Homesick … but for what?

Via my pal SV’s Facebook page a while back, a recording of the Rambos doing “I’ve Never Been This Homesick.” Take a look and listen and then we’ll regroup on the south side of the clip.

Some more or less random thoughts.

1. I always am excited when I see/hear an old Rambos clip like this (they were long defunct by the time I was old enough to pay attention), but just as inevitably, I come away from it thinking the same thing: I really almost always prefer solid covers of Dottie Rambo’s songs over the Rambos’s own version of her music (you can see fairly different Crabb examples, to take just two, here and here … ftr I prefer the latter over the former, despite the recording quality problems and Jason Crabb’s overindulgence of his inner backwoods preacher).

2.This clip is pretty much a perfect example of why it is almost impossible to really explain southern gospel to an outsider who doesn’t come from the world from which this clip emerged.

3. Susan Sontag in “Notes on Camp”: “Many examples of Camp are things which, from a ’serious’ point of view, are either bad art or kitsch […] I am strongly drawn to Camp, and almost as strongly offended by it. That is why I want to talk about it, and why I can. For no one who wholeheartedly shares in a given sensibility can analyze it. …”

4. Here’s No. 2  and 3 above recast in the form of questions: What is that bust of Beethoven doing there? Why does so much of this feel like community theater in general, and what on earth, in particular, is up with the “wild look,” as SV put it on his FB page, in Reba’s eyes around the 2:02 mark?  Why are they in a (faux?) library and/but using a band (track?) behind the piano to accompany a song about heaven imagined as the old home place, which, one assumes, did NOT have a library, a grand piano, or a bust of Beethoven in it? And yet how does the song manage to hold up - for it so clearly does - under the weight of all this cognitive and aesthetic dissonance? I’m actually asking, for the most part.

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  1. Scott wrote:

    SV was watching this again and noted the bone structure on the women’s faces…reminiscent of Dolly Parton…. Mountain folk…

  2. Videoguy wrote:

    #2 might explain the decor oddities: the set was likely decorated by someone clueless of the SG culture.

  3. Rick wrote:

    I loved the Rambos. I was in Jr. High & High School when they were at their height of popularity. They were unique in their sound and I think that had a great deal to do with why I connected with their music so strongly. I still have nearly every record they put out.
    I never had the chance to see them in concert, tho many years later I saw Reba & Dony at a nearby church.

  4. cdguy wrote:

    re Doug’s #1 comment: This was not their original recording. The original was probably 10-15 years prior to this, and much more true to their country-style upbringing. This one was probably produced by Dony, which would explain the contemporary stylings. The original was really more of a definative rendition. I loved it, but not so much this one. Someone was probably trying to expand their audience, and I’m not sure this would have been an effective effort.

    That being said, I agree with Dougs premise of enjoying the covers, rather than the originals. So many of the covers we’ve heard of Dottie’s songs were done my finer singers, many with more elaborate instrumentation than the originals. That would be a matter of the original cuts being truer to how Dottie heard the songs when she wrote them, and the covers being produced by someone more musical.

    But then, we get back to the previous discussion of the songwriter “feeling” the song as only the author can, vs a better voice interpreting the same song. In my opinion, some of the Rambos recordings of the middle-to-late 70’s hold up, quality-wise, because they were produced very well (Bob MacKenzie, I believe), yet allowed them to be themselves (not overproduced).

    Personally, I this clip is hokey, and I would have no desire to watch it a 2nd time. It would not entice me to buy product.

    As for the decor, it was probably on the set of some TV show that was not primarily about SGM. Like PTL or TBN or 700 Club.

  5. sgoldy wrote:

    Another question, how can Reba say “hometime” around the 2:00 mark without touching her lips together?

  6. Mark wrote:

    I am too young to have seen the Rambos in their prime but my mom recounts seeing them live and closing her eyes to listen to them because she couldn’t stand to see them because of all the make up and what my said was in “outfits so tight, they would have had to been melted and poured in them.” I find that really hilarious that she was so affected by their personal apprearance that she couldn’t enjoy the concert.

  7. Scott wrote:

    I feel by Dottie Rambo’s music the way I feel about Carole King. Sometimes King nails it when interpreting her own stuff like on “Will You Love Me Tomorrow” and “Natural Woman” (debatable, yes), and sometimes she just blows it, as in her myraid takes on “Oh No, Not My Baby.”

    I will always contend that even with her limited vocal ability and even with the arrangement that is all-vegas, no one has done “We Shall Behold Him” any better.

