Appalachia Music

Far Side Banks of Jordan

Granny and Pap Thanksgiving 2015
Granny and Pap Thanksgiving 2015

Pap and Granny’s 52 Wedding Anniversary would have been tomorrow. That’s a whole lot of years. The Deer Hunter and I passed our 20 year mark a few years ago. He teases me that it seems a whole heck of a lot longer than that! He and I both agree the years of our marriage have flown past at record speed and I’m happy to say we both agree our lives have been better because of each other. Pap and Granny felt that way too.

Seemed like the older Pap and Granny got the closer they became and the more they held onto each other. I think Granny told every last person who spoke to her at Pap’s funeral that she’d lost her best friend and I know she has.

As we talked about what songs Pap would want played at his service Granny teared up as she told us they’d recently seen Jimmy Fortune sing On the Far Side Banks of Jordan on tv. She said Pap told her “Now you remember those words and think of them when I’m gone.” Over the last few months I know Pap knew his death was drawing nigh.

Pap had told my brothers he wanted the Robbinsville Quartet to sing for his funeral. We ask if they knew the song On the Far Side Banks of Jordan but they didn’t. The only folks I’d ever heard sing it was The Marksmen. I used to have a cassette tape with their version and it always made me sad and happy at the same time. Terry Smith wrote the great song and although I didn’t know it, the song has been recorded by lots of folks.

Far Side Banks Of Jordan written by Terry Smith

I believe my steps are growing wearier each day
Still I’ve got a journey on my mind
Lures of this old world have ceased to make me want to stay
and my one regret is leaving you behind

But I’ll be waiting on the farside banks of Jordan
I’ll be sitting drawing pictures in the sand
And when I see you coming I will rise up with a shout!
And come running through the shallow waters reaching for your hand

If it proves to be his will that I am first to cross
And some how I’ve a feeling it will be
When it comes your time to travel likewise don’t feel lost
For I will be the first one that you’ll see

But I’ll be waiting on the farside banks of Jordan
I’ll be sitting drawing pictures in the sand
And when I see you coming I will rise up with a shout!
And come running through the shallow waters reaching for your hand

Through this life we’ve laboured hard to earn our meager fare
It’s brought us trembling hands and failing eyes
So I’ll just rest here on this shore and turn my eyes away
Until you’ll come then we’ll see paradise

But I’ll be waiting on the farside banks of Jordan
I’ll be sitting drawing pictures in the sand
And when I see you coming I will rise up with a shout!
And come running through the shallow waters reaching for your hand

Here’s the Jimmy Fortune version Granny and Pap watched.


I could never repay you for the kind words you’ve sent about Pap. Words that have and will uphold me during this sad time.

Paul and Pap’s new cd Shepherd of my Soul contains 13 original songs written by Pap. What a comfort all the songs Pap wrote will be for us as we go forward. Even though Paul has listened to the songs on the cd hundreds of times as he did the mixing of the recording, he said when he heard them yesterday he heard them anew. I haven’t been able to listen to any of Pap’s songs yet. But I know they’re there when I’m ready.

If you’re interested in purchasing a cd you can buy one directly from me (go here for the details) or jump over to my the Blind Pig and The Acorn Etsy shop and pick one up there.



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  • Reply
    April 24, 2016 at 9:44 pm

    Those words of the song say it all. I had to share this beautiful song by Jimmy Fortune with a dear cousin who recently lost her young husband postoperatively.
    Unusual for me that I am at a loss for words. But, be assured your Blind Pig readers are there for you, and some are sending up prayers for you and your dear family.

  • Reply
    April 24, 2016 at 6:47 pm

    Tipper, I just love this song!
    I can just see him patiently sitting there with stick in hand drawing those pics while he waits.
    I love that he left the thoughts of that song for his best friend and the others he loves.
    My Dad was waiting for that “Good Ole Gospel Ship” to take him home.
    I can completely sympathize with your feelings right now and I am so sorry. I am sending you a big hug from SC.

  • Reply
    April 24, 2016 at 5:47 pm

    Such a beautiful song. It brought tears to my eyes, too, but also a feeling of peace and comfort for my personal loss.

  • Reply
    Pam Danner
    April 24, 2016 at 4:58 pm

    What a beautiful song! It is comforting thinking of our loved ones waiting there for us. I hope that it brings some comfort to you Mother. I just want to tell you I will always treasure the CD that Pap and Paul recorded.

  • Reply
    Shirley Wright
    April 24, 2016 at 2:47 pm

    Tipper, I am so very sorry for you and your family’s loss. Even though I’ve never met any of you, I feel as though I’ve come to know you and yours through your blog. The words to this song you posted today are so very appropriate, and I can see why it makes you both happy and sad at the same time. Your father lives on in so many ways through your girls’ music, your family, and the many stories he passed down. Continue to remember all the good times knowing he is waiting on the other side of Jordan.

  • Reply
    April 24, 2016 at 2:12 pm

    Such a wonderful song, and I know Pap is waiting on the Banks of Jordan.. We need more people like Pap in this old wicked world.. Our hearts are heavy for you and your family.. May God bless you all during this very sad time..

  • Reply
    Ken Roper
    April 24, 2016 at 2:01 pm

    All I can say is I pray for ALL the Family and God will ease the pain in His time. I lost my daddy and mama in the early 80’s and there was nothing anybody could say or do. Then all my brothers, but one were gone too. But Time has allowed me to cope this, along with my friends. We LOVE you and ALL the family…Ken

  • Reply
    Betty Richards
    April 24, 2016 at 1:33 pm

    Just learned of Pap’s home-going. I feel like you all are a part of my family and loved Pap’s tenor singing with Paul. May God bless and put his arms around all of you and comfort you.
    R.I.P. Pap.

