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Singing on the Mountain

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These sample tracks are encoded in a low resolution MP3 format which does not reflect the true audio quality of the actual recording.

In Her Own Words cover art

Singing on the Moutiain

The Johnson Family Singers

The day before the annual Grandfather Mountain Sing, located in the Blue Ridge Mountains chain -- oldest and highest east of the Mississippi -- one North Carolina newspaper headlined, “Many Thousands Expected Sunday at Annual ‘Singing on the Mountain.’” Accompanying the 1955 story were two pictures: the Johnson Family Singers, on the left, and to the right, the bearded, 94-year-old Rev. Shelby Gragg, who had sung and delivered a mountainside sermon at nearly every annual meeting. “‘Singing on the Mountain’ features groups such as the Johnson Family Singers and listeners like Shelby Gragg,” the article read.

Kenneth, eldest of the Johnson children, was able to attend the Grandfather Mountain Sing; however, he could not attend the RCA Victor sessions in Nashville, because of student-pastor duties during his senior year in the Divinity School at Duke University. Several years later, he would write the definitive history of the family, “The Johnson Family Singers: We Sang for Our Supper.” (Jackson, MS: University Press of Mississippi, 1997)

Steve Sholes, producer of this series for RCA Victor, arranged for an illustrious group of musicians to accompany the family in these Nashville recordings: Charles Grean, leader-bass; Chet Atkins, electric guitar; John Gordy, piano and organ; Jack Shook, rhythm guitar; and Jerry Byrd, steel guitar.
“Pa” Johnson, a popular radio announcer at WDIX in Orangeburg, SC, for more than 30 years following the Grandfather Mountain Sing, always ended his morning programs with Betty’s sweet rendition of “May God Be With You.”

1. Do You Know Where God Lives? - Coben
2. The Lord Is Counting On You - Hamblen
3. Speak To Him - Coben
4. Climbing Up The Ladder -  B. Johnson
5. You Take Your Road - Lowe
6. May God Be With You - Cury / Maupin
7. He Was There - Coben
8. Your First Day In Heaven - Hamblen
9. Let Me Stay A Little Longer -  Grean . Hicks / Frame
10. You Must Be Born Again -  Hamblen
11. Ole Time Religion -  Public Domain
12. Keep On The Sunny Side - Carter / Garett


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Betty Johnson, Bliss Tavern Music On-the-common, Haverhill, NH 03765

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