Ann Dothers

For your Sunday evening dose of introspection, songwriter Marty Funderburk writes about the personal and professional perils of living solely on the right side of the singer/songwriter slash. Money quote:

You see, there are two classes of songwriters. There are artists, whose names and faces are known throughout the industry, who happen to write

[Snip]

Then there are “Professional Writers.” These are individuals who don’t stand on a platform night after night, but who supply many of today’s Southern Gospel artists with songs so that they can do just that. Despite their success rate, their names rarely appear on those very same ballots I just mentioned. Makes sense….fans don’t award who fans don’t know. Unless they read the fine print they’ve likely never seen these names. And with digital downloads steadily overtaking CD sales, it’s even less likely that they’ll know who wrote their favorite song. Radio stations have a hard enough time telling us who sang the last song we heard, much less who wrote it. Of course, the die-hard fan can always learn all there is to know about a project by reading record reviews on their favorite web sites. Well, almost everything there is to know….it seems that many reviewers think it’s only important to list notable writers’ names that lend credibility to the project. Early on in my career, I joked with many of my songwriting friends that we should all have “Ann Dothers” carved on our tombstones – since that’s the way our names so often appeared in print….“This project features songs written by such notable writers as ‘Big Name Artist/Writer A, Big Name Artist/Writer B, Big Name Artist/Writer C….and others.” Can someone please pass a law stating that a press release or an album review must either mention all the writers or none of the writers?

Read the whole thing.

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Comments

  1. Ocean View wrote:

    It’s getting more and more difficult to even find out who wrote the songs on a project. The majority of songs on ITunes have a big blank where the composer’s name(s) should be. That’s almost like publishing a book and leaving off the author’s name. It’s a very sad trend.

  2. David Bruce Murray wrote:

    There should be a law that requires concert festivals to list every artist who will be appearing, too. That artist named “Minnie Moore” sure does play a lot of those types of dates.

    I’ll try to start listing Marty’s name more often in my reviews. Even when he doesn’t write a song for the project I’m reviewing, I’ll see if I can work it in. I want to do my part to make sure his legacy is preserved. :o)

  3. Kyle wrote:

    It seems that I see a lot more of songwriters mentioned in Daywind press releases (although, 9 times out of 10, it seems that the writers named in the PR’s are Daywind contract writers….go figure!!).

    There are those who get frequent mention, but unless you’re a gospel buff or someone who is a stickler for details, no one would be able to tell you who wrote “Boundless Love” or “We Shall See Jesus” (Dianne Wilkinson).

  4. Eric Melton wrote:

    The songwriters should deserve the credit. Where ITUnes does not want to mention the writer/publisher and there are many other internet sites that do the same. This is only another way that people are trying to keep from paying the royalties that are should be sent to the writers and publishers. Give credit where credit is due.

    For a long time the secular world has been blamed for this, but it has spilled over into Christian music in a great way.

  5. Ed Butler wrote:

    I have felt strongly for many years that if songwriters are to be acknowledged and awarded - there should be two categories; performing and non-performing. Performing would rarely if ever recognize historical writers like Mosie Lister or contemporary writers like Joel Lindsey or even Dianne Wilkinson. As it is - and I mean no disrespect towards Rodney Griffin - the names people most recognize are nominated and win.

    JEB

  6. JIM wrote:

    I would be willing to bank that the only reason Poet Voices is invited to main stage at NQC is because of the popularity of Phil Cross’s songwriting.

  7. disrespectful_1 wrote:

    Lets get a law passed that every DJ has to mention each song’s title, writer(s), artist, the album name, producer, the label, the year it was recorded, names of all the musicians who played on the session, whether or not it’s still in print and available at retail, and whether or not there is an accompaniment track available. Maybe also include information on any other artist(s) who happened to have recorded the same song, or other song(s) with same or similar title.

    And if it’s not available for purchace, explain why they’re playing the song.

    This was meant in sarcasm, but Marty’s point is valid: many writers and producers do not get the credit they deserve, unless, as stated above, they are also performers. I agree, there should probably be 2 separate categories — perfoming writers and no -performing writers.

  8. Sissey wrote:

    Phil Cross deserves to be on Main Stage. He has done a lot for Southern Gospel.

