Oh What A Savior

Bethel Baptist Church, Warne NC

For weeks I’ve tried to wrap my mind around the importance gospel music has played and continues to play in Appalachia. It’s like something I feel deep inside but once I try to put my feelings to words they fall flat. Either sounding like a crazed religious fanatic or like I’m belittling the very people I’m one of.

I’m not talking about gospel music in monetary terms or successful performers, although a huge majority of country and bluegrass stars got their start singing in church. I’m thinking more about how it relates to people’s everyday lives. I can only speak from personal experiences, but I feel strongly that my thoughts about the relationship between gospel music and Appalachia would be shared by most who grew up attending church in Appalachia.

I’m a snob when it comes to modern praise music. I just can’t seem to lay aside the old hymns nor any of the songs of faith that I grew up with for the praise anthems of today. I realize the words are what matter, but somehow the songs cannot move me the way the old ones do, but I am glad they seem to move so many other people. A local pastor once reminded me, there was a time Hymns were thought to be too modern for the church too.

My first exposure to music as a child, even as a babe still in Granny’s arms, was to gospel music. It seems The Louvin Brother’s songs were the background music to my childhood. Sad warning songs like-Praying, The Kneeling Drunkard’s Plea, Satan Is Real, The Great Atomic Power and happier ones like-Love Thy Neighbor, The River of Jordan (my favorite!), and Born Again were often heard around Granny and Pap’s.

Even as a young child I remember being astounded by the power of songs of faith. There’s a palatable feeling that occurs when folks gather to lift their voice in worship and if you’ve never felt it I suggest you slip in the door of one of those little old churches scattered through out the Appalachian Mountains, sit down on the back row as the choir sings, and see if you don’t feel it too.

My friend, Sharon, and I shared a special bond when we were kids. We were in the same classroom at school and we went to the same church. We both liked the singing more than the preaching, as most kids are likely to do. We knew the page number to all our favorite songs and we’d anxiously wait to see if the song leader called out one of our favorites. Down On My Knees written by Mosie Lister, The Prettiest Flowers Will Be Blooming by Albert E. Brumley, I Want To Know More About My Lord by Lee Roy Abernathy, and Are You Washed In The Blood by Rev. E.A. Hoffman were a few of the fast upbeat songs we liked. But both of us had a love for the more lonesome gospel songs too like Lord I’m Coming Home by William J. Kirkpatrick, Almost Persuaded by P.P. Bliss, Oh Why Not Tonight by J. Calvin Bushey, and Take My Hand Precious Lord by Rev. Thomas A. Dorsey.

The lyrics of those old gospel songs I grew up with lend themselves to the culture of Appalachia not that they all were written here, most were not. But the strong recurring themes of God, Jesus, love, the cross, faith, death, blood, hell, rivers, long roads, toiling, snares, mountains, lights, rejoicing, happiness, joy, better times to come, dark valleys, and loved ones calling come fit perfectly in the mindset of most folks born and raised in Appalachia. I would go so far as to say the manner in which they were written, the words used, strike a chord with the language of Appalachia. Maybe in the same way the isolated nature of the region played a role in the continuity of our dialect it also aided in folks holding on to the hymns and sacred songs of our past.

Here’s one of my favorite old gospel songs. What A Savior written by Marvin P. Dalton in 1948.

I hope you enjoyed Paul and Pap performing one of the greatest songs of praise ever written. Harmony is no easy task, especially when it’s done with alternating high lead/low harmony and standard lead/high tenor like they do on this one.

Perhaps if I could find the words to explain the humbleness of gentle mountain men, women, and children coming together to sing in worship to their God you could understand the importance of gospel music in Appalachia, but I kinda feel like I’m a day late and a dollar short. The following story is a good example of what I’m trying to say:

One of the matriarchs from the church of my youth walked to church most every Sunday. As I look back it seems too far a piece for an elderly lady to walk. But she did. She spent her last years in the local nursing home. She seldom knew her family members, not even her own children. But any time someone came in to play the piano she’d sit right there and sing every word of the old gospel songs they played. She didn’t know her children, but those songs of faith that guided her through her long long life were still there for her to call upon when she reached the last mile of her way.


