After my second post Tuesday on the potential irrelevance of Southern Gospel music and my plea to see the return of ‘live’ music at Southern Gospel concerts, I wanted to start this new series which will be weekly; highlighting Southern Gospel concert clips that feature only ‘live’ music (past and present). If you’re not tired of me by the end of 2013 regarding this topic, you’ll at least see how Southern Gospel music sounds with ‘live’ music in the concert setting. A movement starts with one….
Before we get to the video clip I needed to do a little house keeping. Even though I had the voting polls for best and worst Southern Gospel album covers, I never officially announced the winners of each poll. The Rebels Quartet was given the dubious honor of having the worst Southern Gospel album cover with the 1961 album What Then. This poll had just under 100 total votes cast.
Signature Sound fans came out to support the group in voting the 2012 album, Here We Are Again, as best Southern Gospel album cover. There was just over 250 total votes cast in this poll. Thanks to all my readers for participating.
Now back to the new feature. The Booth Brothers recorded a song out on radio now titled “I Played In The Band” (written by Bill Gaither and Larry Gatlin). I’m not going to point out the irony of the Booth Brothers recording a song with this title. Instead I will show the first ‘live’ music clip featuring the Kingsmen from 1983. This YouTube clip showcases one of the best bands in the history of Southern Gospel music. The Kingsmen band won many awards during this era and always added that musical punch that made attending Kingsmen concerts in the 1980′s a one of kind experience. Enjoy!
Now that we have exhausted ranking the best and worst Southern Gospel album covers of all time, this week and next will allow you to vote on the best and worst. I took the top eight and bottom eight (by rank) for the voting rounds. This week, please vote on the one album cover you consider to be the worst. I have provided the covers again (click on thumbnail).
His Hands – Blackwood Brothers Quartet (1958)
Paradise Island – Blackwood Brothers Quartet (1959)
You know the drill. Rank the following set of album covers from best to worst in the comments section (1 being best, 6 being worst). Also, if you didn’t get a chance, go back and rank set 11. Click on thumbnail for larger image.
Southern Gospel Views from the Back Row is in search of the best and worst Southern Gospel album covers of all time. Here is a sixth set of album covers to rank. In the comments section rank each cover from 1 to 6 (1 being best, 6 being worst). Click on thumbnail for larger image.
The recent news that the Rebels Quartet name has been revived under the leadership of Rick Fair inspired this week’s ten on ten feature. This ten on ten feature highlights the 25+ career of the original Rebels Quartet.
The Rebels Quartet was a classic quartet in every sense of the word. The group didn’t rely on a flashy stage persona, but vocally could stand up against any of the big quartets of the 1960′s. This ten on ten feature will highlight the original group’s ten best recordings.
The Rebels Quartet ten best albums are as follows:
Someone Touched Me (1965)
Love Is The Key (1967)
No Disappointments In Heaven (1963)
The Angels Must Have Cried (1964)
Revealing Sounds (1970)
The Unseen Guest (1964)
Sincerely Yours (1964)
Family Album (1963)
Songs From The Heart (1969)
In Nashville (1973)
Undoubtedly, the 1960′s was the prime years for the Rebels Quartet, more importantly the years of about 1963 to 1965.
The 1965 album Someone Touched Me is the pinnacle in the Rebels Quartet discography. Jim Hamill (of Kingsmen fame) does some of the best singing of his career on this particular album. The title track alone sends this album over the top, but the listener is also treated to “I Want To Get Closer”, “Greater Love Hath No Man”, “Jesus Use Me”, “Walk, Talk And Sing” and “Gonna Change This House’.
The same vocal line-up (Horace Parrish-tenor; Jim Hamill-lead; John Mathews-baritone; London Parris-bass and Jimmy Taylor-pianist) also recorded the album ranked #2 among the group’s ten best. The 1967 album Love Is The Key is another clinic on how to sing Southern Gospel quartet music.
Jay Berry preceded Jim Hamill as lead singer for the Rebels Quartet. The Jay Berry years find five albums among the group’s ten best. Ranked #3 is the 1963 album, No Disappointments In Heaven. This album was actually my first introduction to the music of the Rebels Quartet when I began collecting over ten years ago.
“There’s Only One Way”, “I Want To Meet You”, “In The Upper Room”, “He Set Me Free”, “Sweeter As The Days Go By”, “No Disappointments In Heaven” and “Poor As A Beggar” all make this album a must have for any true Southern Gospel quartet music lover.
The group released four different albums in 1964. Three of those four landed among the group’s ten best. The Angels Must Have Cried ranks #4, The Unseen Guest land at #6 and Sincerely Yours ranks #7.
The original Booth Brothers got their start with the Rebels Quartet. Ron Booth Sr and brother Charles Booth sang tenor and lead respectively at the same time period with the group.
The best recording of this era was the 1970 album Revealing Sounds. Of all the Rebels Quartet albums, this one is actually available via the digital download sites. If this is current listeners only access to the Rebels Quartet music, do yourself a favor and check it out.
The latest album in the group’s discography to find a place in the top ten is the 1973 recording In Nashville. Ranked #10, this recording made the list for song selection. ”Release Me From My Sin”, “In The Sweet Forever”, “King Jesus”, “What A Lovely Name” and “Now I Have Everything” are all fact of that.
It will be interesting to see where the new Rebels Quartet land among the crowded quartet landscape.
