The Best of Praise & Worship, Hymns and Southern Gospel—Your Picks?

In view of Daniel Mount’s most recent post, and in view of the fact that I have little time to write these days, I’m going to let my readers write the interesting stuff here for me.

If you could pick just three favorite contemporary praise songs—your ripest picks—what would they be and why? (Note: I am using “contemporary” loosely. It seems only fair to allow you to pick stuff from the 90s/80s, since southern gospel has such a rich history. This means you can include something like “Great Is the Lord.”)

If you could pick just three favorite southern gospel songs—again, prime cuts—what would they be and why?

Now let me ask another question: If you tried to compare the worship songs with the gospel songs in terms of quality, do you think you could? Or would you feel like it was an apples and oranges question?

Here is a harder question. Try it with HYMNS and southern gospel. Three hymns, three southern gospel songs. Can you do it now?


17 thoughts on “The Best of Praise & Worship, Hymns and Southern Gospel—Your Picks?

  1. quartet-man

    I don’t do good with favorites at times. I like them or I don’t. When I like them, it is sort of like asking a parent which child is their favorite. I guess at times I can say I like this particular song that I like better than this one, but sometimes it is just apples and oranges and depends on what your appetite is.

    I am not going to follow directions, but will place down some of my favorite praise songs from the past few decades. I do look forward to seeing others. I am adding quite a few at church and it will be interesting to see what others come up with.

    “Potter’s Hand” – This has to be one of the prettiest and powerful praise choruses I can think of. If they were all of this quality, I would be much more of a fan. I first heard this song performed by one of John Hagee’s daughters when at mom’s and she had his program on.

    “Here I Am To Worship” is another song with nice melody and lyrics.
    “Untitled Hymn”
    “Better Is One Day”
    “Word of God Speak”
    “Amazing Grace My Chains Are Gone”
    “How Great Is Our God”
    “Glorious Day”
    “The Name of the Lord” (Blessed be the Name of the Lord” I like rocking on this one in an SG style. 😉
    “Blessed Be Your Name”
    “Blessings” – This is a beautiful tune I discovered mere days or weeks after it was released.
    “You Are My All in All” – The GVB really brought this song to life even though I had heard it originally around 9 years ago.
    “The Light of that City”
    “Cancelled Worthy” – Gaither Trio with McSpadden
    “Beyond the Open Door” and “Daystar” GVB with Michael English

    Older songs –
    “Lamb of God” – The version I first heard was Michael English with the GVB and it is the best by far. I added an adaptation of this arrangement as a chorus at church.
    “He Is Exalted” – We did this in 1988 as part of our Christmas cantata and it is still a great tune.
    “You Are My Hiding Place”
    “O Lord, You’re Beautiful” – This is pretty old, but great. One of Keith Green’s best.
    “Above All” – Michael W. Smith’s version of this is the one I first heard and I liked it.

    “Come, Now is the Time to Worship”
    “Shine On Me” and “Shout to the Lord” are both good, but just worn out.

    Then there are songs by SG and related singers that are great choruses. Examples are:
    “He Is Here” – I don’t think I had heard this until the GVB version, but what a way to discover it!
    “Hallelujah Praise the Lamb” and “Jesus Lord To Me” – McSpadden did great on these songs (along with “No Other Name but Jesus”
    “Magnify Him” – I heard this when Gerald Wolfe sang in on a Cathedrals’ video. I have to give Kirk credit, he has written some great songs.
    “O For A Thousand Tongues to Sing” – The Nelons brought this to the forefront and it is a great one.
    “Perfect Heart” – the Gaither Trio did this and it is a great tune.The GVB ought to bring this one back perhaps.
    “When God Ran” – I actually heard Mercy’s Well do this before the Kingsmen’s version. Great song.
    “Send it On Down” – I heard the GVB do this on their Testify album.
    “Lamb of Glory” – The Singing Americans did this one and “Past To Presence” are two songs I really like from the Inman years of the group. I prefer the Engish or Parker years, but these two songs and performances were great.
    “Every Eye Shall See” – This is an old tune on the first GVB album, but is a nice singalong tune with acoustic guitar.

    In my opinion, if SG fans don’t like at least some choruses from these selections, they probably aren’t going to like any.

  2. quartet-man

    * Don’t do well. 🙂
    I also meant to add on PC&D’s “Shine On Us” Well, Smitty and his wife wrote it, but I heard PC&D do it on a various artists CD (“My
    Utmost For His Highest”)

    1. yankeegospelgirl

      I have fond memories of that song because their greatest hits album was one of my mom’s favorite albums to play around the house when I was growing up. So that song, along with their renditions of other songs like “Favorite Song of All” and “Mercy Came Running,” are fixed in my musical memory from an early age. I’ll always attach a little nostalgia to them. But of course, they really are excellent songs as well. 🙂

      You picked quite a lot of what I think are really good quality songs. I like some better than others, but the ones that stand out for me are:

      “Untitled Hymn” — This is easily Chris Rice’s best. It’s clean, simple and perfectly composed.

      “Blessed Be Your Name” — Assuming this is the Matt Redman song, I have always thought this was a good, substantial praise tune.

      “Blessings” — If this is the new one by Laura Story, then I LOVE it. Probably because it wasn’t really written like a P & W song. 😉

      “You Are My All in All” — Very naturally composed, has worn very well through the years.

