He was Waiting at the Altar

Today’s post was written by Paul.


Douglas Day

Last Sunday we posted “Careless Soul -Prepare to Meet thy God” by Pap and his brother Ray for our Sunday “Pickin’ and Grinnin’ in the Kitchen Spot.” Along with the video we shared information about how the song came from a recording on Cloudland Music, made possible by a grant from the NC Arts Council.

We also mentioned that Douglas Day, former Folklorist of the John C. Campbell Folk School, was instrumental in securing the grant and making the recording a reality.

After the post published a Blind Pig reader let us know that Doug Day had passed away only two days prior to the post. We were very sad to hear this news, and I knew immediately that I wanted to post some Wilson Brothers music in Doug’s honor.

One summer weekend in 1988, Ray’s son-in-law, Derwin Chastain, rented a big camcorder and used it to film family and friends. My brother Steve was able to find a copy of the VHS tape.

In one portion of the video Pap and Ray sang a few songs. In the video we’re sharing today, Pap and Ray are singing a song written by the great Ira Louvin, “He was Waiting at the Altar.” It features the trademark harmony that drew Doug to the music of The Wilson Brothers.

Ironically, 1988 is the year that Doug became Folklorist of the Folk School in Brasstown, so it’s likely the video was shot around the same time that Pap and Ray first met Doug.

Doug provided a tremendous boost to the music of The Wilson Brothers by publishing an article about them in the “Old Time Herald,” helping book many concerts for them, and as we said last week, securing a grant from the NC Arts Council.

The grant resulted in an album in 1992 and indirectly resulted in The Wilson Brothers receiving the NC Folk Heritage Award in 1998.

Doug was an amazing musician in his own right. He held degrees in folklore from UNC and the University of Virginia, plus a PHD from the University of Pennsylvania. In addition to being Folklorist of the John C. Campbell Folk School for several years, he also served as the Executive Director of the Albemarle Charlottesville Historical Society, the Executive Director of Allied Arts of Greater Chattanooga, Executive Director of the Council for Southern Folk Culture, and more. From what I read online, Doug’s most recent projects involved helping veterans tell and preserve their stories. One would be hard pressed to find another individual who has done as much as Doug Day to promote and preserve folk music and culture.

We are forever grateful for the interest he took in the music of The Wilson Brothers and for the fine work he did throughout the eastern US to help so many people. I hope you enjoy this video in his honor. I apologize for the grainy quality.

I hope you enjoyed the video. You can go here to read Douglas Day’s obituary.



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  • Reply
    February 3, 2019 at 6:52 pm

    One more thing… as I was listening to the song again, picked up my guitar, thinking I wanna find where they are and get my capo moved to the right spot ,then so sweet to find I was already there, so I had such fun playing and singing (a lower harmony) 🙂 right along with them, and learning the song … tapping my foot right along with your sweet dad,Tipper, and Paul …with joy

  • Reply
    February 3, 2019 at 6:32 pm

    Wow what a beautiful song , sung so well, and what a wealth of legacy ,left in the footsteps of caring men., now to listen again to that song, a song that can minister to listening ears….. so true in my own life….my husbands, sister ,her husband and many others,,,,, So so , Thankful

  • Reply
    aw griff
    February 3, 2019 at 4:34 pm

    I enjoyed that very much, I realize it was only 31 yrs. ago but still the days were simpler than they are today. IF I had my way we would go back 50 or 60 yrs.

  • Reply
    Dee from Tennessee
    February 3, 2019 at 4:26 pm


  • Reply
    February 3, 2019 at 3:18 pm

    I’ve never heard this song, but I really enjoyed it, along with the video. It didn’t bother me that it has streaks in it.
    The harmony is amazing.

  • Reply
    Kevin, Cheryl, & Zachary
    February 3, 2019 at 1:36 pm

    Wow, this is just amazing. They sound SO much like the Louvin Brothers. I grew up hearing this song often. So thankful Jesus WAS waiting at the altar for me! We didn’t get to hear last week’s song, but we love that song, “Careless Soul,” so we are going to go right now and listen. That is so sad that Douglas Day passed away just two days before and never got see and hear this amazing tribute to him. Thank you for keeping the music alive and for all you do! God bless all of you.

  • Reply
    Brenda Jump
    February 3, 2019 at 9:55 am

    I love that song! They did a fine job! Nice tribute to Mr. Day!

  • Reply
    February 3, 2019 at 9:42 am

    Very nice. It is now one of my favorite Wilson Brothers songs.

  • Reply
    February 3, 2019 at 9:08 am

    Doug would be so proud that you dedicated this post to him and his music. What better way to honor him than through the Wilson Brothers video.

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    February 3, 2019 at 8:01 am

    I had never heard that song either. I like it and they did a fine job. So good that the VHS tape was made. Gosh, that was 31 years ago. My Mom and Dad sang gospel both as a duet and in a quartet but I have only one cassette tape they made for me at home.

  • Reply
    February 3, 2019 at 7:35 am

    I have never heard that song but I sure enjoyed hearing them sing it!! A beautiful tribute to Mr. Douglas Day.

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