Appalachia Music Pap

Words Of Life

Pap and his brothers
Ray, Henry, Pap 

Paul is still trying his best to get Pap’s original music out there to the world. We’re both disappointed that we haven’t made much progress on our dvd idea of highlighting the most popular videos on our youtube channel and getting Pap’s old friends to introduce them. Life keeps getting in the way, I’m sure you know how that is. The dvd is still a dream we want to complete, we just need to force ourselves to get started.

Paul recently uploaded a video made to highlight one of Pap’s older songs Words of Life. I’ll let him tell you about it.

“In 1973, Pap and his two brothers made their first album: Words of Life. The title cut was written by Pap. It features him on high harmony, his brother Ray on lead vocal, and youngest brother Henry on electric guitar (a beautiful Gretch that you can see in some of the photos in the video). The steel player and bass player did a fine job, but I do not know who they were. The steel player could be the one in the photo at 1:51, but I have no way of knowing that.

Pap told me once that the snare drum player on the album was just a hung man who “hung around the studio,” someone he never met before or after.

Terry Pappas made this video. While the music plays, various photos and articles down through the years are shown. Not all of the lyrics appear during the song, only key words from the song.

Some of the photos are just notices about performances and some are articles covering awards they won or highlighting their musical career. Words of Life also became the title of several radio broadcasts they had down through the years on different stations. There are even a few photos of my uncle Henry in a bunker in Vietnam with some old guitar he had rounded up so he could keep his playing going during the war. Apparently one of the tuning knobs must have been missing. He served as a forward observer for the 1st Calvary.

Also appearing in some of the photos: Perry Stalcup on bass, Robert Hampton on dobro, Rev. Leander Chastain, Fred Williams, Aiden Martin, Johnny Mason, former NC Senator Robert Carpenter and his wife, David Brose from the John C Campbell Folk School, Douglass Day, Pap’s sister Carrie and father Wade, other unidentified musicians, my first cousin Brian Wilson (infant), and me.”

I hope you enjoyed the video as much as we do!



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  • Reply
    April 21, 2018 at 5:58 pm

    I just loved Listening to and looking at that, …. the words so true and faithful…

  • Reply
    b. Ruth
    September 25, 2017 at 1:17 pm

    I am late in commenting, but wanted to say…I loved this post Sunday…beautiful
    Also, wanted to comment….the old idiom…”Well begun, half done”!
    Thanks Tipper for this post!

  • Reply
    George Jones
    September 24, 2017 at 8:21 pm

    Brings back many great memories.Thanks

  • Reply
    Anne D.
    September 24, 2017 at 3:28 pm

    “Words of Life” a heartfelt sermon in song for a Sunday!
    As others said, my first thought was the familiar hymn Wonderful Words of Life that we can still hum 50,60 + years later.
    Pap’s Words will stay in my memory for the rest of my days.
    Paul’s highlighting the key words Life Savior Come Receive , etc. was beautiful.
    In reading bits of the newspaper articles, For the Love of Song and Neighbors personifies Pap and family’s purpose in blessing too many folks to count with their Faith filled music.
    Our lives are enriched by all of your devotion to the Lord and each of your musical gifts!
    When the album comes together, even a greater number of people will be humming Pap’s words and music. God will give ya’ll the strength to accomplish.
    A history in song of The Wilson’s will be a treasure.

  • Reply
    Paula Rhodarmer
    September 24, 2017 at 3:27 pm

    Tipper, that was an awesome video. I really enjoyed it.

  • Reply
    September 24, 2017 at 12:27 pm

    Thanks Tipper, what a memorable part of Pap’s life.

  • Reply
    September 24, 2017 at 12:20 pm

    I lived and worked in Atlanta when this video was made, so I didn’t know anyone who sung back then, other than Merl Haggard and some others. But Pap introduced his brother to me one time at Jimmy’s Pick & Grin. I’m glad he did. Henry had just finished playing and singing in a band. I’ve never met Ray or any of his family, but I love their singing too. What a talented Family! …Ken

  • Reply
    Sue Crane
    September 24, 2017 at 11:58 am

    Beautiful song. Good way to start a Sunday ( or any day). I would love to read the articles in the video but they flashed by too quickly. Good luck with your plans for the DVD. I’d say your hardest problem would be which songs to exclude!

  • Reply
    September 24, 2017 at 10:17 am

    This a wonderful song and I have not heard it before. When I saw the title “Words Of Life”, it brought to my the song Eleanor Loos referenced, “Wonderful Words of Life”, which I sung in church growing up.

  • Reply
    Wesley P Bossman
    September 24, 2017 at 10:14 am

    That is top quality music. I loved it. Thank you for giving it to us like the gift it is.

  • Reply
    Eleanor Loos
    September 24, 2017 at 9:17 am

    It’s an unfamiliar song to me, Tipper, but a good one. It reminds me of one we sang in Sunday School as a young girl: “Wonderful Words of Life”. “Sing them over again to me, wonderful words of life. Let me more of their beauty see, wonderful words of life. Words of life and beauty, teach me faith and duty. Beautiful words, wonderful words, wonderful words of life. Beautiful words, wonderful words, wonderful words of life.” Many thanks, Tipper, for keeping these songs in our hearts and minds. Blessings on your Lord’s Day.
    Eleanor Loos, Columbia Station Ohio

  • Reply
    Jim Casada
    September 24, 2017 at 9:14 am

    Tipper–What an uplifting three minutes or so for a Sunday morning. Do you have, or have you made an effort to locate, the many newspaper clippings and photos which accompany the song? Some of the newspaper pieces would probably be fairly easy provided you know the newspaper in which it appeared (that shows at places but not always).
    My favorite photo, by far, was the one of your Uncle Henry in a bunker in Vietnam. It speaks powerfully of how a simple mountain boy, far from home in an unpopular and ill-fought war, could find solace and a bit of balm for his soul with a broken-down guitar and an abiding love of music. I was fortunate enough to escape being drafted for Vietnam, although I was of the exact age to make me vulnerable, thanks to nothing other than the fact that I was teaching in a military academy at the time. I was fortunate and I try to remember that every time I see someone in the military or meet a former military man or woman.
    I hope you and Paul will persist, because this is a project which should belong to posterity.
    Jim Casada

  • Reply
    Dee Parks
    September 24, 2017 at 8:24 am

    Beautiful!!! I don’t ever remember hearing that song – so glad you posted it.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    September 24, 2017 at 7:18 am

    That’s a beautiful video, Tip! I recognize the videos at the folk school from seeing the girls there so much. Most stage have curtains as a backdrop but the Folk Schools backdrop in the Festival Barn is God’s Mountains!

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