What makes a song a Classic?

Discussion over the last two days on Thursday’s Albums of Current Hits post has prompted quite a few interesting thoughts in the comments section. One of the areas touched on in the wide-ranging discussion deserves some further thought. What makes a song a classic, and what does that mean for the song?

The Kingsmen’s “Glory Road” was once new. That was in 1973. Within three years, just about every group out there (a slight exaggeration, but you get the idea) had recorded the song and was performing it live in concerts.

The Cathedrals’ “Boundless Love” was once new, too. But today many groups have tried their own version of the song.

For a modern day classic, try “Glory to God in the Highest.” It’s been done by the Inspirations, Brian Free & Assurance, the Old Friends Quartet, Ernie Haase & Signature Sound, and most recently the Inspirations again.

Some songs are signature songs for a group. What makes a song a Southern Gospel classic?

To pass the initial threshold, of course, it has to be a great song with a timeless message. It has to not only be a great song, but a song that connects with the fans. That’s the minimum threshold. But I think there’s a little more.

I believe that a song becomes a Southern Gospel classic when it “belongs” to no particular group but rather to the genre itself.

Several current songs have met that standard, one of which I named earlier. Others hopefully will. Let’s save the discussion of which songs are modern-day classics for another post. For today, let’s just see how well we agree on the definition itself.


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163 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. Daniel,
    I think your definition is right on target.
    I try to avoid singing other artist’s “signature” songs.
    But many of these evntually transcend the artist/writer and become “property” of the genre…and even property of the church (Kingdom). Then they are “standards”, which to me is a step beyond “classics”…probably splitting hairs here, but I think it is possible to be a “classic” and still be identified with a particular artist…but when it transcends the artist it moves into the “standards” bin…just my way of thinking. I could share examples but you have asked us not to name song titles. We enjoy the minutia now and then. Thanks for airing your thoughts.

    Paul Jackson / The Prophets
    pauljackson7@sbcglobal.net

    • That sounds about right!

      I would think of a “classic” as being identified with a group who did a definitive recording of a song,

      OR a singer within a group’s historical line-up who became identified with a song.

      Whereas a “standard” is a song that identifes a genre but transcends every group that records it.

      “Moving up to Gloryland” – i think of Cat’s and Kirk Talley specifically.

      “He Touched Me”, I associate with Bill & Gloria, as authors, but it stands in my mind as a standard of the SGM genre, not the ‘signature sound’ of any one group / artist.

      • Yes. “He Touched Me,” perfect example. Anybody can sing that one and make it sound great.

      • Correction: Anybody who can actually *sing* that is. ๐Ÿ˜†

  2. Amen forevermore boys!!!
    Somebody sing “I’ll fly Away”…Hallelujah!
    GH

  3. Paul, Good point on the terminology; that hadn’t really occurred to me.

    Daniel

  4. Take a look at “Canaanland Is Just In Sight.” Jeff Gibson wrote the song and his group, Heavenbound, recorded it in 1982. Within a year, the Cathedrals had recorded it on an indie project, and over the next few years, nearly everyone had done it. Jeff has actually said that he quit trying to keep track of who had recorded it, as he simply couldn’t keep count.

    As much as the lyrics play an intregal part, I’d say that the music/arrangement makes a difference. The best example is “A House Of Gold,” written by Hank Williams. This song basically sat for years (although a few quartets had tried some vanilla recordings of it). Then the two Michaels (Sykes & English) produced a cut of it with Mark Lowry (admittedly, not the most soulful singer in the world), and the arrangement was such that it became a very rousing number (thanks in large part to English’s vocal backups). From then on, I saw all kinds of groups recording the song….

  5. The Cathedrals actually recorded it and released it in 1981. I think the releases were really close. Cathedrals Records’s dates were wrong on Greater and Cherish That Name.

  6. Here’s a big question for you Daniel. Since you’ve just defined a SG song as a SG classic when it doesn’t belong to a particular group, does that mean that “We Shall See Jesus” isn’t a SG classic? I understand what you’re getting at, but you might want to re-think the exact wording of that statement. (Then again, EHSS is about to revive that one in a big way. But we all know it *belongs* to Glen and the Cats.)

    • Things could be different later this year . . . but for now, I’d say it’s a Cathedrals signature song, not an SG classic.

      • Do you think other groups are going to start tackling it once they hear the EHSS version? Honestly, I’m not sure how I feel about that. I feel like EHSS is the only group today who can really do it full credit. Not that other groups aren’t talented, but EHSS has something special that I can’t quite put my finger on. (Though I do look forward to seeing what L5 does with it.)

      • Local groups will, EHSS track and all . . . but as far as professional groups, I don’t think so, not immediately.

        Though I must confess to hoping Gerald Wolfe tries it at some point.

      • Yeah, I meant professional groups. Local groups don’t count. ๐Ÿ˜‰ I think professional groups will know better not to rush into trying it. What EHSS has accomplished by giving this song a fresh arrangement while preserving the spirit of the original is nothing short of astonishing. You’re right though that Gerald Wolfe could do a really great job with it too. But you’d need a really powerful group sound too. I’m not sure how well Greater Vision could capture that as a trio, though they do have a more powerful sound than somebody like the Booth Bros.

      • Oh, I’m confident they could pull it off. I’d envision them going more the Cathedrals route of a stripped-down track, or, better, live pianist plus Rodney on bass guitar.

      • I am really looking forward to EHSS doing “We Shall See Jesus” …

        As for L5 they are taking a little different approach, they are laying down some Steve Mauldin Orchestrations and having Glenn Dustin take the lead on part of it… Fowler will finish it off… Mauldin’s orchestrations are usually always heavy on brass, so it will be interesting what he has done with this song… I wonder if both groups will try to do it at NQC…

        I am with Daniel on the Gerald Wolfe thing… His voice is perfect for that song… I do think however his range is not quite what it used to be… But he could still nail it!

