Leroy ‘Spiritual Man’ Howard

Wendy Bagwell was known more for his comedy than his singing.  The group placed at least one Wendy story on every album Wendy Bagwell and the Sunliters recorded.

On the group’s 1991 album, Wendy recorded a story called “Leroy Spiritual Man Howard”.  It was indicative of the Southern Gospel industry during that era.  Something we can still see today.

That brings me to today’s post, and this question.  Are you ok with artists creating or embellishing emotional stories from the stage to create a certain atmosphere/mood with the audience?

A fair portion of those ‘stories’ you hear by artists from the concert stage are either 100% made up or largely embellished.  If the artist’s intent is to create a certain atmosphere with the audience to set up a specific song; are you ok with the story not being 100% true?

Southern Gospel Clones

In the case of today’s post, a clone is an artist that duplicates, imitates or closely resembles another artist in appearance, performance or style.

Today’s post is not meant to be a bad thing (as in the myriad of carbon copy artists in the industry), but one that will take a Southern Gospel artist from the past and match them to an artist of today that best resembles/carries on the sound of the great artist of the past.  I will continue this feature with several more posts.

  • Downings match is the Taylors
  • Florida Boys match is Freedom Quartet
  • Happy Goodmans match is the Perrys
  • Hinsons match is the Hinson Family
  • Mid South Boys match is Akins
  • Oak Ridge Boys match is Triumphant

So with the artists in today’s grouping, do you agree with my choices or do you feel other artists match closer to the great artists of the past?

The Obligatory Standing Ovation

Been listening to quite a bit of Enlighten on Sirius/XM, on my daily drive back and forth to work.  I’m still amazed at how often the Cathedral’s version of “Oh What A Savior” is played.

It got me to thinking about all the times I’ve heard this song performed in concert.  Most quartets, from regional to top-tier, like to showcase their tenor with this particular song.

I also recalled that I don’t believe there was a single instance of me hearing this song in concert where it didn’t receive a standing ovation from the crowd.

It didn’t matter how great, or poor, the performance was, the crowd stood in thunderous applause.  So, does the song alone warrant a standing ovation, no matter the performance?

Is the crowd so trained to stand on the song, it is an auto response at this point?  Like Pavlov’s theory; you do something long enough out of repetition, it becomes a natural response.

I know there is one “Standing Ovation” I like; this song.

The First Shall Be Last, The Last Shall Be First

I thought I would kick off the week by offering a little switch of Southern Gospel’s current popular artists and swapping them with artists that deserve to be recognized as ‘first’.

Starting with mixed group, I would swap the Collingsworth Family with the Erwins.  These young kids have proven they are at the top of their game.

On the solo artist side, I would easily swap out Ivan Parker with Jason Crabb.  “Home” and “If I Shout” are more than enough reason.

Taking a look at trio, the Booth Brothers would be swapped out with Goodman Revival.  The musical concert experience offered the audience by Goodman Revival with actual musicians is a missed art in Southern Gospel music.

Finally, quartet would have me swapping Triumphant Quartet with Tribute Quartet, for the mere fact they are currently providing the listener with some of the best Southern Gospel quartet music.

So, how would you handle the swapping of Southern Gospel’s current most popular artists?

How, Singing News?

If you’re a subscriber to the Singing News magazine, then you’re aware they are in the midst of voting for this year’s edition of the fan awards.

Top ten voting started last week, to narrow the list down to the final five nominees in each category.  While I overlooked it when the Singing News released the top ten lists in each category, it struck me when I was voting in the list of ten.

The Booth Brothers album, Between Here And Heaven, is among the top ten for albums of the year.  How is that even possible?  If you look at the album art, you can clearly see the album is a Gaither Gospel Series recording.

Gaither is not promoting this recording.  It is not available on gaither.com for purchase.  It is not on any online streaming service.  It is not available at any major online retailer.  Instead, Gaither is promoting a soon to be released Gospel Favorites Live recording by the Booth Brothers.

Will Between Here And Heaven not be released by Gaither, or are they planning on releasing it later this year?  If it is released later this year, wouldn’t that mean the album wouldn’t be eligible for nomination in the Singing News fan awards until next year?  I guess I’m confused if Singing News even follows their own album nomination criteria.

Southern Gospel: Forget The Songwriter, Who Needs Them…

I mentioned last week a conversation I had with a friend who has been around the Southern Gospel industry about as long as I have.  It sparked several discussions that translate well to blog posts.

One topic of discussion was the lack of respect, in general, songwriters have received from Southern Gospel artists/industry.  I remember a time when some artists within the industry weren’t paying the required royalties to songwriters, after recording a song by that specific writer.

The artists were more concerned about making money off the songwriter, by selling product, without making sure the songwriter was compensated.

The practice of songwriter disrespect continues today (across the entire music industry); in this age of digital download/streaming of music.  It is abysmal that songwriter(s)/publishers only receive 10% of the royalties generated through song streaming services.  Record labels made sure they would keep the lion’s share (60%) of royalties collected off streaming services.  Shameful!

Oddly enough, terrestrial radio is still the best source of income for songwriter(s)/publishers in that 100% of royalties generated go to them.  That is one reason Sirius/XM satellite radio is so important for songwriter(s) in the music industry.

Maybe songwriters should go on strike to show artists/industry execs that without the song, they would be out of business.