    Of course, it would be nice to hear some disagreement with me….

  8. quartet-man wrote:

    I much more like the original one on their HeartWarming recording. Bob McKenzie was a great producer. He did some great ones for the Rambos and especially the Oaks and Stamps.

    As far as the bust, I think it was left over from the Batman TV Series from the sixties. ;-)

  9. intheknow wrote:

    just good to see doug noticing ANY bust at all! lol

  10. JEB wrote:

    #5 - I must defend Reba. Her lips did touch…

    Always loved the Rambos. I went to see Dony and Reba once - but never wanted to again.

    Like most folks - I loved Dottie Rambo and some of her music will still be sung 50 years or more from now.


  11. TJT wrote:

    This cut of Homesick, is from the
    “memories made new” project, Sometime
    in mid 80s. The original version was from
    the “Naturally” project from about 1977, which had a very country sound. If memory serves me right, this tape is from
    Dottie’s show produced by TBN in the80s
    from California, and was probably taped in someones home there. If you look to the left when they show Dony you can see daylight and palm trees.

  12. Kyle wrote:

    I prefer the original recording, too. It’s not nearly as rushed as this clip is. I think the Rambos peaked with their two-disc live album (”Live at Soul Harvest,” maybe, can’t remember the exact title).

  13. woodstock wrote:

    This is from Dottie’s talk show on TBN, hence the tacky set. At the time “Homesick” was originally recorded, around ‘77 or ‘78, Phil Johnson was the Rambos producer. He took over from Bob McKenzie in 1975.

  14. TJT wrote:

    Kyle # 12, you’re close… it was
    “Alive!….And Live at Soul’s Harbor”
    it was recorded at Soul’s Harbor in
    Minneapolis, MN. 1974 with Bob
    MacKenzie, Producer It was the best live
    album the Rambos recorded.

  15. Kyle wrote:

    That’s the one. My favorite Rambos project!!

  16. thom wrote:

    like fingernails on a chalk board…

  17. quartet-man wrote:

    I think I have the live lp, but didn’t listen to any but one song on there. I have the Masters of Gospel compilation which does have some good stuff on it. I didn’t realize when MacKenzie stopped producing them. I guess I presumed he did most of the HeartWarming stuff since he did do the others I mentioned and many in the sixties and seventies on HeartWarming.

  18. woodstock wrote:

    What Mark said… my parents felt the same way about Dottie’s appearance in her later years. They had known her when she was strict Pentecostal. A lot of those women felt the need to make up for lost time in the makeup and jewelry dept.

  19. David Bruce Murray wrote:

    I think #5 meant “Home time” at 2:12 rather than 2:00.

    #5 is correct. It’s all teeth. Those lips aren’t within a foot of each other.

  20. matt wrote:

    I don’t know if this works, but youtube “The Kingsmen Quartet Shreds take 3″ is pretty darned hillarious……..

  21. wanderer wrote:

    The Rambos. I loved their music yet wasn’t really struck on any of them as far as solos goes. It must’ve been their blend. For a family that made such great music, they sure weren’t in harmony off stage. When Dottie strayed from Pentecost, she sure made it a point to let everyone know. The hair got cut, the dress came off in favour of pants even on the stage…even in a time when many women still wore dresses and yet she was able to stay the beloved Dottie. I’ve always wondered why the Goodmans disliked Buck. Did they blame him for taking Dottie out of Pentecost? Did the Goodmans leave Pentecost? Vestal wore pants on the Gaither Videos. Why did the Oaks get blackballed from Gospel for playing Vegas, yet the Stamps were still welcome after being Elvis’ back up singers? These and other questions will be answered on the next episode of….well, you know.

  22. Dusty Wells wrote:

    All I can say is I AM SO GLAD AND HONORED AND SO VERY PRIVILEDGED TO HAVE WORKED ALONGSIDE OF THEM FOR YEARS AND YEARS…yes, they had their faults, BUT….they really did strive to live their songs…say what you want, there will never be another RAMBOS!!!! Three of the most talented individuals to ever grace our wonderful southern gospel world! And their music is boundless, touching so many other musical genres! I could go on and on…Reba can still sing “the yellow pages”…love em!!!!!

  23. Gephart wrote:

    #20 Matt, Sounds about right to me..

  24. Rick wrote:

    My understanding is that the Goodmans disliked Buck because of his seeing other women while married to Dottie.

