For this issue of WorshipSongsOnline, we asked our composers to tell us about their favorite “old timey” hymn.
I like “Wonderful Grace of Jesus”. It is so hearty and strong – a great celebration. It was written during the time that John Phillip Sousa was active. During the chorus, the men sing what I identify as the trombone/tuba part while the women sing the dotted rhythm of the woodwind chords.
I must admit, when someone asks me what my favorite hymns are, my mind immediately goes to the two CDs/Music Books of Andy Griffith singing Traditional Hymns. (Yes, the Andy Griffith from the Andy Griffith Show.) The Music Books, published by Hal Leonard, are now out of print. But, I’ve had them for some time now. In fact, I love them so much that just a few weeks ago I ordered some additional (used) books so I had a few more of them! The arrangements are incredible, and I love every one of them. I also enjoy Andy Griffith singing them. “Sweet Hour of Prayer/What A Friend We Have In Jesus” is probably my favorite arrangement, if I had to pick. One title that is not on his collection that I enjoy singing is “In the Garden.” Interestingly, I suppose I lean towards liking most the hymns which speak to my one on one relationship with Jesus my Lord, Savior, and Friend.
“On Jordan’s Stormy Banks” (PROMISED LAND) – I have very fond memories of singing that as a child in Sunday night services, standing next to my father.
“O Love That Wilt Not Let Me Go.” I fell in love with it when I heard Cynthia Clawson sing it.
ALLAN ROBERT PETKER
Come, We That Love the Lord – also called: We’re Marching to Zion
It is a childhood thing. I remember singing it as a kid at the Mennonite church where I grew up and telling my grandmother, “this song is really fun to sing.”
I guess my favorite would have to be Standing on the Promises because there’s just so much joy and affirmation in it! It also speaks to my heart because, even though I was not raised in the church, I can still stand in the covenant God has made with us, trust in the eternal promise of life, and rejoice in the hope of a life fixed on Christ. Hallelujah!
What a hard choice but if I must…. NOTHING BUT THE BLOOD OF JESUS (Robert Lowery). This hymn can be sung fast or slow, high or low, and the truth remains simple, memorable and profound. I loved it as a child with the piano and organ and now along with all the guitars and percussion instruments that seem to be in vogue!
I’m not sure if this qualifies as an Old-Timey Hymn, but my favorite hymn text is “O Love That Will Not Let Me Go.” I’ve never been particularly fond of the traditional tune, so a number of years ago, I reset the text to a new melody.
“GOD BE WITH YOU”
We were one of those musical families that would sit around the piano and sing old hymns when we had family reunions. This would usually be one of the last things we did when we got together. To end we always sang GOD BE WITH YOU. I will always have great memories when I hear that old hymn sung.
Beaulah Land from the old Cokesbury hymnal.
Why? Because it brings back wonderful memories of my childhood. We sang this song frequently as part of our Sunday School opening at the little Methodist church in Elkton, Virginia, where I grew up. I had never heard of Beaulah Land before, and I likened it to the beautiful area around me where I lived — in the Shenandoah Valley. Some of the finest of God’s creation!
My favorite old hymn is “Bringing in the Sheaves,” (Shaw & Minor) because I can still hear the sounds of my sisters, parents, and grandparents echoing through the sanctuary of the little Baptist church where I grew up.
“Whispering Hope” because it was my grandmother’s favorite and “Flee As A Bird” because I used to play it on the piano with my mother.