  9. Al Locke wrote:

    Amen #7…….. A good example is Producer/Studio player Bobby All is laid up in the hospital now in very grave condition. He produces The Chuck Wagon Gang, Kevin Spencer, etc. and has played on many SG and Country recordings. He has been in Nashville many years. Yet not many people know him because we has not been onstage. By the way, please keep him and his family in your prayers.

  10. Songwriter Sue wrote:

    Dear DBM, While you are at it, could you also manage to include my name now and then? I would so appreciate it! (Like you could say “and Sue Smith… who is friends with Joel Lindsey, Wayne Haun, and Marty Funderburk.) ;)

  11. Belinda Smith wrote:

    Dear DMB,
    Me too! Me too! (for example…”and Belinda Smith…who is friends with Sue Smith…who is also friends Joel Lindsey, Wayne Haun, and Marty Funderburk.) ;-)

  12. quartet-man wrote:

    #10 and #11 lol.
    As far as Bobby All, his name has shown up on many credits. I hate to hear about his problems.

  13. Leebob wrote:

    That is twice I have seen Phil’s name come up in less than a positive light. JIM - has Phil wronged you in some way?
    Simply from his song writing he should be allowed on the main stage. Other groups had performed his songs for years before he decided to have his own group and when he did “Jesus Built a Bridge” went straight to the top for several months. Throw in Singing News Song of the Year for 1998 I Am Redeemed and whatever group he happens to have is quite worthy to be on that stage. And your qualifications would be….

    I have known Phil for over 13 years and have known him to be nothing but upstanding in his dealings and has given time to me personally that alot of “larger” names would not have offered. In the times that I have spent with him, he would seem to be demanding of things being done the best way possible, which could rub some who would like to “coast” the wrong way. So in the interest of fairness, how has Phil wronged you to where you feel you should or even have the right to say that he does not have the right to be on the stage at NQC?

  14. quartet-man wrote:

    As good song as I Am Redeemed is, he has several others. Some of my favorite Phil Cross tunes are The Key, Champion Of Love, Glory Is Waiting For Me, Grace And Glory, The lamb Has Prevailed, Glorious City of God, One Holy Lamb, Yes I Am, Wonderful Shepherd. He has written quite a few great songs.

  15. Jim wrote:

    LEEBOOB-No wrong to me whatsoever. I’m not a performer so I have no qualifications to justify myself on a “stage”. My comments were directed to how NQC picks and chooses those who play the game or at least spend a ton of money in advertising with the Singing News magazine.
    I simply made a statement take it how you may.

  16. Sissey wrote:

    From what I know of Phil Cross he does not play the game. He is a striaght forward man. Phil does an outstanding job on the Songwriters Showcase at NQC. I can’t wait to see what Phil is doing with FBC of Atlanta this year at NQC.

  17. Bubba Smith wrote:

    Shame on you, David Bruce Murray, for your witty remark about your wanting to do your part to make sure Marty’s legacy is preserved. If it weren’t for songwriters, professional or artist/writers, you’d have no Murray’s Encyclopedia of Southern Gospel Music to sell.

  18. LuckyDog wrote:

    Can someone please post what is going on with Bobby All? Whatever it is, I will be praying for him. I admire his work tremendously.

    I have the deepest respect for studio players. They are, so often, at the forefront of great song creations, yet remain in the background of fan’s recognition.

  19. Al Locke wrote:

    Bobby All is in a Nashville hospital (for the third week) in ICU. He is being treated for septic shock. He is showing little or no progress. The Singing News website has information on a fund that has been created to help with his medical bills. Please keep him and his family in your prayers.

  20. Eric Melton wrote:

    Don’t forget Phil has many Top songs recorded by artists way ahead of his singing nationally. The first I recall were the Singing Americans from 1985 the Riversong Recording “Black and White” which in my opinion was one of the best recordings of all time. The 2 he wrote from that record were “Welcome To Heaven” and “They Can’t Take That Away From Me”

    Not to mention 2 years later “There’s A Miracle In Me” which was a Top 5 for the Greenes and “When I Get Carried Away” by Gold City. There should be no question about Phil’s songwrtiting or his ability to deliver quality music on stage with the Poet Voices. As far as a personal favorite of mine that he wrote I would say I loved “One Holy Lamb” and “The Only King”.

  21. Eric Melton wrote:

    Jim wrote:

    My comments were directed to how NQC picks and chooses those who play the game or at least spend a ton of money in advertising with the Singing News magazine.

