December 14

In Memory: Mr. Country Music, Red Foley and His Gospel Singing

Mr. Red Foley is a man who does not need much introduction.  He had been a tall figure since the 1940s and a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame. As a TV personality, his popularity had largely contributed to the recognition of country music. He was versatile in all his works. As a musician, he could tap on a mix of genres from country, gospel, rockabilly, boogie, and rhythm & blues. He was also an actor and a host for radio and TV.

For those who may not have heard of him yet, following is a clip of Mr. Foley singing two gospel songs.

Red Foley and the Blue Ridge Quartet


1. Peace in the Valley

In 1951, Mr. Foley and the Sunshine Boys made this song a hit. It was said that this has been among the first gospel record to sell millions. Following its success, other notable artists also made recordings and renditions of it. Among them were Elvis Presley (who made it his final act on an Ed Sullivan show despite the network’s objection), Jo Stafford (1954), George Jones (1962), Johnny Cash, Ronnie Milsap, and Tom Brumley with the Light Crust Doughboys for the album, God Is Love: The Gospel Sessions.

“Peace in the Valley” was written by Thomas A. Dorsey in 1937 and originally intended for soul and gospel singer, Mahalia Jackson.

He was an African American Blues/Gospel musician and was dubbed the “Father of Black Gospel Music.”

2. Steal Away

Another spiritual song by our African brothers that is worth listening to. It was composed by Wallace Willis sometime in the 1860’s. A minister by the name of Alexander Reid heard his songs and had them written along with its melodies. Mr. Reid then included Mr. Willis songs to the song list of the Jubilee Singers and they popularized his songs in their tours.


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