  • Reply
    Ron Banks
    April 24, 2016 at 12:59 pm

    What a wonderful song. We will all have to leave or be left by our loved ones at some point. What a wonderful thing to know that we can be together again on the other side for ever more without the pains and sickness of this world. When my dad passed my brother who is a pastor spoke over him. He said something that has stuck with me ever since. “Dad has left this world but don’t be sad for him. He just received the ultimate promotion.”
    Tipper, we continue to pray for all of you during this time.

  • Reply
    Phyllis S
    April 24, 2016 at 12:27 pm

    Just now learned of your family’s loss and send my
    heartfelt sympathy to all.

  • Reply
    Wanda Devers
    April 24, 2016 at 11:57 am

    What a beautiful song! Thinking of you and your family with love and prayers every day.

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    April 24, 2016 at 11:00 am

    I really hope you will listen to this song by Jamie Dailey. It pretty much says it all.

  • Reply
    April 24, 2016 at 10:22 am

    I’m sitting here reading this post and listening to this song with tears flowing down my face. I’m so sorry for your loss. It’s comforting knowing Jerry is in heaven but no less heartbreaking at the same time. I’ve thinking about all of you and praying for peace.

  • Reply
    Vann Helms
    April 24, 2016 at 9:50 am

    I just now learned of Pap’s passing. I knew him through your words. I’m so sorry.

  • Reply
    Susie Swanson
    April 24, 2016 at 9:39 am

    Hi Tipper, I can only say I’m so sorry for your loss and just know that he is waiting on the Far Side Of Jordan. I know your feeling all to well but I’m praying for God to give you all the peace and comfort you need to get by until you see him again. Our memories that we leave behind for our family is our legacy and your Pap left a lifetime of precious memories and his Love for all of you. Your family has been such a blessing to so many over the years and his legacy will live on the hearts of so many people and to think how many he’s touched is beyond comprehension. May God Bless you all as you travel on this journey till ya’ll are together again.

  • Reply
    Lorie Thompson
    April 24, 2016 at 9:15 am

    Tipper, I am so sorry for the loss of your Father.
    I lost my Mom in Dec of 2013 and my Dad in March if 2015. They had been married since 1946 and had shared a lifetime of love, for each other and for their family and friends. I still miss them every day, but I am comforted to know they are together and that I will see them again in a better place.
    Thank you for sharing the song. I had never heard it before, It brought tears to my eyes,
    I know your grief and the loss that you and your Mom feel now. Stay busy doing for others and every day will get a little easier. I pray God’s comfort upon you.

  • Reply
    April 24, 2016 at 8:59 am

    Just a beautiful tribute for a wonderful man and his meaningful life. God bless all the family and friends during this sad time.

  • Reply
    Don Casada
    April 24, 2016 at 8:49 am

    What a blessing it is to have Pap’s singing recorded and there for you when you need it.
    I know the girls also did some interviewing of Pap, and I suspect that you may find, as years go along, listening to his gentle and wise ways of talking will bring a great comfort.
    I’m awfully partial to the Cox Family version of Far side Bank of Jordan:
    Yesterday, Susan and I got out and did some roaming in the mountains and thoroughly enjoyed it all – from cold winds blowing along the top of Ol’ Smoky to hollows filled with incredible arrays of trillium, fringed phacelia and phlox, and patches of ramps that make your mouth water, to the good tired feeling you have at the end of day. It occurred to us that Pap might have been doing some of his own roaming around, with a strong heart and legs, reveling in his new mountain homeland.

  • Reply
    April 24, 2016 at 8:47 am

    What a beautiful song – it made me cry. I hope it brings your mother comfort as your father hoped it would.
    My thoughts have been with you every day, Tipper.

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    April 24, 2016 at 8:43 am

    Our Sunday School lesson today is ‘What Will We Leave Behind?’ and your post illustrates so many of those things; blessed memories and our testimony anong others. It is a strange thing that how greatly one is missed is a form of measure of how greatly one is loved.
    It is so plain to see that you all have the consolation you need, crafted both by Pap’s life and the grace of God. I know it takes a full year to cycle through all of the special days and each one will be bittersweet. But I also know that for you all the sweet will outweigh the bitter. As the years go by, I am accumulating more interest in over there than I have interest in over here. As the song says, I just dread the sorrow of those I temporarily part with.
    2COR 1.3. Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort
    2COR 1.4. Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.

  • Reply
    April 24, 2016 at 8:10 am

    I am so sorry for your loss , you have made us love him an your family , with the writing an Music . I will miss there sing togather . God Bless you all

  • Reply
    Eleanor Loos
    April 24, 2016 at 7:28 am

    In mid-March I placed an order for the “Shepherd of my Soul” cd. What grand songs to lift the soul as we look forward to our heavenly home. Tipper, these songs will bless your heart as you listen anew to these words from your dear Pap. Rejoice, as we look forward to meeting with Jesus and our loved ones!
    Eleanor L., Columbia Station, OH

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    April 24, 2016 at 7:20 am

    I see Pap now with that beautiful glow that was on his face once all the pain was gone.

  • Reply
    Ethelene Dyer Jones
    April 24, 2016 at 7:17 am

    Terry Fortune’s song is both sad and happy at the same time, We cannot help but feel sad for us left behind awaiting our own crossing, but happy for those who have made the journey. The hope of heaven sustains us through loss. Its shores grow closer every day we live. My condolences to all the Wilson Family.

  • Reply
    Sarah MacKenzie
    April 24, 2016 at 7:16 am

    Thank you so much for posting this song. It is so beautiful. I’m praying for all of you for peace and comfort and for strength and stamina through this time. God bless you.

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