    • SSQ has made a living re-cutting other groups songs. Even Ernie re-hashes jokes George used. For years. So, re-doing a song the Cathedral Quartet once performed isn’t a stretch for them, by any means. If imitation is the biggest form of flattery, then… EHSSQ is a VERY flattering group…if you know what i mean. ๐Ÿ˜‰
      1.Get Away Jordan
      2.Plan of Salvation
      3.Trying to Get A Glimpse
      4.Oh What a Savior
      5. I Pledge My Allegiance To The Grand Old Flag
      6.Dream On
      7.Shout Brother Shout
      8.Glory Glory Clear The Road
      9.Glory To God in the Highest
      and more I’m sure I have not listed…
      Again…very very flattering…;)

      • I typically delete posts with this tone and of this nature, but I just had to leave this one up.

        For humor purposes.

        After all, no less than two-thirds of the songs on that list (1, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9) were not recorded by the Cathedrals!

      • (Rolls on the floor laughing…)

        I love commenters like that!

      • Actually I believe the list was for ALL of the remakes they have done… Not just Cat’s songs…

      • By the way, Jackson, I don’t mean any of this personally.

        But for the future:

        (1) At least on this site, don’t bother with speaking badly of various groups, because there’s a 99% chance the comment will not get approved.

        (2) If you do anyhow, though, at least please get your facts straight! ๐Ÿ˜€ ๐Ÿ˜€ ๐Ÿ˜€

      • I think you meant “will *not* get approved” Daniel.

        Yeah Jackson, I actually agree that EHSS has done quite a few Cats songs. But to imply that they’re just riding their coattails or don’t have a unique style of their own is just false. And whatever you do, don’t skew the facts. It makes you look like you don’t know what you’re talking about.

      • True.

        While EHSS, and every other Cathedrals heritage group, sings some Cathedrals songs (most with one or more per concert each night), I think his post unintentionally proves the extent to which EHSS is known for their own songs!

      • Although, two were GVB covers and one was a Statesmen. Another was Old Friends. Honestly, I could have made a list just as long as his with even better songs that are entirely theirs.

      • Yes, the list was a mixed bag of covers. There was even a Larnelle Harris cover in the list!

        But as you said, they have many worthy original songs as well.

      • Jackson bro,

        I knew you was going to get hammered on that!

        BUT – look at it this way:

        “Imitation IS the sincerest form of flattery”

        The Cathedrals, no question, have been the bench mark for SGM quartet singing, for maybe 20-30 years.

        Therefore, to stand comparison is a huge compliment, and;

        To try to ‘immitate’ is highly dangerous.

        Given Ernie’s history with the Cat’s, in his formative years, and his family link with George, it is not surprising that he has tried.

        That most in the business would judge him to have succeeeded is indicative of the quality of his group and their music.

        I, for one, really hope his “Tribute” DVD is massive. It will be, in many respects, the culmination of Ernie’s work since Sig Sound was formed, almost 8 years ago.

        Not many artists would have wanted to risk being judged a parody. It will be interesting to see who all follows the trend – L5, GVision, MTQ – once Ernie has set up a new target to aim at!

      • Couldn’t have put it better myself, bro! The very fact that the guys have revived a number of Cats songs without just looking stupid is a compliment to the group in itself.

        Honestly, the one beef I might have with the Tribute DVD is some of the song selection. For example, they’re including stuff like “Mexico,” (cringe) “Old Convention Song,” and “Movin’ Up to Gloryland” when they could have picked even better up-tempo songs. I think they’re trying to hit mostly well-known Cats songs, but they’re leaving some great stuff out in the process. “Everyday, Every Hour” anyone?

        And well, everybody already knows what I think of “Champion of Love.” I do understand why they’re including it…people would probably notice and complain if they didn’t. But folks, it don’t cut the mustard. So many vastly better songs they could have done instead there too.

        Still, it’s going to be a two-disc set, so I look forward to plenty of great stuff as well.

      • I happen to like “Movin’ Up to Gloryland”! ๐Ÿ™‚

        On “Champion of Love” – just wait till you hear Wayne Haun, their pianist, do it. People knew he could lay down a harmony part, or a soft/brief solo, but nobody knew he had this in him. They might not have done it, except for the fact that it’s really Haun’s debut as a serious singer.

        Reminds me of someone who was a pianist and first became known as a singer through a song that sounded an awful lot like this one . . . ๐Ÿ™‚

      • I don’t mean to cast any aspersions on Wayne’s vocal talents. I know he’s an excellent singer and that he’s going to do a great job on this song. I was speaking strictly in terms of the quality of the material. Honestly, it wouldn’t make a difference to me if Steve Green sang that song…it’s still not up to par.

      • But I do like the original version of “Mexico” with Kirk. It seems like George mentioned it as one of the first songs that got heads turned their way? I know it’s a little corny, but, hey, at least no one’s re-recording “Seeing Eye Dog.” Count your blessings!

      • I’ve never heard “Seeing Eye Dog.” Perhaps that’s just as well…

        A *little* corny? Bit of an understatement there… ๐Ÿ˜‰

      • I believe “Seeing Eye Dog” is on This Is George Younce, from his later years. Actually it was a re-release of some of the songs across his career with the Cathedrals. It has a few that he wrote that don’t exactly blow me out of the water.

        Now I pretty much like everything George did, so I listen to them in the car when there are no witnesses. They’re songs like, “Row, row, row your boat, gently up the stream. Glory, glory, hallelujah, I have been redeemed. Some people ride a boat that won’t sail level, row, row, row. But it will straighten up if you’ll pitch out the devil, row, row, row … Row, row, row, down the river of life we go. Everybody’s got a boat to row, so row, row, row.”

