Who Will Sing For Me?


Who Will Sing For Me?

Oft I sing for my friends
When death’s cold hand they see
But when I am gone
Who will sing one song for me?

I wonder who will sing for me
When I’m called to cross that silent sea
Who will sing for me?

When a crowd shall gather round
And look down on me
Will they turn and walk away
Or will they sing one song for me?

I wonder who will sing for me
When I’m called to cross that silent sea
Who will sing for me?

So I’ll sing for my friends
And death will brighter be
Assured some friend
Will sing one song for me.

I wonder who will sing for me
When I’m called to cross that silent sea
Who will sing for me?

I’ve heard this old song my whole life. I tried to find out the history of it to share with you but didn’t find much. What I did find can be read on The Mudcat Cafe.

Although I haven’t asked either Pap or Paul, I would assume its a meaningful song for each of them. They have sung at many funerals over the years. Some for friends who had lived a rich long life some for friends who left us way to soon. I imagine each of them have wondered who would sing for them someday.

There are many variations of the song so you may be used to hearing different words than the ones in the video. It’s certainly a song with a sad subject matter, however there’s a lovely beauty to it as well…or maybe that’s just Paul and Pap’s outstanding harmony I’m hearing.


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  • Reply
    Eldonna Ashley
    April 18, 2017 at 11:35 pm

    The song reminds me of a sweet nurse who attended our church. She was single with no children and she often cared for people in their last illnesses. My husband, a pastor, often talked to her as he visited I’ll church members. She once mentioned how many people she had cared for through the years. Then she asked the poignant question that was on her mind, “Who will care for me?”
    Sadly, I don’t know the answer to that question. My hubs was assigned to a different congregation. Maintaining contact with previous parishioners is highly discouraged. I pray someone stepped up to care for her.

  • Reply
    April 25, 2016 at 10:26 am

    Scott-thank you for the comment! Youve got a good eye : ) My brother Paul gave my husband a cd he had of Merle for Christmas one year. Paul had lost the insert so he made one from a picture he found of Merle online. 

  • Reply
    Carl Mullin
    April 24, 2016 at 10:10 am

    Tipper, I hope that I can give you some information on this song, It was written by the late Carter Stanley of the Stanley Brothers, These old mountain boys just across the state line in Va. has written so many of the old time gospel songs ( exp. Carter) one of his best I think Was “White Dove” and I believe that he also wrote “Angel Band” Pap and Paul does a great job on all the songs they sing. I just though that I would pass on this little bit of information, these boys (Stanley Brothers) was raised as “Poor as Job” on a little mountain farm in the hills of Dickenson County Va. In my research of mountain music I feel that we lost one of the great writer’s of this type of music at a far too young of age.

  • Reply
    scott wikle
    April 23, 2016 at 12:19 am

    Just curious.. the photos you have of Merle’s cd’s. Which on is in the upper right. B&W of Merle with railroad cap on ?

  • Reply
    Ethelene Dyer Jones
    April 21, 2016 at 8:48 am

    Although filled with nostalgia, the song, “Who Will Sing for Me?” nevertheless is sobering and makes us wonder about our own passing and who will “say a word” or “sing a song” that will represent the type of life the deceased lived on earth and the influence he/she “left behind.” As a former leader of church music (choir director) I often had the responsibility of counseling with family of the deceased about the music they wanted at the funeral. It is a time of serious consideration, and so often music can bring such comfort to a bereaved family. It is important that the one “who sings a song for me” does it with tenderness and care which can comfort the family. And I write this after I hear of the death of Dear “Pap”–Jerry Wilson–who brought comfort to so many people with his playing, singing, and original songs from his own pen and composing skills. I know the songs sung for him today at his funera (on April 21) will cheer, comfort and bring blessings to all who hear.

  • Reply
    David Templeton
    April 19, 2016 at 5:50 pm

    What treasures you have, Tipper.