Portions of this post were originally published here on the Blind Pig in 2010-during my Spotlight On Music Series.


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  • Reply
    November 19, 2017 at 1:12 pm

    I agree with you so much about this. Some of the new contemporary songs are okay, but when I am down and my soul needs comfort,or I am in awe at the power and majesty of our Creator,it is the old hymns that comfort and inspire me. Nothing can make a body feel better than knowing ” Blessed Assurance Jesus is mine. ” And who can look at the mountains or the face of a new born child and not declare ” How Great Thou Art!”?
    I am thankful our Pastor still includes these great inspired hymns and my children are learning them. Thanks to the internet we can play them at home too.

    • Reply
      February 16, 2020 at 8:29 pm

      Yes i agree.Thr old hymns had a message not just lines repeated over and over.

  • Reply
    September 4, 2012 at 1:15 pm

    You speaketh the truth! I love the old hymns and we still sing them at our church every Sunday. We have special music almost every week which can be Praise music, Bluegrass or Country gospel. The thing is, it’s the old songs that are in my head and heart. My grandmother told stories about the singing schools they held at the little country churches. She taught me to play them on the piano. I didn’t know what a gift she was giving me. Judith

    • Reply
      Debbie Nixon
      October 5, 2020 at 12:51 pm

      It’s not just the Appalachia folks that were reared on the old gospel hymns and enjoyed them with great reverence. I am so glad I grew up in an old country Baptist Church where my Grandparents always went. Grandpa was the song leader so I would spend the night almost every Saturday. I would get to watch him searching out the songs he would lead in service the next day and enjoy him singing as he swayed his arm as if he was directing a full crowd. Oh my what vivid memories it brings back to my mind and heart. They also attended Sunday signings after church man was that a blessing I got to meet Luther G Presley and his wife among some other old gospel quartets. Now there was some fantastic singers singing these the old hymns. They loved the shape notes and sometimes would do a standard of nothing but “do re me fa la to do” as written in the song it was cool listening to them do this and carry the tune perfectly.
      I would rather you sound like a religious fanactic who loves the LORD than a heathen amen. So dont ever apologize for loving the Lord or talking about it. I think its wonderful you have this blog and can discuss your thoughts and allow others to chime in.
      Oh! What A SAVIOR is one of my many favorites and Pap and PAUL as always sound extremely great on it. I can always sit and enjoy your families music videos. I am so glad I came across your channel.
      Have a wonderful day as here it’s such a beautiful cool fall morning.

  • Reply
    Suzi Phillips
    September 3, 2012 at 10:32 pm

    Remembering my Grandmaw singin’ my Grandaddy to Jesus-

  • Reply
    September 3, 2012 at 8:37 pm

    Amen, amen,amen!! I can’t get any thing out of the modern stuff. It seems to be pattered after the worldly music. My dear old Pastor always said, “It can’t be worked up, it’s got to be sent down from above.” Amen! I wouldn’t take anything for the memories I have of growing up in our church. Thank God we still sing the great old hymns!

  • Reply
    brenda s 'okie in colorado'
    September 3, 2012 at 6:06 am

    I love the old gospel hymns the best also. I love that so many of the songs Chitter and Chatter sing are those I grew up hearing. (And I am probably 45 years older than them)I could listen to your Pap and brother sing this song all day long. Just beautiful.

  • Reply
    Madge @ The View From Right Here
    September 2, 2012 at 9:51 pm

    I love the old hymns… they contain and explain the Word… I sing the new praise choruses but I’d rather open my hymnbook to sing any day!

  • Reply
    Janet Smart
    September 2, 2012 at 9:30 pm

    I love old time gospel music. I grew up in an little country church and I still attend one. I’ve always loved the hymns, my oldest cousin was song leader at our church, I can still see him singing ‘Oh What a Savior’ when he’d hit those hi notes and hold it. His wife and a couple of other ladies were our church’s gospel group, their daughter,who was my age and my best friend, played the piano for the group and also sang. They were so good, I loved listening to them. I remember the night I was saved. When I went up to the alter they were singing, “It’s All Right.”

