Music Pap

Pap’s Songs: All Seeing Eye

group photo of Tipper and family

Tipper, Granny, Paul, and Steve

Although I’m drawn to melancholy songs, I must admit peppy songs are the most fun to play on the bass. One of my favorites I used to play with Pap and Paul was the old song “Watching You.”

We called the song “All Seeing Eye.”

It’s a song I’ve been familiar with my entire life. It was written by John Melvin Henson who was born in 1887 in Curryville GA. Henson was also the author of other songs that graced my growing up years—”Anywhere is Home,” “I’ll Live in Glory,” and “Happy Am I” all come to mind.

When I shared the song several years ago I was surprised to learn a lot of folks didn’t care for it because they found it too scary to think about an all seeing eye watching everything.

I’ve struggled on more than one occasion to try to describe or explain the strange correlation between fear, religion, comfort, and Appalachia. In the same way the people of Appalachia were drawn to the old murder ballads that came along with them over the big pond I believe many of them were (and are) drawn to the gospel songs of dire warnings and consequences and actually gain comfort from them.

There’s so many things that Pap taught my brothers and I when we were growing up. He actually kept right on teaching us as we became adults and forged our own way in this ole world. When I think about those things my mind plays a game of hopscotch jumping from one subject to another. I’m sure my brothers feel the same way.

Although I know my brothers’ lists of teaching moments would likely be varied from mine, I know without a doubt they would both agree wholeheartedly the most important thing Pap taught us was his great love for God. The main way he shared the Gospel with us was by the very life he lived, day in and day out he tried mightily to put God first in all he did. He shared Biblical wisdom with each of us as we struggled through the trials of life and he shared the comfort God gave him as he walked through tough times. The theme of all Pap’s religious teachings was God’s great unending never failing love that he freely gives to all.

Because of Pap’s focus on God’s love I never felt afraid or worried by warnings like an all seeing eye watching me or having my fields set on fire if from sin I didn’t retire. Those warnings from God give me the same comfort as the boundaries set by Granny and Pap when I was a child.

Reasons why this is one of my favorite videos from Pap.

  • I love that the experience was captured in time: Pap, Paul, my nephews, Ben and Mark, and me off camera on the bass. We had so much fun playing music at Paul’s every Sunday afternoon.
  • I love Pap’s voice and Paul’s flat top picking. I’ll never know how he gets all those runs sandwiched in just right!
  • The harmony is amazing as usual, but I especially like Pap’s voice on the words watching you.
  • The song is fun to play because the music literally pulls you along as it goes.
  • I love the end—once the music is over the look on Pap’s face makes me wish I could remember what he was fixing to say. Maybe it was: “that sounded good what can we do next” or maybe he was about to tell us something that had happened recently or something he’d heard about or noticed.

I hope you enjoyed this old video that we filmed back in 2010 as much as I do.

Tipper

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21 Comments

  • Reply
    Shirley Brumfield Stone
    May 22, 2022 at 2:17 pm

    The all seeing eye on our dollar bills is also the Masonic emblem. George Washington was a Mason. I’ll have to see if there is a connection. And, like all the other posts, I hope God is watching over me with His all seeing eyes.

  • Reply
    Christine
    April 25, 2022 at 7:57 pm

    I’ve never heard that song before, but it’s a good one for sure. I do enjoy hearing your Pap and Paul sing together. They both have such good voices and harmonize very well together. Your nephew can really play that mandolin! Such a talented family! I know you cherish these videos of your Pap.
    I always feel comforted in the fact that God watches over us. I know that I’m never alone, because God is always with me. I grateful for His All Seeing Eye!
    Thank you for sharing your family with us, you are all a blessing.

  • Reply
    Janice B Chapman
    April 24, 2022 at 9:23 pm

    I grew up singing this song and all but one of the others you mentioned. I agree that the idea of God’s All Seeing Eye is a comforting one for me.

  • Reply
    Regina
    April 24, 2022 at 5:11 pm

    Tipper, I really liked the picture, the post, and the song! 🙂 I’ve always taken comfort in the fact that God’s all seeing eye is always watching me because I know He’s watching over me no matter where I am or what I’m doing and nothing is hidden from Him. I’ve needed God’s protection and guidance a lot in my life and still do. I’m so thankful to have an eternal GPS. 🙂 The Bible says that even the darkness can’t hide us from Him. Psalms 139 is one of my favorite passages of scripture. Sometimes we get so caught up in the busyness of life that we forget that we’re never alone in what we’re going through. Thank you for sharing this wonderful reminder! 🙂 I was reading a devotional yesterday and the writer said they had been feeling dusty. When I read on I understood what they meant and realized I’ve been feeling dusty myself lately. They referenced Psalms 103:14 where it talks about God remembering that we are dust and as humans we’re subject to sickness, trials, and all the other things we have to go through in this life. I’m so thankful that we are never alone and never out of God’s sight! 🙂

  • Reply
    Karen Boone
    April 24, 2022 at 4:59 pm

    I love that song, but the picture of your momma and brothers is really sweet!

