Ten On Ten – Blue Ridge Quartet

A new week kicks off with another ten on ten feature.  This week the ten on ten will attempt to rank the ten best albums of the Blue Ridge Quartet.  Not known by many of today’s listeners, the Blue Ridge Quartet started in 1946.

The group ultimately landed in Spartanburg, South Carolina and spent the prime years of their recording career with Canaan Records.  In their final years, the group shifted to country music and disbanded in 1985.

The ten best albums by the Blue Ridge Quartet are as follows:

  1. Ride That Glory Train (1970)
  2. Puts It Together (1973)
  3. Sing Out The Good News (1968)
  4. The Blue Ridge Quartet (1965)
  5. The Green, Green Grass Of Home (1969)
  6. The Love Of God (1966)
  7. Live At Wheeling (1980)
  8. He Bought My Soul (1960)
  9. In The Spirit (1974)
  10. On The Move (1972)
  • The pinnacle of the Blue Ridge Quartet’s discography is the 1970 Canaan Records album Ride That Glory Train.  This album had the vocal line up of Fred Daniel (tenor), LaVerne Tripp (lead), Bill Crowe (baritone) and Burl Strevel (bass).
  • This album was tops in terms of song selection giving the listener “I’d Have No Hope”, “I’ve Been Set Free”, “I Just Can’t Make It By Myself”, “That Glory Train”, “He Paid The Debt For Me” and “For God So Loved”.
  • Ranked #2 among the group’s ten best is the 1973 album Puts It Together.  The vocal line up had a change at the tenor spot with Donnie Seabolt replacing Fred Daniel.  LaVerne Tripp was a top writer in the Southern Gospel industry during this time period and he offered several great compositions to Puts It Together.
  • The album had greats such as “It’s Worth It All”, “I’m Going Home Someday”, “Because He Loves Me”, “When Jesus Returns To Earth Again”, “Why Should I Worry” and “He Made It All Worth Living For”.
  • George Younce (of Cathedrals fame) spent time with the Blue Ridge Quartet from 1957 to 1964.  Two albums from that time period landed among the group’s ten best.  The highest ranked of those (at #4) is the self titled Canaan album from 1965.  One of the earliest recordings of Younce singing “Suppertime” is found on this particular album.
  • The other album from this time period to land in the top ten (at #8) is the 1960 Skylite Records album He Bought My Soul.  The vocal line-up on this particular album was Ed Sprouse (tenor), Elmo Fagg (lead), Jim Hamill (of Kingsmen fame at baritone) and George Younce (bass).
  • This album gave the listener great renditions of “He Bought My Soul”, “It’s Different Now”, “My Wonderful Friend”, “He Kept His Promise”, “His Mercy”, “Why Not Start Today” and “A Soul Such As I”.
  • The most recent album to land among the group’s ten best is the 1980 recording, Live At Wheeling.  This album captured the group at the end of their career performing “This Old House”, “If That Isn’t Love”, “Let Me Live”, “Why Me Lord” and “Oh Glory Hallelujah”.
  • The Blue Ridge Quartet had many budget recordings during their recording career that could be listed as forgettable, more so than many other artists during this time period.  The Blue Ridge Quartet had a long recording career but never really had a signature song that could define their career.
  • For Southern Gospel collectors looking to add some Blue Ridge Quartet music to their collections, I would stick with the group’s Canaan Records years.



7 thoughts on “Ten On Ten – Blue Ridge Quartet

  1. Just a couple of comments:

    “The Blue Ridge Quartet” from 1965 was first released on the Bibletone label in 1958. It was their first album and was recorded in Lee Roy Abernathy’s home studio. Lee Roy is playing to piano to allow Kenny Gates the freedom to concentrate only on singing.

    It’s interesting that you chose “Ride That Glory Train” for your top selection. It’s a great album, but at least four of those songs were first recorded by the Blue Ridge Quartet on earlier albums with George Younce or Burl Strevel.

    Some of their SING recordings from the early to mid 1960s are some of the favorites in my collection. I really preferred their music with the smooth voice of Elmo Fagg singing lead.

    My favorites include “On the Wings of a Dove”, “Our Best to You”, and “By His Hand”.

    If I had to pick a signature song from this great quartet, I’d probably pick “On the Wings of a Dove”, “No Disappointments in Heaven”, or “I Know” by the later group.

  2. Does anyone know if any of the ‘Quartet’ who performed in the 1960s are still living and, if so, how to make contact?

      1. Tim, thanks so much for that posting. Does anyone know how to contact any of these gentlemen? I am only trying to learn what happened to their bus they used (see cover of album Passing Thru) for a book to be published Spring 2014. Any help will be acknowledged! Contact Paul at paulvonfange@gmail.com.

  3. Steve – where would you rate the album “Passing Thru” and what year did it come out? I’m thinking it was early since it was with Sing and not Canaan.

  4. FYI….Live At Wheeling was recorded in ’75 or ’76. Donnie Seabolt, Kenny Gates, Fred Daniel, Larry Orr and Blaine Bucy were all long gone by 1980.

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