When I Get To The End Of The Way

Charles tillman

Charles Davis Tillman was born on March 20, 1861 in Tallassee Alabama. His father was an evangelist. Tillman started his career as a singing evangelist in 1887, before that he performed for a traveling medicine show-selling Wizard Oil. He went on to start a music publishing company in Atlanta, GA where he published 20 gospel song books. He is often remembered for publishing the negro spiritual Old Time Religion after hearing it at a camp meeting.

Tillman was a prolific song writer and also collaborated on a number of songs with other writers and musicians. Perhaps the most popular song he collaborated on was Life’s Railway to Heaven. I was pleasantly surprised to discover Tillman wrote They Were in an Upper Chamber. I can never think of that song without hearing The Marksmen’s rousing version of it playing in my head.

Pap and Paul have been singing one of Tillman’s more popular songs for the last several months: When I Get to the End of the Way.

I really enjoy the melody from Tillman’s When I Get to the End of the Way, something about the tone makes me think of Christmas songs. I hope you enjoyed it too!



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  • Reply
    Julie Hughes
    March 10, 2014 at 12:11 pm

    Tipper, I love the gospel items in your posts. Lifes Railway has always been one of my favorites. On a personal note, several weeks ago,you had a post about how the song Take My Hand Precious Lord came about. I liked that song but had not thought of it in years. Our church seems to sing different songs now. Because of reading that post the song was on my mind. On Feb 25th my Mother In-law passed and when the family asked for song suggestions to finish out the service, I suggested that one. We used it as the last song. It was perfect. Thanks for bringing forth memories of great songs best not forgotten.

  • Reply
    March 10, 2014 at 10:22 am

    Wonderful Song – and all the comments were just as wonderful and fascinating!!

  • Reply
    Glynda Chambers
    March 9, 2014 at 11:35 pm

    This was beautiful, Tipper. I have never heard this song before and the words and the singing were both so pretty. Thanks for sharing the story and the song.

  • Reply
    Mary Lou McKillip
    March 9, 2014 at 10:26 pm

    I played and sang this song for a funeral in 1959( request, When I get to the End of the Way). Great song

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    March 9, 2014 at 9:31 pm

    As much as I enjoyed Pap and Paul’s singing, I can’t help think how much better they could be if they didn’t tie themselves to their guitars. Paul is a great singer and a great guitarist but he seems to let the instrument lead and the voice accompany. The song they are doing today can be done with no instrumentation at all. Maybe a harmonica or violin way in the background. The rhythm of the guitars seems to suppress the emotions that the words evoke. Maybe I don’t know what I am talking about but I can imagine Paul and Pap doing that song acapella or with Katie on the fiddle way back in the background. Maybe it’s none of my business. Who am I to criticize such fine musicians but I hope that they would want to hear how a listener really feels instead of the same sugary rhetoric all the time.

  • Reply
    Susie Swanson
    March 9, 2014 at 7:38 pm

    Beautiful old song and ya’ll do an awesome job as usual. Very interesting post. Thanks Tipper.

  • Reply
    March 9, 2014 at 3:22 pm

    Such a pleasant tune to listen to! Also, makes one think about your life and how things are going. A wonderful Sunday song!

  • Reply
    Sue Crane
    March 9, 2014 at 1:27 pm

    Pap and Paul singing makes a day better!!!!

  • Reply
    b. Ruth
    March 9, 2014 at 12:28 pm

    Do you feel that you are an hour into Spring? Somehow I do!
    “I am late, I’m late for a very important date, per the March Hare, oh shucks, I think that was the Mad Hatter…that said that from “Alice in Wonderland”!
    The song was beautiful, and as I listened to it again and again, I knew that I knew the melody!
    Slow the melody down quite a bit and you have, “When I Get To The End Of The Way”!
    When you speed up the melody you have “The Doggie In The Window” written by Bob Merrill-1952 and sung by Patti Page! In March of 1953 it was number one for several weeks…
    I couldn’t stand it until I researched the song that it was supposed to be loosely based on…”Carnival of Venice” What!
    Then what pops up along with all the videos, etc of “Carnival of Venice” but Lynda Randle’s version of “When I Get To The End Of The Way”….oooohhhhhh!
    Spooky, and very spooky….
    No other listing was there…sooo
    I am going to get off here since my computer is reading my mind and relating the tune which I didn’t play for it, all three songs…whether in 2/2 time 3/4 time or 4/4 time…I’m gone!
    Thanks Tipper,
    Did the time change jump all the way to spooking month of October.
    At any rate…the boys did a great job on the song….loved it!
    Have a great Marchtober Day!

  • Reply
    March 9, 2014 at 11:59 am

    Liked that old song and as always, I enjoy listening to them sing.

  • Reply
    Eva Nell Mull Wike, PhD
    March 9, 2014 at 9:40 am

    Tipper: You all do it good! I was sure I ‘knew’ “When I get to the End of the Way” but it seemed new to me. The other tune “Life is like a Mountain Rail Road” is one we use to sing as we walked home from Church! Now I am going to get Jim to play his new Mandolin and follow along with you all!
    Eva Nell

  • Reply
    Sheryl Paul
    March 9, 2014 at 8:38 am

    I am really fond of this one. thanks

  • Reply
    Susan Cook
    March 9, 2014 at 8:20 am

    Pap and Paul never fail to touch my heart with their music and seeing them sing together is so special.

  • Reply
    March 9, 2014 at 7:59 am

    Wow, I couldn’t tell you how long it’s been since I heard that song.. Good job as always… interesting story.

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