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  • Born

    2 March 1934

  • Died

    11 May 2008 (aged 74)

Dottie Rambo

Dottie Rambo (March 2, 1934 — May 11, 2008) was an

American Southern Gospel singer, songwriter, and

musician. Rambo was both a Grammy and Dove award

winning artist. She penned more than twenty-five

hundred songs, including her most notable He Looked

Beyond My Fault and Saw My Need and I Go To the

Rock. In 2000, Rambo was awarded the ASCAP

Lifetime Achievement Award. Her music is known for

its simple melodies and often dealing with themes

such as heaven, Christian sacrifice, and the born-again

Christian experience. Rambo suffered hard times in

the 1990's with severe health problems and the

breakup of her marriage to Buck Rambo.

Rambo returned to the road and recording studio in the

2000's and had made a complete comeback in her

career. In June of 2008, Rambo was to have appeared

at the Christian Music Hall of Fame and Museum to be

formally inducted, but was tragically killed in a bus

accident on May 11, 2008.
Early life
She was born Joyce Reba Luttrell in Madisonville,

Kentucky at the height of the Great Depression. She

was the daughter of Jerald Vernon “Chick” and

Elizabeth Luttrell (The Legacy of Buck & Dottie Rambo

by Buck Rambo). According to personal accounts, she

grew up in poverty and developed an early affinity for

country music. She learned to play guitar while

listening at night to the Grand Ole Opry on WSM radio

in Nashville. At eight years of age, she started writing

songs while sitting on a creek bank near her

Morganfield, Kentucky home. She had the support of

her mother and father, and by age ten she was singing

and playing country music cover tunes on a local radio


At twelve years old, she became a born-again Christian

and made a commitment to write and sing Christian

music. The decision turned out to be pivotal in more

than one way; it did not sit well with her father who

gave her an ultimatum – give up Christian music or

leave. She left home and went on the road, with her

first engagement being at a church in Indianapolis,

Indiana. She formed a trio called “The Gospel Echoes”

and traveled throughout the midwestern and southern

United States. "The Gospel Echoes" would consist of

several members over the years including "Pat Green"

and "Little Joe Hatfield".

In 1950, at age sixteen, she met Buck Rambo at a

revival meeting. They married shortly thereafter and

began traveling and singing together with "The Gospel

Echoes" and later as "The Singing Rambos" and "The

Rambos". In 1952 she and Buck gave birth to a baby

girl they named Reba Faye. Accounts differ as to their

daughter’s entrance into the group; some say she was

singing as early as three, while Reba Rambo-

McGuire’s personal bio says she began at age twelve.

Through an introduction by the Happy Goodman Family,

another gospel group, Rambo sang for the then-

governor of Louisiana, Jimmie Davis, who was also a

popular country and gospel music recording artist.

Davis signed her to a writing contract with his

publishing company, Jimmie Davis Music (BMI). She

received a signing bonus of around $3,000, the most

she had ever earned to that time. Though Jimmie

Davis appears as a co-writer on Rambo's compositions

during this time period she publicly stated he did not

write any music or lyrics to her compositions but

required a writer's share upon the publishing

agreement. Jimmie Davis Music is now owned by Peer


Throughout the 1960s her star began to rise and with

Buck and Reba as “The Singing Rambos” she traveled

internationally, including a 1967 trip to Vietnam to

perform for American troops. While in Vietnam

Rambo ministered in field hospitals The Kittyhawk, and

Ticonderoga. While in Vietnam the group was billed as

the "Swinging Rambos" as the Government feared that

a Christian singing group's safety could be at risk. US

soldiers presented Dottie with a Viet Cong flag and

other personal mementos from the war.

Recording artist
It was her first big break and Davis’ company’s

promotion of Rambo’s songs resulted in a Warner Bros.

Records recording contract for her and The Gospel

Echoes. After earning as little as $50 a week for years,

often working day jobs to make ends meet, Rambo’s

fortunes began to improve. Their records were selling

and her songs were being noticed within the industry,

with other gospel groups beginning to record them.

In 1968 she won a Grammy Award for Best Soul Gospel

Performance for her album It’s The Soul Of Me.

Upon leaving Warner Bros., she signed with the Benson

Records and their Heartwarming label of Nashville and

maintained a long-term relationship with them.

In addition to her solo and trio recordings, Rambo has

appeared on other artist's recordings including Jimmie

Davis, Barbara Mandrell, Dickie Betts, The Dunaways

and David Robertson.

Her dynamic vocal along with her ability to minister

would find Rambo working with nearly every popular

minister in modern history including: Billy Graham, Oral

Roberts, Benny Hinn, Kathryn Kuhlman, John Hagee,

Jim Bakker, Tammy Faye Bakker-Messner, Paul and

Jan Crouch, Paula White, Reinhard Bonnke, E. V. Hill,

Pat Robertson and more.

