DID YOU KNOW?: Roger Fortner, currently with the McKameys, has had a long career dating back to the early 1970’s with the Inspirations. Roger also spent time with the Singing Americans, Hoppers and the Greenes at one time in his career. Roger has only showed his singing prowess over the course of the last decade with the McKameys.
Today’s inductee goes back to 1984; “It Sure Sounds Like Angels To Me”. It is the first song to land in the song hall of fame from both the Greenes, who recorded the song and Jean Canter, the songwriter..
The song was found on the group’s 1984 album, Greenhouse. It was also the first top five radio hit from the Greenes.
I want to present to the readers the past, present and future of this musical art form. This particular series takes a look at the #1 chart songs during the history of the Singing News radio charts. Their charts (at least they used to be) are the closest thing Southern Gospel has to Billboard (mainstream industry publication that provides weekly charts for various musical genres).
The Greenes had three #1 hits during the course of their recording career. All three fell between the years 1989 and 1995. The trio’s second #1 song came in 1994, when “In The Twinkling Of An Eye” topped the charts for three months (March to May). Group member, Tim Greene, penned this #1 power house; one that I claim to be one of the best songs the group ever recorded.
This week the ten on ten (redux) will re-visit the Greenes. On February 7th, 2012, I presented the original ten on ten feature for the Greenes highlighting the group’s ten best albums. Since that time, the group released We Need America Again (2012), Sweet Freedom (2013) and Legacy (2014). None of these albums actually changed the original top ten list of the group’s ten best albums. This redux feature will also shine the spotlight on the three lowest ranking albums of the group’s career. First, the original list highlighting the Greenes ten best recordings.
- 10th Anniversary Live (1989)
- Hallelujah (2010)
- It’s A Sweet Life (1993)
- Testimony (1990)
- Glory Mountain (2001)
- Family Praise (1987)
- Carolina Live (1991)
- Far Down The Road (2007)
- So Happy (2000)
- Whosoever Believes (2004)
The lowest ranked albums in the Greenes discography are as follows:
- All I Know (2003)
- Walking In God’s Sunshine (1980)
- The Road Home (1997)
Today concludes the year 1984 in my three-part series of the Southern Gospel story of my life for this particular year. As you know from the previous post, I attended my first week-long, outdoor event in 1984. It was the Hoppers annual singing at Watermelon Park in Berryville Virginia.
We made it to Friday night (07/27/84) of the event where the Hoppers once again opened the program. Next up on the program was another family group that I had never seen before; the Paynes.
From the moment they took the stage, their songs and stage persona captivated this young kid. Mike Payne emceed his group’s program and he was a master. He had the crowd on their feet several times and by the time they closed with “I’m A Jesus Fan”, the crowd didn’t want them to leave the stage.
I remember picking up three of their record albums at this event that afforded many hours of listening pleasure long after the event was over. Here is a musical montage of what the Paynes were staging in 1984.
I remembered the Hemphills and a lot of the songs staged on this particular night were sung when I had seen them prior. On this particular program they performed a song, that as a kid, I fell in love with; “It Wasn’t Raining When Noah Built The Ark”. The group encored the song a couple of times and I couldn’t wait to buy the record.
Here is a montage of music from the Hemphills in 1984.
Second on the program that night was a new group of performers that used to sing with the Hoppers; the Talleys. They had just released their first major record album and the Hoppers band joined them on stage for several songs.
I remembered Roger and Debra being with the Hoppers when I first saw the group several years prior. As a kid, I loved fast (up tempo) songs and I remember the Talleys didn’t have very many of those, so I sort of glossed over their performance that particular night.
Wendy Bagwell and the Sunliters would close the program that Saturday night, but I included them in part one of the 1984 series, so I won’t include them here. Here is a musical mash-up of what the Talleys may have performed that night in 1984.
The first night of the event I had seen the Kingsboys for the first time. Here, on the final day there was another group of kids performing with their father (who sang and played piano).
These kids became an instant favorite of mine and I remember every year following the group getting better and better. Next to the Kingsmen, the Greenes were my favorite group to see in concert during this time period.
Here is a musical montage of what the Greenes may have staged in 1984.
It was actually a concert at my hometown high school on August 18, 1984 with the Hoppers that forever left an impact on this young kid. I remember the group showing up late to the event. Many in the crowd and even the emcee didn’t think they were going to make it.