  • Reply
    David Templeton
    September 2, 2012 at 6:10 pm

    I truly believe this is one of your best and most important essays. I also believe I can see the make-up of your readers as I see their comments; they love and miss the days when Christianity was an open part of our lives; no excuses, no apology, no revision. I pray that day returns.
    Gospel music has always been a part of our lives throughout our family.
    How great it was when nearly every radio or TV music show always ended with a religious song. How damning to our nation when we allowed governments to subdue our religious faith and fervor.
    People like your readers, Pap, Granny, you and your brothers, people like me must know literally thousands of hymns and remember the hundreds of singers who sang and played them. How can we prize any one the most when gospel music is all treasure? George Beverly Shea, the Louvin Brothers, Arthur Smith, The Blackwoods, The Stanley Brothers, all those you mention here, the list of gospel greats is almost endless because time was when everyone loved to sing God’s praise.
    Every comment from your readers here is special. You bring out the best.

  • Reply
    September 2, 2012 at 1:55 pm

    Teresa-good to hear from you! Yes I know what he’s talking about-it’s a plumgranny! I only learned about them last year. You can go here: to read about them. I saved the seeds from the one I got last summer-and I have 3 sitting in my kitchen window right now! They do smell so very good.

  • Reply
    Don Wiley
    September 2, 2012 at 5:07 pm

    Penny: I cannot imagine my life without shape note singing – (fasola). If I were in your shoes, I’d just start me a group there in Alaska.
    I find nourishment for my soul every time we make up a hollow square.

  • Reply
    B. ruth
    September 2, 2012 at 4:57 pm

    I meant to put the name of the Knoxville church..Cedar Bluff Baptist Church…shape not video
    Thanks again Tipper,

  • Reply
    B. ruth
    September 2, 2012 at 4:55 pm

    I loved your post today….I have a listed a site of shape note or sacred harp singing from a Knoxville church….
    They always sing the fasola until a person that doesn’t know the song or melody picks up on it.
    Then they sing the words to the song…
    I personally think I enjoy sacared harp or shape note without the piano…
    Jim, maybe Kephart ran into a shapenote singin’ when he was teetering on the edge, so to speak…LOL
    Thanks Tipper, Here is the site and you can skip the advertisement…and stay until
    the explanation and then song with words…I love it…

  • Reply
    dolores barton
    September 2, 2012 at 4:46 pm

    Such beautiful music! It warmed my inners and brought back so many church memories. Gospel/church songs of old had such a beautiful message. God and his church of old commanded such reverence and respect. I think you said it deeply and purposely. I think there is something missing in today’s generations. Country churches were even more intense than those in the big cities where I feel that the first big changes occurred. You got me thinking!

  • Reply
    Joy Newer
    September 2, 2012 at 4:26 pm

    I would rather have Jesus than anything this old world affords today, Yes i do also believe you are being used by God,Bless you Tipper. Grandmother Joy.

  • Reply
    September 2, 2012 at 2:51 pm

    I to have struggled with the new praise music for several years. I call them ‘7-11 songs’. (7 words sung 11 times) The old hymns teach a lot of theology that we don’t hear from the S S teachers or the preachers today.

  • Reply
    B F
    September 2, 2012 at 2:25 pm

    tipper ,
    i agree with one reader that this was by far your best post
    i too remember these old hymns and they will never grow old, they bring tears even to this day , back then we walked with our lanterns or flashlights if we were that lucky , the grade school was right above the church and we had morning services and were taken by our teachers to the church service then it was back to school or work and get things done up and back to the revival at night , boy those were the good old days ,i can only imagine what would happen if that took place today ,well anyway it was good and we have good memories
    thanks so much for this piece of the good old days God bless you and have a happy day

  • Reply
    September 2, 2012 at 2:22 pm

    My daughter and I used to attend a Sacred Heart (sometimes called “FASOLA” or “shape-note”) singing group once a month and then for special singing-on-the-grounds activities in the summer. I’ve joined those groups in several cities and towns when I travel, but haven’t found one here in Alaska where I live now.
    When I first moved here, we took a drive up into the rainforest with the mountains on one side of me and the ocean on the other. We had a Mahalia Jackson gospel CD playing as we rounded a particularly stunning vista and the combination of her voice so earnest and soulful, singing a favorite song and the view of that grandeur actually choked me up to the point of not being able to speak when my son-in-law who was driving commented on the scenery. Actually had to drive quietly for several minutes before I could compose myself!
    I so love and appreciate checking in on your blog!!!

