Ten Cathedrals Songs that Should be Brought Back

During their 35 years on the road, the Cathedrals probably recorded somewhere around 700 individual songs. Many of them are still being sung by groups today, but there are a number that aren’t but should be.

Naturally, a number of Cathedrals alumni still on the road would do excellent renditions of their own songs. So to make this post a little more creative, let’s just look at artists without Cathedrals alumni members.

  1. “When the World Looks At Me” (The Prestigious Cathedral, 1984). The lyric and melody, originally featuring Roger Bennett, would fit the Collingsworth Family to a Tβ€”particularly their female trio configuration.
  2. “I Don’t Want to Live No More Without Jesus” (Something Special, 1982). The jazzy accompaniment has been the only way we’ve known the song for so long that it might be hard to reiimagine it, but . . . picture it with the simple guitar strum and mountain harmonies of the Chuck Wagon Gang.
  3. “The Lamb Has Prevailed” (Climbing Higher and Higher, 1990). If the Mark Trammell Quartet doesn’t want to revisit the song, Voices Won could use their tight sibling harmonies to make this song come alive once more.
  4. “God is God” (Goin’ in Style, 1988). This uptempo convention song with a spiritual-style groove would fit the Dixie Echoes’ classic style.
  5. “I’ve Never Been This Homesick Before” (Keep on Singing, 1979). The Rambos’ trio version, and similar covers of the song, are familiar to most Southern Gospel fans. But the Cathedrals’ arrangement, reinventing the song as a bass solo, is too good to be forgotten. Joseph Brown and the Diplomats would be among the best possible choices to bring this one back.
  6. “Mighty the Lord” (Statue of Liberty, 1974). This song is so good that it’s amazing nobody is still singing it. The Kingsmen would be quite solid on this song (especially if the producer remembered to include the requisite snare drum.)
  7. “He the Pearly Gates Will Open” (I’m Nearer Home, 1970). During the Cathedrals’ first decade on the road, much of their material was familiar. Their hauntingly beautiful arrangement of this classic hymn, featuring George Younce, could not be delivered better than by Randy Byrd and the rest of the Blackwood Brothers.
  8. “Next Time We Meet” (The Prestigious Cathedral Quartet, 1984). If the Crist Family ever does an all-acapella project, this would be a perfect closing track.
  9. “Following In His Footsteps” (Travelin’ Live, 1986). Two words: Gold City. Need I say more?
  10. “We Have This Moment” (Easy on the Ears, Heavy on the Heart, 1976). Thematically and musically, this song fits the Booth Brothers.

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40 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. Pardon me for at first reading that sentence “are but shouldn’t be.” Occasionally I have thought that myself! πŸ˜€

    I loved the first suggestion. I don’t want to see #2 that reinvented! but I sure love the song. Unfortunately, I don’t think I’ve heard the Cathedrals sing the next eight. πŸ™ I know a few of the songs, though.

    • Oh, I’m sure “are but shouldn’t be” is entirely true, too. There are some tenors that just shouldn’t tackle “Oh What a Savior.” πŸ™‚

      If you haven’t heard the other 8, you’re sure in for a treat when you do!

      • There are MANY tenors that shouldn’t tackle “Oh What A Savior”.

      • And the scary thing is that some of them have…I’ve heard a few on Youtube…they invariably drive me to go scrambling for a video of Ernie Haase doing it right just to wash out the memory…!

  2. “You Can Walk On The Water” would be a cool song for the GVB to do, ala “Build An Ark”

    • It would be fun . . . but especially if they get Gene McDonald on a guest bass vocal. The bass line totally makes the chorus. πŸ™‚

  3. I’ve also covered “It’s So Peaceful” myself.

  4. Personally, i enjoy listening to the originals rather than somebody re-recording them again, but that’s just me.

    • David, I also prefer the original to another done the same way.

      It’s when someone takes a song and reinvents it, gives it an entirely different arrangement that also works – that’s when I can equally enjoy both.

      • Exactly. The worst kind of re-make is the sort that’s just different enough to be not as good as the original and just similar enough to warrant a comparison in the first place. I love it when somebody comes along and says, “The original was fantastic. We’re not going to touch it. Instead, we’re going to take this song in a fresh direction that fits *our* group and do our best to put *our* spin on it while remaining true to the spirit of this song.” EHSS has already done this with “I Thirst.” (If you haven’t checked out a clip of them doing it, you should!)

  5. You chose a few I might choose (but I too only want to hear a song redone if it is as good or better, or at least very good.)
    I have my choir do “The Lamb Has Prevailed.:

    One song I would love to hear redone IF done right is “It’s Almost Over.” However, it is hard to imagine it being done as well as they did it. Then again, that is true of most or all of their songs. πŸ™‚

    • I agree – there are so many songs I just didn’t include for that very reason, “It’s Almost Over” and “I Saw Love” among them.

