September 13

George Jones Takes Us to Church with “Just a Closer Walk With Thee”

“Just a Closer Walk With Thee”

Obviously taken from an account in the Bible, “Just a Closer Walk With Thee” is a song that will surely make you get down on your knees and reflect about life.

This song dates back to southern African-American churches of the 19th century. Although its precise author is unknown, circumstantial evidence strongly suggests it is even prior to the Civil War.

Some personal African-American histories recall “slaves singing as they worked in the fields a song about walking by the Lord’s side.”

Just a Closer Walk With Thee is perhaps the most frequently played number in the hymn and dirge section of traditional New Orleans jazz funerals. The title and lyrics of the song allude to the Biblical passage from 2 Corinthians 5:7, 12:9, and James 4:8.

Furthermore, this traditional gospel song has been covered by a lot of artists. Some of the notable recordings were performed by Patsy Cline and Jimmie Rodgers in 1960, Ella Fitzgerald in 1967, Bob Dylan and Johnny Cash in 1969. Merle Haggard and Loretta Lynn also performed the song in 1971 and 1972, respectively.

Moreover, modern versions of this song have also been recorded. These include Willie Nelson’s in 1996, Anne Murray’s in 1999, and Charley Pride’s, and Randy Travis’ in 2006.

George Jones Takes Us to Church with "Just a Closer Walk With Thee" 1
George Jones | Photo Credits:

George Jones’ Heavenly Version

True enough, George Jones always had a deep fondness for gospel music in his heart. Whenever he had the chance to record a gospel album, he took every opportunity. Jone’s connection to gospel music goes way back to his childhood. He first learned how to play the guitar in the church by performing gospel songs. After achieving country superstardom years later, Jones continued to share his passion for gospel music through his three gospel albums.

Moreover, “Just a Closer Walk With Thee” was featured on Jones’ 2003 album The Gospel Collection. Interestingly, that record peaked at the 19th spot on the Billboard country albums chart and the third on the Billboard Christian albums chart.

Watch Jones heavenly renders the classic gospel tune, “Just a Closer Walk With Thee” below:

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George Jones, gospel, just a closer walk with thee

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