  • Reply
    September 2, 2012 at 2:02 pm

    Tipper, I see you’ve been busy moderating comments and that mine made it on about the same time I found the plumgranny posts on your site. I just KNEW you would know about them b/c if you don’t know you find out. lol. Thanks so much and have a blessed Sunday.
    ~ t.

  • Reply
    Larry Proffitt
    September 2, 2012 at 1:59 pm

    Amen , Sister in Christ Jesus , preach on . As it would be said here ” well put ” . These old songs of the faith easily put a tear in my eye .

  • Reply
    September 2, 2012 at 1:42 pm

    Hi, Tipper!
    I’m afraid this is a bit off-topic but I am on a mission for our Baptist pastor…lol!
    He asked me if I know of a fruit that grows in the woods that has me stumped. He is closer down from your way so I thought maybe you could help me. He remembers a fruit-type thing that folks used to bring into their home just for the smell, or put in the car for air-fresheners even. He said it’s shaped a little like a small pear but is orangish in color with somewhat blackish stripes sometimes. Someone thought he was talking of ripe paw-paws and brought him two today but he knows that isn’t what he remembers. Any idea? You’re my “go-to” person on these type of things but I searched your blog and don’t see them. My husband thinks maybe it could be some kind of small gourd but the “wonderful smell” is what it is best known for. Any ideas? Any suggestions would be so appreciated.
    THANKS! ~ t.

  • Reply
    Uncle Al
    September 2, 2012 at 1:36 pm

    I don’t think I could add much to the wonderful comments already posted. However I am grateful for people who regularly remind us of our heritage. ( I too grew up in and still attend a Baptist church). Those songs are so important to the faith and hope we have in life. Thanks for sharing and I’m confident you’ll find those words one day. 🙂

  • Reply
    Jim Casada
    September 2, 2012 at 12:38 pm

    Tipper–What a grand subject. Strictly by coincidence, I had an e-mail today from a lady who had a wonderfully descriptive term for music in the mountains. She stated: “The music of the mountains is the heartbeat of the people who live there.” I thought it a most felicitous turn of phrase and have every intention of using the “heartbeat” part of it in my own writing. Imitation is the grandest form of flattery, after all.
    Incidentally, her e-mail containing the above statement was sent in reaction to an article I had written about Horace Kephart in the “Smoky Mountain Times.” It was a direct outgrowth of the presentation you attended at the UT library a couple of years back. In the article I noted how remiss Kephart was in his sparse (and critical) coverage of music as a part of mountain life in “Our Southern Highlanders.” He really didn’t have much to say at all except to describe mountain singing as a “jerky treble” which was “weird and plaintive.”
    For my part, there’s nothing wrong with plaintive, and beyond that, this one post of yours really has enough substance and sufficient ramifications to form the subject of a doctoral dissertation in religious, historical, or Appalachian studies. Alternatively, it could be the basis of a serious book somewhat along the lines of one written on mountain decoration days a year or two back. Incidentally, I’m not in any way exaggerating in the previous sentence.
    Thanks for a thought-provoking, heartening, and truly interesting post.
    Jim Casada

  • Reply
    susie swanson
    September 2, 2012 at 12:26 pm

    Beautiful song Tipper and they do a great job on it as usual//I’m a snob to when it comes to the modern day music..I love those old hymns still today..I used to walk to church when I was young with a group of my friends..We’d go on Sundays and walk to revivals that were held through out the community.. Daddy and mama would catch a ride with people they knew alot of the time and we’d ride the back of a pickup.. I’ll never forget how much those old hymns played a part in my life..I enjoyed them as much as the preaching.. My dad loved to hear your Grandpa Wade preach.. He would try to go wherever he was preaching every chance he got..I remember going with him so much to old time meetings..You talk about singing, shouting and preaching they had it all..The spirit of God was there for sure..My Dad always said your grandpa was the best preacher around .. I miss those days so much..Thank you for the great post and memories..Susie