        The Seeing Eye Dog is worse. Get the CD!

      • Agree mostly bro!

        I’ll give Wayne his chance on “Champion”, I do quite like the song!

        And , yeah Daniel, that thought did cross my mind about a previous cross-over pianist!

        “Mexico” I don’t care for.

        BTW: What is the full song list for the concert?

      • I don’t have a complete list, but with what I’ve been told on and off the record, I probably could come quite close.

        Only problem is, some of what I know is off the record, so I couldn’t post the whole list here!

      • Well SoGoBro seems to know most of them,

        Maybe he can suggest like, a dozen, and Daniel can suggest another dozen?

        And we will all agree which ones Ernie should change before the big nite!;-)

      • Ha! Well here goes with what I know so far:

        Mexico
        Movin’ Up to Gloryland

        Champion of Love

        I’m Gonna Live Forever

        I Thirst (I saw them do this one live on Youtube, and it is gorgeous.)

        Wonderful Grace of Jesus (assuming since they’ve made this a live staple)

        Old Convention Song

        My God Delivers Again (Their version surpasses the original. Seriously.)

        This Ole House (I met Timmy at a concert and told him not to mess up on this one. He got a gleam in his eye and said, “Oh no.”)

        Boundless Love

        We Shall See Jesus

        And I’m guessing on this one, but they might also do “Yesterday.” I watched them perform this one live in concert, and it was a tear-jerker.

        Okay, so there’s a dozen right there…

      • They’re redoing “I Thirst”? I love this song! I got George’s version on tape a few years ago, but I’m all ready to hear this one!

      • Here’s a link Amy. Be happy!

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iNxip_tIaA8

      • Oh, and I forgot to add “Step Into the Water” to that list. Make that 13…

      • Add “Life Will Be Sweeter Someday” and “Can He, Could He, Would He?” to that list as well. We’re up to 15 now. Impressed yet, David? ๐Ÿ˜‰

      • Sorry SoGoBro,

        I have been off the air for a wee while!

        15 IS pretty good bro! We are Impressed!

        seems Danny is keeping his powder dry…

        just had a listen to “I Thirst” over on YouTube, lovely track and i especially love Doug fronting on the first verse.

        Hope Daniel gets a bootleg vid of some of this up on YouTube!!

        Any more offerings?

      • Yes, that rendition of “I Thirst” is truly lovely. I love how they didn’t just copy the original by having Timmy do it. They put it in a completely different key, gave it just a really fresh spin. I love that. Doug has such a warm, rich voice. I could listen to it all day.

        “Offerings” as in songs they’re including or “offerings” as in more Youtube links? I’m afraid I can’t think of anymore songs, but I’m happy to provide Youtube links! ๐Ÿ˜‰

      • Cameras aren’t allowed at video tapings – and I have no intent of breaking the rules!

      • Sorry David! I already suspected indie cameras weren’t allowed at something official like this, but he just confirmed it.

        Something I really hope for this taping is that it’ll have a really genuine feel. What I mean by that is I hope it doesn’t get stacked or over-dubbed too much. I wish they wouldn’t use stacks at all, but if they do I hope it’s fairly discreet. Besides which, the Cathedrals were known for doing their live shows stack-free, so a similar approach would be appropriate for a tribute project, IMO.

      • No worries Danny bro,

        Only joking, I never thought you would stoopto such a thing!

        Will be a long wait for the real thing over here, mind you…

        Not even a cell phone recording?? ๐Ÿ™‚

      • Naturally, my cell phone would be off!

        It just wouldn’t do for it to be a tender, quiet moment in the concert, and my concert starts blaring out Gold City’s “When He Calls Me I’ll Fly Away”! ๐Ÿ˜ฎ

        And yes, that is really my ringtone. ๐Ÿ™‚

      • Ach Daniel bro,

        What a good topic for the blog:

        “Most Embarrassing Moment in a Church Service with a Cellphone”…

        My first was, many years ago, when I had just started giving the odd Sunday sermon, a guy who was a little, Ahem, ‘slow’, had just got his first cellphone.

        It got called mid-sermon, he didn’t know how to answer it, so it went on….

        The ring tone was, I lie not, “The Yellow Rose of Texas”.

        The caller called back, three times more.

        I don’t remember my sermon subject, I don’t think anybody else did either!

      • I never thought of that ringtone! I just had my phone replaced, so it has no personalized ringtones on it yet. I kinda like that one!

      • Oh brother, who’d a thunk I’d cross-post answering someone from last night. That was for Daniel again.

      • Amy sister,

        Eat your McDonalds FIRST today! ๐Ÿ˜‰

      • BTW Amy,

        I knew you meant “When He Calls”,

        NOT “Yellow Rose of Texas” LOL!!

      • Daniel bro, you couldn’t script it!

        Those last half dozen posts are priceless!!

      • @David-I didn’t have time; I don’t have any breakfast. ๐Ÿ™ I’ll have to get something from a vending machine. And I’m starving! So just keep entertaining me.

        And I don’t know “Yellow Rose of Texas,” but no, I don’t think I want it for a ring tone.

      • David – yes, that is a priceless exchange. Y’all are keeping me entertained this morning. ๐Ÿ™‚

      • Hey David, here’s another link to whet your appetite a little bit. “God Delivers Again.” Great stuff:

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7pXgd5T-Q1w&feature=related

      • The Cats Tribute will be amazing. I think the only song listed I haven’t seen a preview of is We Shall See Jesus.

        It will be interesting to see how many songs make it that have been previously recorded by the group…it may just be that they do them for the concert, but they don’t make it to the final cut of the video. Who knows….

