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January 4

William Matthew Golden’s “Where the Soul Never Dies”

“Where the Soul Never Dies” is a song which tells about the blessings of heaven. It talks about a place where there will be no more death, sorrow, or tears. The great words in this song to the tune of Golden or Never Die all came from William Matthew Golden.

Born on January 28, 1878, William Matthew Golden comes from Webster County, Mississippi. His parents were James and Camella Hood Golding. Not much information about Mr. Golden is available apart from his origin which is Mississippi according to George Pullen Jackson.

Golden married Sarah Frances Dear of Rankin County, Mississippi. They had a child who, unfortunately, reportedly died young.  Sometimes, William Matthew Golden is mistaken with William Lee Golden of the Oak Ridge Boys. These two happen to be totally different persons.

About “Where the Soul Never Dies”

No one really knows the exact date and circumstances as to the composition of the song.

Some claimed that he produced most of his songs while serving an eight-year sentence in a state penitentiary. However, there seems to be no record where this penitentiary is and why he was there.

Golden copyrighted “Where the Soul Never Dies” in 1914. Ten years after, it appeared in Calvary Hymns edited and published by R. H. Cornelius of Fort, Worth, Texas. The track also became part of the 1922 Songs of the Coming King: The Message Due the World. Robert E. Winsett compiled in Fort Smith, Arizona from 1876 to 1952.

In addition to that track, Golden wrote: “A Beautiful Life” in 1918.  Furthermore, one website (www.hymnary.org/person/Golden_WM) credits Golden with some twenty additional songs.  The 1930 census listed him as an author of music living at Mathiston in Choctaw County, Mississippi.  He died on May 13, 1934, in a traffic accident near Eupora, Mississippi. Reportedly, his body rests at Spring Valley Cemetery South in Webster County, Mississippi.  In the year 1942, Winsett renewed the copyright of “Where the Soul Never Dies”. Sometime between 1928 and 2011, editor and publisher of Sacred Selections for the Church, Ellis J. Crum later owned the track.

To name some artists who covered “Where the Soul Never Dies” are Ricky Skaggs and Tony Rice in the album Skaggs & Rice. The two musicians run through a number of bluegrass classics. They performed them in a spare, simple old-timey style, backed only by their guitar and mandolin. Not only are the performances breathtaking, but so are the song selections. This composed of Bill Monroe’s classics “Mansions for Me” and “Tennessee Blues” plus other standards—“Talk About Suffering” and “Have You Someone (In Heaven Awaiting)”.


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Ricky Scaggs, the soul of man never dies, Tony Rice


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