Main article: Dottie Rambo's discography
Rambo reportedly wrote and co-wrote between 700 and

2,500 songs. However ASCAP has registered 205

titles in its online database to date and BMI shows

an additional 87 songs. In the case of ASCAP, this

disparity may be attributed to the possibility that all of

a given writer’s titles may not yet have been uploaded

to their database. She was nevertheless a prolific

composer and her hits included "We Shall Behold Him",

"Holy Spirit Thou Art Welcome (In This Place)", "I Go

To The Rock", “Sheltered In The Arms Of God”, “I Will

Glory In The Cross”, “He Looked Beyond My Fault”,

“Tears Will Never Stain The Streets Of That City”,

“What Earthly Reason”, “If That Isn’t Love”, and many


Main article: List of songs by Dottie Rambo
Her songs have been recorded by many gospel and

secular artists including the original recording of Dottie

singing "We Shall Behold Him recorded with The Bobby

Jones Gospel Choir, Carol Channing ("One More

Valley"), Andrae Crouch (“He Looked Beyond My

Fault”), Elvis Presley (“If That Isn’t Love”), Walt Mills

(“Just In Time”), Barbara Mandrell (“I Will Glory In The

Cross”), The Whites (“He Hasn’t Lost His Touch”, "I

Don't Have The Heart", "Brand New Breed Of

Believers"), The Oakridge Boys (“Sailing Toward Home”

"He Looked Beyond My Fault And Saw My Need",

"Mama's Teaching Angels How To Sing" among others),

Whitney Houston & The Georgia Mass Choir (“I Go To

The Rock”), Mark Lowry (“I Call Him Lord), Jessy Dixon

(“I’ve Never Been This Homesick Before”, "Too Much

To Gain To Loose", "One More Valley", "I Go To The

Rock"), Amy Lambert ("The Hills of Home"), The Hayes

Family ("The Church Triumphant"), Sandi Patty ("He

Was The Talk Of The Town" “I Will Lift You There”,

“Keeper Of The Well”, "We Shall Behold Him"), Dolly

Parton (“Stand By The River” "Jeanie's Afraid Of The

Dark" duet w/Porter Wagoner), Bill & Gloria Gaither (“If

That Isn’t Love”), Steve Green (“When His Kingdom

Comes”), Imperials (“We Shall Behold Him”), Dottie

West. (“Tiny”), Lily Tomlin ("Mama's Teaching Angels

How To Sing", "Germs"), Albertina Walker ("He Looked

Beyond My Fault and Saw My Need", "I Go To The

Rock"), Porter Wagoner ("Sheltered In The Arms Of

God"), Mel Tillis ("Remind Me Dear Lord"), Hank Snow

("Just One Of A Kind"), Bill Monroe ("It's Me Again

Lord"), Rhonda Vincent ("Sheltered In The Arms Of

God", "Just One Of A Kind"), Jerry Lee Lewis ("He

Looked Beyond My Fault and Saw My Need", "Too Much

To Gain To Lose"), Vince Gill with Tim Surrette ("Tears

Will Never Stain The Streets Of That City"), Crystal

Gayle ("Tiny"), Larry Gatlin ("Sheltered In The Arms Of

God", "Too Much To Gain To Lose"), Wanda Jackson

("I've Never Been This Homesick Before", "It's Hard To

Sing The Blues", "I Will Glory In The Cross" among

others), Jim and Jesse ("Just One Of A Kind"), Connie

Smith ("In The Valley He Restoreth My Soul", "Don't Let

Me Walk To Far From Calvary", among others), Charlie

Louvin ("When Is He Coming Again"), Alison Krauss and

The Cox Family ("Remind Me Dear Lord"), The Isaacs

("He Ain't Never Done Me Nothing But Good"), Jeannie

C. Riley ("Love Letters" "I Won't Ask For More" among

others), Jean Shepard ("Too Much To Gain To Loose"),

Vickie Winans ("We Shall Behold Him"), CeCe Winans

("He Looked Beyond My Fault and Saw My Need"),

David Phelps("Behold The Lamb", "If That Isn't Love",

He Looked Beyond My Fault and Saw My Need"), The

Gastineaus (" I've never Been This Homesick Before"),

Larnelle Harris ("I Go To The Rock, He Looked Beyond

My Faults, I Will Glory In The Cross), Nancy Harmon

("When I Life Up My Head, The Whole World Is A

Vineyard"), Commissioned, ("We Shall Behold Him),

Angelo & Veronica ("I Go To The Rock"), Jimmy

Swaggart ("I've Never Been This Homesick Before")

Janet Paschal ("I Call Him Lord"), Aaron Geoffrey with

DC Talk ("I Go To The Rock"), Truth ("He Was The Talk

Of The Town, "I Go To The Rock") Albertina Walker ("I

Go To The Rock" duet with Dottie, "He Looked Beyond

My Faults") and a host of other artists.

Rambo's compositions have appeared on countless

television series and specials including "Saturday

Night Live" and "Dr. Phil". Movie soundtracks such as

"The Preacher's Wife" ("I Go To The Rock")and 2004's

"Undertow" ("Sheltered In The Arms Of God") BET's

"Sunday Best" two of the contestants sang, "I Go To

The Rock" & "We Shall Behold Him".

