The Essential Songwriter Collection: Phil Cross

The Essential Songwriter Collection series lists ten songs each from legendary songwriters that every Southern Gospel fan should add to their collections.

  1. Champion of Love (Cathedrals, Symphony of Praise, 1987). If there was ever an obvious pick, anywhere in this series, this would be the song and the rendition.
  2. Hope Has Hands (Grace Has a Face) (Greater Vision, Everything Christmas, 2010). Other artists, notably The Hoppers and Triumphant Quartet, have released versions of this song. This rendition might not be the obvious pick, but its quiet and subdued intensity makes it stand out.
  3. I Am Redeemed (Poet Voices, NQC Live 2002, 2003). This song was a #1 hit, Song of the Year, and the definitive signature song for Cross’s own group, Poet Voices. That alone earns the song a place on the list. Of several strong renditions, the strongest is from Poet Voices’ farewell performance as a quartet, at the 2002 National Quartet Convention. The passion and emotion of the moment brought this rendition to the top.
  4. Medals, Crowns and Trophies (Nelons, Get Ready, 1988).
  5. Miracle in Me (Phil Cross and The Greenes, NQC Live Volume 8, 2008). There’s no question that one of The Greenes’ renditions deserves to be on a top ten list of all-time definitive renditions of Phil Cross songs. The only question is: 1987, with Kim Greene (Hopper), or 2008, with TaRanda Greene? The soundtrack and overall production quality tips the scales in favor of the more recent rendition. If that wasn’t enough, the testimony heading into the NQC 2008 live rendition seals the deal. There was a general consensus, among the artists at least, that this was the moment of NQC 2008.
  6. One Holy Lamb (Tribute Quartet, Hit Replay, 2010). Every list of this nature simply has to have at least one controversial pick, right? Though Milan Kilpa, Tony Jarman, and Dale Brock all turned in strong renditions on assorted Poet Voices projects, tenor Riley Clark’s voice is a better fit for the song.
  7. Wedding Music (Cathedral Quartet, The Best of Times, 1991). Another obvious pick! The song is often associated with Kirk Talley in many minds, but Talley and Cross were co-writers on it.
  8. Welcome to Heaven (Singing Americans, Black and White, 1985).
  9. When I Get Carried Away (Gold City, Double Take Live in Charleston, South Carolina, 1986).
  10. Yes, I Am (Hoppers, Power, 2000).

What do you consider to be the definitive versions of Phil Cross’ songs?

For more about and —and other Southern Gospel news and commentary—follow our RSS feed or sign up for our email updates!

11 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. Jesus Built a Bridge would have to be a top ten. It was the Poet Voices very first single. I beleive it went to #1 ans was Song of the Year.

    • Yeah, but what on earth would we bump for it?

      It was indeed #1, but it wasn’t Song of the Year. “I Am Redeemed” was Poet Voices’ only Song of the Year.

  2. If the titles in italics are intended to be album titles, the Cathedrals album that Champion of Love was on was Symphony of Praise.

    • Oops – typo! Fixed. Thanks.

  3. It may not be considered definitive, but “The Great I Am Still Is” surely deserves an honorable mention. It’s my favorite Cross song, and one of Triumphant’s best.

  4. I would bump One Holy Lamb and put Jesus Built a Bridge in it’s place. If you leave One Holy Lamb, then the definitive edition to me would be the Milan Klipa version.

    • Of the Poet Voices renditions, I think I’d also have to go with that one as the strongest.

  5. The Greenes also had a great rendition of One Holy Lamb

  6. “The Key” and “The Only King” really need to be on there. I am sure there are others I am not immediately thinking of that need to be as well. Another would be “Glorious City of God” by the Greenes.

    • All three are great songs. I know “Glorious City of God” was one of my last five to go. “The Key,” meanwhile, was definitely my #11. I just couldn’t see my way to bumping any of the others, though!

      Which three would you bump? 🙂

  7. They all are good but I Am Redeemed would probably take the cake. As Jesus is the Redeemer of all!