  25. Wade wrote:

    Did the Goodman’s like any body???

  26. intheknow wrote:

    yea…when you see other women….some people don’t like you for that! Has Gold City found a bass singer yet?

  27. onemadeupmind wrote:

    Dottie and Reba weren’t saints either! If only a certain dead bass singer could could talk.

  28. SG Obzerver wrote:

    #27 - Do tell! Email me if its too hot for virgin ears! I am shameless I know…but hey…2/3rds of those mentioned have joined the choir supernal anyway. If you can’t talk about dead folks who CAN you talk about?

  29. Wade wrote:

    #27 et al… I am sure DMP knows and she will be on here to tell us she knows but can’t tell!! lol;-)))

    Yeah there is many sensitive ppl on here. I wish there could be a rated up version of the site.

    There are MANY DEAD BASS singers that could tell tales, Chief!!

  30. J wrote:

    Yes, Yes the bass singer could tell a lot of stories about a lot of people who, unlike the bass singer, never owned up to their failings they just continue to thrill us with their “spotless testimonies.” I have always wondered how many of Dottie’s songs the bass singer had a part in.

  31. DMP wrote:

    Sorry to disappoint Wade, but I know nothing. Contrary to what you believe, I don’t make things up. Well put J.

  32. Glenn wrote:

    #9, I have a lot in common with Doug, and that is funny. Concerning Dottie, I wonder how many Singing News “Songwriter of the Year” awards she would have won in her day.

  33. Irishlad wrote:

    The look on Beethoven’s face said what exactly he thought of Sg in general and the Rambos in particular.I think he was especially cross with Buck and his adulterous ways.Personally it brought me back to ‘74 when i was young and innocent and took the Rambos at face value.

  34. Tim wrote:

    I allways like it when the locals “sang their specials” and would rhyme winder with splinder.

  35. Irishlad wrote:

    Was watching the Rambo’s clip again for Reba’s “wild look” at 2.02,i kid you not,at that exact spot the screen froze.Without getting too hysterical about it,all i’ll say is,it scared the crap out of me!

  36. DH wrote:

    This video takes tacky to an all new level. Reenforces why I could never stand the Rambos.

  37. Auke wrote:

    I love the compositions of Dottie…but never cared for their delivery of their music.
    They were too Liberace, Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker, Jimmy Swaggart-esh for moi!
    Who ever the basssinger was hope his singing was better than his taste in women!


  38. Tim wrote:

    Before the Rambos and Goodmans really hit it big they both had some roots in Evansville, Indiana. My uncle was a foremam at a now defunct Zenith TV plant where both Sam Goodman and Buck Rambo worked at the same time. I also talked to Vestal at a cook book signing at NQC were she said that their son Rick was born at the hospital were my wife worked.

  39. DH wrote:

    After looking at this clip again, I think one could say the Rambos were too familiar with the camera…yukk!

  40. Tim wrote:

    “Watch the bright light shine”? what the… and whats with the ending?

  41. Tim wrote:

    I’m shocked that Dottie wasn’t in Elvis’ jumpsuit.

  42. cynical one wrote:

    Irishlad, maybe the expression on Beethoven’s face is gratitude for is deafness?

    Not to spill any beans, but Dottie’s supposedly favorite bass singer went by 2 initials and his last name. But we need to STAMPS out this gossipping.

  43. quartet-man wrote:

    #42 That was the first one I thought of, but I hope you two aren’t implying that J.D. had an affair with either. Maybe he might have known things they did less than they should have.

  44. Wade wrote:

    Y’all leave Dottie alone for having a special relationship with a bass singer. That has been going on since cave man days. Women love the vibrations of a DEEP voice.

    It works for many of us!!

    The most fun thing from watching this video is watching some of the connected videos on youtube.

    WHO is PATTY Carpenter??? She was with the Rambo’s on some of the RAMBO REUNION Videos!!!

    I am not old enough to remember much of The Rambos on the stage at Brutha Mulls Singings. So Patty must have been a RAMBO of sme kind at some point right??? Come on Q-Man I know you will know!!

    She sure was fun to look at. I am Surprised CVH did not mention her when we talked about SGM Hotties!!

    But she might have been to tall for him!! :-)))

    Anothr funny thing was to look at the videos over the years and to note how much younger Reba & Dony look now! I wonder who did there work???

    I sure would like to hear/watch Destiny sing more. I love a Goth Girl!!

