You’ll Be Rewarded Over There

Today’s post was written by Paul.


In the past few weeks, I shared what the music of the Wilson Brothers sounded like with a full band and without a full band over on our Youtube channel. In the video I’m sharing today, I thought I’d make the comparison even more direct by sharing two versions of the same song.

I found the first version on a reel to reel tape. I thought it would be cool to leave the false start at the beginning. In case you can’t make out what’s said: Pap says, “I’ll be ready next time” because he didn’t start the rhythm with Ray’s lead guitar. Ray then twice asks, “Was that too fast?” Pap then says, “hmm uh” to say no, then they start again. 🙂 I have no idea how to spell that slang version of saying “no,” but that’s what I hear.

The second version comes from the “Words of Life” album. In the opening screen, I typed that it was recorded in Marietta, GA because I read that somewhere; however, I pulled out the record itself (not the album cover) and it says “Chattanooga, TN.” So who knows.

Please feel free to comment about which version you like the best. I like both versions very much, but when they’re juxtaposed like this, the absence of or reigning in of Pap’s Dove in the studio version makes that cut sound a little like it’s all treble and no low range. I really like the runs Pap made during Ray’s guitar breaks on the first version, which put me in the mind of Red Smiley’s runs in “Bringing in that Georgia Mail,” but those runs are absent from the studio version. However, I really like Henry’s playing on the Gretch and the flat top runs that Ray made during the steel break in the studio version. I don’t know who played the steel and the snare drum on that album, but I wish I did.

The photo in the first half of the video shows Pap and Ray before they ever started performing (Pap on the left and Ray on the right). It comes from the back tray of a CD they put out in 2003.

“You’ll Be Rewarded Over There” is a song that stuck in Pap’s consciousness from an early age because an uncle of his or some other relative on his mother’s side once drove around the countryside blaring it from a giant speaker or megaphone that he had rigged to the top of his 1940 something car.

The first thing that struck me about this song when I first heard it as a kid is the way the note is flattened by both vocals and then moved back in place in the middle of the verse in the low chord. I would have heard the Wilson Brothers sing it before I ever heard the original Louvin version. If you compare the Louvin version to the Wilson version, the most noticeable differences are:  The Louvins go to E minor (if playing in G) at the end of the chorus before going to C, while the Wilsons leave the minor out entirely. Charlie holds or stretches out the words, “If you’ll serve Him in this life…” while Ray repeats the repeat or half-time along with the tenor vocal: “If you’ll serve Him, serve Him in this life…”

I believe the song was one of the earlier tunes released by the Louvins on Capitol. Around that time, Capitol would not allow them to release any secular songs, only gospel. Martha Carson had previously migrated from gospel to some secular music, and the transition didn’t go over well with some fans, so Capitol was reluctant to allow the Louvins to do the same, since their gospel music was quite popular and a good money-maker for Capitol. Their first secular release for Capitol was “When I Stop Dreaming,” which was a complete home-run with fans and one of the highest charted songs of their careers. In 1998, I had the pleasure of spending an entire day with Charlie at his museum in Bell Buckle, TN. I played his guitar on the local radio station there and had lunch with him. Pap and I also sang some trio songs with him. In every encounter I ever had with Charlie, he was very giving of his time and down to earth. Anyway, I hope you enjoyed this video. Thanks for watching!


I hope you enjoyed Paul’s post and the comparison of the song. Like Paul there are things about each version that I love. Both make me feel like a skinny little backward girl again. Us kids always thought Henry’s picking on the studio version was really something and it is. But the simplicity of the first version really speaks to where we’re from and since Henry didn’t always play with them so it’s the truer sound to the music they made for most of their career.

Have a great Sunday!


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  • Reply
    July 11, 2018 at 11:36 am

    Love it, love it. My father in law is a preacher. I’m going to let him hear this cause him and my mother in law sing and i know they would love it too.

  • Reply
    Neva [Wyatt} Slocum
    July 9, 2018 at 6:42 pm

    First version definitely! This is the kind of gospel I grew up listening at church, with the Blanton family leading the music. Most of them are gone now, but I was visiting one of the in-laws last week , Joan Blanton ,reminiscing all their music at church..
    As young child I would make fun of the way Albert would twist his mouth to hit a high note. Joan told me her son will do the same twist as his grandpa, runs in the family I guess. Lots of fond memories.