Throughout her career, beginning with the sixties

"Gospel Singing Jubilee", Rambo appeared on

numerous television programs on virtually every

Christian network as well as the TNN, PAX, and GMT

Women's Entertainment channels. She had her own

series, "Dottie Rambo Magazine" in the 1980s on TBN

which was the No.1 rated program on the network for

six years and has rerun on and off since. She was

also a regular guest on Bill Gaither’s syndicated

Gaither Homecoming program.

Hard times
In 1987, Rambo suffered a ruptured disk which led to

paralysis in her left leg. She underwent a series of

surgeries that eventually reinstated limited mobility.

Rambo toured as often as her health would permit

during that time. She finally returned to full time

ministry and touring in 2002 after hiring manager, Larry


Later years
In the late 1990s, she again performed in concerts,

evangelistic meetings and churches across the United

States. In 2007, she performed nationwide and

appeared in concert at country singer Dolly Parton’s

Tennessee theme park, Dollywood.

In 2003 Rambo reentered the studio to record her first

solo album in eighteen years. The result was the

award-winning hit ‘’Stand By The River’’.

In the fall of 2006, Dottie's manager, Larry Ferguson

authored a book, Driving Ms. Dottie. The book released

by Woodland Press features stories of life on the road

with her. Lily Tomlin, Dolly Parton, Barbara Mandrell,

Bill Anderson, Crystal Gayle, and others endorsed the


In November 2007, Rambo completed another studio

album with the working title of "Sheltered". This album

has a projected release of Spring 2008. The project

features 12 tracks including duets with Porter

Wagoner, Mel Tillis, The Whites and Lulu Roman. Upon

completing this project Rambo started another project

that will feature new compositions and music for a

2009 release. A tribute CD of artists from various

genres of music is also being produced.

In 2007, the Annalee Mobiltee doll company released a

limited edition collector's "Dottie Rambo Anniversary


Wikinews has related news:
Dottie Rambo dies in tour bus crashRambo died on May

11, 2008, as a result of injuries sustained in a bus

accident along Interstate 44 just outside of Mount

Vernon, Missouri. Rambo was en route to a Mother's

Day show in Texas when the 1997 Prévost bus she was

traveling in ran off the road, struck a guard rail and hit

an embankment. Rambo was pronounced dead at the

scene. The 2 a.m. accident was reported as possibly

being weather related after severe storms had recently

passed through the area.

Her funeral was held at Christ Church in Nashville,

Tennessee on May 19, 2008. In addition to Dottie's

family, there were many industry executives and

artists which included country singer, Barbara

Mandrell, Bishop David Huskins, Andrae Crouch, The

Perrys, Larry Strickland, Linda Davis and many others.

Main article: Dottie Rambo's awards
Dottie was recently inducted into the Christian Music

Hall of Fame where she was to be formally inducted on

June 14, 2008. She received numerous awards and

other honors over the years and was inducted into the

Gospel Music Hall of Fame on two occasions; once

with The Rambos and once as a solo artist. In 1994 the

Christian Country Music Association awarded her with

the Songwriter of the Century Award. In 1999, she won

a GMA Dove Award for “I Go To The Rock” which

Whitney Houston performed in the Hollywood film, The

Preacher's Wife. She was given the "ASCAP Lifetime

Achievement Award" in 2000, and two "Christian

Country Music Association" (CCMA) awards; the

“Pioneer Award” in 2003, and in 2004, “Songwriter of

the Year”. She was inducted into the Kentucky Music

Hall of Fame in 2006. Her most recent CD, Stand By

The River won two "Christian Music Fan Awards", for

“Song of The Year” and “Duo of The Year” (with Dolly


^ ”I Will Glory In The Cross”, John T Benson Publishing

Co Inc
^ Christian Music Hall of Fame and Museum Rambo's

Induction into the Hall of Fame
^ a b c Dottie Rambo Bio from captured

12 April 2007.
^ Dottie Rambo Official Bio by Barry Drudge

biography.html; Dottie Rambo short

bio posted by David Bruce Murray @ 1:34:00 PM.

Captured 13 April 2007

viewprofile&friendid=51355483 Reba Rambo Profile

from Captured 11 April 2007
^ More Than the Music - Life Story - Dottie Rambo/ The

LeFevres, (2003); Word Entertainment ASIN:

^ Beckie Simons World
^ Dottie

Rambo press release from The Beckie Simons Agency

Retrieved 13 April 2007


Best Soul Gospel Performance; The 11th Annual

Grammy Awards
^ Bill Carpenter; Captured 12 April 2007

^ BMI Repertory search
^ ASCAP ACE Title Search Disclaimer
^ Beckie Simons World
^ Dottie Rambo passes away. The Snging News.

Retrieved on 2008-05-11. “Rambo dies in a fatal bus

^ Missouri State Highway Patrol - Crash Report Details.

Missouri State Highway Patrol. Retrieved on 2008-05-

12. “Accident report”
^ Press release; Beckie Simons World

External links
Official Web page
Another biography
Story Behind Dottie Rambo's Song "He Looked Beyond

My Fault and Saw My Need
Dottie Rambo March 2, 1934 — May 11, 2008
Dottie Rambo
YouTube Channel
Retrieved from


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