  • Reply
    April 18, 2016 at 1:12 am

    It’s Monday,by about 73 minutes, I guess I’ve listened to that song for about 8 times by now…

  • Reply
    Don Casada
    April 17, 2016 at 9:14 pm

    Having spent the weekend on Hazel Creek, I’m coming to this very late. I’ll not go into details, but not only did Pap and Paul graciously consent to sing at Daddy’s funeral, as Jim mentioned – they also sang for him in his final hour – though they were 60 miles away.
    Forgive me for telling a personal story here, but I do it because it is an illustration of God’s providential care – and an example of His arranging things in a way that still brings tears to my eyes when I consider it.
    Tipper had given me a CD with gospel songs written by Pap and sung by him, his brother, and Paul not two weeks before. I got word late one Friday that I needed to come see Daddy, so Susan and I made arrangements to drive from TN to NC early on Saturday morning (we’d planned a hike with Lonnie Dockery and Tipper later that morning – a hike which we never made).
    Daddy, at the age of 101, had held on through a difficult night, and was struggling and in a great deal of pain when we got there. I asked him if he’d like to listen to some music, and he nodded yes. So I ran out to the car and ejected the CD which just happened to be in there – which was the one Tipper had given. Now I’d listened to the CD several times already, but on this day, the music and the words took on a new meaning altogether.
    The first song included these words:
    “My days passed so swiftly, and my years have come and gone,
    Though since I first remember till now don’t seem that long.
    When I bow before him as I enter heaven’s door,
    I know he’ll touch my soul.”
    I can’t describe the sense of peace that came to Daddy listening to that song (both the music and the words are very soothing). Tears started coming to our eyes, and they continued for seven more songs. Those songs ministered to Daddy during his final half hour in a way that was clearly pre-ordained. Every single song had a message which was pertinent for that moment.
    Paul had burned the CD, and somehow the sequence of songs was a bit different from what was intended. A song entitled “I’ll Be Home” was supposed to be track 10, but it was track 8 on the copy Tipper gave me. The final words of that track, which were the last Daddy heard are:
    “Soon all will be well, and I’ll be home.
    I’ll be home.”
    We’d been holding his hands all this time. As soon as that song was over, I told Susan “Daddy’s gone home.”
    And he had.
    Thanks be to God for His provision and to the entire Blind Pig family for the blessings of that time.

  • Reply
    April 17, 2016 at 8:19 pm

    I have never heard this song before, and it is so beautiful, it brought tears to my eyes. I love the harmony.

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    April 17, 2016 at 8:12 pm

    If Pap and Paul were professional musicians recorded in a professional studio, I wouldn’t even listen to them. I have listened to various musicians singing this same song and I got what I paid for. Pap and Paul’s music is free on your website and worth much more than what it costs it on one of your CDs. Their music as well as all of the Blind Pig’s offerings are what I crave because it is different yet the same. It makes me think of home and all my kinfolks gathered together making music on a Sunday afternoon. You can’t buy that anywhere! Anyone who has been so unfortunate as to have missed out on such memories and have had to replace it with Nashville trash, I feel sorry for you.
    When my Mama was dying with cancer she asked me to sing “There’s A Light In The Window” for her. I am not a professional singer by any stretch of the imagination but she wanted to hear me sing it and she enjoyed it and that’s what matters.

  • Reply
    Jim Casada
    April 17, 2016 at 7:03 pm

    Tipper–This post, along with B. Ruth’s account of her husband’s request for their granddaughter to perform “Amazing Grace” at his funeral, brought a multitude of bittersweet memories to me. First of all, our entire family was greatly blessed to have Jerry and Paul sing at Daddy’s funeral service.
    Also, although I’m decidedly the family ugly duckling in this regard (and no doubt many others), my daughter and several of Don’s children have a great deal of musical talent. Natasha sang at my mother’s funeral and she and one of Don’s boys led the congregation in hymns at Daddy’s funeral service (one of them being a personal favorite, “I’ll Fly Away”). The service was tough for me in that I delivered a part of the eulogy (Don did the rest) but I have to believe it just might have been tougher for the grandchildren.
    Anyway, another really meaningful post, and in this case one that, with B. Ruth’s comment added, truly hit home in a significant way.
    Jim Casada

  • Reply
    George Pettie
    April 17, 2016 at 6:58 pm

    Beautiful rendition. I never tire of listening to Pap and Paul.

  • Reply
    Ken Roper
    April 17, 2016 at 6:48 pm

    A couple weeks ago I was browsing on Youtube and listening to my favorite, “New Birth” and that’s when I noticed a few New songs by Paul and Pap. “Who will sing for me” is a really nice song.
    Before Chitter and Chatter broke out on their own, and I guess it was the first time meeting you all. I was in the parking lot at JCCFS when Paul walked in front of my Jeep. I hollered at him and we went in together. Didn’t know a Soul! But after the concert was over, I got to meet everyone and it felt like Family…Ken

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    April 17, 2016 at 4:00 pm

    I really enjoyed Pap and Paul’s version of the song. I would like to think that they would sing for me too, but would prefer to be able to hear and see them.

