The Definitives: “I Wouldn’t Take Nothing For My Journey Now”

My first post of this series dealt with one of the classic ballads in SG.  Now let’s tackle one of the quintessential uptempo numbers in our genre.  Of course this song will be forever associated with The Happy Goodmans, but my choice for the definitive version of this tune goes back to a 1964 Skylite album by the Oak Ridge Boys.  Personnel on this album were Willie Wynn – Tenor, Smitty Gatlin – Lead, Jim Hamill – Baritone, Herman Harper – Bass, and Tommy Fairchild – Piano.

The song starts off with an electric guitar playing some lead lines over piano, bass and drums before leading into the chorus.  The first verse is performed by Smitty Gatlin, and after the chorus Herman Harper takes the second verse as a bass solo.  There’s a little instrumental break with the electric guitar featured again before the key changes and Willie Wynn takes the lead for two final choruses and a high power tag.

To me, this is the feel that the song needs.  It’s sped up a bit from the Goodmans version, and becomes a great, male quartet barn burner.  Smitty Gatlin and Herman Harper are two of our largely forgotten, but very talented vocalists in the history of Southern Gospel.  Both get an opportunity to shine on this song and make the best of it.  If you’ve got this LP, spin up track one, and then let the thing play.  I’ve always thought this was a great quartet LP, and the title track starts it off in fine fashion.  No one has done it better.


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

3 Responses to The Definitives: “I Wouldn’t Take Nothing For My Journey Now”

  1. Roger says:

    I’ll agree with you on everything you said in this article. I have 3 albums of this line, and they are the most over looked quartet. There wasn’t any weak vocals in this quartet line up, and to top this the Smitty Gatlin trio was even better.

  2. quartet-man says:

    I prefer the Oaks gospel stuff overall from the late sixties on. As far as members, I prefer Joe on tenor overall, but Willie gave them the higher notes for the gospel stuff that made them more comparable to other quartets and sound more “gospel” back then. As far as baritones, McSpadden was a much better vocalist than Hamill, and I think blended better with Gatlin, but Hamill gave them I suppose a different dimension in that Gatlin and McSpaden’s strong points might have overlapped some.

  3. Kyle says:

    I much prefer Ponder, Sykes, and Wright’s shuffle approach from the Gaither video….

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