An Old Convention Song: “Rock of Ages Keep My Soul”

Composer(s): Luther G. Presley

Published: 1939

Church Hymnal Page: 144

Notable recordings: Don’t know of any in the southern gospel realm; in bluegrass: A School of Bluegrass (Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver, 2004); Hymns From the Hills (Joe Mullins & the Radio Ramblers, 2011)

This red-back gem from one of my favorite convention writers, Luther Presley, has gone mostly untouched, as far as I know, by southern gospel artists.  I wish that weren’t the case!  It has step-out lines for the alto, tenor and bass, making it a great pick to spotlight an entire group.  A fermata at the end of the verse ushers the alto in to kick off the chorus, and another one in the middle of the chorus does the same for the tenor.

Here’s a video of the fantastic Mylon Hayes Family singing “Rock of Ages Keep My Soul” at the National Quartet Convention’s Red-Back Singalong showcase last year.  Complete with shape-note singing, this is how it’s done!

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