  45. Rick wrote:

    Patty Carpenter sang on the Rambos’ “Queen of Paradise” album, filling Reba’s spot. Reba was, at that time, establishing her solo career. On the next album, however, Reba was back. The album was called “Crossin’ Over.” The title was meant to highlight the direction the Rambos were taking towards a more contemporary sound. Patty rejoined the Rambos for their “Rambo Reunion” album.

  46. Wade wrote:

    Thanks Rick… she sounded even more of a HIGH SOPRANO more than Reba!!! She for sure put THE TOP on the harmony!!

  47. DMP wrote:

    Wade, I would respond, but you post was illegible. I have no clue what you are trying to say. And for the love of God folks, can one of you come up with a response that goes beyond “I know you are but what am I?” Denise, I have followed the GVB from the beginning and I have been a fan of Guy’s from the start. That’s why I’m interested. Your answer was lame.

    For all of you enjoying you fantasy of me running a TMZ of SG, the problem is, I don’t know anything. All I know is about the Guy situation, and strangely enough, there are always a few that come running out in a tizzy to tell me that I am nuts and that I should let it go. There is an old saying, when you throw a rock into a pack of dogs, the one that yelps loudest got hit. Sure would like to know why you are yelping Denise.

    Wade, you’re so screwed up you can’t remember what you wrote. And which is it? You know the details surrounding Guy, or you don’t? You claimed to know everything.

    Wade wrote:
    “Y’all leave Dottie alone for having a special relationship with a bass singer. That has been going on since cave man days. Women love the vibrations of a DEEP voice.”

  48. Wade wrote:

    DMP… Honey Calm Down… I do not know what your point is but I am sure you do…think you are on the wrong thread…Denise is no where on this thread…take a DEEP BREATH pull your panties out of your crack. It will ALL be OK!!!

    I don’t know anything about the Guy situation… you do and good for you but like Denise said on the other thread we do not care if you do!!! Just go have a good time…it will all be good!!!

    God Love Your Heart!! Go to The Guy Site and satisfy yourself cause you know and none of the rest of us do!!

  49. quartet-man wrote:

    DMP, I was just having some fun with the THZ thing after it was presented. It was a funny concept.

  50. quartet-man wrote:

    Oops TMZ. :)

  51. Wade wrote:

    I am still watching this every day!!! I like the CRAZY look in Reba eyes… Snakes in the HEAD thing!!

  52. Ann wrote:

    I didn’t take time to read all the posts and someone else may have said it. However, if not …here goes… Dottie Rambo is without question, in my opinion, one of the most prolific writers of ALL TIME. Some say “the best female since Fannie Crosby.” Forget it … Fanny Crosby never wrote a more powerful lyric than those of Dottie Rambo and I understand that she wrote none of her melodies. Dottie was gifted with a special anointing from God. She didn’t write music, everything was by ear. But the lyrics and the melodies were her’s. So, she is not any less a writer than Fanny Crosby. And as far as the gender goes …what would make someone even classify anyone’s talent in writing by it? She’s just the best. Now, the set of this video is a TBN set and this is from the 80’s when Dottie did a show on TBN called “DOTTIE RAMBO MAGAZINE.” This particular episode just was to highlight her family. She had other guests and inteviewed them, as well as singing and such. I never saw the show, but I have a lot of video footage from it. This arrangement of the song STINKS! Dony was doing the arranging then and he is just NOT the proper one to arrange ANYTHING RAMBO! It was not the right style for Dottie’s song nor for the Rambos to sing. During that period, I didn’t like the sound very much. I am such a die-hard Dottie fan, I still bought it, but didn’t listen to very much of it. The Rambos best sound to me was in the 70’s. After the really old stuff and before the hideous arranging of her music by Dony. Then in her last days, it was wonderful just having her back! I would sit and listen for as long as she wanted to talk or sing. I didn’t mind that years of being sick had weakened her body and voice … it was still DOTTIE RAMBO and she was still bigger than life to me and to those who went to see her! She was a wonderful woman, an anointed and prolific writer, and a good singer when doing it her way and not someone else’s way. All my favorite songs through the years were always the ones that featured Dottie. She WAS the reason I ever started being a Rambo fan and I remained her fan until the end!

  53. Reba wrote:

    Wow! This is the first time I’ve looked at comments like this on mom, dad, and I singing. Thanks to those who loved us and to those who didn’t, I guess it’s good I’ve developed tough skin! Whether you like The Rambos or not…NOBODY wrote them like Mama!

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