Video: GLAD does Southern Gospel

The noted Christian band / sometime acapella group GLAD was known for a “variations on a hymn” segment of their live concerts. Perhaps their best example is theirΒ acapella variations on “Leaning on the Everlasting Arms.” On a lighter note, here is a far earlier version of the segment. It features “We Praise Thee, O God, Our Redeemer,” a band, and a Southern Gospel segment at 3:33:

…filed under the “lest we take ourselves too seriously” department…

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29 Letters to the Editor

Southern Gospel Journal welcomes letters to the editor. We will post the most thoughtful and insightful submissions. Ground rules: Don't attack or belittle groups or fellow posters, or advance heresies rejected by orthodox Christianity. Do keep comments positive, constructive, and on topic.
  1. I would call bluegrass, not Southern Gospel. πŸ™‚

    Fun video, I’ve seen it before but it makes fun revisiting. Interesting to note what good band players they are!

    • Well, it doesn’t come anywhere close to bluegrass instrumentally. The vocals have touches of bluegrass mannerisms and touches of Southern Gospel harmonies, while the instrumentation sounds like – well, like an 80s CCM band’s imitation of a Southern Gospel band. πŸ™‚

      • You’re right—the instruments are more like country. πŸ™‚

      • Yes, and a number of SG bands tend to lean in that direction.

        The five central instruments of bluegrass are fiddles, upright acoustic basses, banjos, acoustic guitars, and mandolins – and none of them are to be found here! In fact, bluegrass events tend to ban any electric instruments, and some also frown upon drums.

        The funny thing about this clip is that the weakest part of the whole skit is when they do the song in their own style. They had loads of talent, but were trying a little too hard to be contemporary and relevant with their own material (at the time, at least). But the other segments show their talents well.

      • Yeah, I think it was mainly the vocals that were making me say “bluegrass.” But I often hear that electric guitar sound in country.

        That segment remains my favorite version of the song that they do. The others are okay but that one is best.

      • I think I actually liked the one after that the best – from that video. I liked pretty much everything from the acapella one better than pretty much everything on this one. The fugue was brilliant.

      • Actually, my favorite is probably when they just do it acapella at the beginning!

        The Beach Boys impression is pretty hilarious.

      • I didn’t know who they were imitating – I just liked the sound. πŸ™‚

      • Are you referring to the Beach Boys impression as a “fugue??”

      • No – didn’t you listen to the acapella video, also linked? That is what I was talking about in that particular comment.

      • Oh I’m sorry, didn’t realize that’s what you were referring to. Yeah, I’ve seen that video as well, and it does sound great! The only thing is that it almost sounds like there are more voices than I can see on stage.

      • Foot in mouth again, I was thinking of a live performance I saw (you gave a link to the studio).

        This is the live video for the classical version. The other versions are off on the side:

      • Yes, I saw the live, too, but thought I’d link to the one with the better audio quality.

        Now if I’m remembering correctly, there’s applause on the one I linked to – are you saying that was just dubbed in, then?

      • Hmmmmm…no. I’m thinking somebody must have taken the audio from a concert.

      • Ah, well, as you know, overdubs and stacks happen all the time, even in acapella songs.

      • There might have been stacks here, and possibly even on the low quality video clips as well.

        I think I sometimes have wondered naively whether perhaps people hold off on the stacks for acapella stuff…but I guess that’s naive.

      • They do . . . once in a while.

        Knowing that there are often stacks plays into why I was far less impressed than you were with a certain acapella number discussed in your early days on the site.

      • Oh of course I’ve known for a while that you stack in the studio on acapella stuff. Everybody does that. I was referring to live acapella stacking.

      • I mean goodness, even the Cathedrals used that trick in the studio!

    • Yes, it is closer to Bluegrass than Southern Gospel, despite the inauthentic instrumentation.

  2. Fun Video! Just curious… What year is this from?

    • I’d guess early to mid 80s.

    • The audio version of “Variations On A Hymn (That Hymn Thing)” was released in 1983 on _No Less Than All_ (Benson). You can buy the MP3 here: [EDIT, 2/22/13: Broken link removed.]

      I have a cassette copy, but I don’t think it plays any more.

      • 1982, that has been around awhile. I was two when it was released.

  3. With this, Glad helped perpetrate the idea that many old hymn tunes were based on “bar tunes.” You can see a bit of it at the beginning of the clip where they’re swaying. The tune is the one we’d most commonly recognize for “We Praise Thee, O God,” but the words they’re singing are:
    “I once met a girl and her name was Matilda,
    She hugged like a bear and she looked like one too.”

    • I’m not sure I follow – I don’t actually hear those words. Are they in the video? Or are you playing the video reverse on your YouTube LP player, or something? πŸ˜€

      • No, you’re not missing anything. It’s on the audio version. They’re talking over that bit in the video.

      • Ah – thanks!

      • To elaborate, on the audio version, they introduce each variation. The entire bit is set up with a message about how the same message can be sung to different tunes, and that early hymn writers actually used “bar songs.” Then, they proceed to sing what is allegedly one of those bar songs, which we recognize, only with the words I posted before.

        This was played on CCM radio over and over throughout the 1980s, and led to the whole notion that actually doesn’t appear to have much truth to it. At least, no one has documented which drinking tunes became well known hymns.

        You can hear the entire thing if you download the MP3.