Southern Gospel 101: Your Contributions
A regular reader fairly new to Southern Gospel recently asked for a way to become more familiar with the genre. An idea hit me: We should do an annual Southern Gospel 101 list of 101 YouTube videos crucial to understanding the genre.
Here’s where you come in. Surely many of you will remember strong videos that have slipped my mind. I started a top 101 list (see below), but I’d like to enlist your help to finish it. The ideal video has four factors:
- It’s from one of the 20-30 most all-time historically significant groups in our genre
- It’s one of that group’s 1-5 most recognizable signature songs
- It is, in and of itself, a strong performance—a performance that really connected with its audience, and where the audience visibly responded
- It is not currently available on any commercially released DVD
Note on criteria 3: Especially for 40+-year-old groups, our only option may be television footage that does not capture the essence of their live concert experience. We can only use what exists to work with there, so this primarily applies to groups within the last 35-40 years.
Note on criteria 4: I anticipate making around five exceptions, for moments that are too historically significant to ignore, yet I plan to use as few as possible. This is for two reasons: First, out of respect to the groups who put in the financing to produce these projects (since even label groups nowadays frequently fund their own videos) and are still trying to recoup that money, and second, because groups tend to hold a little something back when they are fully aware that the cameras are rolling. (That might deserve its own post, one of these days.)
Here’s the starter list. What are other entries you would add?
- Bass Singer Quartet: Just a Little Talk with Jesus.
- Bass Singer Quartet: Boundless Love.
- Blackwood Brothers: He Bought My Soul.
- Blackwood Brothers: Crossing Chilly Jordan. No good video seems to exist of this lineup – Bill Shaw, James Blackwood, Cecil Blackwood, J.D. Sumner, and Whitey Gleason – live, so this is the next best thing.
- Blackwood Brothers: Zion’s Hill. The list needs a London Parris video, and this is as good as any.
- Booth Brothers: His Grace is Sufficient.
- Cathedral Quartet: Somebody Touched Me.
- Cathedral Quartet: Boundless Love. One of Southern Gospel’s all-time most embarrassing moments—yet you’re certain enough to hear it discussed that you might as well avail yourself of the opportunity to see it.
- Cathedral Quartet: This Ole House. Yes, the infamous Dove Awards performance, and yes, you should watch it at least once.
- Cathedral Quartet: He Left it All. …and for balance, here’s Kurt Young on a good day.
- Cathedral Quartet: We Shall See Jesus. Glen Payne’s signature song—the only question is which rendition to include!
- Cathedral Quartet: Oh What a Savior. I might swap in another rendition before it’s all said and done.
- Cathedral Quartet: Hard Trials.
- Collingsworth Family: Holy Holy Holy.
- Kim Collingsworth: How Great Thou Art.
- Dixie Echoes: How Big is God.
- Dove Brothers: I Pledge Allegiance to the Lamb. While the original Dove Brothers are best known for taking Southern Gospel by storm with “Didn’t it Rain” and “Get Away Jordan,” this is perhaps the moment for which they should best be remembered.
- Florida Boys: Goodbye, World, Goodbye.
- Gaither Homecoming: The Ninety and Nine. Featuring Donnie Sumner and the Talley Trio.
- Gaither Homecoming: Rock of Ages. Featuring Reggie Smith, Joy Gardner, Stephen Hill, and a magnificent final verse by Vestal Goodman.
- Gaither Vocal Band: Let Freedom Ring. The masters of the big ballad never had a bigger ballad than this one . . . and never a more powerful recorded performance than their Carnegie Hall performance shortly after 9/11.
- Gaither Vocal Band: Oh Love that Will Not Let Me Go.
- Gold City: Midnight Cry.
- Gold City: One Scarred Hand.
- Gold City: One Scarred Hand (acapella).
- Gold City: There Rose a Lamb.
- Gold City: Reunion at NQC 2010. This was the first time since they originally parted ways that the lineup which made Gold City a household name in Southern Gospel stepped out on stage together.
- Gold City: Satisfied. This video, featuring Josh Cobb (with Roy Webb on piano), illustrates how this lineup could have been the third golden era of the group had stayed together.
- Greater Vision: We’ve Been Hit by a Swimming Pool.
- Rodney Griffin and Tim Lovelace: Yes, I Am. NQC has a reputation for great comedic moments, and this was one of the best.
- Ernie Haase: Redemption Draweth Nigh.
- Wes Hampton with Steve Green: It is Well.
- Happy Goodmans: The Eastern Gate.
- Happy Goodmans: Looking for a City.
- Heaven Bound: Canaanland is Just in Sight.
- The Hoppers: Miracle in Me (featured here). Greg Bentley, Connie Hopper, Dean Hopper, Claude Hopper.
- Kingsmen: Glory Road.
- Kingsmen: Jesus is Mine.
- Kingsmen: Shouting Happy.
- McKameys: God on the Mountain.
- Perfect Heart: In the Sweet Forever.
- Perrys: Calvary Answers For Me.
- Perrys: Who am I. The audio and video quality are far worse than others of the same song—yet the rendition is too powerful to pass this one up for another. The Perrys are the masters of the live acapella encore, and this is perhaps their best.
- Plainsmen: Dry Bones. This features a young Rusty Goodman, singing bass, prior to the Happy Goodmans days!
- Talleys: Triumphantly the Church Will Rise.
- Talley Trio: The Broken Ones.
- Mark Trammell Trio: Love Lifted Me (featured here). This illustrates, perhaps better than any of their original material, the chemistry that gave this lineup an incredible on-stage presence.
- The Weatherfords: Prayer is the Key. Lily Fern Weatherford, Glen Payne, Earl Weatherford, Armond Morales.
- George Younce with Ernie Haase and Signature Sound: Suppertime. A timeless, priceless moment as a legend bid his fans farewell.