  • Reply
    Sue Crane
    April 17, 2016 at 3:43 pm

    Such amazing, rich harmonies. How wonderful to hear Pap take the lead. Both of them have such lovely voices. Sometimes at the computer I click on the playlist and listen all the way through. So happy I found your blog – you give me much joy and comfort. God Bless.

  • Reply
    Charles Ronald Perry, Sr.
    April 17, 2016 at 2:13 pm

    Great song. I can’t imagine what it would sound like in a professional studio where the full quality of their voices could come through.

  • Reply
    April 17, 2016 at 1:55 pm

    WOW! Another fine performance by Pap and Paul.

  • Reply
    Suzi Phillips
    April 17, 2016 at 1:10 pm

    What a lovely post- I’m always amazed when I open my email and once again, it feels like you wrote it just for me! I’ve been thinking about community quite a bit over the last several days and how a strong community (or lack of one) affects everyday life. While I haven’t necessarily been thinking about death, I have been thinking about the basic theme of the song. Community. Big word- and not a noun, but like love, a verb.

  • Reply
    Cheryl Soehl
    April 17, 2016 at 11:42 am

    Since my sister was a musician as well as an artist, her friends from Mary’s Family Band and others came to sing for her after the service when she passed away. I recall we shared Will the Circle Be Unbroken, but my favorite was Angel Band.

  • Reply
    Gerald Stanfill
    April 17, 2016 at 11:32 am

    Ralph Stanley does a great job on this song.

  • Reply
    Chuck Howell
    April 17, 2016 at 11:08 am

    I will sing for you when you cross that sea
    Friend, know well, you can count on me

  • Reply
    Chuck Howell
    April 17, 2016 at 11:06 am

    I will sing for you under skies of blue
    For that’s the least I can do
    When you are called to cross that silent sea
    My friend I will sing one song for you.

  • Reply
    b. Ruth
    April 17, 2016 at 11:03 am

    This is another ironic post…While having dinner we were talking of my Granddaughters upcoming band concert at school. She plays the flute and very well I might add. My better half asked our Granddaughter if she had learned to play Amazing Grace. “As a matter of fact I know it all the way through,” she said. In my heart I knew what was coming but couldn’t stop his words in time!
    He said, “I want you to play Amazing Grace when I pass away!” Now then that child lives and breathes Papaw, she loves him so much! She immediately drew her arms up the sides of her head grasping her long hair in the back, her upper arms covering her ears. At the same time uttering ooohhh and uhhhh, not wanting to answer his question. She was also looking at me for help with the answer. Realizing what he had said, He replied, “Laughing, I don’t mean tomorrow!” That lightened the tension in the air a bit! ha
    Giving my better half the “wife look” I added, “We don’t want to talk about that right now do we?” She shook her head, “No, not ever!” Bless her heart…sometimes we forget that children think of death as a long time away even though they know in their hearts us old folks can’t live forever!
    Thanks Tipper,

  • Reply
    April 17, 2016 at 9:52 am

    Tamela-thank you for the comment! I don’t think the song is typically sung at funerals-at least I’ve never heard it at one. I probably made it sound like it was sung at funerals-sorry about that : )

  • Reply
    April 17, 2016 at 8:44 am

    As always, Paul and Pap sing the song so sweetly and beautifully; but, the words of the song puzzle me as a choice to sing at a funeral. Perhaps the singer is reassuring the deceased that someone is singing for them; but the words seem more concerned with the singer than the deceased.
    One of the problems I’ve always had with our little church band is when members let it go to their head. In our case, our purpose is simply to support and enhance worship. We aren’t seeking monetary gain or fame, or even attention; we are (or should be) just using our voices and our instruments as a way to encourage focus on the message and to help set the mood of praise, meditation, and/or fellowship for those gathered as well as possibly provide a place to belong within the church for some of our members. At least that is how I understood our purpose when we organized.
    I feel certain this tack wasn’t what you intended when you posted this lovely song; but these are the thoughts that came to mind as I read the words and listened. It seems that several of your readers are involved in either formal or informal groups who perform during worship. I’ll be interested in reading (now or in a later post) their take on the subject as well as Blind Pig’s thoughts about the the function of their music in church settings.

  • Reply
    Bob Dalsemer
    April 17, 2016 at 7:26 am

    Wow! When Pap hit that high note in the last chorus, it sent chills up my spine. Outstanding singing and picking!

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    April 17, 2016 at 7:20 am

    They do a beautiful job of that song. They can sing for me.

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