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The Glory Road

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The Glory Road

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Fern Jones's 1959 LP Singing a Happy Song, along with additional material, has been re-mastered and released by the Numero Group as Fern Jones: The Glory Road. Southern hillbilly soul from Fern Jones - a minister, church singer and songwriter with a real feel for the secular shake of '50s Sun Records, honky tonk, and shout blues - a pure evangelical with a worldly groove! Fern worked the gospel circuit of tent and church shows for many, many years - but only recorded two albums, this one for Dot/Paramount. Fern sings in the torch country style of Patsy Cline, often with spare rockabilly-styled guitar and drums backbeat. Backed by noted Elvis studio musicians Hank Garland (guitar) and Floyd Cramer (piano), this album is probably most noteworthy for the classic song "I Was There When It Happened" - co-written by Fern Jones and made famous by Johnny Cash. But Fern's album is more than worthy of a late discovery - she's a true pioneer, fearlessly blending the Lord's work with the Devil's music - at a time when such poles were anathema for most artists, fans, and record labels alike!

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Sometimes it takes the genius and adoration of a small record label like Chicago's Numero to unearth a bounty virtually fictional but for the several hundreds who listened and observed a half-century ago. Born in 1923, Fern Jones was a gifted songwriter with a deep-from-the-chest singing voice that was as much Lightnin' Hopkins as it was Patsy Cline. Her husband a preacher, Jones left the honky-tonks to perform by his side in Pentecostal churches and revival tents during the forties and fifties, her original and traditional gospel hymns always dotted with the blues and pop variations that inspired her. What those fortunate few were able to witness was put to vinyl by Dot Records in 1959, backed by noted Elvis studio musicians Hank Garland (guitar) and Floyd Cramer (piano), and available here for the first time since. It includes six Jones originals, including "I Was There When It Happened," covered by Johnny Cash during his first session for Sun Records. Fern Jones died in 1996, but thankfully--though 50 years after the fact--her music lives on with the vitality and clarity her underappreciated talent provided. --Scott Holter

The Glory Road

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