  • Reply
    dee
    April 24, 2022 at 12:34 pm

    Beautiful harmony!! I have heard of the allseeing eye and you all have seen it whether you realized it or not, it is on the dollar bill. If God knows all and sees all, and he does, the allseeing eye is a comfort to me and as for me I will put my trust in God as his promises are true.
    Love the picture of you all! I enjoy many genres of music like classical, country, instrumental, and big band but I LOVE gospel.

  • Reply
    Gloria Hayes
    April 24, 2022 at 11:01 am

    Absolutely beautiful! Ya’ll had such a wonderful upbringing because it certainly shows in all of you. Beautiful picture also! God bless you.

  • Reply
    JC
    April 24, 2022 at 10:47 am

    Thank you for sharing this treat. I truly enjoy those old hymns.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    April 24, 2022 at 10:38 am

    Pap was fine man, and he did a great job raising his children and teaching them what is really important is life. I miss him too!
    Indeed, Tipper fear, religion, comfort, and Appalachia are all jumbled up together in these mountains. I have not lived my whole life if the mountains, but I have lived most of my life here and my family roots are here, so I have seen both sides.
    These mountains are my home and by that, I mean my heart and soul are here!

  • Reply
    Cynthia
    April 24, 2022 at 10:34 am

    I have never heard this song before, but I like it. Knowing that God is watching over me is comforting.

  • Reply
    Terry
    April 24, 2022 at 10:14 am

    Love this uptempo song; what great singing and pickin’. I can easily understand why it is a favorite; it has it all, Tipper! Thanks for the share and your perspective …….

  • Reply
    Mint2Bee
    April 24, 2022 at 9:54 am

    I am not scared of that “all seeing eye” but am thankful for it as it helps keep me out of trouble and grounded in Jesus – there is no better place to be. We should all try to live like Pap, trying to put God first in everything we do. Love the song. Love the picture too. There is something about Granny that just melts my heart – she reminds me so much of my mom who has been gone for 4 years now.

  • Reply
    Sharon Cole
    April 24, 2022 at 9:53 am

    Beautiful song – love family harmony. Tipper, you are blessed to have such a Godly heritage. Pap was such a wise man – Godly wisdom!!! Take care and God bless ❤️

  • Reply
    Marilyn Reed
    April 24, 2022 at 9:45 am

    I love this…it’s a toe-tapper! We need that “all-seeing eye” to keep us out of trouble!

  • Reply
    donna sue
    April 24, 2022 at 9:27 am

    I love hearing the Blind Pig sing this song. Paul always is perfect playing his guitar. And your Dad and Paul sound so wonderful together when they sing. The thought of God always watching me has been a very comforting thought. Even when I know that I was being watched as I misbehaved. Most of the time it kept me out of trouble, and the times I did not do right, I knew I couldn’t lie about it, God already knew it, so I might as well discuss it with Him! I love hearing all the old hymns performed by you guys. I also love hearing the background stories. Thank you for another great post! That picture you have in this post is very beautiful!!! All of you look so great in it. And happy! Corie and Austin’s wedding was just so perfect. I am so happy for her. Every girl’s dream is to have a wedding like hers was!!!

  • Reply
    Larry Paul Eddings
    April 24, 2022 at 8:48 am

    They sang and played that old song beautifully. What a wonderful thing to have Godly influences in your life.

  • Reply
    Margie G
    April 24, 2022 at 8:14 am

    I loved this peppy little tune and ain’t it the truth, though? If folks are scared of the ALL SEEING EYE then just “perhaps” they’re living in filth and sin and KNOW they’re living to please hell. I’m no longer scared of anything because I am saved in Jesus and do not have to be burdened down by man’s edicts, demands, whims and control freaks who have now circled about the camp encroaching on me every day. Btw, I loved the photo of the handsome Wilson family! Did you realize Granny, Tipper and Paul are head tippers? All your heads are slightly tilted—-just like granny… some things are in the finest details… lol

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    April 24, 2022 at 8:13 am

    I find it a great comfort to know God has such complete knowledge of me. I am glad He does. I don’t have to try so hard to put into words what I have no words for. Instead I can just say, “Lord, you know.” He knows the very worst about me now and once knew even worse than that but He has forgotten that.

    I had not yet looked this morning when my wife was playing the song. I asked, “Who is that high tenor with Paul?” I should have known. It could only be Pap.

    Thanks for the information about Mr. Henson. I had no idea he was the author of several gospel songs. Odd how we can think we know something well but really don’t. I expect most of us do not know the authors of songs we’ve sung or heard sung all our lives. In its way, there is a lesson in that about serving unknown that each of us can relate to; just “bread on the waters”.

  • Reply
    BC
    April 24, 2022 at 7:47 am

    Beautiful! I loved the music and your description. Your writing really speaks to me. Thank you, my “soul” sister. My father died when I was 10 years old, but I still miss him.

  • Reply
    Glenda G. Page
    April 24, 2022 at 7:21 am

    That young man looked like he wanted to chew, I guess gum, to keep with the beat of the music and couldn’t. Wonderful stories you are Blessed to pass on to those of us who might have visited and/or lived in your area for a time being, but does not have the knowledge of Appalachia that you have. God Bless, now it is time to get dressed for Church.

  • Reply
    John Hart
    April 24, 2022 at 7:01 am

    Never heard this song before, but I like it.

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