This week’s ten on ten feature highlights the 75 year career of the first family of Gospel music; the Speer Family. George (GT) and Lena Speer, or as they were known Dad and Mom Speer, started singing in 1921. Eventually all the kids would be a part of the group and Brock and Ben would go on to spend their entire singing careers with the Speers.
This ten on ten feature will start with the group’s first RCA recording The Speer Family Album released in 1955. With well over 50 recordings in the group’s discography, it was tough trying to determine the Speer Family’s ten best. The original Southern Gospel mixed/family group that paved the road for every mixed/family group that has come after.
The Speer Family’s ten best albums are as follows:
- Big Singing Day (1968)
- The King Is Coming (1971)
- He’s Still In The Fire (1989)
- Especially Warm (1975)
- In Concert (1972)
- The Speer Family Album (1955)
- Between The Cross And Heaven (1976)
- Sacred Hour (1963)
- Touring That City (1973)
- The Singing Speers (1960)
- In trying to determine the Speer Family’s pinnacle recording, it came down to the top four. Big Singing Day, from 1968, ended up at #1. Brock and Ben Speer along with Harold Lane, Ann Downing, Jeanne Johnson and Bob Johnson were members during the time of this recording.
- Some of the best singing from the Speers was found on this recording. ”There’s Nobody Like Jesus”, “Salvation In My Soul”, “When Jesus Breaks The Morning”, “Joy In The Camp”, “I Don’t Want To Walk In The Darkness” and “Going Home” all highlight this album.
- The 1971 album The King Is Coming ended up at #2. The Speer Family were the group to popularize the Bill and Gloria Gaither classic “The King Is Coming”. It became a signature song for the group and many groups would go on to record the song over the course of the last 40 years.
- Speaking of Bill and Gloria Gaither; the Speer Family was one of the first groups to start recording and popularizing the Gaither’s compositions in the late 1960′s/early 1970′s.
- The best modern Speer Family recording was their 1989 album He’s Still In The Fire. The title track went on to be a huge #1 hit for the Speers. The group also had a strong vocal line-up at this time with Brock, Ben and Faye Speer along with Bill Itzel and Jane Greene.
- The rest of the top ten are mingled with a nice mix of Dad and Mom 1960 recordings and the height of the group’s best music, the early/mid ’70′s. The best Dad and Mom era recording is the group’s first RCA recording The Speer Family Album.
- This 1955 album put a spotlight on what are now Southern Gospel classics; “Didn’t It Rain”, “Hide Me Rock Of Ages”, “Oh The Glory Did Roll”, “Dig A Little Deeper In God’s Love”, “Heaven Will Surely Be Worth It All” and “Some Glad Day”. The other Dad and Mom era recordings to land in the top 10 are Sacred Hour (1963) and The Singing Speers (1960).
- Rarely do you have an artist in any genre of music that has released a 60th anniversary recording, a 70th anniversary recording and even a 75th anniversary recording. The Speer Family are a true Southern Gospel institution that should never be left out of discussions on Southern Gospel music’s biggest trend setters.
- In their 50 year recording history the Speers has that album that should be forgotten. The 1990 album Hallelujah Time is that album for the Speers.
- With a recording career as extensive as the Speers there were several great albums that didn’t make the top 10 but deserve honorable mention: The Gospel In Song (1966), A Family Affair (1971), Live, Featuring The Speer Sisters (1983), A Singing Heritage (1966) and The Old Rugged Cross Made The Difference (1970).