Southern Gospel in Six Seconds

I’ve read in the news this week about the emergence of a new video-sharing app named Vine.  Owned by Twitter, who made 140 characters a standard for online communication, Vine allows users to record and share videos with a length of up to six seconds.  Much of the discussion about the new app centers on the creative ways people will be able to say or do something meaningful or entertaining in just six seconds.  Just what can be said in that amount of time?

It got me to thinking, as many things do, about southern gospel music, and how a lot can actually be said in six seconds.  There are moments on southern gospel recordings that, while not long-lasting, have become iconic and have helped shape the legacy of the performers that created them.

I have made a little list of moments from southern gospel recordings, six or so seconds in length, that I believe have had an impact on this genre of music.


  • “Revive Us Again,” Cathedrals, Symphony of Praise – The iconic opening phrase, “Hallelujah, thine the glory,” sung with mighty a cappella harmony, sets the stage for one of the landmark recordings in southern gospel history
  • “There Rose a Lamb,” Gold City, Pillars of Faith – One of the most recognizable and powerful instrumental introductions, six seconds covers the drum kick-off and first measure.
  • “Is That Footsteps That I Hear,” Inspirations, Is That Footsteps That I Hear? – Another one of the most recognizable openings, the marching walk-down is quintessential Martin Cook and Inspirations.
  • “God on the Mountain,” McKameys, Gone to Meetin’ – I could not possibly think of the McKameys without thinking about…”HE’S STILL GOD!!!!  YEAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHH!!!!!”
  • “Excuses,” Kingsmen, Live…Naturally – Another live moment, obviously iconic for a different reason, is Ernie Phillips on “Why, he didn’t even shake my hand!”
  • “Let Freedom Ring”, Gaither Vocal Band, Let Freedom Ring – One more live moment, David Phelps’ dramatic delivery of “Let freedom echo” to take the song home is a stirring moment, particularly live in New York City so soon after September 11th, 2001.
  • “I Wouldn’t Take Nothing for My Journey Now”, Happy Goodmans, The Best of the Happy Goodmans – The opening line of the final chorus sung, with Vestal going to the alternate high note on “journey,” is classic Happy Goodmans.
  • “Get Away Jordan,” Statesmen, On Stage – From the thrilling live rendition at the Ryman, the signature six seconds belong to Hovie Lister, on “Don’t have to worry ’bout the way I fare/God A’mighty done told me that he’d be right there”
  • “Four Days Late,” Karen Peck & New River, A Taste of Grace – The line at the end of the third verse that brings the allegory full circle just fits in six seconds: “He’ll soon be here, He’ll roll back the stone, and He’ll call out your name!”
  • “Oh, What a Savior,” Everyone, everywhere –  You are not a real southern gospel tenor until you have stood in front of a room of people and sang “Then I’ll join that chorUUUUUUUUUUUUUSSSS”


Now I need your help!  What are some other essential six seconds on southern gospel recordings?


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  1. Easily, the opening six seconds on “Champion of Love.”

    I also love the opening six seconds on The Booth Brother’s “A Higher Throne.”

    How about the six seconds at the start of the chorus of “My Name is Lazarus,” where they get to the punch line for the first time? I’ve heard countless descriptions of people hearing it for the first time, when it was new, and the goosebumps they got.

    How about the first six seconds of George Younce’s solo on “Wedding Music”? That always gets a big response in Pat Barker’s hands today.

    One more, and I’ll cut my list at five (for now). Ernie Phillips’ double-high-B-flat at the ending of the Kingsmen’s “Love Lifted Me” definitely belongs here.

    1. Great! Should have thought about “Champion of Love,” but my mind was on that album’s opener.

      I thought about “My Name Is Lazarus,” but never got the right six seconds pin-pointed in my mind.

      Great suggestion on “Wedding Music”. Or even the first line of the song, which gets a nearly 100% applause response?

      I also thought about “Love Lifted Me,” but I didn’t think about it while actually writing the post. Glad you mentioned it!

      1. More:

        “Roll Tide,” heading into “Shoutin’ Happy,” at the start of the Kingsmen’s “Live at the University of Alabama!”

        On “Plan of Salvation,” halfway through that final chorus, where the Cathedrals slowed down to half-time.

        Here’s a huge one: End of 2nd chorus on “Till the Storm Passes By,” Greater Vision, NQC Live 2001.

  2. From the Together version of “These Are They,” the moment when Guy Penrod hits that note on “The welcome home banner FLIIIIIIES over the door.” I know, I know, David Phelps did it first, but Penrod I think is even more awesome. 🙂

    “Mary Did You Know,” “the praises of the LAAAAAMB”

    “Long As I Got King Jesus,” the moment when all the guys are trading off on the hook.

    Last line of “For What Earthly Reason.”

    “Stand By Me,” Ryan’s first step-out.

      • quartet-man on February 11, 2013 at 11:06 pm
      • Reply

      Actually, Michael English did it first in the GVB and I am unsure about who recorded the song before that.

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