Dottie Rambo–He Looked Beyond My Faults and Saw My Need

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.

18 thoughts on “Dottie Rambo–He Looked Beyond My Faults and Saw My Need

  1. Janie

    Even today, 10/01/2012, inspiration came from “He looked beyond my faults…” to inspire a note to a friend whose family member is not obeying God’s Word. Loving patience from our Lord, giving him/her time to experience the need for Christ, is the subject of the note. All creatures of sin have need of God’s love and patience to work out our salvation and learn that only He, can fill the needs we have.


  2. Jacqie Bobadillo

    “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints.”Psalm 116: 15 i am just learning of the tragic death of this PRECIOUS, AMAZING WOMAN OF GOD!!! While saddened, I rejoice for her, because she is where all children of God want to be….HOME!! She is MORE ALIVE than we are and her earthly memory will live on through her awesome legacy…..her music and the witness of her LOVE for her Savior. Whoever made this website, you have my thanks. God bless you!!!


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  4. joanne james brown

    we wish to send our condolanses to the family dotie was one of jo most love singers altho god has called her home her music a memories will live on for ever god bless and keep you all love jo james





  6. Candy

    Those she left are sad but there is just one more great reason to live for God now…Someday we all will make a trip to eternity. Reunion day is coming!

    Hi, Candy. Thanks for visiting my site. Hope you’re here often.

    Reunion Day! I want to be sure I’m there with Jesus and all His people. I can’t fail now after all these years of serving Him. Pray for me. I’ve prayed for you today.


  7. Hi!You can shed tears that she is gone,
    or you can smile because she has lived.
    You can close your eyes and pray that she’ll come back,
    or you can open your eyes and see all she’s left.
    Your heart can be empty because you can’t see her,
    or you can be full of the love you shared. This is life,
    great loss.Wishing you well

    You’re so right: We must see the good in our lives, appreciate the gifted people in whose presence we have walked.


  8. From “If that isn’t Love” to “Build my Mansion” to “Never been this Homesick” to “I go to the Rock” and “I just came to talk with you Lord” and many, many more, my siblings and I cut our teeth singing Dottie Rambo songs. It was to her, James Cleveland, Aretha Franklin, and Donald Vails, to name a few, that we learned to harmonize and use power vocals.

    What an incredible songwriter she was. She will be remembered. Through those who look for songs with depth and meaning her songs will live on…..

    Anna, what a tribute to Dottie Rambo you have paid here. Thank you for your kindness.


  9. I was saddened to learn of her passing yesterday. She truly was a great artist, annointed by God. One of my favorite songs of hers was, “Don’t Let Me Walk Too Far From Calvary.” She will truly be missed by many. My condolences and prayers go out to her family.

    Hi, Karen. Yes, she will be missed by many. I join with you in sending condolences to her family.


  10. She had a special touch in her life and wrote so many wonderful, heartfelt songs. I still love them today. No one could sing like the Rambos!

    I was never personally acquainted with the Rambos, but, even from a distance, I always enjoyed them.


  11. Pentecostal churches will forever sing her songs. Her death brings a great loss to the world of gospel music.

    Jana, she was an incredibly talented woman. Can you imagine writing more than 2000 songs?…….beautiful songs……..


  12. Welcome to my site, George and Norma–Hope you visit often.

    What a loss the gospel music world has suffered. Am I understanding you correctly…Saturday night before she was killed on Sunday morning, Dottie sang “We Shall Behold Him?”

    In my opinion that is one of her most beautiful compositions.



  13. To Reba, Dony, Destiny & Israel we send our most sincere thoughts and prayers. We were invited to Dottie & Buck’s home on Stone Mountain, Ga. before Destiny was born. She was so gracious. She will never be forgotten. What a fitting ‘homecoming’ song for her to sing as the last one on this earth at her last concert Sat. night “We Shall Behold Him”. I will use it next Sunday morning at church as a tribute to Dottie. We were privileged to have known her briefly in the 1980’s. George & Norma Smith


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