Appalachia Music

Did You Think to Pray

Today’s post was written by Paul.

Church

I believe the song I’m sharing today is hymn-in-the-hall #3. I’m going to have to get a logo for this series too. 🙂

Pap (my dad) had an uncanny memory, even for things that happened decades ago. For example, when I was in my 20’s and early 30’s he told me the entire plot of a dark movie called Brotherhood of the Bell. He told it with such suspense, that it made me really want to see it. After I had internet access at home for a few years, I searched and searched for this movie, finally finding it for sale by an independent seller in the midwest with a giant warehouse of old movies on VHS. I watched the movie and really enjoyed it. Here comes the astounding part about his memory: through my research in finding the movie, I learned that it aired one time and only one time only on CBS in 1970. In other words, this was not a movie that he could have seen more than one time.

He sometimes would do the same with recordings of songs: he would tell me a about a recording he really liked when I knew pretty much for a fact that he had not had access to it or been able to hear it during my lifetime.

By the time I came along, radio had pretty much stopped playing the good stuff, and Pap really owned no records of his own. He listened to whatever I had or acquired. I guess our tastes were very similar, but I was never disappointed when I finally located and sampled anything that he recommended, even though I was sometimes initially skeptical.

One example is when he told me that I needed to find a song called “Gone” by Ferlin Huskey (this was before internet or other easy ways to find/buy classic music). I finally found a cassette in Walmart in the early 90’s featuring the song. The tape cost $6 or $7. Hard to imagine now, but at the time, money was much tighter for me, and I was reluctant to buy it. Pap finally said, “Buy it, and if you don’t like it, I’ll pay you back.” Of course, upon hearing “Gone,” I recognized it as a masterpiece. You can hear the song here.

My only knowledge of Huskey at that time was of his comedic side.

The same type of scenario unfolded when he told me that Conway Twitty had the best recording of “Clinging to a Saving Hand.”

Never liking Conway’s music (other than his early rock stuff), I was again skeptical and again proven wrong. Pap was by no means a Twitty fan. That was another thing about Pap: he gave credit where credit was due, rather than judging an artist by his/her previous work or or by inserting his own personal bias.

What does all this have to do with this hymn? About 8-10 years ago, Pap told me, out of the blue, “If you ever get a chance to hear Charlie Pride’s recording of ‘Did You Think to Pray,’ you’ll really like it.” By this time, it was as easy as searching iTunes, and I had also came to expect that if Pap said it was good, it most certainly was. Again, his recommendation connected me to a masterpiece.

As soon as Pride’s recording starts, the listener can tell it’s from the golden era of the Nashville sound, featuring exquisite background vocals and musicianship. Pride’s vocals waver a little on the pitch in places, but there’s such character and genuine emotion, that it doesn’t matter. I’d much rather hear a little natural waiver in the pitch than the auto-tuned vocals used on everything today.

Now that you know more than you ever wanted to know about why I sang this song, I hope you enjoy it. It’s an amazing song with such wise and helpful advice, delivered in a non-judgmental manner.

I videoed “Did You Think to Pray” as a tip of the hat to Pride’s masterpiece and to Pap for always steering me in the direction of touchstones that shaped and improved my life.

I’ll try to do the same by suggesting that you check out this other Pride masterpiece that I almost wore out on an 8-track tape back in the 70’s.

Thanks for watching!

Paul

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12 Comments

  • Reply
    Cheryl
    January 25, 2021 at 1:46 am

    Oh, I remember Mom and Dad playing this song a lot while I was growing up! We had this Charlie Pride album. I was so happy to hear you feature it here today. The lyrics stay in my mind to this day. Such an important reminder to keep prayer front and center and foremost in our lives, especially in these trying times. I don’t know what I would do without prayer – it is such an integral part of every day. May the Lord bless you for keeping these dear, old songs alive. Great job, as always!

