Unique Southern Gospel Lyrics

There are words that permeate southern gospel lyrics.  How many songs do you know about the cross, heaven, the empty tomb, God’s love…the list goes on and on.  There’s certainly nothing wrong with that; the central themes of the Gospel need to be broadcast more than anything else.

But there are times when we listen to a song and a word pops up that just seems unusual.  Indeed, there are songs whose lyrics contain words that may not be found in any other southern gospel song.  That is the subject of today’s light-hearted and fun post.

Here’s a list of words that I’ve heard in various southern gospel songs.  I suspect there may be only one song that has them, though I could very well be missing others.  For how many of them can you identify the song?  Tell us in the comments!

(answers for those that have been guessed correctly)

  • pneumonia – Excuses, “pneumonia, I suppose!”
  • garlic – I’ve Passed Over Into Canaanland, “never gonna long for the leeks and garlic”
  • scum – After the Sunrise, “love-light will banish sin’s vapors like scum”
  • dope – Who But God, “set an addict free from dope” AND Just Thinking Out Loud (recitation), “to some it’s dope or anything for a friend”
  • slippers – Two Shoes, “two shoes, Sunday slippers”
  • glued – Get Away Jordan, “tongue glued to the roof of my mouth”
  • gopher – Noah Found Grace in the Eyes of the Lord, “get some sturdy gopher wood”
  • moonshine – New Wine, “It’s not from moonshine, but it comes from sunshine”
  • civil rights – The Last Sunday, “about social action, war, and civil rights” (is that right?  my memory is foggy)
  • villains – Build an Ark, “I’m tired of all the villains, tired of all the killin'”
  • salvación – Mexico, the Spanish part at the end
  • HBO – Good Good News, “all 100 channels, HBO and Pay-per-View”
  • CNN – I’m Not Worried About Forever, “the things He said are playin’ out each night on CNN” AND It Has Always Been the Soldier, “it’s not CBS or NBC, ABC or CNN”      
  • Taco Bell – The Dream, various places (spoken)



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    • quartet-man on November 14, 2012 at 8:54 am
    • Reply

    Villains was so great, you put it down twice. 😉

    1. Heh…thanks. Feel free to take a crack at some of them!

    • Saran on November 14, 2012 at 10:06 am
    • Reply

    Moonshine is from ‘New Wine’
    And I think ‘HBO’ is from ‘Good News’???

    1. Yes! The second is actually “Good, Good News,” but you knew the song, of course.

        • Saran on November 14, 2012 at 10:12 am
        • Reply

        Oh you are right! ‘Good, good, news’…I think in the same line it also mentions ‘Pay-Per-View’ 🙂

      • Saran on November 14, 2012 at 10:11 am
      • Reply

      I know multiple artists have done ‘New Wine’….Greater Vision and Gaither Vocal Band.
      ‘Good News’ is a B&G Gaither song?

      1. Actually, Bill and Gloria’s daughter Suzanne wrote it, along with Michael Sykes and Guy Penrod.

  1. CNN, I believe, is from The Soldier by the OTGH Quartet.

    Taco Bell, also by the OTGH Quartet & Gold City in The Dream…..funny song!

    1. Hmm…I don’t know that first one…I have a different song in mind. I told ya I would probably be missing some.

      You got The Dream.

    • Brian Fuson on November 14, 2012 at 10:23 am
    • Reply

    Great post Brian! The easy ones I know of off the bat would be
    Pneumonia from Excuses by The Kingsme
    And CNN would be from I’m Not Worried About Forever
    By The Kingdom Heirs.

    And salvacion would be Mexico from The Cathedrals, I believe.

    1. You got all three!

  2. “Scum” is from “After The Sunrise” by The Inspirations, The Kingsmen, etc.

    1. Yes! Love-light will banish sin’s vapors like scum! Even the clanish together will hum!

      I don’t know what it means, but I like it!

      1. I was going to guess some of these, but I’d talked about the post with Brian in advance of its publication, so I figured I’d better just lurk (even on the ones we didn’t discuss!)

