Appalachia Music

Careless Soul


The Wilson Brothers

In the early 90’s Douglas Day, who was the Folklorist at the John C. Campbell Folk School at the time, nominated Pap and his brother for a grant from the NC Arts Council. The grant was approved and Doug Dorshaw (spelling) came to Brasstown to make a recording of them. The song I’m sharing today is taken from that album, which was entitled “I Believe in God,” (one of Pap’s original songs) and appeared on Cloudland Music. The photos that appear in the video below are from an article that appeared in the “Old Time Herald.” Douglas Day wrote the article.

The attention that Day drew to The Wilson Brothers’ music eventually resulted in them winning the NC Folk Heritage Award, which was also awarded to Arthur “Guitar Boogie Smith” on the same night in Raleigh, NC in 1998. Smith co-wrote Dueling Banjo’s with Don Reno.


I hope you enjoyed the song! Although we’ve always called the song “Careless Soul” according to the true name of the song is “Prepare to Meet Thy God.” The song was written by James Henry Stanley (1869-1954). Stanley’s life was centered on music. He was a band director, a songwriter, and a singing school teacher. At his death he lived in Saltillo, MS. “Prepare to Meet Thy God” was Stanley’s most popular song. The Pressley Girls have recently added the song to their line-up.


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  • Reply
    April 26, 2020 at 4:21 pm


  • Reply
    February 3, 2019 at 8:19 pm

    Awesome song….

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    Kevin, Cheryl, & Zachary
    February 3, 2019 at 1:47 pm

    I’ll tell you what, I don’t know how anyone could listen to this song and not be moved. I listened to it with tears streaming. Their harmony is just impeccable and so tight, and the words to this song are so convicting. Everyone in the world needs to hear it and take heed to the words. As we listened, I thought of Douglas Day and all of the loved ones we, too have lost, and it hit me with such reality, that everyone of us will follow them one day and cross over into eternity. How sad it would be to miss Heaven and be lost! I am SO thankful you shared this beautiful, anointed old song. It brought back many memories to us today and really touched our hearts. SO thankful to be saved and living for Jesus and surely want to be faithful to Him all the days of our lives. We are so grateful for all you do here.

  • Reply
    Dale Drawbond
    January 30, 2019 at 9:19 pm

    Thanks Tipper for this post with this wonderful song with a soul saving message! That’s one song I’ve saved and play everyday. Such great harmony and guitar playing.

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    Sanford McKinney Jr
    January 27, 2019 at 4:45 pm

    I remember Arthur “Guitar Boogie Smith” had a show on TV channel three (3) out of Charlotte. I believe the name of the program was the Arthur Smith Show. His band was the Cracker Jacks? There was a couple that appeared regularly by the name of Shuler. I think they were brother and sister?

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    George Pettie
    January 27, 2019 at 12:45 pm

    Loved it.

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    January 27, 2019 at 12:08 pm

    I have never heard this song, but I enjoyed it, especially the harmony.

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    Ed Ammons
    January 27, 2019 at 9:29 am

    That is probably my favorite Pap and Ray song right now. I can sing a bass line along with them that sounds pretty good. In my opinion anyway. ‘Course ain’t nobody else heard it either!

    When are we going to get to hear the Girls’ version?

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    Sheila Stone
    January 27, 2019 at 9:27 am

    In one of those coincidences, that aren’t, I was startled to see this name today. Douglas Day just passed two days ago. Such a huge heart and spirit. You can see some details on Facebook.

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    January 27, 2019 at 8:39 am

    This song was a favorite altar call song in revivals when I was a boy. I don’t hear it much now.

    AMO4:12 Therefore thus will I do unto thee, O Israel: and because I will do this unto thee, prepare to meet thy God, O Israel.

  • Reply
    January 27, 2019 at 8:36 am

    This song brings back many a memory over the years, I can remember white knuckling the benches at Church services while people prayed for me, knowing if I left the building there would be no hope for me if death found me, thank the good Lord he was merciful, and patience with me, now I enjoy a good song like this because I’m a child of God now, and now I have a desire to pray for others with the white knuckles at Church services or where ever God is calling. Enjoyed the song very much.

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    Miss Cindy
    January 27, 2019 at 8:27 am

    Tip, I’m a little startled every time I hear Pap’s voice coming through the speakers when you post one of his songs. For a moment I forget that he has gone on. Pap was one of the kindest gentlest men I’ve ever known, I miss him as I know you do!

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    Don Byers
    January 27, 2019 at 7:12 am

    Very interesting.

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    aw griff
    January 27, 2019 at 6:24 am

    Enjoyed very much, Hadn’t heard anyone in our church sing that for many years.

  • Reply
    Ralph Holland
    January 27, 2019 at 6:10 am

    And I thought this music was lost
    Thank you for posting and I will be sharing it

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