  • Reply
    September 2, 2012 at 12:15 pm

    These are the Sacred Songs that are steadfast in my being too. I
    grew up in an old Country Church
    where “Amazing Grace” and “Just
    as I Am” were the theme songs of
    When Paul and Pap sings like that
    I think the Louvin Brothers are
    smiling down on them…Ken

  • Reply
    September 2, 2012 at 12:15 pm

    Oh, Tipper, you just absolutely reached down in my heart and spoke what is on the inside of me! Growing up in a Baptist church and then helping pastor churches…we like the choruses, but it is the old hymns that minister to us most of all. They are actually full of good theology! Most of the time you are actually singing the scriptures. I awoke from a troubling dream once and I was singing “I Know Whom I have Believed” and am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I’ve committed to Him against that day! Amen…it was my answer to a prayer and there it was down on the inside of me. Nothing like the old hymns. Thank you for this post, Tipper, I could hug you. And yes…”Oh what a Savior” they did a great job of singing that. Thanks.

  • Reply
    Tim Mc
    September 2, 2012 at 10:31 am

    A-Men, A-Men, is what I want to say. Of all the post you have written, many come to mind, but this one is #1 on my list of favorites. I too am concerned about the music in most Churches today, ( I don’t feel any good Spirit in it like the old Hymns )it is literally busting up congregations, in our area, when it comes to this, Ask who’s in it? Who benefits from members who were able to worship for years together but now can not worship anymore because of a song. Who’s behind this? Who would like nothing more than to see our Church doors closed? Loved reading this today. We are in the middle of a Spiritual Warfare, not only in our daily lives but on the one day that’s suppose to be a Worship Day not another Battle Day…

  • Reply
    September 2, 2012 at 10:27 am

    I listened to the song and as usual, Pap and Paul were great. I can rermember Granny and my great Grand Ma sitting on the front porch in the evening singing that song.
    Your words have started my memory this morning. The old songs are the best I feel. I remember once when I was a little boy going with Momma, Daddy, Granny, my little sister and brother to an out door meeting. As we walked down to a group of people under a tree, I remember seeing this old man sitting in a cane bottom chair. I can still remember he had white hair, light blue stripped pants, white shirt, black tie, suspenders, and high top black shoes. They were highly shined. He had an instrument across his lap that I had never seen before. I can still remember when that old man started up on the intro to the old song “Come and Dine.” I have never forgotten that high pitched whinning sound of that dobro. Then all the women and some of the men bunched up and sang along to the music. There were also some guitars there but that dobro stole the show. Sometimes when I close my eyes I can still see Momma and Granny – with that soprano voice- singing on that bright sunny day so long ago. No, the old songs are best.
    Tipper you have sent me on a wondeful journey this day.

  • Reply
    September 2, 2012 at 10:26 am

    Nothing can explain how beautiful and touching those soulful sounds are when heard peeling from a little country church in the mountains. You feel so close to the Lord in those times. I loved the baptizing as a child, as they would have a cool little stream and lots of good mountain gospel music. This is so much the ways of our people. O Brother, Where Art Thou was an excellent rendition of our mountain singing. Pap and Paul sure do have it.

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    September 2, 2012 at 9:47 am

    Anyone who can read your words and listen to the music this morning and not have their heart touched and their soul stirred don’t have either. This is what attracted me to this place and what brings me back every single day. Tipper, I believe the Lord is working through you whether you know it or believe it. Papaw Wade is still speaking and you are still listening.

