“I’m Gonna Say Thank You Lord”
From the independent CD Just a Country Boy (release date: March 26, 2020)
By Robert M. Marovich
Gospel quartet music and country music are not as dissimilar as one might think. Artists from each genre heard one another on the radio and copied the best of what they heard. Their southern roots and branches go back decades.
Still, African American gospel soloists who consider their style “country” are few and far between. The last one JGM encountered was Alice McAfee Williams (Al Mac Will). Her 2009 introduction at the Gospel Music Workshop of America came complete with a distribution of cowboy hats for all the gospel announcers at the convention.
Now Louisiana-born singer Paul E. Puckett, known by the stage name of Ricky Paul, is working this row. His latest single, “I’m Gonna Say Thank You Lord,” has the lyrical flair and melodic flavor of a modern country pop song, but the robust rhythm section is squarely within the African American gospel style.
Paul’s singing evokes a quartet lead, particularly on the vamp, when he lists numerous reasons he is grateful to Jesus (health, happiness, joy, love, family, etc.). When he sings, “Thank you for my wife,” then repeats it and tags “ooooh” on the end, one knows that she is an especially precious gift.
So a little country, yes, but a lot more gospel. On the other hand, the title track of Paul’s album, given the prominence of the fiddle and down-home lyrics, reverses this combination.
Ricky Paul is a Christian TV host and pastors the House of Refuge Church of God in Christ in Dawson, Texas. As a liver transplant and cancer survivor, he has plenty for which to be thankful.