This week the ten on ten feature continues with a look at the recording career of the Florida Boys. The group’s 50 year career saw highs and lows in the recordings released by the Florida Boys. The group went out on a high note with the additions of Harold Reed (tenor), Josh Garner (lead) and Gene McDonald (bass).
The group name continues today as more of a novelty act under the direction of Charlie Waller. This ten on ten feature will only cover the Les Beasley leadership years.
The Florida Boys ten best recordings are as follows:
- Reaching Out (1984)
- Timeless (1987)
- Make Happy Tracks (1968)
- Better Than Ever (1973)
- The Many Moods Of (1970)
- Vintage Gospel (1977)
- I’m Gonna Rise (2002)
- In Nashville (1965)
- He Loves You (1976)
- First Class Gospel (1975)
- A 50 year career shouldn’t be taken lightly. Very few artists will celebrate 50 years in Southern Gospel music. The Florida Boys will be most remembered for their time on the Gospel Singing Jubilee television program of the ’60′s and ’70′s.
- The pinnacle of the Florida Boys discography is their 1984 recording Reach Out. The group’s signature song “When He Was On The Cross” is found on this album along with “In Gloryland”, “Angels Are Hard To Find”, “Jericho”, “Lord Let Me See The People” and “When Jesus Comes Again”.
- “When He Was On The Cross” went on to win song of the year (Singing News fan awards) in both 1985 and 1986. The Florida Boys are the only group to ever win song of the year two years in a row and they did it twice. The group also accomplished that feat with “I’m Standing On The Solid Rock” (1978, 1979).
- Next up among the group’s ten best recordings is the 1987 album Timeless (ranked #2). The group captured another #1 hit with “I Lean On You Lord” from this album. ”One Splendid Day”, “Over There”, “Paid In Full” and “Holdin’ On To His Nail Scarred Hands” are also highlights.
- The late 1960′s gave the Florida Boys one of their best albums. The 1968 Canaan Records album Make Happy Tracks ranks #3 among the group’s ten best. This album had one of the best line-ups the group ever had in Tommy Atwood (tenor), Beasley (lead), Glen Allred (baritone), Billy Todd (bass) and Darrell Stewart (pianist).
- The Gospel Singing Jubilee era (1970′s) was the strongest for the Florida Boys. Five of the ten albums in the top ten are from this decade. The highest ranked (#4) is the 1973 recording Better Than Ever. One of the best versions of ‘Dad’ Speer’s, “He Is Mine And I Am His” is found on this album. The listener also gets “Tears Are A Language”, “Jesus Will Outshine Them All”, “Gone”, “That Lonesome Road” and “Listen For The Sound”.
- The Florida Boys did go out on a high note releasing one of the best albums of their career at the end. The 2002 recording I’m Gonna Rise (ranked #7) deserves a place among the group’s ten best recordings. Allen Cox (tenor), Josh Garner (lead), Allred (baritone) and Gene McDonald (bass) held down the vocal spots at this time period.
- Speaking of Glen Allred, he is a singing machine. For the countless years he spent with the Florida Boys, he was sounding as strong as ever at the end of the group’s career as he did early on. One of Southern Gospel’s all time greatest singers and gentlemen.
- The Florida Boys had quite a few albums in their discography that should be forgotten. A top that list is the 1996 recording He Shall Return.
- With a discography as extensive as the Florida Boys there are a few recordings that didn’t make the top ten but deserve honorable mention. They include: Take Me Back (1989), Brand New Feeling (1993), We All Are One (1985), Sand In Their Shoes And A Song In Their Hearts (1971) and What A Difference Jesus Makes (1973).