SWOT Analysis: Down East Boys

One of the features you wanted to see return in 2018 is the SWOT analysis.

Working in the business world, the SWOT analysis is used to determine the strengths and weaknesses of an organization while also looking at opportunities and threats the organization could face.

This week’s SWOT analysis will take a look at the strengths and weaknesses of one of Southern Gospel’s most underrated quartets; the Down East Boys.


  • The Down East Boys album catalog is some of the best quartet music a listener can find in Southern Gospel music.
  • Ricky Carden has been at the helm, as owner of the group for 25 years now.
  • Ricky has kept strong vocal personnel in the group during his 25 year ownership.


  • Consistent personnel changes hampers the vocal stability of the quartet.
  • No matter how hard they try, the Down East Boys can’t seem to get respect from a majority of Southern Gospel quartet listeners.


  • I would like to see a Down East Boys reunion with former members.  The quartet had some big hits in the late 80s/early 90s.
  • Maybe combining with another quartet(s) to start a tour.  Get themselves in front of some new listeners.
  • If they own the masters, releasing their classic albums digitally.


  • Continued personnel turnover.
  • The future of Southern Gospel music as a whole affects all artists involved.

***NEXT SWOT ANALYSIS:  Ball Brothers***


And New Artist Of The Year Goes To…

If you have been a reader of this blog for any length of time, you are probably aware there are times I will start what seems to be a feature and then never continue.  A direct result of too many ideas always floating around in my brain.

In April of 2016, I had a POST where I decided to go back through Southern Gospel awards history to determine how many new artist of the year award winners went on to have lengthy careers.  I wanted to use both early Dove Award and Singing News Fan Award winners in this feature.  The post only featured early Dove Award winners.  I thought I would finally pick up this feature and continue with Singing News fan award winners for horizon group.

Singing News awarded the first horizon group in 1988.  Interesting enough, the Dixie Melody Boys won.  After a lengthy career leading up to 1988, the Dixie Melody Boys diverted to Christian country music in the mid 80s and eventually became the DMB Band.  Fans reacted when Ed put the traditional quartet back together and awarded him with horizon group in ’88.

Another quartet, which is now a staple among Southern Gospel listeners, the Kingdom Heirs, were handed horizon group in ’89.  Rick Strickland (tenor), David McGill (lead), Steve French (baritone) and Bob Caldwell (bass) was the vocal line-up at this time.

We’ll close today’s segment with yet another quartet win for horizon group.  1990 saw the award go to the Down East Boys.  After a string of strong recordings in the late 80’s, this win was no surprise.  Speaking of lengthy careers, all three award winners highlighted are still touring today!

Buzz Worthy 2017: “The Song Of The Ransomed”

buzzworthyThis week’s buzz worthy clip comes from the Down East Boys.  I named their 2016 release, Ransomed, one of the top five albums of 2016.  It was also the highest ranking quartet album of the year.

The third single from the album, “The Song Of The Ransomed”, is a soaring power ballad featuring Ricky Carden.  If you still don’t have any songs in your musical playlists from this album, this is the song you want.

“The Song Of The Ransomed” was penned by master composers Sue C Smith and Dianne Wilkinson.

Goodbye 2016, Hello 2017

2017Everything that needs to be said of Southern Gospel music in 2016 is said.  Lets take one last look at the year that was and look ahead to 2017.

Some Stats:

NelonsTop Five Read Posts of 2016

  1. In Honor:  Steve French
  2. VOTING: Greatest Songwriter: Championship Round
  3. Is It Time For Acceptance In Southern Gospel Music?
  4. Stronger Together:  Nelons
  5. NQC 2016:  Thursday Night Recap

**The greatest songwriter search/series was the biggest blog feature of 2016.  In the end, Dottie Rambo claimed the title.  Album reviews and NQC recaps continued to be some of the most read features.

vocalevent2015whispers150Ten Most Played Southern Gospel Songs of 2016

  1. “I Have Decided” – Jay Parrack & Vocal Event
  2. “One Way, One Name, One Door” – Down East Boys
  3. “Small Town Someone (Lunch)” – Jeff & Sheri Easter
  4. “I Know” – Kingsmen
  5. “Jesus, The One” – Hoppers
  6. “Reassure Me” – Dunaways
  7. “He Won’t Leave You There” – Jason Crabb
  8. “Just To Save Me” – Wisecarvers
  9. “Just Can’t Make It By Myself” – Nelons
  10. “Jesus Never Fails” – Cana’s Voice

**I present the fab five feature at the start of every month to let you know the most played Southern Gospel radio songs in my musical playlists.  I get asked on occasion what I am currently listening to and this allows me to let the readers know.  These were the ten most played songs of the entire year.