    Jim I really don’t understand where it is that you are saying who plays the game. From looking at the schedule it appears to me that the Top talent from this year is scheduled to be there. The Singing News has not say so when it comes to picking the talent for NQC. The only thing they are in charge of is the Fan Awards this year on Saturday night instead of Thursday. That came from the mouth of the one of the Singing News staff. The board of NQC decides who will perform and who will not.

  22. Casual Observer wrote:

    Eric M. - “One Holy Lamb” was written, primarily, by Cindi Ballard - she brought Phil in to help finish the idea. Just another illustration of what Marty is talking about on his blog - how many of us ever mention Cindi’s name in connection with “One Holy Lamb?” But we always mention Phil’s name. Point well taken Marty.

  23. Casual Observer wrote:

    Oh, and who ever mentions Carolyn Cross when they speak of “Champion of Love?”

  24. JIM wrote:

    Casual,
    Carolyn was influential in many of Phil’s earlier hits but does she get any credit? I think not. It’s hard enough for ANN DOTHERS to get any credit much less ex-wives.

  25. woody wright wrote:

    Wow, are my feelings hurt? The Smiths, Bubba, DBM and everybody else left me out of the songwriter lists! You can say . . . I don’t know the Smith girls … but I met Joel Lindsey, Wayne Haun, and Marty Funderburk at least once.

  26. Casual Observer wrote:

    I touched Amy Grant’s bus…

  27. Eric Melton wrote:

    Casual Observer and Jim,

    My apologies on that. I do know of Cyndi and she is a great writer.

    Acutally if you go back and look on the liner notes on those early days of Phil’s writing Carolyn’s name is mentioned to many of those songs. I will agree that she deserves the credit too for many of those songs. As being in Southern Gospel Radio in past years and listening and visiting more than 250 Southern Gospel Stations in the past 15 years and listening to many more many of the announcers do often mention the writers. While this may not sound like good radio (if you were speaking to radio consultants, who say less is more) especially those that play 10 in a row or 45 min of commercial free music or those that put 2 different companies comp CD’s in and allow them to track through the whole disc) Many of your traditional DJ’s like to talk about the music, the artists and the writers and yes I have been guilty of this also.

    However I have also found numerous recordings in the past in our field where the credit was not even given on the liner notes especially if you dated things back to LPs. It seems more in the past that it was the norm not to include all of the writer and publisher info on recordings during the 70’s and 80’s. Sad fact but true.

    In looking at a Vinyl Album in my collection by one the of the best known groups during the 80’s I can’t find one writer of any of the songs listed on the album notes. I wonder why it was not discussed more then. Of course we did not have access to this tool called the internet to have discussions like this one at that time.

  28. Leebob wrote:

    I think the point on Phil Cross goes well here because, until he had his own group, he did not receive songwriter of the year awards although his songs have been nominated for years. (Yes I recognize Carolynn for her contributions).

    The original point by Marty was that you had to be a performer before you would get recognized at NQC for awards as a writer. Phil Cross would be a prime example to that point.

    Those who have mentioned all the songs I know them all to well while researching our “Tribute” project. It was very difficult getting the songs down to about 10 to 12 for this particular project.

  29. JIM wrote:

    Hmmm, someone has been in the industry for 25 years and coming out with a “Tribute” project. Hats off to taking advantage of free advertising. Will the project be performed by original members or current members of PV?

  30. Leebob wrote:

    Songs of Phil Cross and it’s been out for awhile now and with his blessing and full royalties paid.

    gheeeesh!!!!!!!

  31. Leebob wrote:

    JIM #29 Our idea is to do songs by one writer on a series of projects, Phil just happened to be the first one because of his encouragement to me and our group personally and the fact we like his music. These are not done by any members of PV as it is not them doing it.

    We thought about Mosie Lister but our friends the Booth Brothers have pretty much cornered that market.

  32. Chuck Peters wrote:

    I would include Sue Smith, Joel Lindsey, Wayne Haun, Marty Funderburk.. Ann Dothers’ names in my news writing.. but,.. I don’t know who they are.

  33. Trent wrote:

    I think it would be really cool if someone would compile some discographies of songwriters’ works….listing which songs the writer wrote or co-wrote and group name/project title the songs appear on. That would be very interesting to me.