      • My God Delivers Again has a very good chance of being my favorite song on this project…..along with every other song they sing.

      • The CD will have 20 Cathedrals songs they haven’t done before. I don’t know if any of the ones they have done before (Trying to Get a Glimpse, Then Came the Morning etc.) will be on the video.

      • If I had to guess, I would say that they certainly won’t do any they’ve already done on video and will largely avoid those they’ve done in the studio. Or like you said, they may include a few in the video but not in the CD (like “Climbing Higher and Higher,” which they’ve already recorded but haven’t done on a live DVD).

      • Wonderful Grace of Jesus hasn’t been recorded before, correct?

      • 20 songs? Whoa. My list of 15 was closer than I thought!

      • Josh – I assume you mean by EHSS? ๐Ÿ˜€

      • Not to my knowledge—I hope and assume they’ll include that one!

      • Josh, I love that, “my favorite song on the project…along with every other song.” ๐Ÿ™‚ Personally, I think it will be mostly favorites for me with a few I’ll skip. And there are still five I don’t know about…

      • Yes, Daniel, I meant by EHSS. Keep up with the conversation here… ๐Ÿ™‚

      • Hey, everyone – this is so far off topic – why don’t we take the discussion over here?

        http://www.southerngospeljournal.com/archives/4712

        NSF, maybe you could start things off over there with an expanded song list.

  7. “Truth Is Marching On” is definately a classic. Three groups recorded it in the same year. “Land of Living” could be considered a classic. it was recorded by the Inspirations, The Cathedrals, and then DayBreak.

    • In the terms of Paul’s definitions, above, I think “Truth is Marching On” is a ‘Standard’ -it transcends any group or rendition.

  8. There is another serious thought here:

    When we speak of ‘Cover versions’ and ‘cover artists’ are we not applying worldly music marketing terminology to a spiritual genre?

    Surely, by this kind of measure even the Cat’s would be judged as ‘a cover group’, which would be a travesty!

    If spiritual music, with a sound theological base, is to survive and continue; it needs the “psalms, hymns and spiritual songs” of the past kept alive.

    And also, this links with another thread, the spiritual experiences of people today to be embedded in new songs, with the same basis in biblical truth.

    It is an unnecessary imposition to demand that every gospel group has the inspirational wherewithal to write and produce their ‘own’ songs.

    The gifts of providing, producing and performing are all different and can all be sanctified to the glory of God.

    • I see what you’re saying David. Yet at the same time, I think it’s reasonable to expect a new group to come up with some classic songs of their own. You’re right that ultimately it’s all for the glory of God and that groups certainly shouldn’t stop singing what’s already been sung in the past just to avoid being labeled as a “cover group.” But if you’re posing as a fresh, new group, you should at least have something to bring that’s…well, new. (Note: I’m not saying EHSS hasn’t brought anything new. I’m about to make a list of about ten great songs that are just theirs—just for fun!)

      • OK SoGoBro,

        But by a “classic” don’t you mean, a song that a group makes THEIR classic – not necessarily a song written and produced from within the group?

        So by a strictly secular definition, that would still be a ‘cover version’.

        I think that is where gospel music is and should be different.

        And on a sperate point, I do agree that OWAS is Ernie’s ‘signature song’ – not either Cat’s or EHSS.

        George did say once, if I rememebr right that they didn’t sing that song before Ernie joined them, and they sung it at every concert for 9 years after!

      • Now I’m a little confused…Why would a song written and performed from within the group still be considered a “cover version” is secular terms?

      • Did I not say “not written” bro?

        If no group member wrote it, then is it not a ‘cover version’ of someone elses song?

        Which is not how we define a SGM ‘classic’ surely?

        That was supposed to be my point!

      • Not necessarily – after all, if a non-performing songwriter like Dianne Wilkinson writes a song like “What We Needed” for the Kingdom Heirs, sends it to them, and they introduce it, it’s not a cover song! ๐Ÿ™‚

        A cover song is generally a song that someone else in the same genre or a close genre of similar or greater popularity has recorded previously.

        (That’s the lawyer in me coming out!)

      • Daniel,

        When I said “someone else’s song” I meant sung by a previous group.

        I still contend that the secular definition of ‘cover version’ does not apply in SGM, nor should it.

      • Okay, sorry, I was mis-reading there. So what you’re saying is that in secular terms, performing a song not written by anybody in the group would still be considered a “cover song” but that that definition shouldn’t apply in SG?

      • Got it! So Go Bro ๐Ÿ˜‰

      • I’ve heard Foxie, I believe it was, from the Kingsmen, give groups some advice on this. He pointed out that if people want to hear “Excuses,” they’ll listen to the Kingsmen. If they want to hear (I don’t remember! let’s say, “Movin’ Up to Glorlyand”) they’ll listen to the Cathedrals. “Midnight Cry”? Gold City.

        So if groups want to hold people’s attention and especially to find a market for their recordings, they will need fresh material. I really wouldn’t bother listening to any one else record “My Name Is Lazarus.” There’s one definitive version. Why would I pay money for another of lesser quality?

        To me, the exception to this would be if they can bring something fresh, so I don’t feel like I’ve heard it all before. That would be pretty hard to do with “Excuses,” for me – I cut my SG teeth listening to that song. They might be able to swing it with “We Shall See Jesus,” though.

      • I think I was trying to reply to David Mac’s original comment. But it took long enough to write mine that there were a few cross-posts and I’m a little confused! ๐Ÿ˜€

      • Oh, they’re swinging it, believe me. I heard them debut their arrangement of that ‘un in Shipshewana last Saturday. It brought the house down.

      • To be perfectly, perfectly honest, (dropping to a whisper), I never got that much out of the Cat’s version. I’ve heard it was better live. But I know that’s heresy, so don’t tell anyone I said so!