        Brian – I assume the second line there refers to a Hatfields and McCoys-type situation. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hatfield%E2%80%93McCoy_feud

        1. Thanks, Daniel! Feel free to take a shot at the last one left, which we didn’t discuss. Someone’s gotta get it…

          1. Looks like it was gotten by my next visit. 🙂

    • Eric Stuve on November 14, 2012 at 10:46 am
    • Reply

    Civil rights is from “The Last Sunday” by the Cathedrals.
    Garlic is from “I’ve Passed Over” by Gold City & the Kingdom Heirs.

    1. Yes, and yes!

      Never gonna long for the leeks and garlic, I’ve left Egypt far behind!

      1. I’ve heard that line done “Never gonna turn to the world again” on I’ve Passed Over. Probably because it is kind of awkward.

        1. No way! I love the leeks and garlic line…such a great, Biblical lyric!

    • David Ragan on November 14, 2012 at 11:04 am
    • Reply

    “Slippers” is from Two Shoes. (I’ve sung that enough to recognize it!) I’m pretty sure “villains” is from GVB’s Build an Ark.

    1. Excellent! I wore out the Two Shoes CD when I was a kid! I’m thinking you probably did, too.

      And Build an Ark is also correct.

  3. “Gopher” is in “Noah Found Grace In The Eyes Of The Lord” (Statler Brothers and others), but you may be thinking of a different ark song.

    1. Nope…that’s the one. I did consider that there may be other Noah songs with it, but I couldn’t think of any.

  4. “Dope” is from a J D Sumner recitation…”Just Thinking Out Loud,” I believe.

    1. I’ll have to take your word for it, because I’ve never heard it. I’ve got another one. This is in a sung lyric.

      1. “Many a people talk about doing their thing,
        To some it’s dope or anything for a friend.”


        1. Thanks…I’ll include that along with my original answer, as soon as it’s guessed.

        2. I didn’t know this when I posted the YouTube link a couple of minutes ago, but at 3:56 into that clip, there’s a photo of JD that I took.


  5. And “Glued” is from “Get Away Jordan”…can’t believe I didn’t get that one first!
    “Tongue glued to the roof of my mouth.”

    1. Yes, definitely. I was surprised it was one of the last one guessed.

      1. Well, it goes by so fast. I don’t think most people understood McCray when he sang it! LOL

    • Andrew S. on November 14, 2012 at 2:47 pm
    • Reply


    He can change a life so wretched when the world says there’s no hope,
    Cause a drunkard to quit drinkin’, set an addict free from ..dope..

    -Who but God?, the Paynes & Gold City (clever Just Say No! appeal)

    One of my favorites is Ronny Hinson’s use of “buzzard” in “Oasis” by the Hinsons. “While the sun cooks up the supper for the buzzards to devour…”

    Ironically, Ronny Hinson co-wrote each of those songs.

    1. Ding! Great job!

  6. Thanks, everyone. There will definitely be another one of these sometime…I’ve already got a couple in mind.

  7. This one was great fun, Brian. Two things. First of all, “After the Sunrise” is in the Heavenly Highways hymnal which is still revered at my little church. When my dear brother was pastor, he also lead the choir, and he loved to do this song. He loved that line, “even the clannish together will hum”, and he always told me he thought whoever wrote that song must have pastored some churches somewhere along the way! Second, Ronny Hinson is the hero to those of us who say this about him: No one will go as far out lyrically as Ronny, and he makes it work! He and I were talking once about how hard it is to find good words to rhyme with “God”, and he told he he once used “squad”… “firing squad”. He’s just wonderful!!!! I was so happy to see so many guessed the right answers. Gospel music fans do listen, God bless us every one! Dianne.

    1. Thanks for stopping by, Mrs. Dianne! I’ve already got a couple more Ronny Hinson songs in my mind for the next installment! I’m not giving it away! 🙂

    • Baptist on November 15, 2012 at 6:50 pm
    • Reply

    Brian, I certainly enjoyed reading this. Good job. You’ve got me trying to think of unusual words. I think I’ll look through the good old Red Back Church Hymnal.

    • Saran on December 20, 2012 at 12:40 am
    • Reply

    I thought of another odd word from a gospel lyric: “termites”….go!

  8. “UFO” – from the song “UFO” – By: Karen Peck & New River

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