      Now I’m not saying these reinventions would be better, but I do think these could be as good in a different way.

  6. The Mark Trammel Quartet can’t revisit the song, cause in your rules they not permitted Daniel!

    I like any suggestion of bringing back to prominence any older Cathedral’s material. One problem is, George as a bass with his ability, and charisma, was so able to sing lead, it is almost impossible for a modern group not to fall short in this regard.

    Since the point was also well raised about “are but shouldn’t be” – which I also read it as!! – what about another Top Ten?

    Groups which include any present Cathedral’s Alumni, top ten suggestions of who should cover what songs that they have not already done?

    So EHSS can still sing, “Oh What a Saviour” but now they can be nominated to do “Somebody Touched Me”.

    Or, should that go into the first list for BF&A to do?

    • On MTQ – that’s why I said it the way I did, if they don’t want to revisit it.

      Feel free to make lists however you like. πŸ™‚

  7. What about “For What Earthly Reason”? I think The Childress Family does it, but this is one of Dottie Rambo’s best. It would be hard for any tenor to capture what Funderburk and The Cats did with this song, but I’ve often wondered why it’s not covered more (maybe I just answered my own question). It’s one of my favorites, though.

    • I love that song, but you did just answer your own question!

      For someone to really do it today, I think it would have to be done differently, e.g. a lead solo featuring someone like Ronnie Booth or a bass solo featuring Pat Barker. Not sure another tenor could do it justice.

      • Yeah, the combination of Funderburk, the London Philharmonic, and Goss rendered that song almost untouchable. I also could hear it as a solo, by a male or female, but no group is going to do it.

      • Almost untouchable, yes.

        I am veering off the criteria for my original list here, but that’s OK in the comments. πŸ™‚

        Seriously, I think Pat Barker could hit a home run with that song.

      • Well, Pat’s a “home run hitter”. I’d probably enjoy listening to him sing one of your blog posts. πŸ˜‰

      • Ha! πŸ™‚ Well, I’d buy it. I guess. πŸ™‚

  8. Our group (Sunday Edition) sang “God is God” for about 10 years…Great concert tune!

  9. You Can Walk on the Water most definitely.

    • Daniel runs a top notch blog on a great subject – but he ain’t that good! lol.

      that’s how i read that post!!

      • I didn’t take it that way – even if I write a good top 10 list, with everyone agreeing on (say) 8 of them, there will always be that one or two that’s really special to someone that I probably should have put on the list anyhow.

      • I think David Mac was referring to the way you can read the post to say:

        You (Daniel) Can Walk on the Water

        Since there are no quotation marks. πŸ˜‰

      • Oh! Now I get it! πŸ™‚ πŸ˜€ πŸ™‚ πŸ˜€ πŸ™‚

  10. I once worked with someone who thought they could walk on water.

    • Hmm. And I work for someone who can!

      πŸ™‚

      • Spot on this time bro!

      • I’m starting to get the hang of it! πŸ™‚

      • We have that in common. I do too. πŸ™‚

      • Great. πŸ™‚

  11. “I Enjoy the Trip” would fit in with Triumphant. It’d be good to hear Jeff take a whack at singing something.

  12. I think it’s funny that you guys are pulling out “I Enjoy the Trip.” To me, Kirk’s songwriting skills have way, way, WAY improved since writing that song! I heard one 30-second snatch of it on Amazon before buying the CD, and I knew it had to be by Kirk. It’s so nutty! What I heard was the line, “Some people think I’ve flipped, but I enjoy the trip”! I enjoy it as a for-fun song, but I never expect to see another group risk their reputation on it. LOL

  13. Sorry I am a little late commenting on this Daniel but I agree about “When The World Looks At Me” and “Next Time We Meet.” Those songs were fantastic and two very under-rated songs by the Cathedrals. Another one that I would like to see brought back is “The Last Sunday.” The Cathedrals did two versions of that song – on the 1973 LP titled The Last Sunday and on 1982’s Greater. It’s a powerful song that really makes you think!

    • The main reason I didn’t name that song is that there are very, very, very few people whose narrations I enjoy . . . I wouldn’t mind hearing any of a number of people sing the song, but I’m not sure how many people could narrate it well.

  14. I’ll add “The Blood-Washed Band” to that list. I’d love to see EHSS tackle it, though I doubt it’s going to be on their tribute project.

  15. How about “Crimson River?” That’s an absolutely gorgeous song. At the moment I’m having trouble thinking exactly which group would be just right. But somebody oughta bring it back anyway!

    • Great song. I’d love to see the Collingsworth ladies take it on.

      • Sounds good. That is a beautiful song.