      • “We Shall See Jesus”?

        Yes, that’s heresy! ๐Ÿ˜›

        No, that’s OK. Everyone has different tastes! But with your tastes leaning toward orchestrated ballads, you might just like GV’s version a little better.

      • Well Amy, I’ve never heard “We Shall See Jesus” any way but live, and it puts chills up my back. I think you should go find the Deep in the Heart of Texas version or something…let Glen Payne blow you away!

      • You mean GV’s hypothetical version, right? Don’t tell me there are three coming up!

        Or maybe you mean L5. I don’t think I’m always real big on orchestrated ballads, hmmm. Maybe I come across that way, or maybe you just discovered something about me I didn’t know!

      • Amy, [whisper] you kiddin?

        I never heard Glen live. I will some day, but the ‘live’ recording of “We shall see Jesus” on their “Farewell” DVD still gives me goosebumps, almost 12 years on, and we wore out the VHS before it came on DVD.

        If you don’t have it, get it, and a tissue box.

        One of our household all time top 5 DVD’s.

      • I’m just basing that on the songs and groups you’ve said you like – that’s all. ๐Ÿ™‚ Not that you necessarily like the biggest, huge-finish ballads, but many of the songs I’ve heard you discussing that you like (particularly from GV’s repertoire) tend to be the orchestra songs. Even Lazarus has the orchestra. ๐Ÿ™‚

      • Well while I’m into confessions ๐Ÿ˜ณ I have the Farewell CD… and … and… I never listen to that song. I … even … forgot it was on there. Maybe it’s the minor key.

        On a brighter note, if Lazarus is a ballad, that’s definitely what I like. When people say ballad, I think “Yesterday’s Preacher.” I love to heard Gerald do his special songs like “It Is Well With My Soul.” Maybe I like GV
        orchestrated ballads. I am not as big on many of those I hear talked about belonging to some other groups.

      • On Lazarus – it’s not a ballad, by the SG definition, but it is orchestrated.

        On We Shall See Jesus – it has three verses and a chorus, and two of the verses and the chorus are in a major key. ๐Ÿ™‚

      • Well … I just like other songs better, that’s all! lol

        You guys have got me to sit here for an hour first thing at work while my McDonald’s burrito got cold. I’m gonna stop and eat now, thank you very much!

      • “Thank You Lord that good southern gospel does not McDonald’s Music make. Amen.”

      • Oh Daniel, why did you get in the way. I was going to tell him that Scott used to sit on Glen’s shoulders.

      • ๐Ÿ˜€ If I’d known that piece of brilliant humor was forthcoming, I would surely have held my peace! ๐Ÿ˜€

      • What list of 10 great songs?

      • It’s coming brother, hold your horses…I do have other responsibilities, believe it or not! ๐Ÿ˜‰

      • Okay, here we go:

        Calvary Answers For Me (Yeah, the Perrys popularized this, but EHSS got there first.)
        I Have Seen the Lord (Criminally underrated)
        Climbing Up the Mountain (Watch Doug hit the roof on this ‘un.)
        Come Make A Place In Me (Christmas classic)
        Pray for Me (Classic jazz. The sax is like melting butter in your mouth.)
        Do You Want to Be Forgiven? (This is so 80’s Imperials.)
        Forgiven Again (There are no words to express how beautiful this song is.)
        John In the Jordan (Modern classic.)
        Until We Fly Away (A little dark, but powerful. Another great Doug feature.)
        It is Done (Just a good song.)

        Do I think this list measures up to songs introduced by the likes of the Cathedrals? Probably not. But it’s still impressive.

      • I will agree with you that they’re the ones most people think of for almost all of these.

        Climbing Up the Mountain – a classic, done by a number of other groups

        Pray for Me – the Kingdom Heirs beat them to it by a few months, I think, but their renditions came out almost concurrently

        Do You Want to Be Forgiven? – originally Greenes, I think, but nobody really remembers their cut.

        Forgiven Again – originally done by the Statesmen, but virtually everyone has forgotten their rendition, so it’s as good as new

        But certainly, none of these were being done much when EHSS brought them back, so they’re as good as new!

      • Okay, okay. So it wasn’t perfect…but pretty good! And like you said, it would be ridiculous to think of even some of the ones you pointed out as “cover songs.” I mean who’s going to say that “Pray for Me” doesn’t count as a true EHSS song because it was a KH cover? Or “Do You Want to Be Forgiven” because the Greenes did it a couple years earlier?

        With “Forgiven Again,” I thought at first you must have been thinking of a different Statesmen song! I assumed it was written for EHSS since Benjy Gaither co-wrote it. But I guess the Statesmen must have done it in their later years.

      • No, there’s no question that it’s a pretty good list!

        The Kingdom Heirs and EHSS cuts were essentially concurrent. The Greenes could be called a cover, though.

        Yes, it was the Statesmen (with Hovie Lister and, I think, Jake Hess) in the early 90s. ๐Ÿ™‚

      • Good Post SoGoBro,

        Just 3 comments:

        “Calvary Answers for Me” is very early 1st generation SSQ, I don’t think they have revived it?

        They should. mighty lyric.

        “Pray for Me” was, almost, Ryan’s sig-song. I haven’t heard it from the current line-up.

        Interesting, on these EHSS “classics” as opposed to “covers”, how much Doug features.

        It almost seems, on the Cat’s stuff etc that Doug holds back? Maybe he doesn’t feel ‘worthy’ of filling Glenn’s position? I sure hope they front him up a LOT in the Tribute stuff!

      • Well actually David, it wouldn’t be Doug filling Glen’s position. It would be Devin as the lead. And I’m not sure how much they’ll be fronting Doug in the Cats stuff. I imagine they’ll be giving Devin some chances…some really big chances. But I think he’s up to it. I wasn’t sure about Devin at first, but he really surprised me when I saw the guys in concert. I think he’ll do just fine.

