Fern Jones – The Glory Road

I’ve mentioned before that my parents aren’t the biggest music fans in the world, and I’ve mentioned that I hate it when people try and give me music (because whatever it is, it usually sucks.)  So when my Mom came to visit last year and told me she got me a CD I sort of cringed because…well, I figured it would suck too.

To my surprise, Mom hit the jackpot.

Not only did she discover Fern Jones for me, she also discovered the Numero label as well.  That’s a two-fer!

First off, a word about the Numero group. these guys are truly a cut above the rest and you should visit their website HERE and buy everything they put out because it is all solid gold.  There are few reissue labels out there that put out this much quality, so when I tell you this one is near the top of my list, I’m not shitting you.   Their goal was to rescue extremely rare and mostly unknown artists, painstakingly research their history, remaster their work and release it for all to see.  I think this quote from their site sums it up:

“The mission was simple: to dig deep into the recesses of our record collections with the goal of finding the dustiest gems begging to be released from their exile on geek street. No longer would $500 singles sit in a temperature-controlled room dying for a chance to be played. No more would the artists, writers, and entrepreneurs who made these records happen go unknown and unappreciated.”

So there you have it!

But back to what I was saying before, the CD my Mom handed me was one of the labels first full length releases: Fern Jones “The Glory Road.” And man, is this one sweet piece of Country Gospel.

Born into a poor southern family in 1923, Fern got a guitar at age twelve and taught herself to play and a little piano too.  While she loved the popular music of the day, she (Like Elvis) found herself drawn to racial music.  When she was 14 she lied about her age and got a gig at the local honky tonk where she began to hone her craft. It was there that she met her husband Raymond Jones, and at age sixteen she married him.  But she never strayed far from music, even when her husband announced that he wanted to preach.

Traveling through the South on the tent revival circuit, Fern and Ray made a name for themselves preaching all along the bible belt.  Fern had insomnia and would often stay up all night writing songs and composing on her guitar.  It was during a two year spell that she wrote her one big gospel hit ‘I Was There When it Happened'(below) which was later covered by such luminaries as Johnny Cash and Jimmy Swaggert.  Fern recorded her first album at a Vanity Press (an old timey studio you could rent and record personal records at) and sold them from the trunk of her car before being picked up by the Dot label.

She recorded a single album for Dot, called ‘Singing a Happy Song,’ but it produced no singles and caused little stir in a rapidly changing world that had moved on from the gospel sound.  Her work would have eventually faded into obscurity if not for Numero’s diligent work…and their work is your gain.

So if you like Patsy Cline or Elvis, or any of that that good old gospel sound…pick this up!

For the love of God!



2 Responses to “Fern Jones – The Glory Road”

  1. July 6, 2008 at 3:47 pm


    Just found your blog. I agree about this album The Glory Road (and also agree about Numero Group.) Fern Jones was my mother.


  2. July 7, 2008 at 1:15 am


    Awesome! I was just talking her up to my country friends the other day!

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