The Glory Road
"She sounded like Saturday night on a Sunday morning. Patsy on Jesus. Elvis without the pelvis. A mother, a wife, even an ordained minister. In the space of twenty years Fern Jones would perform in over 2,000 tents and churches for nearly 50,000 people. She'd release two albums and a few impossibly rare 78s, and write one song that would be a classic on the gospel circuit for years to come. So why hasn't anyone ever heard of Fern Jones? How is her record selling on Ebay for less than $15? How is it possible that rockabilly scholars can tell you every detail about the players on Fern's album, but not a single thing about her? In what world can a musician be covered by Jimmie Davis, the Blackwood Brothers, Jimmy Swaggart, and even The Man In Black himself, Johnny Cash, and yet register not so much as a footnote in any history of country or gospel music? How could something so wonderful be so impossibly obscure? From a purely historical perspective, we knew we had to release this record. Singing A Happy Song had not one, not two, but four members of Nashville's prestigious A-team fresh off June 1958 sessions with Elvis. On guitar was Hank 'Sugarfoot' Garland (Roy Orbison, Marty Robbins, Conway Twitty, Hank Williams Sr., Everly Brothers), Floyd Cramer played piano (Bobby Bare, Patsy Cline, Wings, Johnny Cash, Chet Atkins), Joe Zinkan on bass (Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins, Merle Haggard, Loretta Lynn), and the lovable Buddy Harman on drums (Reba McEntire, Hank Snow, Willie Nelson). Why this towering foursome was backing up a preacher's wife from Arkansas is anyone's guess. The lone album Fern Jones released on Dot Records in 1959 was the culmination of almost 20 years on the gospel highway. Singing A Happy Song was Sister Fern bringing the same untamed energy to church music that young white Southerners were bringing to their rock n' roll."