      • Where you been all morning SoGoBro?

        I know Glenn was lead tenor and Scott was baritone, but somehow in my head they swap round a bit!

        Technically Devin is the opposite number for Glenn in the Cat’s, but I think Doug’s voice fits the ‘slot’ better.

        I have only heard Devin, so far, on YouTube, which is nowhere to judge anyone, so I am really looking forward to hearing him in concert.

        I still miss Ryan, and I still think Devin needs a haircut. He has 2008 Sig Sound Hair! ๐Ÿ™‚

      • BTW bros,

        No “Suppertime”?

        Is that one too sacred? I still can’t watch George singing that on the chair with Doug and Timmy on their knees behind.

        I lose the picture in tears everytime. If Ernie never sung it again, who could blame him?

      • Is “Trying to get a Glimpse” in there on the list?

        It is already a EHSS classic, as good as Cat’s version, I think.

      • Oh brother, I know. I just watched that performance as a bonus feature on Stand By Me Live. I don’t mind saying it chokes me up sometimes. It’s just such an incredibly tender moment. Ernie holding his arm, calling, “Get a chair…get a chair…” darn, now I’m making myself cry again, LOL. Then when he’s done, Timmy takes one arm, Ernie the other, gently pulls him up. Wow. No wonder everybody was crowding each other for a picture of that moment.

      • No, I didn’t put “Trying to Get a Glimpse” on there because I thought it was too strongly identified with the Cats first. I agree that EHSS version is outstanding, perhaps even better than the original, but I was trying to avoid songs that had “belonged” to another group for a while before EHSS came along.

      • By the way, it makes sense for you to mix up Scott and Glen sometimes, because in the group’s later years, they actually began stacking Scott’s part above Glenn’s in the harmonies to give Glen a bit of a rest. But Glen was the official lead singer nonetheless.

      • Per reviving old stuff, I completely agree. I actually miss a lot of their old songs, am kind of sorry they’ve retired most of them. “Calvary Answers” is just one great one I’d love to see them bring back.

      • Sorry SoGoBro,

        this thread is getting confused [ask Amy!]

        I meant “Trying to Get a Glimpse” and “Suppertime” on the possible Tribute Song List??

      • Ahhhh! Okay, well I happen to know that they won’t be doing “Trying To Get a Glimpse” because they’ve already done a version of that on a CD and several live tapings. Ernie said he wanted to focus on songs they hadn’t covered yet.

      • And as for “Suppertime…” I think that will evermore be George’s song, and George’s only. Unless Timmy wants to give it a go…

      • Serious question here guys:

        Pardon the philistine-ignorance but,

        “stacking Scott above Glenn” , I do understand.

        “Stack/s” in the technical sense, I do not, as in “singing without stacks” in reference to live performance.

        Can you explain, simply? please.

      • No problem – they just mean stacking in terms of where harmonies are placed. In other words, just that Scott sang a higher part.

        Actually, by the way, NSGF, they were doing a lot of higher baritone harmony from earlier, Mark Trammell era on at least. Some but maybe not as much in the 70s.

      • Oh Daniel, why did you get in the way. I was going to tell him that Scott used to sit on Glenโ€™s shoulders.

        :frown: Hit the wrong reply button last time, evidently.

      • Oh, that’s not what you asked anyway. The technical term used to mix me up to. “Stacks” in a live performance are where they are playing recorded vocals in addition to what’s coming through their mikes. People also talk about lip-synching, which is similar but much less forgivable.

        I think it’s called “stacking vocals” when they do it in the studio as well – layering their voices multiple times.

        Now, to see if Daniel has beaten me to it yet.

      • Thanks Amy!!

        You got in first this time, and you interpreted my question correctly as well ๐Ÿ™‚

        So “Stacks” is where a pre-recorded vocal is played simultaneously with live vocals, and mixed in?

        Whereas “lip-synching” is pretending to sing with most of the audio being prerecorded?

        Is the “stack” what they listen to in their earpieces then?

        [though Ernie seldom does, for his is forever out!]

      • That’s interesting! I didn’t realize how long they had been giving the baritone some higher parts. But Mark does have a good range, so that would make sense.

        Yup David, Amy just gave a very accurate definition of “stacking” in the technicaly sense. Unfortunately, EHSS has been known to use stacking for their DVD’s and such in the past. However, the good news is that they have scaled way back on them now and are doing more and more stuff completely on their own. I should also add that they have never descended to the level of lip-synching, which as Amy said is much less forgivable.

      • Mmmm…I would say the listen to the “mix” in their earpieces. I’m not sure why “stacks” is plural. I think it’s because language refuses to remain the same and some of it evolves to be more complex while other expressions get simplified.

        When I first heard it, all I could think of was two-piece speakers – the cab and the head are “stacked,” if I remember right.

      • OK, so who is a good example of a group NOT using stacks, or seldom?

        Did the Cathedral’s use it much in live recordings?

        I kinda think, not??

      • Yes, the Cats would be a good example. That was kind of my point when I said I hope EHSS follows suit in this Tribute taping.

        Oh by the way David, I don’t think EHSS used any stacks pre-Gaither. And they did some mighty fine singing in those early years, so it’s not like they always had a crutch.

      • Here’s one way to tell if somebody is using stacks: If, during a performance, a singer stops to interject a spoken word or two, but you can still hear his voice in the mix behind him, that’s a giveaway. Similarly, if somebody is doing a solo but is somehow supporting himself in the underlying harmonies…

      • OK, thanks, very clear!

        One other curious question; Does Bill Gaither pre-record some of the “Homecoming group” pieces, and boost them with a general “stack” in concert?

