Song Snapshots #32: He’s More than Just a Swear Word (Couriers, Blackwood Brothers, Collingsworth Family)

Song Snapshots is a column featuring the stories behind new and classic Southern Gospel songs.

Neil Enloe’s father was a barber. He describes him as a “fun-loving, happy guy, who never had a sad day in his life.” But, Enloe recalls, “He loved his Lord, and he was dead serious about God. He was a great role model.”

“In his barber shop,” Enloe continues, “he could not stand to have the name of Jesus berated or blasphemed. In his shop, one wall had a sign, ‘No swearing, please.’ Another wall had a sign that said, ‘No profane language, please.’ My dad was a very crude person when it comes to design; he tore the flap off a cardboard box, and with a child’s crayon, he wrote a sign and thumb-tacked it to a third wall. And it said, and this one he made up, ‘A feller’s tougher who is not a cusser.’”

Enloe recalls the impact of his father’s stand: “So here I am, and going into my dad’s barber shop. In front of his customers, when they would blaspheme the name of the Lord, he would stop, mid-stroke, whether it was shaving, or cutting hair, or whatever, and he’d say, ‘Look, this is my Lord and my Savior, we don’t talk like that here.’ So at the expense of losing business, my dad stood up for his Lord, and that deeply impressed me as a little guy. So in the years that followed, I just decided to make a statement, too, and that’s where that song really came from, my childhood.”

The song was one of the most popular songs the Couriers ever introduced. It made the rounds in the 1970s; the Blackwood Brothers, Cathedrals, Dixie Echoes, Dixie Melody Boys, Downings, Florida Boys, Kingsmen, and Sego Brothers were among the groups who recorded it. After receiving little attention for decades, the song was recently brought back by the Collingsworth Family on their 2007 We Believe CD.

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The Inspirations at 50, Part 3

This year, the Inspirations celebrate their fiftieth anniversary. We’re going to commemorate this landmark milestone with a series looking at ten of their all-time greatest albums. Also see: Part 1 (7-10), Part 2 (4-6).

#3: I Know (2006)

inspirations2006iknowmaxAs this top-ten countdown nears its final stretch, it’s rather unavoidable that superlatives abound. But the Inspirations’ career deserves superlatives.

I Know is the strongest release of the Inspirations’ Crossroads era. Two of the three #1 hits they have had in the last thirty years—”I Have Not Forgotten” and “If You Only Knew” came off this recording. Yet this recording is packed with songs so powerful that it wouldn’t have been surprising to see one or two more.

Song list: I’ve Never Gotten Over Geting Saved; If You Only Knew; I Know; I Have Not Forgotten; Shed For Even Me; At His Feet; When I Walk On Streets Of Gold; Living Like There’s No Yesterday; Led By The Master’s Hand; My Best Friend.


 

#2: On Heaven’s Bright Shore (1976)

inspirations1976heavensbrightshoremaxEvery list of this nature needs at least one surprise, and this is it. Ask casual fans and serious fans to name the group’s all-time strongest releases off the top of their heads; this isn’t always one of the first to come to mind. But that only goes to show just how much this album is underrated.

The Inspirations’ releases from this era, the era when they were the fan’s favorite group in the genre, are all distinguished by instrumental and vocal excellence. What, then, sets this apart is its song selection. Songs like “Land of Living,” “I’ll Live Again,” “Rose Among The Thorns,” “On Heaven’s Bright Shore,” “The Redeemed Are Coming Home,” and “When Fair Heaven I See” make this the group’s all-time greatest studio album.

Song list: On Heaven’s Bright Shore; Rose Among The Thorns; A Mansion Is Waiting; The Redeemed Are Coming Home; Land Of The Living; Far Better Than This; When Fair Heaven I See; Are You Listening For The Lord; He’ll Wipe Away The Tears; Help Me Lord; He’ll Do A New Thing; I’ll Live Again.


 

#1: A Night of Inspiration (1976)

inspirations1976nightofinspirationmaxThe 1970s were an era of compelling live performances. We’re still talking about the Kingsmen, Rambos, Happy Goodmans, and countless others from this era. A Night of Inspiration shows how, even in this august company, the Inspirations became the decade’s most popular group, winning six of the ten Singing News Fan Awards for Favorite Artist handed out that decade.

Some groups used live albums as an occasion to introduce new songs. Here, the focus was more on live versions of songs like “Touring The City,” “When I Wake Up To Sleep No More,” and “Jesus Is Mine” that were already beloved hits.

It would perhaps be a theoretical possibility to read about the Inspirations’ hit songs and live appeal and have an intellectual understanding of how this decade made them legends. But once you have listened to this album, it’s no longer theoretical. You feel it in your bones as you feel the energy and the messages in your soul.

Song list: Touring That City; When I Wake Up To Sleep No More; The First Million Years; When God Dips His Pen Of Love In My Heart; Amazing Grace; Tears Will Never Stain The Streets Of That City; I’ve Got More To Go To Heaven For; These Are They; Thanks For Loving Me; Jesus Is Mine.


 

A Video Highlight

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Andrew Goldman joins The Perrys

The Perrys announced this morning that Andrew Goldman will replace departing lead singer David Ragan. Libbi Perry Stuffle commented, “The Perrys are very excited about Andrew coming on board as a part of our team and family. He’s such an incredible singer!”

Goldman comments, “It’s such an honor to be a part of the great ministry The Perrys have. I have always been a fan, and I love their passion to see people’s lives changed.”

Goldman joins The Perrys after spending two years as the baritone for Ryan Seaton’s quartet, Union Street. We featured him in an interview, here.

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Song Snapshots #31: We All Come To The Cross

Just like the rest of us, Southern Gospel’s co-writers don’t always stay focused on the task at hand. But unlike the rest of us, that can sometimes be a very, very good thing.

One day, Kenna Turner West, Tony Wood, and Lee Black were working on a story song. Somehow, they got off of the topic at hand, and she started sharing her testimony.

“I’m fortunate that I grew up in Gospel music,” she recalls. Her father, Ken Turner, sang with the Palmetto State Quartet and the Dixie Echoes, before joining the Blackwood Brothers when she was seven. “I grew up backstage with the people that are on the mainstage now. I knew who Jesus was, but I didn’t know Him as Savior at all.”

“When I was eighteen years old,” she adds, “I was singing songs at a club in Memphis. I came to Christ watching Jerry Falwell on television on a Sunday night.”

West also shared her mother’s testimony with Wood and Black; her mother came to Christ at a Nicky Cruz crusade in the early ‘80s. “I was sharing how I came to the Lord watching Christian television. My mom came to the Lord at a crusade. We all have our story; somehow we all came to the cross.”

“I was just sharing my testimony with my friends,” she recalls. “I was crying, so I didn’t even notice what I had said. Tony and Lee were looking at each other, like, ‘She doesn’t even know what she said!’ Thankfully, they heard a song title in there.”

They never finished the other song. But they did write “We All Came To the Cross.”

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