Song Snapshots is a column featuring the stories behind new and classic Southern Gospel songs.
In the 1990s, Ray Scarbrough was a member of the Southern Gospel group The Supernals. He left the group at one point; when he returned, they had nearly completed a new album, but were still one or two songs short. He brought “We’ll Meet Again” to the group, and they recorded it.
“We ended up having some minor charting success,” he recalls. But the song’s biggest success was yet to come; the Palmetto State Quartet recorded it on their 2004 album It’s Settled.
Palmetto State’s version featured the group’s baritone singer, Tony Peace. “Tony’s rendition of it knocked it out of the park for me. I’m humbled by it.”
Incidentally, “We’ll Meet Again” wasn’t Scarbrough’s only cut on It’s Settled; the group also cut “I’m On My Way.” “I’m not the song factory yet that other people are,” he notes, “but when I get my cuts, usually I get multiple cuts on an album somewhere. I’m honored to say, if there’s one Ray Scarbrough cut on there, there’s usually another one on there!”
It’s Settled came out during a period in Scarbrough’s life when he had walked away from any active involvement during Southern Gospel songwriting. One day, a lady showed him a polaroid picture of a tombstone. “The headstone read, ‘We’ll Meet Again,’” Ray recalls. “She said, ‘My daughter passed of leukemia, and that was her favorite song ever.’”
“If I never got a trophy, but if I had that polaroid picture, what I wouldn’t give…that means as much to me as anything.”
“It’s strange,” he adds; “it’s one of those little lures that God uses to bring you back. That happened to be one of those things that God was using to bring me back to the music that I love.”