The Originals: The Glory Road

The Originals: The Glory Road

Today, we launch a new series of articles called The Originals. Each entry in this series will highlight the first recorded version of song that is now considered to be one of Southern Gospel Music’s all-time classics.

The spotlight today falls on “Glory Road,” a true classic written by Conrad Cook. This song was published by Kingsmen Publishing Company and immortalized by Johnny Parrack and the rest of the Kingsmen on their 1973 LP Big And Live. It’s no surprise that most people would assume the Kingsmen were the first group to ever record it. There was an earlier version, though.

The original recording was made by The Calvarymen Quartet of West Virginia. The common denominator is that songwriter Conrad Cook was a member of the Calvarymen as was Squire Parsons who would later join the Kingsmen. (Please note that the Calvarymen of Flint, Michigan who started singing in the mid-1950s are a separate group.)

Check it out:

Please keep following and voting in our 2015 Survey Series. Five “cover” and/or “remake” versions of “Glory Road” will make an appearance for your consideration in mid-June.

Hundreds of versions of “Glory Road” have been recorded since the West Virginia-based Calvarymen Quartet introduced it. Most of those groups used the same basic arrangement as the original version by the West Virginia Calvarymen Quartet.

Here’s a partial list of artists along with the year their version of “Glory Road” was released. I’ve also included the album titles. (The links will take you to each artist’s page on our sister site,



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David Bruce Murray

David Bruce Murray is a church music director in Ellenboro, NC. He is the author of Murray's Encyclopedia Of Southern Gospel Music and the owner of both and David plays piano for Southern Sounds Quartet and the Foothills Community Choir.

MusicScribe Comments

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  1. Reply May 07, 10:17 #1 djsfromclevelandd

    Very good. I enjoyed that. Thanks for sharing that.

  2. Reply May 07, 22:54 #2 Dean Adkins

    Nice – I enjoy the historical approach.

  3. Reply May 08, 07:23 #3 JimT

    Man, it’s good to hear just a quartet and piano. Southern gospel at its best!

  4. Reply May 08, 15:54 #4 CHRIS

    I agree with JimT–so good to hear the original, unadorned sound of a very good quartet with only a piano accompaniment. Cook wrote this, so obviously, he knew how it should sound.
    I only missed the little vocal break upward that some (?) lead singer introduced later.

    Thanks much for this new feature on “The Originals.” Great!

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