      • That I do not know…ask Amy! Myself, I hope the answer is no…but then I always hope the answer is no, but I have to be honest where it looks like the opposite is true.

      • Stuff like that I don’t know … I appear to be over-inflating my reputation, here’s hoping it doesn’t bust! Ask Daniel!

      • BTW do you guys know of http://www.southerngospelforums.com? Daniel runs it. I try not to even go there cause you can spend an awful lot of time.

        If you want one of those prizes, you might hold off until next week before signing up over there.

      • LOL evidently not; things have died here!!

      • I highly doubt Bill pre-records the choir, especially with the opportunity to do overdubs later if, say, the soprano section was too weak or muffled on a particular song.

      • I may just have found the strategy to win this contest! ๐Ÿ˜†

        But who am I going to talk to now over here?

      • Amy – there are nearly 1,800 posts on this site. Start going back and finding one or two pertinent comments to make on each, and I can virtually guarantee you’ll win! You don’t have to comment with others in real-time!

      • Seriously, I’m just having fun. A lot of the chat stuff is more suited to do in a forum; it clears up off-topic posts and it’s also easier for the chatters.

        In fact, that’s why I stay over here most of the time; I get drawn into the chatting awfully easily, and I’d rather devote my efforts to the real world I live in. So I am just having fun right now.

  9. Ok Everybody! My goodness, I wasn’t trying to slam EHSSQ. I was just stating facts. And, I know all of the songs I listed were not ALL Cathedral songs! I am a fan of theirs. I just find it odd that they are hopping on the Cathedral songs so fast. I mean, GV and L5 have been around longer, and have waited to do this Tribute…also, I wonder why L5 and GV NEVER use the “Cathedral” name in ANY of their ads…..? Seems odd. Just says “Remembering the Music”…why not NAME the group whose music you are REMEMBERING?! I find that strange….anyone know the answer to that one? Seems fishy.

    • Actually, yes I do know the answer to that one. The L5/GV concerts were promoted as “Cathedrals Remembered” concerts, but the concert promoter(s) did not secure proper permissions to use the Cathedrals name, so he/they had to stop. (Ernie evidently lined up appropriate permissions ahead of time.)

      And on GV and L5 waiting around longer to do this tribute:

      Though he’s made a commitment to carry on the Cathedrals’ legacy through putting one Cathedrals song on each project, Ernie Haase did wait ten years before doing this project.

      On the other hand, Legacy Five did release “Songs we Used to Sing,” a project of ten Cathedrals songs (with the original tracks, incidentally) – the year after the Cathedrals came off the road.

      Greater Vision hasn’t done a complete project of Cathedrals songs, but they did re-record a number of them in their early days on the road.

      • Oh: And I don’t mean the reference to “Songs we Used to Sing” as a criticism. I’m perfectly fine with L5 doing a project of Cathedrals songs whenever they want to! I just mentioned it to show that the assertion that L5 hasn’t done one is incorrect.

      • Here’s a thought bros:

        Ernie, on the night, pulls out of the audience [hypothetically];

        Scott to guest on lead, Gerald to guest on piano and 5th vocals, putting in 3/5th of an ex-Cat’s line-up.

        Q: What one classic should they sing?

        “Champion of Love”?

      • I know that’s not going to happen, at least for that particular song. They’ve done a new version arranged for Wayne Haun’s voice.

        Now could they make an appearance? It’s possible – though I do know Mark Trammell won’t be able to be there, since he has the group’s homecoming concert that same weekend.

      • L5 will be in New York that day… And Greater Vision will be in Tennessee…

        EHSS originally planned to do this video taping at the Ryman Auditorium in Tennessee but it did not work out that way… So since they already had their annual visit to Reardon Auditorium in Anderson,Indiana scheduled. It made sense to do the Cat’s tribute taping there… I find it interesting that they have done I believe 3 tapings in that same venue…

      • Well I know of at least two: Live in Indiana and the self-titled Gaither vid. I don’t remember a third one, perhaps I’m just forgetting.

      • You’re automatically assuming that one’s a classic, bro! ๐Ÿ˜‰

      • Well if it’s not, then it’s Gerald’s sig-song.

        I left out MT on purpose as Scott replaced Mark in the Cat line-up.

        I know it is all hypothetical, just extending the idea…

        Unless anybody suggests a better Cat’s Alumni Quartet and an alternative classic?

    • I think I would also say that it’s more natural for EHSS to be more closely tied to the Cats because Ernie himself was so closely tied to them. When you think about the fact that he sang tenor for them for nine years and that he was George’s son-in-law, it’s actually a wonder they’ve shown as much restraint as they have. And like Daniel said, they’ve actually waited a respectful time to launch a whole tribute project. I even heard Ernie say in an interview that he had deliberately waited until EHSS had become a more established group before doing something like this.

      Incidentally, I don’t think of the song “Oh What A Savior” as a Cats song so much as a I think of it as an Ernie Haase signature song. (Although it was initially performed by Rosie Rozell, I think most of us can agree that it’s Ernie’s song now.) When you think of it that way, it’s perfectly natural for EHSS to start performing that one right away.

      • Actually, OWAS was written in the 30s, so others did do it before Rosie. But Rosie is the first person to really be remembered for it.

      • Ah, sorry. I’m a little shaky on SG history as of yet (though I am improving). Yeah, I was thinking of the first person to really popularize it.

      • Well, I think your intent was clear enough and correct – it’s more a technicality, since nobody before Rosie is really remembered for it.

    • Here’s another thought jackson…really, do you think any other group out there could handle a project of this magnitude so well? I’m not saying groups like L5 couldn’t do a good job. I’m just saying that I can’t think of anybody better qualified than EHSS to do it. True, they’re a pretty young group compared to a lot of others, but they’ve already proven that they have the talent to pull this one off in exceptionally fine style.

