Appalachia Music Pap

I’ll Choose Jesus – Original Song by Jerry Wilson

Today’s post was written by Paul.


I found this version of Pap’s song “I’ll Choose Jesus” on one of the old reel to reel tapes he recorded on back in the day. The tape box is labeled March 6, 1971. March 6 happens to be Granny’s birthday 🙂

I left some of the talking at the beginning. As the sound starts, you can hear the last half of a question from Pap, saying “the volume?” It seems like he was asking something like, “should we turn down the volume?” or “Did you check the volume?” Uncle Ray responds, “It’s alright.” Once the song is underway, someone clearly turned down the volume. To make it less noticeable, I turned the volume back up in the same place when making the copy to CD. This adjustment happens right after the words “the things.” It may have been Pap who turned it down because it was distorting on the VU meter of the reel machine. Funny to think that 47 years later, I would be adjusting his adjustment to make the volume drop less noticeable. The reason I think it might have been Pap who turned it down is that I hear no sign of his rhythm guitar in this, only Ray’s rhythm, so Pap would have had a free hand to turn the knob.

I really like Uncle Henry’s playing on this. Pap and Ray later recorded this song with two acoustic guitars in the early 90’s. It became the title cut for a collection that was only available on cassette. They sang it lower then (key of F vs key of G) and changed the end of the chorus. I have a suspicion that the audio on this reel is dragging or playing slow. Both Pap’s voice and Ray’s voice sound heavier than they should. It may have been that the reel machine that recorded it was turning slightly faster than the one I’m playing it on now. It could also be caused by the fact that my two plastic reels are two different sizes. When I flipped it over and played the tape from the big reel to the small reel, everybody sounded like chipmunks! 🙂 I apologize for the dark, grainy video. I didn’t realize it is so dark in my house! That makes the flip cam look like 480 quality instead of 720. If the video isn’t too dark for you to make out the VU meters on the reel player, you’ll notice that it’s a mono recording with only the needle for the left track moving.

Pap’s lyrics are below:

In a world that seeks the way,
To gain Earth’s treasure to hold,
People choose the things that decay.
They have no concern for their souls.

But I’ll choose Jesus. He will be my way.
In song, I will lift my voice. Jesus is my choice.

Won’t you choose the way that is right.
Don’t be blinded by riches that glow.
Choose the way of eternal life.
You’ll be rewarded, I know.

Repeat Chorus


I hope you enjoyed Paul’s post and the song. It’s one my favorites from Pap’s long list of original songs.


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  • Reply
    Ann Applegarth
    October 15, 2018 at 10:58 am

    A treasure!

  • Reply
    October 15, 2018 at 10:09 am

    Beautiful true song, what a privilege to have that choice to choose life…

  • Reply
    October 14, 2018 at 9:35 pm

    Very Cool!

  • Reply
    betty stephenson
    October 14, 2018 at 1:59 pm

    such a beautiful tune just so love it thanks for sharing your precious family music with us it must be a blessing for you to listen to have a great week

  • Reply
    Ken Roper
    October 14, 2018 at 11:52 am

    And Paul,
    Thanks for putting this song on that Pap wrote. Daddy called this type of music “fox and hound” and he would’ve loved it. I love the “old timey” Gospel music too.

    When I was just a little thing, before we had television, I remember us listening to Wayne Rainy and his family singing “Over the rolling Sea.” And “Ernie’s Record Shop” from New Orleans (I think). Anyway, they played Great Gospel Songs too. …Ken

  • Reply
    Bob Dalsemer
    October 14, 2018 at 11:18 am

    Great song! Its right up there with the Louvins’ Make Me A Soldier. And Henry’s guitar playing really makes it sparkle!

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    October 14, 2018 at 10:56 am

    Thanks, Paul, you certainly have a talent for the tedious job of retrieving these old treasures just before it becomes impossible. I’m sure it takes untold hours and I know it is a labor of love in it’s purest sense.
    This is beautiful!

  • Reply
    Papaw Ammons
    October 14, 2018 at 10:32 am

    I’m mad! Youtube didn’t send me an email a week ago when this was posted there. I trusted them and they did me wrong! I guess I’ll have to start checking the Blind Pig channel every day.
    You’re right! The size of the reel has a lot to do with the sound of a song. Its kinda like putting bigger or smaller tires on your car will make the speedometer wrong.

  • Reply
    October 14, 2018 at 10:15 am

    What an uplifting song! The harmony and guitar playing are fantastic! This made my Sunday.

  • Reply
    October 14, 2018 at 9:58 am

    I really enjoyed this song & the harmonizing. I had to play it again to listen for the volume drop, it’s not really noticeable. The credits gave me a warm feeling too, knowing it’s a multi-generational endeavor. Strong families make a strong community, state, nation, etc..

  • Reply
    Leon Estes
    October 14, 2018 at 8:58 am

    Thank you, Paul, for posting this song with the lyrics. I will add to my “songbook” of words when I return home. (we are on a trip out of town.) And, this Youtube posting will be saved on my “page”. Your Dad wrote such singable lyrics with singable music. Yes, this duet is GOOD! Who else was singing with him that day? Thanks when you have time to answer.

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    October 14, 2018 at 8:11 am

    What a great harmony those two had. And, oddly enough, those lyrics match something I was thinking about just before I read this post.

    Paul, you blow me away with the technicality. Maybe to you your post is not packed with technical detail but it is to me. It isn’t quite as bad as if you are speaking a foreign language but almost. So by comparison you can tell how little I know. And neither of those are necessarily a bad thing.

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