rambos1972 (199x200)In Honor of those who passed in 2016

  1. Norman Almand (Artist-Rebels Quartet)
  2. Earl Brewer (Artist-Harvesters Quartet)
  3. Miles Cooper (Artist-Pine Ridge Boys)
  4. Ralph Dean (Concert Promoter)
  5. Boyce Flener (Artist-Crossmen Quartet)
  6. Steve French (Artist-Kingdom Heirs)
  7. Joe Moscheo (Artist-Imperials/Prophets Quartet)
  8. Buck Rambo (Artist-Rambos)
  9. Tina Sadler-Stark (Songwriter)
  10. Gail Shelby (Artist-Eternal Vision)
  11. Ira Smith (Artist-Dixie Echoes)
  12. Scott Spangler (Artist-Naomi & Segos)
  13. Jerry Lee Starnes (Artist-Truthseekers Quartet)
  14. D. John Stolzfus (Concert Promoter)
  15. Carl Whitman (Artist-Trav’lers Quartet)

Looking ahead to features you will find in 2017

  • 4th Annual Southern Gospel Views from the Back Row Honors
  • Album Reviews
  • Annual Countdown of Southern Gospel’s Best Albums/Recorded Songs
  • Commentary Series: The Evangelical church and Southern Gospel’s future
  • Most Overrated Southern Gospel Artist Series
  • Musical Playlists:  Track of the Week
  • Southern Gospel Tidbits Feature
  • And Much, Much More….

**I want to thank everyone who stopped by the blog in 2016.  This year had to most views/site visitors of any year I have been doing the blog.  I will continue as long as you continue to stop by.

Best Of 2016: #3

hoppersFor all those enjoying the week off to celebrate the holidays; thanks for stopping by.  And for all those having to work this week; I see you’re sneaking a peek at work.  Today we honor the album and recorded song ranked 3rd among the best in Southern Gospel music for 2016.

The Hoppers took four years, since Count Me In (2012), to give listeners an album of new music.  2016 also saw the Hoppers pair with Daywind Records to release Life Is Good.

Life Is Good hearkens long time Hoppers listeners back to albums like Power (2000), Great Day (2003) and The Ride (2006).  The Hopper legacy will celebrate 60 years in 2017.

The (5) Best Songs From The Album:  (1) “If We Ever Gotta Look”, (2) “Jesus, The One”, (3) “By And By”, (4) “Grace Will Get To You” and (5) “Song Of Moses”.

debThe Down East Boys proved yesterday why they are one of the best of 2016 when Ransomed ranked 4th among the best albums released this year.

The best up-tempo Southern Gospel quartet song of the year is from the Down East Boys, “One Way, One Name, One Door”.

This song, penned by Roger Duncan, ranks 3rd among the best recorded Southern Gospel songs of 2016.

Best Of 2016: #4

debI trust everyone had a wonderful Christmas holiday in time spent with family and friends.  Before we begin the new year, we have to close out the old.  Today, we take a look at the album and recorded song ranked 4th among the best of 2016 in Southern Gospel music.

The Down East Boys have always seemed to carry the moniker of most underrated.  No matter how great the quartet music they release, Southern Gospel listeners tend to gravitate to other quartets.

That needs to stop because the Down East Boys has the best Southern Gospel quartet album released in 2016; Ransomed.

Top (5) Best Songs From The Album:  (1) “One Way, One Name, One Door”, (2) “The Song Of The Ransomed”, (3) “I Still Remember”, (4) “That Wonderful Land” and (5) “Now A Witness Am I”.

l5Legacy Five already landed in the annual countdown when their 2016 album release, In The Hands Of A Carpenter, ranked 10th.  Readers of this blog also chose “In The Hands Of A Carpenter” as best recorded song in the 3rd annual Southern Gospel Views from the Back Row honors.

“In The Hands Of A Carpenter” also finds a home in my annual countdown, as it ranks 4th among the best recorded Southern Gospel songs of the year.

Lee Black and Jerry Salley penned this masterpiece, sung by Legacy Five pianist, Trey Ivey.

VOTE: Best Of 2016: Recorded Song/Songwriter

3rdannualThe final poll in the 3rd annual Southern Gospel Views from the Back Row honors is here.  What was the best recorded song and songwriter of 2016?  You get one vote per day.  Poll closes 12/07/16.  Click the link on each nominee to see an audio/video of the nominees.

VOTE: Best Of 2016: Album/Album Cover Design

3rdannualOne day remains for voting in the 3rd annual Southern Gospel Views from the Back Row honors.  What was the best album and album cover design of 2016?  You get one vote per day.  Poll closes 12/06/16.  Click the link on each nominee to see an audio/video of the nominees.