***NEXT UP ON TEN ON TEN: JEFF AND SHERI EASTER***
This week I wanted to start a new feature in highlighting classic Southern Gospel albums. For those not familiar, I am also a content editor over at sghistory.com. The website was the brain child of owner/editor David Bruce Murray. It allows the viewer recording histories and biographical information of almost every major artist involved with Southern Gospel music. The site is always in search of information.
This week I wanted to offer the reader a glimpse of a classic Southern Gospel album by the Rebels Quartet. Someone Touched Me was a 1966 release on Skylite Records. The vocal line up at the time of this recording was Horace Parrish (Tenor), Jim Hamill (Lead), John Matthews (Baritone), London Parris (Bass) and Jimmy Taylor (Pianist).
Listen to sound bites of this 1966 recording from the Rebels Quartet; Someone Touched Me.
In this week’s smack down feature, a classic quartet song “I Want To Get Closer”. Penned by famed bass singer ‘Big Chief’ James Weatherington, it is no surprise this quartet classic lets the bass singer shine. The retro version of the song comes from the Rebels Quartet.
Featuring famed bass singer London Paris, “I Want To Get Closer” shows London at his best hitting those low notes. Found on the Rebels Quartet 1966 recording Someone Touched Me, the group will take the first verse and chorus of this classic tune.
A cover of “I Want To Get Closer” was recorded in 2002 by Poet Voices. Released on a classics album titled Timeless 1, the line-up during this recording was Dale Brock (Tenor), Phil Cross (Lead), Scott Inman (Baritone) and Tim Duncan (Bass).
Listen to Tim take the lead on the second verse and chorus. Penned by one of the greatest bass singers of all time, a smack down feature of bass singers. ”I Want To Get Closer”. Enjoy!
For this week’s retro spotlight I wanted to see how far back I could go in my music collection. The oldest LP I own happens to be the Speer Family’s Speer Family Album RCA recording from 1955. The problems with this time period in recording is copyright dates were in most cases not listed on the LP. By looking at catalog numbers on most LPs, a date could be determined within a year one way or the other. So I chose 1963 for this week’s retro spotlight, while understanding some of these recordings are considered circa 1963.
The Dixie Echoes released their first album circa 1963 titled Sing Songs Of Faith. The group was composed of George Forbes (Tenor), Jack Toney (Lead), Joe Whitfield (Baritone) and JG Whitfield (Bass). Musicians included Sue Whitfield on piano and Hal Kennedy on lead guitar. Hal was also a featured vocalist and the song clip chosen from this recording features Hal. The song clip is “Keep Walking”.
The Happy Goodmans were also starting their recording career in 1963. On October 10th, 1963 to be exact the group recorded what would be their first album on Sims Records. The album, I’m Too Near Home; the song clip featured, “It’s Different Now”.
The Hopper Brothers & Connie would release their first album in 1962 with Gospel Favorites. They followed that up circa 1963 with their second recording, Man On The Middle Cross. The group at this time featured Will (Tenor), Claude (Lead), Steve (Baritone), Monroe (Bass), Connie (Pianist) and Paul (Musician). Featured is a song made popular by the Sego Brothers & Naomi, “Satisfied With Me”.
Quartets dominated the Gospel music industry during this time period. There were a few mixed groups break through and one of those was the LeFevres. The group opened their own recording studio in 1960 and started the Sing Records label. Circa 1963, the LeFevres released Rainbow Of Love. The bass singing talents of Rex Nelon can be heard on “All Aboard”.
The Oak Ridge Boys were also riding high during this era. Singing The Gospel was released by the Stateswood Record label in 1963. The Oak Ridge Boys were mainstays on the Skylite Record label, one of the only major labels at this time period. The vocal line-up here included Willie Wynn (Tenor), Smitty Gatlin (Lead), Jim Hamill (Baritone) and Herman Harper (Bass). Not to be overlooked was Tommy Fairchild on the piano. I have provided a clip of “Lord I Want To Go To Heaven”.
From the Tampa Florida area of the country came the Rebels Quartet. The group had Horace Parrish (Tenor), Jay Berry (Lead), John Matthews (Baritone), London Paris (Bass) and ‘Little’ Jimmy Taylor (Piano). At this time period they recorded for the LeFevre’s Sing Record label. There were several albums released circa 1963, one of those being No Disappointments In Heaven. Featured is the song “There’s Only One Way”.
The family group that was the standard-bearer for all family groups that came after was the Speer Family. Next to the Statesmen and Blackwood Brothers, they were the biggest group in Gospel Music during this era. They released several albums with RCA and in 1963 came the recording Sacred Hour. Featured from this recording is a clip of “God’s Love”.
The Stamps Quartet returned to recording Gospel music in 1963 with the release of a Skylite Records album titled, The New Stamps Quartet. This was prior to JD Sumner returning to the helm of the group. At this time the group was composed of Jerry Redd (Tenor), Terrell Blackwood (Lead), Roger McDuff (Baritone), John Hall (Bass) and ‘Smilin’ Joe Roper (Pianist). Featured is a great quartet number, “I’ll Be Ready To Go With Him”.
Our walk down memory lane wouldn’t be complete without the standard bearer’s of Southern Gospel quartet music, the Statesmen. Also recording with RCA, the Statesmen released The Mystery Of His Way is 1963. What several historians of this music consider the best quartet line-up ever, this album featured Rosie Rozell (Tenor), Jake Hess (Lead), Doy Ott (Baritone), ‘Big Chief’ Wetherington (Bass) and Hovie Lister (Pianist). This album also featured a song that has since become a song every tenor singer has probably attempted in their career. How about we hear the first tenor to ever sing “What A Savior”.