In last week’s column, I made a mistake. I credited the song, I Go to the Rock, as being written by Dottie Rambo and recorded by her daughter Reba. A gentleman named Jerry Boor contacted me and pointed out my mistake in a very kind manner. “The song was only written by Dottie Rambo, not by her daughter, Reba Rambo-McGuire. Reba never recorded it, but Dottie, of course, along with many others like Pat Boone, Danniebelle Hall recorded it, and Whitney Houston recorded it for the Preacher’s Wife soundtrack.”
I was delighted to hear from Mr. Boor and to hear about Dottie’s life through a connection he made for me with Larry Ferguson who said Dottie was like his mom and he misses her every day. He was her manager.
Her songs were definitely at the top of my list for songs I wanted to learn to sing and play on my guitar when I was young. She had a beautiful style and always a clear message from her heart about her understanding and relationship with God. Her songs told a story.
Music passes through seasons. There was the southern gospel sound that Dottie mastered and made popular. In later years there were scripture songs, songs that tried to sound like Hebrew melodies, choruses that were repeated a dozen times in one song, praise, and worship songs. Although the sound of praise and worship is still present in many churches, I’ve noticed the newer music is going back to the idea of glorifying God through a story in song. I think Dottie would be happy to hear it.
Mr. Ferguson shared the following information about Dottie:
“Dottie Rambo wrote over 2,500 songs and one of the most awarded songwriters in Christian Music History as well as music in General. She was referred to as The Queen of Gospel Music. Her songs appeared in movies, TV shows like Dr. Phil and Saturday Night Live!
“Her album, It’s The Soul Of Me, won a Grammy for Best Soul Gospel Performance in 1968, and was the only album by a Caucasian performer to win that award in the award’s history.
“Artists that have recorded and performed her music include Dolly Parton, Whitney Houston, Elvis, Jerry Lee Lewis, Aretha Franklin, Carol Channing, The Gaithers, Ricky Skaggs, and Barbara Mandrell!
“A new tribute cd, Touch through Me: The Songs of Dottie Rambo, should release later this year and includes 18 of her classic songs recorded by 30 mainstream artists including Dolly Parton, Little Richard, the late George Jones and Lynn Anderson.
“The Christian Country Music Association named her Songwriter of The Century in 1997. She was inducted into the NSAI Songwriters Hall Of Fame in 2007, The Kentucky Music Hall of Fame 2006, Georgia Music Hall of Fame 2007, Gospel Music Hall of Fame 1991 and again for tenure in a group in 2001, Southern Gospel Music Hall of Fame in 1997 and North American Country Music Hall Of Fame 2004. These are notable among many more awards.
“Her compositions are in hymn books in various languages and sang all over the world. Classic songs include He Looked beyond My Fault and Saw My Need, We Shall Behold Him, If That Isn’t Love, Sheltered in the Arms of God, Holy Spirit Thou Art Welcome In This Place, I’ve Never Been This Homesick Before and many others.
“On May 11, 2008 Dottie was on tour leaving Illinois and heading to Dallas, Texas when her tour bus crashed. She was killed instantly.”
I want to express gratitude to Mr. Boor and Mr. Ferguson for their correction and input about Dottie Rambo. Dottie’s songs have touched many lives. Her body may have perished in a crash, but her songs endure. There is no doubt that this beloved gospel singer has added her voice and her music to the sounds of heaven.
Reach Judith Victoria Hensley at [email protected] or on Facebook. Check out her blog: One Step Beyond the Door.