  • Reply
    September 2, 2012 at 9:43 am

    Tipper, stay true to your feelings while knowing God blesses us in differently, no cookie cutter Christian. My nunt Marline played the piano in church for 50 years,her memory was lost to family but in the nurseing home often played the church Hymns. God bless, Jean

  • Reply
    September 2, 2012 at 9:41 am

    I grew up attending The Old Regular Baptist Church where all those old hymns were sung from the heart. My uncle was the preacher at that church and been gone many years, but is still talked about and remembered today. I always heard he couldn’t read. That may be true-not uncommon for folks his age from the mountains of KY. He, like the lady in your story, had so much faith to guide him as he turned the pages in the Bible and ‘read’ verse after verse.
    My daughters had never been to visitation at a country funeral home where a nighty service is held that includes singing the old songs. When my parents died, the girls left the building when the singing started. They both said that they were already sad enough and the music just seemed to add to their misery.
    Pap and Paul are the best!

  • Reply
    Bob & Inez Jones
    September 2, 2012 at 9:34 am

    Amen to all of that Tipper! We are in full agreement to what you said. We grew up with the great old hymns also. The old hymns were never new as long as we can remember and today’s music in my way of thinking is just a sign of the times. Much repetition and very little meat! A modern day way of removing much of the truth from the songs. You hit the nail on the head whether one lives in the Appalachia region or not. We always enjoy Paul & Pap’s singing! God Bless you all! Bob & Inez Jones.

  • Reply
    Benny Watt Terry
    September 2, 2012 at 9:29 am

    My Daddy was a Baptist preacher; some of the songs you mentioned I hadn’t heard, but others still mean a lot to me. My favorite is “Take My Hand, Precious Lord” (Jim Reeves)I can cry and smile at the same time. And I feel like I am going home when I sing it.

  • Reply
    September 2, 2012 at 9:21 am

    What a post—brought back many a memory of our camp-meetin”s —-I grew up hearing those songs and some can really stir the heart. What a Savior was also one of my favorites and I can still see the “brother” who always sang that chorus before he did his preaching—thanks for the precious memories.

  • Reply
    Don Casada
    September 2, 2012 at 8:43 am

    I’ve listened to the recording “Oh, What a Savior” sung by Pap and Paul a bunch of times before, but each time it reaches in and takes holt of me. It is a wonderful song, wonderfully sung.
    But Tipper, something that I find striking about your post which I suspect may not have occurred to you is that many of the songs you’re citing ARE modern – at least in relation to those that were sung in church when I was growing up. To wit, Albert Brumley was only four years older than Daddy.
    The sets of hymns that I grew up singing in the Presbyterian Church were different from you Baptist brethren, although I’m sure you sang these, too. Seven (a good number) that come to mind are:
    – Holy, Holy, Holy
    – Blessed Assurance
    – He Leadeth me
    – In The Garden (Mama’s favorite)
    – Fairest Lord Jesus
    – Near To The Heart Of God
    – Crown Him With Many Crowns
    Of those, all but Near to the Heart of God and In The Garden were written before 1900 – most well before.
    Here is a sad commentary on yours truly – sometime in the early to mid-1990’s, when the church I was attending started singing Rock Of Ages to the wrong dadgummed tune, it got me so riled up that I walked out of the sanctuary and tried my best to sing it in the hallway the way that it ought to be sung. That one episode jump-started me down a road toward separation from that church, which has a fine ministry.
    One happy part of that episode – our then little daughter apparently sensed my angst and tagged along with me – something that I’ve remembered fondly many times.

  • Reply
    September 2, 2012 at 8:24 am

    Love hearing Jerry and Paul sing, Wilson’s have a special gift. Agree that the old gospel music touches a place in my heart that other music just can’t reach.

  • Reply
    Ethelene Dyer Jones
    September 2, 2012 at 8:24 am

    What a marvelous job you did writing about the “old music”! How I love it, too. And I have a true story to tell: After my dear husband, Rev. Grover Jones, became afflicted with Alzheimer’s, that wonderful person with such a brilliant mind that he had preached the Word for 43 and 1/2 years, most of that time in the mountains of N. GA, he could still, like the lady in your story, remember all the words of the old songs and sing along with them as long as he was able to go to church. And even after he was in GaWarVeterans’Home, we played tapes of the old songs for him, and he would sometimes sing along if he felt like it. I loved Pap and Paul’s playing and singing! Thank you for posting them! And remember the old “Singing Schools”? When I was young, we’d have a week or more of “shaped-note” music school at our church, with either Mr. Frank Dyer or Rev. Jim Hood as the teacher. And at the end of the week we’d present a “cocnert” of the songs we had learned, with a crowd coming out to hear! Wonderful memories, all. And good, solid “upbringing” for us! We haven’t departed from it, even in our “older” age!

