Appalachia Music

Watching You

Watching you all seeing eyes is watching you

I grew up singing about the all seeing eye in church and after I discovered how old it is, I’m betting Pap grew up singing about it as well.

The name of the old song I’m talking about is Watching You. It was written by John Melvin Henson and was copyrighted in 1915. Henson, who was born in 1887 in Curryville, GA, also penned Anywhere Is Home, I’ll Live In Glory, and Happy Am I all of which are familiar hymns from my growing up years.

When I was researching the song, I was surprised to see more than a few folks thought it was intimidating. I was reminded of the time, Vicki Lane, one of my favorite writers, pointed out the fear in a different old gospel song-He Will Set Your Fields On Fire. When I first read her description I thought “Now that’s one of the peppiest songs I know-it’s not scary.”

I popped in one of Pap’s old cds and gave the song another listen, and decided that it could indeed cause fear, after all the song does have a strong warning of what will happen if one doesn’t from sin retirehe will set your fields on fire.

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.

We filmed the video of Watching You way back in 2010. You’ll notice both nephews are in the video. In those days they were picking and grinning with us every Sunday afternoon. (Mark is centered between Pap and Paul and Ben is the arm you see at the very beginning of the video)

Watching You is track 15 on Pap and Paul’s recent cd Shepherd of My Soul. The cd contains 13 original songs written by Pap, 1 written by Paul, 3 gospel standards (one is Watching You), and one Instrumental Reprise of the first song on the cd. The cd is now available on CD Baby. You can download the entire cd or pick and choose-only purchasing the track(s) you prefer. Go here if you’re interested.

Tipper

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8 Comments

  • Reply
    Rev. RB
    July 26, 2016 at 2:21 pm

    I have always considered God a God of understanding and forgiveness, and I have often wondered if teaching Him as fearful and vengeful isn’t what keeps some spirits from going beyond after death – because they’re afraid of Him, which I find exceedingly sad.
    Prayers everyone’s finding a way to stay cool and comfortable in this heavy heat, and is having a great week.
    God bless.
    RB
    <><

  • Reply
    Ken
    July 24, 2016 at 1:18 pm

    Tipper,
    That’s got to be Chitter’s eye in the picture, cause she’s always the talkative one. But both girls are beautiful, and I love their singing too.
    Congradulations to Sheila Bergeron on winning the Christmas Cd, I have it and play it often from Thanksgiving thru Christmas. It’s one of my Favorites!
    I’m anxious for the 1st week of August when the Pressley Girls sing at the Blairsville Courthouse. …Ken

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    July 24, 2016 at 12:58 pm

    See there, that’s what you get when you get in too big of a hurry. You grabbed the camera and threw it up to your eye without looking whichaway it was pointed. Shore am glad it weren’t no gun.

  • Reply
    Dolores
    July 24, 2016 at 10:50 am

    Beautiful presentation! I wonder whose eyeball you managed to capture? Perfect tribute to Pap and his group!

  • Reply
    b. Ruth
    July 24, 2016 at 9:40 am

    Tipper,
    Well now, it looks like we may have had some relief from the drought late yesterday evening!
    However, I had to do a lot of jumping, squealing, ear and eye covering. Thunder, lightning and downpours came and went and backed up and came back again just in case it didn’t scare me enough during the first pass over.
    We had two close hits! How can I tell well, the clap of thunder is deafening at the exact same time the flash lightening is blinding. There is no time to count “one Mississippi, two Mississippi, three Mississippi my childhood way I figure the distance of the storm. ha Plus my hair stands on end!
    The internet and TV came back on this morning after said storm wiped out the electrical power on the east end and downing a cable line about a mile and a half from us here in the country!
    I love this song by Pap, Paul and the boys. Yes, some old time gospel songs do put the fear in you especially if you are a youth. I don’t necessarily think that is a bad thing. Sometimes it is a blessing, to one to realize that one isn’t totally in charge to run hap hazard thru life not caring for others or themselves! Just like a severe storm, a missed by seconds freak accident, a thinking person will realize God is watching you and still in charge.
    Great job always gang and Tipper do keep playing these harmony pieces that include Pap too. I sure miss him as well as your whole family. What a blessing you have been given!
    Thanks Tipper,

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    July 24, 2016 at 8:23 am

    I can relate in some measure to your struggle to express the correlations between “fear, religion, comfort and Appalachia”. I think it is an aspect of Appalachia character missed in the understanding of most writers and very difficult to capture by those who do understand. Historically at least I think Appalachian folks lived a rather hard life, expected life to be hard and weren’t outraged or in dispair when it was. Religion had to have muscles to serve. In addition, a lot of folks were of very independent spirits and godly fear helped maintain decorum.
    We would be well served if everybody believed there was an all-seeing eye watching what they were doing. Reckon how they might like what David said about “thou understandest my thoughts afar off”.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    July 24, 2016 at 7:44 am

    Nice song, I love Pap’s sweet voice. These video’s are real treasures!

  • Reply
    Madsnapper
    July 24, 2016 at 5:15 am

    i love this, it is beautiful. the singing and the words are how i was raised. fear of the Lord watching me kept me on the straight and narrow MOST of the time.. great harmony on this one.

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