The Southern Gospel Story Of My Life (1984) – Part 1

Florida BoysNow that the new year is upon us, it is time to get back to some of my regular features.  One of the most viewed posts of 2014 had to do with a feature I started titled, the Southern Gospel story of my life.  I am chronicling, for my readers, how Southern Gospel music impacted me as a young boy.  The series started with the year 1979, when I was just 4 years old.  It is now time to take a look at the year 1984.

1984 was the first year my family decided to branch out and attend concerts outside of our home town.  As a result, the year 1984 will be broken up in to three parts.  It started with the local home town concert on March 18th, 1984 in Westminster Maryland.  As was the case with every annual concert, there were three artists on the bill.  The first on the program that day was the Florida Boys.

This was my first opportunity to see the group in concert.  I particularly remember Les and Glen the most and the antics of piano player Darrell Stewart.  It was a good first introduction to the group.  Here is a musical mash-up of what the Florida Boys may have staged in 1984.

KingsmenThe concert continued with my favorite group as a kid, the Kingsmen.  This was now my third time to see the group (saw then in ’81 and ’83) and they were as great as they were the first two times.

One thing that first stood out to me when the group took the stage was the little guy that sang the high part was different.  As a kid, I didn’t really understand the idea of members not staying with groups.  It just so happens this was the time when Garry Sheppard took over for Ernie Phillips at tenor.

‘Big’ Jim Hamill was his usual boisterous self leaving the crowd wanting more.  It was just another opportunity for me to pick up the group’s newest record album from the last time I saw them.  Here is a musical mash-up of what the Kingsmen may have staged in 1984.

WBSTo headline that particular show was a group I had first seen in 1981; Wendy Bagwell and the Sunliters.  From the moment they came on stage they had the crowd in the palm of their hand.

‘Little’ Jan Buckner moved around the stage conveying the songs she sang and would periodically move to the piano.  Wendy kept the crowd in stitches with his humor and story telling.  At this point in a nearly nine-year old boy, this concert stood out as a favorite.

Here is a musical mash-up of music from Wendy Bagwell and the Sunliters from 1984.

Gold CityI’ll close out part one of 1984 with our family’s first concert outing more than an hour from our home town.  On July 14, 1984 our family would travel to the small community of Street Maryland to see one of the fastest rising Southern Gospel groups of the day; Gold City.

I remember sitting through several groups (at the time I didn’t realize were all regional) before Gold City coming on.  I remember getting bored and wanting to leave, but finally Gold City arrived on stage.

From the first notes, the group tended to move from one up tempo song to the next.  As a kid, I loved the faster songs and with Gold City staging mainly fast songs, I remember I couldn’t wait to get to the record table.

Gold City immediately became my mom’s favorite group, so this was the first of many concerts this kid would see Gold City.  Here is a musical mash-up of what Gold City may have staged in 1984.  Enjoy!

Part 2 of 1984 will continue next week, when this kid attended his first week-long, outdoor, Southern Gospel event at the Hoppers annual Watermelon Park concert in Virginia.

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2 thoughts on “The Southern Gospel Story Of My Life (1984) – Part 1

  1. Thank you for doing this! I was 4 years old in 1984, and this is about when I started to become fascinated with southern gospel. Gold City and the Kingsmen were my favorites. This brings back many warm and fond memories! The music of today just isn’t the same. To me, the 80’s were the best era of southern gospel.

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