Encore Series #6: All the Way my Savior Leads Me
On their 1976 recording Mighty Power, the Couriers recorded a hymn penned by Fanny Crosby (lyrics) and Robert Lowry (melody), “All the Way My Savior Leads Me.” The hymn was originally published in Biglow & Main’s The Brighest and Best hymnal (1875).
The hymn has three verses; there are repeats at the end of the verses, but no chorus (lyrics and sheet music here). The Couriers’ arrangement features unison on the first verse, splitting into parts for the second. The third verse starts off with the trio harmonies; after a brief solo, a return to the trio harmonies builds and swells to a big ending.
Out of 21,748 tracks in my iTunes collection, virtually all of which are Southern Gospel, there is no other rendition of this hymn—and the only other rendition that I can find online that is even tangentially connected to the genre is a rendition by the Old Fashioned Revival Hour Quartet on a self-titled project, and that group tends to be more often classified with sacred music than with Southern Gospel. So the Couriers’ rendition may actually be the only rendition yet by a professional Southern Gospel group.
But this song would lend itself naturally to a number of different settings:
First, it could be done as a gentle, easy-on-the-ears concert opener by a trio with tight harmonies. The Booth Brothers and Jacob Kitson’s new group, Statement of Faith, would be two who could interpret the song effectively with this arrangement.
Second, this song would have been right at home on the Gaither Vocal Band’s 2003 a cappella project. The arrangements were created by David Phelps, and now that he has returned to the group, he could use five voices to bring out some rich vocal textures in this song.
Third, if any group were to do an arrangement inspired by the original Couriers version, the Mark Trammell Quartet would be perfect. The first four lines of the second verse would feature Dustin Sweatman, while the first four of verse three would lend themselves well to rich quartet harmonies. A Pat Barker bass solo step-out on lines five and six of these verses would be spine-chillingly perfect. Then, of course, a huge quartet ending would bring the arrangement to a glorious conclusion.
It’s time for this hymn to make a return.