Hidden Gems: The Nelons – “Holy Is Thy Name”

This is one of those songs that has been sung by a ton of groups, with Legacy Five staging it currently to feature Gus Gaches.  Even the Nelons had previously recorded this song, on their debut album as The Rex Nelons Singers, but the version found on their Hallelujah Live project from 1995 is a stellar, if lesser known, version.  This configuration of the group featured Charlotte Ritchie on soprano, Kelly Nelon (Thompson, at the time) singing alto, Jerry Thompson on tenor, Rex Nelon on Bass, with Stan Whitmire at the piano and Todd Nelon on the bass guitar.  This is actually the opening song on the project.  Kelly takes the verses, with Charlotte taking the melody on the choruses.  This song was incredibly well suited for both of them.  Kelly has a Karen Carpenter-like sound on the verses, and Charlotte by this time was really starting to come into her own as a vocalist.  After the second chorus, the key changes and goes up a fourth, I believe and Charlotte is able to display a bit more range.  Throughout the song, the background harmonies and group vocals on the chorus are fabulous.  Also deserving mention is Whitmire’s incredible piano stylings.  It’s no wonder he is so often raved for his artistry at the keys, and this song allows him to showcase the immense talent that oozes from his fingers.  There is a choir that joins in after the key change as well, but in contrast to a lot of songs I’ve heard lately that have a choir backing the group, the Nelons’ vocals remain out front, and are not in any way drowned out by the choir.  The choir simply accentuates the song, without becoming the focal point.  If you’ve got this CD, pull it out and spin up track one again.  If this song and performance don’t move you, something’s wrong!

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About Wes Burke
I'm a .NET developer and Southern Gospel music fan. Married with a wonderful family.

3 Responses to Hidden Gems: The Nelons – “Holy Is Thy Name”

  1. Good stuff Burke. I’ve always had a gospel crush on The Nelons.

    • Wes Burke says:

      We’re in the same boat there, my friend. Always had a soft spot for the Nelons. I had the opportunity to see this lineup in concert when I was in college in Knoxville. They were awesome live, too.

  2. Brian Fuson says:

    Legacy Five did an awesome version of this on their London project as well, one of my favorite Tony Jarman songs.

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