      • We’ll soon see.

        I hope nobody is disappointed – except the nay-sayers! ๐Ÿ™‚

        MTQ could, technically, do it.

        L5 could, rightly, also try.

        GV [with a guest bass – Gene Mac?] probably could do it as well.

        Question is, technically, vocally and visually; who best could hope to carry it off?

        I do think the answer is honestly, Ernie and Sig Sound.

      • The nay-sayers can go climb a tree for all I care. If they’re not happy, they can miss some great music while we enjoy the talent these guys have to offer—all by ourselves. ๐Ÿ˜€

    • It’s over ten years since the Cathedral’s retired, which if i remember correctly was brought forward by Glen’s unexpected passing, not George’s kidney failure.

      L5 dates from then, when Scott and Roger formed the group, but Ernie continued with George, Jake and Wesley in Old Friends.

      I think that now is about right for EHSS to do a proper tribute album, which is not the same as keeping the Cat’s best songs alive – which L5, GV, MTT/Q and EHSS have all been doing – and rightly so.

      The ‘Official Tribute’ is a definitive project and could potentially add a marker within the sub-genre?

      • Technically L5, MTQ and GV along with Danny Funderburk have already done a tribute project… You can get it on DVD and CD… I believe it went over very well… I was there on the front row sitting right next to Daniel Mount… I am looking forward to attending the EHSS one also with Daniel Mount… I wish we had front row seats however…

      • I’m very jealous Nate. ;-)Unfortunately, as you know, tickets for that taping are already gone! So even if our family had been thinking of attending (which we probably wouldn’t have because it’s kind of a drive from where we are), we never even got the chance. But like I told Daniel, I expect a comprehensive review, including a full set list!

      • I am open to bribes for that comprehensive review… ๐Ÿ™‚ Daniel and I will corroborate on that and see what we can do… I do have one regret when it comes to the tickets however… I could have gotten floor seats but went with balcony… I sometimes like Balcony seats better but in this case I wish I had gotten floor seats… O well I have heard that all the seats there are good seats…

      • Hey Nate bro,

        Sitting on the floor would be a good seat, or standing behind the door…

        Just get the best joint review ever, posted before you go to bed, same night.

        Nothing less will do bro!

      • Sorry, David . . . I live hours away, and I’m probably going to have to get a hotel room. I have this sneaking suspicion that I’m going to have to spend too much time in the car to pull off a same-night review.

        You see, I could always put up a 5-minute one-paragraph review, but I have this sneaking suspicion that you want more. Way more. ๐Ÿ™‚

      • Well a laptop and a WiFi hotel room sounds like a great plan,

        The adrenalin should keep you going to about 0300am.

        We can then get the review for breakfast bro! ๐Ÿ™‚

      • Bonus point Danny Boy!

        Just knocked this thread up to three figures!

      • Who are you talking to?

        Either way, great job on 3 figures!

      • Sorry,

        Mr. Daniel J. Mount, Sir. ๐Ÿ™‚

      • ๐Ÿ˜€ ๐Ÿ˜€ ๐Ÿ˜€ ๐Ÿ˜€ ๐Ÿ˜€

        You don’t have to go quite that far!

        Basically, I don’t answer to Danny, and except in a context where someone is replying to me, it doesn’t even cross my mind that someone might be speaking to me!

        I go by Daniel and not Dan/Danny since, in the Bible, Daniel was a great guy and Dan was a rogue!

      • Actually Daniel bro,

        Dan was intended to be a JUDGE in Israel (Gen 49). That he turned out to be a rascal was not his father’s intent, though it was indicated in the prophesy.

        Judge Dan, or ‘God is my Judge’ Daniel?

        I gotta a Daniel too, and he answers to ‘Danny Boy’ also, so it slips out.

        Actually he is half Irish and was born on St Patrick’s Day, so he is happy not to be ‘Paddy Boy’!

      • I’m ethnically about 1/3 Irish myself, but I still prefer Daniel based on Biblical precedent. ๐Ÿ™‚

        Yes, Dan’s father hoped for more out of him, but he ended up as the bad guy!

      • I thought everybody over there WAS 1/3 Irish on St Padddy’s Day,

        1/3 West African on polling day,

        And just 100% Americans the rest of the year?

      • Well, if you must know, I am:

        75/256 Irish (39.296875%)
        1/8 Polish (12.5%)
        1/8 Slovak (12.5%)
        33/1024 English (3.22265625%)
        1/128 Swiss (0.78125%)
        1/512 German (0.1953125%)
        1/512 Dutch (0.1953125%)
        1/1024 Scotch-Irish (0.09765625%)
        1/2056 French (0.0004863%)
        1/2056 Norwegian (0.0004863%)

        And the rest is mostly unknown, though based on family names I know a good chunk of it is British Isles. There’s also a little Native American and Viking blood in the mix for good measure. (Just enough that you don’t want to mess with me! And yes, I’m kidding!)

      • Hey Danny Bro!!

        I like the “Scotch Irish” bit…

        and the distinction between that and “Irish” as well!

        To be socio-demograhically correct however the wee bitty piece should be “Ulster Scot” or “Scots Irish”.

        “Scotch” is only EVER drunk. ๐Ÿ™‚

        [though some of our Scottish/Irish ancestry may have been incorporated under the influence of…]

      • I believe some older histories refer to them as Scotch-Irish, but I do think Scots-Irish is probably a better idea for today. ๐Ÿ™‚

  10. My uncle is named Danny; Daniel isn’t even an option for him.

    Not that that has anything to do with what makes a song a classic.

    • I feel bad for him! Maybe he could take Daniel as a nickname!