About the time I think there are no more artists to feature in the ten on ten, I get requests for artists that haven’t been featured. So the new year begins with several more ten on ten features. Up first is a family group that has a rich 70+ hear history; the Lesters.
The Lester Family began singing in 1925 by patriarch/matriarch Harvey and Opal Lester. While the Lesters are rarely mentioned when individuals talk about the genre’s biggest artists, their contribution to this industry should not be overlooked.
Their consistent musical prowess makes them one of the best mixed groups in the genre’s history. Let’s take a look at the group’s ten best recordings.
- Believe (2002)
- Family Tree (2001)
- Legacy (1986)
- Rooted In Love (2011)
- No Doubt (2007)
- Ain’t God Good (1982)
- Hold On Tight (1989)
- In Your Honor (1991)
- Call For Freedom (2009)
- Ever Faithful (1998)
- The Lesters began making strides in Southern Gospel music in the early 1980’s. It was the early part of the 2000’s when the Lesters were releasing their best music. The 2002 album Believe is the pinnacle in the group’s discography.
- “God’s Gonna Move”, “The Middle Man”, “All The Glory”, “I Believe In The Lord”, “Walking In Victory”, “The More I Know” and “Holy Bride” all highlight this album. If there is one album by the Lesters collectors should have in their collections, Believe is that album.
- The vocal line up on Believe consisted of siblings Brian Lester (lead) and Ginger Pitchers (alto) (3rd generation Lesters), Ginger’s husband Dan (bass) and their daughter Jenny Revelle (harmony). At this time period Trecia Cisneros rounded out the vocal line up singing soprano.
- This same vocal line-up also released the Lesters 2nd best album; the 2001 effort Family Tree. “Hand Of God”, “I Am”, “The Power Of The Cross”, “Joy In The Journey”, “Matter Of Fact, Matter Of Faith” and “Have You Ever Walked On Water” also make this album a must have.
- The Lesters break through song was the 1982 hit “Ain’t God Good”. Many readers may know this song by Gold City (recorded on their 1982 Live album). It was the Lesters who had a hit record with the song and it put them on the map, so to speak. The album of the same name ranks #6 among the group’s best.
- But, if there is one song that defines the Lesters legacy, it would be “He Didn’t Throw The Clay Away”. The Lesters introduced this song to the Southern Gospel world on their 1989 album Hold On Tight. The album ranks #7 among the group’s best, but it will be the song that forever defines the music career of the Lesters.
- The Lesters decided to cover “He Didn’t Throw The Clay Away” on the 2011 album Rooted In Love (ranked #4). The album also went back and picked up other Lester classics such as “Coming Of The Lord”, “Reed Before The Wind”, “Sweet Desert Rose”, “His Redeemed”, “I’ll See You Again” and “Family Tree”.
- Brian and Ginger’s parents Herschel and Alene were also a major part of the Lesters legacy singing with the group for many years. Another sibling, Donna also spent time with the group over the years. Other Lesters alumni include Jeanie Cameron, Barbara Ledford, Liz McMillan, Stephanie Mueller, Milton “Big Mo” Ostrander, Tim Parton, Shannon Shipley, Trissa Watson and Vanessa Wimberly.
- In addition to the songs already listed, other songs the Lesters introduced to Southern Gospel music include “Campmeeting”, “Gloryland Gold”, “He’ll Only Need It For The Weekend”, “Hold On Tight”, “Return Of El Shaddai” and “What Faith Does”.
- The Lesters of 2013 is now a male trio, the first time in the group’s history there is no female vocalist. Brian with son Jonathan Lester (4th generation) continue this rich heritage. The Lesters are a true Southern Gospel music treasure.
***NEXT UP ON TEN ON TEN: PALMETTO STATE QUARTET***