Throughout East Texas are hundreds of gospel music venues where people gather on weekends to hear songs that you’ll hear only in churches.
In recent weeks, Doris and I have sat in pews in places like Lala Hill in southern Angelina County, Chireno in Nacogdoches County, Shelbyville in Shelby County, Athens in Henderson County and other places where the old gospel songs are still cherished with the same appreciation as a good apple pie.
In most of the venues, the sole musical instrument is a piano, but guitars,
fiddles, banjos and a few saxophones are showing up with increasingly frequency, likely because gospel music is attracting new converts like young people..
It’s a welcome trend, too. The gospel songs are getting better.
In the older and traditional country churches, the gospel songs come from the songbooks you’ll find in each pew. Here are a few of the most popular gospel renditions:
• Where could I go but to the Lord.
• Bringing in the Sheaves.
• Revive us again.
• On Higher Ground.
• Heavenly Sunlight.
• Love Lifted Me
• Onward Christian Soldiers.
• Standing on the Promises.
• When the Saints Go Marching In.
• I’ll Fly Away
• I Love to Tell the Story.
There is little formality at a gospel singing. Men show up in overalls and blue jeans, kids come in their play clothes, and women arrive in simple house dresses.
But they all have one thing in common: they love to sing.
At Lala Hill, one of the younger musicians said a teacher offered to give him voice lessions, but he added: “I wanted to hunt coons instead.”
I keep hoping that someone will put together a directory of gospel singings in East Texas so that gospel-lovers will know when and were the singings take place.
Bob Bowman of Lufkin is the author of more than 50 books about East Texas history and folklore. He can be reached at bob-bowman.com
- Linda McNew Chandler
Thankful to be together
OK, so not really. But I did travel to Houston with my sister and pick him up to move back to East Texas. Our brother has been in a boarding home in south Houston for about three years.
- GUEST COLUMN: Code enforcement a vital part of city operations
Jacksonville will always be her home
The newsroom is always changing. You never know who is coming, who is going, as so many public officials told me when I first came to the Daily Progress over the summer.
Not just who we are, but who we aspire to be
Rarely in our country's history have non-elected officials had a profound effect on public policy. While rare, it does happen from time to time.
Just Ask Janet: Update on circulation situation at JDP
In keeping with my ongoing commitment to communicate with you about things at the paper, let me update you on our circulation situation.
County budget discussion needs to begin soon
When county commissioners were forming the current fiscal year's budget this past summer, there was a lot of talk.
Silence from LMC can be deafening
Each time there's news about a change at Lon Morris — whether it be the departure of an official or the delay of paychecks — the rumor mill in the area begins to fire up again.
Transparent government a must for JEDCO, city
The concept is simple — those who handle public funds should do so in as open and transparent a manner as possible.
Just Ask Janet: Kudos to the engines behind the hit parade
I went to the Christmas Parade Thursday night, and I am so tickled to tell you that it was wonderful! I say kudos to the Chamber of Commerce and all those who participated in the parade for making this year’s event so much fun.
- More Opinion Headlines