      “Lamb of God” — Twila Paris has always been a big favorite and I like pretty much all her stuff. “He is Exalted,” “We Will Glorify,” and my absolute favorite is “How Beautiful.”

      “Lord, You’re Beautiful” — Yes! Classic.

      “You Are My Hiding Place” — Is this the one by Steven Curtis Chapman?

  3. quartet-man

    There are certainly several other PC&D songs I love (“Mercy Came Running” is great, “Favorite Song of All” is okay. They did one I love called “No Matter How Long It Takes” which is beautiful. What is possibly my very favorite (definitely in the top 3 or 4 I would say) is “Crucified With Christ”.

    Yes I am referring to Redman’s “Blessed Be Your Name” and Story’s “Blessings”. I neglected to put down “We Will Glorify” that is another great one and was part of the same Christmas cantata.
    I have heard part of “How Beautiful” and it was okay. I will have to listen to more. Another of hers I like (but isn’t as good I suppose as the preceding ones I mentioned) is “We Fall Down”.

    Another I failed to mention was “As the Deer”, that is beautiful. Some that are good, but dated are “Great is the Lord”, “How Majestic Is Your Name” and others I am failing to remember. “You Are My Hiding Place” isn’t the Chapman one (which I hadn’t heard). This is a version of the one I am talking about. It is an old Maranatha tune.

  4. luke

    Since quartet man did more than three, I will too. 🙂

    Praise choruses: As the Deer, Shout to the Lord, He is Exalted, Dare to Run, Great is the Lord, He is Lord, Majesty, Heritage of Holiness, Our God is an Awesome God

    Hymns: All That Thrills My Soul, Our Great Saviour, How Great Thou Art, Great is thy Faithfulness, Under His Wings, It Is Well, I Will Praise Him, He Hideth My Soul, Such Love, When We All Get to Heaven, Anywhere with Jesus

    Southern Gospel: (this one’s hard) He Came to Me, and lots of others.

  5. quartet-man

    Well, I stuck with praise songs (in the P&W and SG styles). I never even got to hymns or SG (non praise-type) songs. 😛 Those would be more plentiful and difficult to choose, I am sure. 🙂

  6. Brigitte

    It’s hard to come up with favorite SG songs because I love so many of them! But one of my favorites would have to be “What God Says” by EHSS. I also love “Awesome God” that was done at the Isreal homecoming– by Marshall Hall and Mark Lowry. But like I said, I really can’t narrow it down very well because there are soooooo many wonderful songs to choose from! 🙂

      1. Brigitte

        That would be another difficult thing to do. If I would try to compare hymns and SG, it would be extremely hard because they are both wonderful… just in different ways. Some of my favorite hymns are “It is Well” and “And Can It Be?” But these are awesome in a different way than the SG songs I mentioned. Hymns are what I grew up singing in church. I did not start listening to SG music very much until just a couple years ago. My mom and dad were Cathedrals fans though so there was a bit of that in the house that I was familiar with. I forgot to mention another of my favorite SG songs, “He is Jehovah” (I think its SG…) It was the song that kind of got me started on SG so its kind of special 🙂

  7. Lydia

    When Vestal Goodman and the Homecoming friends sing “Rock of Ages,” is that a hymn or Southern Gospel? 🙂 A lot of SG singers do hymns, but in a SG style.

    If we say that we have to compare hymns that are definitely hymns with SG songs that are definitely SG, I think there _are_ going to be comparisons, so it isn’t totally apples and oranges. For example, I think there is a reason why a person raised with a lot of hymns may like SG when exposed to it. Both often have very singable melodies and rich, but traditional, harmonies. Nothing “artsy” about either.

    Here’s another interesting question, though: What if we restrict ourselves to hymns the tunes for which were written a certain length of time ago? So, for example, only hymn tunes from the 1700’s or earlier. Then the comparison may become more difficult. Take something like Bach’s “How Bright Appears the Morning Star” or Creuger’s “Ah, Holy Jesus” (I think that’s Creuger). Or hymns that have old European folk melodies (not American) like “O Sons and Daughters Let Us Sing” which is to an old French carol. Then I think we’re talking about something much more removed from SG. Where the similarity comes in most between SG and hymns is with revival era hymnns. It’s when you open your mid-Twentieth Century hymnal and find “The Haven of Rest” that you see the overlap and the influence.

    (Apropos of nothing, I heard on the radio today the gospel song [not hymn] “Love Grew Where the Blood Fell.” Sung by a so-so choir. Wow, I’d forgotten that that song existed. Now I can’t make up my mind if it’s really a mediocre song or if it was just that particular performance.)

  8. Jordan P

    I just stumbled across your website, so I thought I’d add to this topic.
    P&W: Ocean’s Will Part, Hosanna, I Will Rise, Sing to the Lord, Made Me Glad, How Great is Our God, Revelation Song, How Can I Keep From Singing.
    Hymns: O Love That Will Not Let Me Go, It Is Well, Great is Thy Faithfulness, I Will Praise Him, There is a Fountain, At The Cross, Blessed Assurance, How Great Thou Art, In The Garden, Crown Him With Many Crowns.
    SG: Way too many to name, but I think my favorite is Four Days Late. Or maybe Through The Fire, I can’t decide.

  9. Estellen Oji

    I need to know the Artist of the song that goes like this,Like a father he feeds us, like a Shepard he leads us, fro the morning till the evening till the sun rise again, repeat then He is the Great IAM

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