Encore Series #7: Next Time We Meet

This post is part of the Encore Series, posts highlighting Southern Gospel songs of the past that should be brought back.

Danny Funderburk joined the Cathedrals in 1983. His first Cathedrals recording was Distinctively, a table project highlighted by his stunningly rendition of the Bill & Gloria Gaither song “Even So, Lord Jesus, Come.”

Funderburk’s second recording with the Cathedrals—and first mainline recording—was The Prestigious Cathedral Quartet. It was a landmark recording for the Cathedrals. They had risen to the top of the genre with previous tenor Kirk Talley and the albums Something Special and Live in Atlanta. This album established that they were on the top to stay—that Glen Payne and George Younce would be able to maintain everything that made the Cathedrals something special through lineup changes.

The Prestigious Cathedral Quartet was full of career-defining songs: “Somebody Touched Me,” “Build an Ark,” “It’s Almost Over,” “When the World Looks at Me,” and, on the lighter side, “Old Convention Song.” Amidst this admittedly prestigious company, it would be all too easy to miss the lush closing track, “Next Time We Meet.”

The song, written by Bill and Gloria Gaither, is one of a small handful of songs intended as concert-closing benedictional songs. Here is the song on YouTube (regrettably audio-only):

Lari Goss’s magnificent multi-dimensional arrangement brings out both the melody’s sweetness and, at appropriate points, the lyric’s power. Later arrangements—the two Gaither Homecoming renditions, Bonnie Keen’s on Passin’ the Faith Along (2004) and Charlotte Ritchie’s on Jerusalem Homecoming (2005)—bring out the sweetness. But neither captures the lyric’s power with the clarity of the Cathedrals’ rendition.

It’s time for this song to make a comeback. One artist who could do a particularly worthy rendition would be The Talleys. Debra Talley’s exquisite alto is perfectly suited for the lushness of the solo lines, while Brian and Lauren (Talley) Alvey’s harmonies can bring all the vocal power the song needs.