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Probably the song the late Dottie Rambo is best known for is He Looked Beyond My Faults and Saw My Need. In a tragic accident on Mothers’ Day, Dottie was killed. From Today’s Christian is the story behind the writing of this beautiful song.

Throughout the ’60s and ’70s, Dottie Rambo, her husband Buck, and their daughter Reba, made up The Singing Rambos, one of the most successful southern gospel trios of all time. As the group’s main songwriter, Dottie was prolific. Today, hardly any modern hymnal fails to include one or more of her 2,500 songs. Dottie’s best-known song, by far, is the inspirational “He Looked Beyond My Fault and Saw My Need.”

In 1970, Dottie began writing a song about the grace of God, but was unable to finish it. When her older brother was hospitalized with cancer and told that he had only weeks to live, Dottie sat by his bedside and ministered to him. Within a few days, she persuaded him to marry the woman who had borne him five children. Dottie read the Bible to him and prayed with him. One day, after singing at a concert, she returned to ask: “Have you given your life to Jesus since I’ve been gone?”

Eddie, 37, stared at her with sad eyes. “After the wicked life I’ve lived, the Lord won’t raise a person like me,” he muttered. He reminded her of his time in jail and his addiction to drugs and alcohol.

“The Lord left the 99 to bring a lost sheep like you back to the fold,” Dottie told him. She continued to pray for his salvation. Then she went home and finished “He Looked Beyond My Fault.” For years Jimmie Davis, the southern gospel singer and former Louisiana governor, had asked her to write a song to the tune of “Danny Boy.” With this song, she finally discovered the inspiration. Later that day, she returned to the hospital to sing the song to Eddie.

Both Danny Boy and He Looked Beyond My Faults are taken from the melody called Londonderry Air, reputed to be an ancient Irish tune. There is strong oral evidence in the Roe Valley area to support the following version of the origination of the tune. This information is taken from the site called: The Origin of Danny Boy

Jane Ross (1810-1879) stated that she had taken down the tune in Limavady in 1851 when she heard it played by an itinerant fiddler. One of Ireland’s most distinguished folk song collectors, Sam Henry, states in “Songs of the People” a regular weekly feature in the Northern Constitution (1923- 1939), that blind Jimmy McCurry (1830-19 10) was the fiddler referred to by Jane Ross.

One day Jane Ross heard Jimmy playing a beautiful melody outside the Burns & Laird Shipping Office, which she had never heard before. She came over to Jimmy and asked him to play the tune over and over again until she had taken down every note. Jane thanked him and gave him a coin for his moving rendition of the tune. When she departed Jimmy rubbed it against his lips, as was his method of determining the denomination of coins, and discovered it was a florin instead of the customary penny. He set off in pursuit of Jane and when he caught up with her he told her that she had made a mistake. Jane refused to take it back and asked him to keep it as a token of her appreciation of his music.
Jimmy McCurry
Jimmy McCurry

Jimmy was born in the flatlands of Myroe and his favourite spot for playing the fiddle on market days was outside the Burns & Laird Shipping Office in Limavady. It was customary for the farmers of the day to bring their produce to the Limavady market by horse and cart. After they had unyoked their horses they left their carts with shafts on the ground all lined up along the Main Street. Jimmy usually took up position between the shafts of one of these carts just opposite the home of Jane Ross, who lived at 51 Main Street.

The rest of this lengthy and very interesting article is here.

And here with the Gaithers is Dottie Rambo singing a couple of her outstanding songs.