  • Reply
    July 9, 2018 at 12:57 am

    This is a real treat! I prefer the first, and may the never ending circle be unbroken!

  • Reply
    betty stephenson
    July 8, 2018 at 2:31 pm

    still love this so much its a treat to hear such beautiful music instead of what passes for music these day

  • Reply
    July 8, 2018 at 1:52 pm

    I tell you what, I honestly thought it was the Louvin Brothers when I first started playing the video. I read Paul’s post, but then I thought maybe he had included the Louvin Brothers singing it first. The Wilson Brothers’ harmony is so tight and impeccable. All I can say is WOW! I wish the whole world could have heard the Wilson Brothers sing and also Pap and Paul when they sang together. I think that is so neat that Paul got to meet Charlie Louvin and spend that time with him! What a wonderful experience that must have been! I miss those old singers and am SO thankful you all keep the music alive, and you do it every bit as good as they did it. Thank you for not changing or “modernizing” anything and keeping it pure. Thank God for you all ~ you are special to our family! Have a wonderful day, and thanks so much for sharing this! (I featured a couple more of your songs in my latest post. 🙂

  • Reply
    Kenneth Ryan
    July 8, 2018 at 11:40 am

    I will always take the all acoustic version over one with electric instruments. I don’t care for the electric sound at all. I also am partial to a minor chord where it will fit and give that unique sound. Both versions had very good, tight harmony and I love the song. But, without reservation, I like the first version better. I did love the bass beat in the second version. I think the fist version would have sounded even better with an upright bass behind it. I love this kind of stuff-the explanations and the comparisons of the same song done in different styles. I would look forward to more of this, and I appreciate the time spent putting it together…an absolutely great post!

  • Reply
    Gayle Larson
    July 8, 2018 at 11:30 am

    I also appreciate the simplicity of the first one. Always look forward to the Sunday music. It sure represents where I was raised. Loved sitting on the porch on a Sunday afternoon listening to just this kind of music. Thanks so much.

  • Reply
    Ken Roper
    July 8, 2018 at 11:13 am

    And Paul,
    I prefer the first version over the second, but they’re both good and they sound just like Charlie and Ira Louvin. In the song “When I Stop Dreamin” I like Jim and Jesse the best, but what do I know? The only thing Mama taught me was timing. Pap introduced me to Henry one time. He was playing with Steve Jordan’s band.

    They sure don’t make “em like they use to. …Ken

  • Reply
    Eric Clapmon
    July 8, 2018 at 10:11 am


  • Reply
    Doc Wadkins
    July 8, 2018 at 10:10 am

    I have always thought acoustic instruments sound better. Unaltered voices too. I believe the first version is from the conservative viewpoint and the second is liberal. Way to liberal for me. I’m for the first.

  • Reply
    July 8, 2018 at 10:04 am

    I really liked the first version, and has such a great sound. I always understood Algebra better than I did musical notes. I am ever thankful they taught a little music in school, or I would be a total dunce. Thank you so much for the post.

  • Reply
    Chet Adkins
    July 8, 2018 at 10:03 am

    I like your uncle Henry’s Gretsch playing in the second version but in general I think the first is much better! My vote is for number one!

  • Reply
    Red Smiley
    July 8, 2018 at 9:58 am

    Thanks for the mention! I like the first version!

  • Reply
    July 8, 2018 at 9:56 am

    I much prefer the first version. I could listen to it all day. Want to know why? It’s cause of what I don’t hear as opposed to what I do. The first version is like a clear cool stream. The second is the same stream after a storm with muddy water and all manner of extraneous material sweeping by. The first is two men and their instruments. Their voices and their instruments as near perfect as they can be. The second just oozes studio. Strangers with strange instruments trying to blend in. And strangers with machines trying to make the best better. They failed miserably in my amateur opinion. But I know what I like and I like what I know. My vote is for #1!

  • Reply
    Ann Applegarth
    July 8, 2018 at 8:50 am

    Definitely the first version! You could understand every word, and the music is beautiful!

  • Reply
    July 8, 2018 at 7:36 am

    I think my vote is gonna go with the first version, all tho they both are good, the 2nd throws in some of that Rockabilly sound of the 50’s and 60’s in, which was good but the first version is a little better for my taste , and for this type of song.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    July 8, 2018 at 6:28 am

    I liked the first one a little better than the second, probably because it was/seemed a little slower. Thank you, Paul, for the explanations. I am not enough of a music person to make those distinctions for myself.

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