The Definitives: “Holy Is Thy Name”
July 16, 2013 3 Comments
One of the great songs of our genre that combines harmony and power and has been recorded by many artists is “Holy Is Thy Name”. Originally recorded by the Rex Nelon Singers on their debut LP, The Sun’s Coming Up, the song has been covered by many groups over the years. The Ruppes, Legacy Five (does anyone else a rehearsal of this that was actually “released” for a short time right after the formation of the group as a preview of the group’s sound?), The Cathedrals, and The Singing Americans include the artists that have recorded this song. However, the definitive version belongs to a later recording of the song by the group that debuted it.
Recorded in 1995 on their Hallelujah Live project, this Nelons lineup features Charlotte Penhollow (now Ritchie), Kelly Nelon (now Clark), Jerry Thompson, and Rex Nelon, along with Stan Whitmire on piano. The song begins with Kelly singing the first verse solo with Whitmire’s impeccable accompaniment on piano. The first chorus features Kelly, Jerry, Stan, and Rex, with Charlotte adding some background harmony on Kelly’s step out lines and the harmony is just fabulous. The key then goes up a half step and the other instruments kick in for Kelly’s second verse, which is great, and the chorus repeats as before. The key changes again and Charlotte takes the lead with Stan dropping out vocally and there is an incredibly strong chorus with a choir backing the Nelons through the power tag.
This is just a fantastic performance of a great song. The arrangement is the progressive/inspirational style that the Nelons do so well, Whitmire’s piano playing is nothing short of spectacular, and all the vocals are in the pocket and dead on. This song is a perfect example of why this particular lineup of the Nelons is one of my favorites.