  • Reply
    Gene Smith
    January 24, 2021 at 12:43 pm

    I’ve heard that song many times, and my family used to sing it from one of their many hymn books. There was a gospel radio singer named Fred Gentry who sang it too, to his own guitar accompaniment. He had a weekly show–maybe 15 minutes’ worth, as I recall. He sang only familiar hymns. That was in the 1940s.

  • Reply
    Kenneth Ryan
    January 24, 2021 at 12:40 pm

    Very nice, Paul.

  • Reply
    dee
    January 24, 2021 at 12:09 pm

    As usual, I enjoyed hearing Paul sing and all the songs he mentioned. Love the hymns. I talked to a dear cousin lately and in the closing conversation I mentioned all we can do is remember to pray daily. As we age and get into our later years, it seems we have more time each day to pray and it certainly can bring a peace to one’s soul knowing who is really in control.

  • Reply
    Cynthia
    January 24, 2021 at 12:08 pm

    I really liked this song. I guess everybody knows that Charlie Pride passed away in December.

  • Reply
    Rosemary D Woods
    January 24, 2021 at 11:32 am

    I enjoyed your words this morning about your father. I brought back such fond memories of my dad. My dad was a minister and had a remarkable memory as your father did. I love this song that Paul sang…great job. I concluded my devotions this morning with this song. I am so appreciative that I have found your sites, Tipper. I enjoy reading about your life in North Carolina Appalachia.

  • Reply
    Randy
    January 24, 2021 at 10:41 am

    I enjoy everything that Paul sings. I spend a lot of time searching you tube for songs, especially hymens, sung by Tipper and her family.

    I read the older blog about cardinals being messengers that was at the bottom of today’s blog. I know when I was a young boy with a BB gun I could shoot any bird but a cardinal ( red bird) or a mocking bird. My granddaddy and my mother loved these birds. I have read Tipper’s story about the Pap’s death and the rainbow. At my mother’s funeral and the burial in the church cemetery , one of the prettiest bright red cardinals was hopping around in the cemetery near her grave. I now keep a bird feeder especially for the red birds and feel guilty about shooting the other song birds when I was a boy.

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    January 24, 2021 at 9:29 am

    How do you know how much you wanted to know until you know it all?

    I could see a movie and thirty minutes later couldn’t tell you what the plot was. There are songs I have heard all my life that I don’t know the words to. But play me a melody that I like and I’ll never forget it.

  • Reply
    Shirl
    January 24, 2021 at 9:28 am

    Paul did a fabulous job on that song and sounded a lot like Pap. I love Ferlin Huskey music, especially On The Wings Of A Dove.

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    January 24, 2021 at 8:54 am

    It seems to me you have found, as I have, a deeper appreciation of your Dad over time. I’m not sure just how that is. Maybe it comes in part from living into the same years of their age when the memories were formed. BP&A has caused me to remember lots of things my Dad would say that without it I would not have remembered. I don’t have the words to say just what I mean. I am grateful to you Tipper for that re-connecting.

    This certainly is a time to “go praying and come praying” as the old preachers used to say at close of revival services.

  • Reply
    Margie Goldstein
    January 24, 2021 at 8:16 am

    Paul’s HYMNS IN THE HALL is a bonafide hit!!! He sings and plays like an angel and I think he’s very talented. I enjoy watching him perform as well or better than a studio musician!!! I really liked country music’s old gold but I can’t stand this new party music chants and rants. Besides since GAYLORD took over Nashville- you don’t want to know. The day Gaylord turned on Kitty Wells “ It wasn’t God who made honky tonk angel” saying that was a bad song is the day ALL of Nashville turned and threw a literal fit!!! I couldn’t sleep last night so I prayed all through the night, got up in praise to my SAVIOR and have BEAT the devil plumb good this morning! God, THANK YOU for my friends in NC and across this world!!!

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    January 24, 2021 at 6:51 am

    Nice job Paul, on the song. I could feel your heart in it!
    Pap was such a fine man! I love it when you talk about him and you may not realize it but you have the same gentle spirit he had.
    Thanks for the songs, I listened to all of them you recommended.

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