mentioned. I know the song but don’t remember it being sung in our lil church. I did see someone mention on a blog that the song “I’ll Fly Away” scared them — didn’t get that at all???
    Someone shared a clip with me from youtube of “The Soul Never Dies” recently and I made the comment that I could just “hear” my grandfather singing it. He was the songleader — we didn’t have a choir director, etc. Anyway, a friend who attended church with us a million yrs ago quickly replied back that she loved to hear my grandfather lead “Camping in Cannan’s Land” AND she could remember the page number! WELL, it thrilled me — I told her that around 20 yrs ago , I had had 6 hymns framed : one for each of my grandparents, one for my mother and for a double-first cousin (if anybody knows what double-first cousins AND that page #122 , Camping in Cannan’s Land was the song I chose waaaaaaay back 20 yrs ago to remember him by. I couldn’t believe that someone from about 50 years ago could remember him leading that song and the page number. Facebook has been such a blessing to me.
    Music is so powerful. I have tried to no avail — and they are all gone now except my mother — to remember a song my grandfather would impromptu start singing at the end of a close of a service, esp. a revival. It was not “Lord, send a revival.” I’ve about given up on it cause I’ve tried for yrs now to remember it,and it just eludes me. It wasn’t in our lil brown hymn book — it was a song that all the older ones knew by heart. Memories — thanks Tipper.
    (Listening to the girls harmonizing right now…love it!)

  • Reply
    lynn legge
    February 12, 2011 at 8:55 pm

    tipper ..all i can say is that the song brought tears to my eyes… the words and the harmony just touched my soul.. and i agree with sandra, that the world has forgotten the basics of life.. which are the most important.. love and loving the Lord.. 🙂 thank you so much.. i guess im really in a melancholy state these days.. with my brother so ill.. and any song that sings to my soul.. just makes me stop and appreciate the things in life that are most precious..
    sending big ladybug hugs

  • Reply
    Vicki Lane
    February 12, 2011 at 6:40 pm

    Good post, Tipper! I think when folks grow up with ‘love songs’ that end in murder (“He cut off her head and kicked it against the wall”) and hymns that contain dire threats for wrong doers, it just comes to seem normal. Like a mama saying ‘I’ll snatch you bald headed’ or ‘I’ll wear you out with this switch’ we don’t REALLY believe she means it.

  • Reply
    February 12, 2011 at 4:05 pm

    Those gorgeous eyes of Chatter
    remind me of my oldest sister-in-
    law. She also has a brown eye and
    a green one. I enjoyed the song by
    Pap and Paul and it always amazes
    me how Pap can change from lead to
    Tenor and adjust their singing just like Ira and Charlie did alot. Nice post…Ken

  • Reply
    Eva M. Wike, Ph. D.
    February 12, 2011 at 3:55 pm

    Again I am going to share your wonderful ‘old’ songs with my brother in Afghanistan! He is down to LESS THAN TWENTY DAYS TO DEPARTURE TIME!!! The GREEN GRASS OF HOME is going to look mighty good to em
    Eva Nell

  • Reply
    Donna W
    February 12, 2011 at 12:37 pm

    That’s one of my favorite songs. My mom knew it from when she was a kid. I sure do miss the old songs and hymns; seems like nobody sings them any more.

  • Reply
    Sheila Bergeron
    February 12, 2011 at 12:09 pm

    This is the best! One of our older sisters in our church used to sing this when it was her turn to sing a special. She’s gone “home” now; and I’m sure her eye is watching too- you sure couldn’t get nothing over on her. Have a blessed weekend.

  • Reply
    February 12, 2011 at 11:06 am

    this is a new one to me, have not heard it. i love it. i believe our world is a worse place because people no longer fear God. he is a fearsome God and a loving God and the new religions are forgeting to Fear Him. it is like having a parent that never rebukes a child, the child does things he would not do and so do we. i was raised in Fear of God but also in His Love. I like this song

  • Reply
    B. Ruth
    February 12, 2011 at 10:55 am

    Hey Tipper,
    It’s been years since I heard that song. Pap and Paul do a great job singing and playing as well as the rest of the family.
    Fearing the Lords watching eye used to bother me when younger until I got more understanding of it as I grew up. My Mother said she grew up hearing “a’feard of the Lord” and “Lucifer” so much that she had trouble comprehending where the love part came to be. LOL
    She vowed never to threaten her children with those type of things (words), only explain, explain, explain as best you can…
    Great post as usual…Love the music…PS..We need a good color shot of Chatter’s eyes..even if they were purple they would look great on such a pretty girl
    Thanks Tipper

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