  • Reply
    Mike McLain
    September 2, 2012 at 7:24 am

    Loved the music and I agree, Tipper. The new praise music just doesn’t get the job done the way the old hymns do, in my opinion. We attend a great church with a caring and effective pastoral staff, but the music does not do it for me. It is also WAY too loud. I think that in another 30 years, no one in this country is going to be able to hear!

  • Reply
    Sue Crane
    September 2, 2012 at 7:16 am

    moving rendition – and Pap kinda stood out a bit more. He has a lovely tenor voice – some are harsh and strained but his is mellow and easy. I, too, have many memories and just plain good feelings with gospel music. Great for an early Sunday beginning. God Bless

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    September 2, 2012 at 7:15 am

    Tipper you’ve done a fine job of expressing your feelings about our mountain gospel music. Your description was clear and your story at the end was like icing on the cake. Her brain could not remember her family but her soul remembered the words that had comforted her all her life. It is the feeling of being comforted that make these songs so special.
    Yes indeed, Pap and Paul do a fine job of that song.
    I’m still not used to the new player. I still try to scroll up to mute the player like we had to on the old player. This one is more convenient, the controls are right there at the tip of the page all the time.

  • Reply
    Sheryl Paul
    September 2, 2012 at 7:03 am

    Gospel music is my favorite form of music. Amazing Grace is the one I like the best. Probably because both my momma and grandma were Graces.

  • Reply
    September 2, 2012 at 5:45 am

    I love Oh What a Savior and am listening now. love that sweet harmony. the last five songs in your list we sung over and over and over. singing was my favorite part to. and i have been in the churches with these old hymns and like you, they moved me and made me sing and cry. the new ones don’t. there is nothing like a small church full of people singing their hearts into these songs

  • Reply
    Stephen Ammons
    September 2, 2012 at 5:29 am

    One of the first things that caught my eye was the photo of the Bethel church sign. I noticed that the second board of the sign was left blank and makes me wonder if that was intentional. Are they saying they are not Independant,Freewill,or Missionary but just a group of believing christians getting together to worship.
    I agree with you on the old time gospel music and wish I could hear alot more of it.I remember our preacher told us that if you don’t feel like singing along with the group or find yourself tapping your foot while listening that something is wrong.
    And I will have to say that Pap and Paul did a super job on that song. It’s easy to tell if a singer believes what they are singing or if they are just putting on a show. Have a super day. 🙂

  • Reply
    September 2, 2012 at 4:58 am

    A pleasant read for a Sunday morning and one which I find I agree with in its entirety. Our counterpart to these old songs in the UK are the old carols and hymns which were not considered appropriate by the compilers of Hymns Ancient And Modern which form the basis of Christian worship in this country. Even as a baby, I’m told, I used to yell when church services came on the radio. How I loathe that music! It’s probably the reason why I avoid church services to this day. I can happily put up with disagreeable decor, disagreeable weather and even disagreeable people but I draw the line at disagreeable music. Then one day I heard carols being sung in a Yorkshire pub – wow! that was something quite different. Like the Appalachian gospel songs it sounded like music of the people. Somehow when we listen to these songs we feel we know the people who wrote them, decent, honest people with the same weaknesses that we all have. I shall spend a happy hour this evening clicking on all the links you’ve provided above.

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    September 2, 2012 at 4:45 am

    I too grew up singing those great old hymns in a little country church. Even tho I liked some of the new praise songs,they’re called, they just don’t reach down inside me like the older ones that I sung for so many years. It’s hard to get away from my raising and I say if it’s not broke don’t fix it.

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