    Back to Phil Cross, a couple of other songs that he either wrote or co-wrote were “Wedding Music” (I believe he co-wrote that one with Kirk Talley) and “Saved To The Uttermost”. Those are a couple of classics.

  34. Edie wrote:

    Well, nothing against the man - I don’t know him - but I have not cared much for Phil Cross’s writing since he and Carolyn got divorced. They had such amazing chemistry, as collaborators. I actually heard some things she wrote later that were quite good — don’t know why she didn’t stay in the business, I think she would have done very well.

  35. David Bruce Murray wrote:

    Sue,
    I mentioned your name (along with Marty’s, of course) already this year.
    http://www.musicscribe.com/blog/wordpress/?p=928

    Belinda,
    I’m not mentioning you until you learn to spell my initials correctly! :o)

    Bubba,
    Er…nevermind…I can’t think of anything witty to say to a grown man who still goes by “Bubba.”

  36. quartet-man wrote:

    I do remember when Carolyn Cross married Biney English and it seems she may have written some then (but it is hard to tell offhand since the name on her previous credits changed), but I believe she did do some things without Phil. I think she might’ve had what Gloria Gaither at first had, the assumption from many people that her name was on there due to marriage, not contributions. Perhaps an interesting topic would be spouses who work together. I know Roger and Debbie Bennett did.

  37. Leebob wrote:

    The other writer that has had a tremendous influence in my life would be Squire Parsons. Talking with him and those that travelled with him he was extremely genuine and had a presence on stage, as a soloist especially, that could hold an audience like no other soloist that I have seen. Now THERE’S a tribute project that would be tough to narrow down to about 10 to 12 songs.

  38. Belinda Smith wrote:

    David Bruce Murray–
    I was typing too fast!! Sue and I were writing (with Tony Wood, to mention another great writer I know) when she told me about this message thread, and I was trying to type while laughing. Please accept my most humble apologies and know that I consider you the smartest and best looking person on Earth.

    Yours, totally and completely reprimanded-
    Belinda Smith

  39. Bubba Smith wrote:

    David,

    I guess I was just a little surprised with your comments about Marty as I have truly admired and enjoyed your and Doug’s websites/blogs. Both sites were instrumental in educating me to the music of Southern Gospel since coming from the “dark” side of CCM! It just didn’t seem like something you’d say.

    My bad for being pissy and taking the low road about your encyclopedia. I’m sure it’s a good read…

    bubba “takin’ it like a grown man” smith

  40. David Bruce Murray wrote:

    Belinda,
    All is well! I question the quality of your eyesight now, but all is well… :o)

    Bubba,
    You mean you were actually serious before? You must not be familiar with the following symbol: :o)

    That’s an internet “grin,” which means the writer is joking. Note that I placed one of those after my comments about Marty.

  41. Bubba Smith wrote:

    David,

    To be honest, I thought it was the universal symbol for Mr. Bill (Saturday Night Live) lying on his side. I just went back to give it another look, and it still looks like it could be the universal symbol for Mr. Bill lying on his side oh, nooooooooooo).

    I thought the internet “grin” was :)

    I didn’t realize the internet “grin” had morphed to :o) … which to me, looks like Mr. Bill lying on his side.

    My bad… oh welllllllllllllllllll

  42. Sgospellover wrote:

    Phill Cross is another “commercial” songwriter. The Ability to appeal to the masses through mathching songs to artist, but to me there is no no real ministry there, in my opinion. Gerald crabb has the ability to touch a heart, as does Dottie Rambo, Ronnie Hinson, Larry Petree and others. There is a difference in an ability to match songs to groups, and having an anointing to write. Oooooh it’s just an opinion calm down. Perhaps the overlooking of songwriters is due to the fact that there are a kazillion songs in southern gospel that sound absolutely identical. When are we going to have some people throw out something ORIGINAL, and unique. It’s pretty bad when “Red Letter Day” is a smash, how shallow we’ve become. But then again, opinions are like armpits, everybody has 2 and they stink.

  43. Susan wrote:

    Does anyone know who wrote “Boundless Love”. Song words “Boundless Love..Unending Joy…this is my life..its what I know..”. Im finding Dianne Wilkinson but not 100 percent sure. Need who wrote this, what year, who originally performed, was it on someones album. When was the song released and under what label.

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