They arrived, set up and performed. I remembered all the songs they sang that night from the week-long performances just a few weeks prior. But, it would be what happened after the concert that forever changed a kid’s heart.
I know I have told this story before, but indulge me if you would. As a kid, you truly don’t understand the struggles your parents may go through to try to keep food on the table and a roof over your head. I remember the program closing and Connie speaking and asking those to come forward who needed prayer. My mom stepped out of the aisle and went forward for prayer, where Connie prayed with her.
At the time, I didn’t realize my parents were struggling financially and barely had enough to keep food on the table. After prayer and the concert closed, walking with my mother to the record table, she walked up and thanked Connie for praying with her. At that moment, this nine-year old boy stood there as Connie grabbed some money and placed it in my mother’s hand. A moment that left an impact on a young kid that left Connie Hopper a hero in my eyes.
Here is a musical montage of the Hoppers from 1984.
Back to one of my regular features this week; the definitive Southern Gospel collection. I take a look at a specific year in Southern Gospel music and determine the (20) best albums released in that given year. I am taking a look at the year 2007. I started with a list of 75 albums and worked on narrowing it down to the (20) best.
The Booth Brothers started their award show domination in 2007 by winning artist of the year at the Singing News fan awards. Live In Music City by Legacy Five won album of the year as “I Have Not Forgotten” (Inspirations) won song of the year. “Give It Away” (Gaither Vocal Band) won both album and recorded song at the Dove Awards in 2007.
The (20) best albums released in 2007 were:
- True To The Call – Kingdom Heirs (Sonlite)
- A Beautiful Thing – CrossWay (Big Ten House)
- Look No Further – Perrys (Daywind)
- Journey Of Joy – Karen Peck & New River (Daywind)
- You Gotta Love It – Triumphant Quartet (Daywind)
- Eyes On The Prize – Freemans (Goldenvine)
- Far Down The Road – Greenes (ACA)
- Austins Bridge – Austins Bridge (Daywind)
- Once Upon A Cross – Mark Trammell Trio (Daywind)
- The Cross Still Stands – Down East Boys (Crossroads)
- Life Is Great And Gettin’ Better – Jeff & Sheri Easter (Daywind)
- Get Away Jordan – Ernie Haase & Signature Sound (Gaither Music)
- Real Faith – Brian Free & Assurance (Daywind)
- Big Sky – Isaacs (Spring House)
- Vocalized – Ball Brothers (Permanent)
- Know So Salvation – Legacy Five (Daywind)
- Carry On – Booth Brothers (Custom)
- Stages – Talley Trio (Horizon)
- Come Eat Bread – Hayes Family (Crossroads)
- Hope Is Alive – Crystal River (BSA World)
Listen to a musical mash-up from the (20) best Southern Gospel albums of 2007. Enjoy!
One of the regular features of Southern Gospel Views from the Back Row is the definitive Southern Gospel collection. I take a look at what I feel to be the (20) best albums released in Southern Gospel for the year selected. This edition takes a look at the year 1991. Out of a list of (64) albums, I narrowed it down to twenty.
Gold City was dominating the Singing News Fan Awards, in 1991, winning favorite group and sweeping all the male vocal categories. Gold City also picked up album of the year for the 1990 release, Windows Of Home. New quartet, Perfect Heart, came out of the gate winning song of the year for “Somebody Touched The Lord” while also picking up horizon group of the year.
The 1991 Dove Awards saw the Talleys winning Southern Gospel recorded song for “He Is Here”, while the Cathedrals won Southern Gospel album for Climbing Higher And Higher. The Gaither Vocal Band nabbed the Grammy in 1991 for best Southern Gospel album (Homecoming).
Here are the (20) best albums released in Southern Gospel music for the year 1991:
- Homecoming – Gaither Vocal Band (StarSong)
- Heavenly Sunrise – Hoppers (Sonlite)
- The Best Of Times – Cathedrals (Homeland)
- Wish You Were Here – Kingsmen (RiverSong)
- Unmistakably – McGruders (Sonlite)
- Answer The Call – Gold City (RiverSong)
- Carolina Live – Greenes (ACA)
- On A Journey – Greater Vision (Benson)
- Going Back – Freemans (Calvary)
- Once In A Lifetime – Bishops (MorningStar)
- Looking For The Wounded – Perfect Heart (Mark Five)
- Uncommon Love – Heirloom (Benson)
- Live In Springfield Missouri – Heaven Bound (RiverSong)
- Shoulder To Shoulder – Mid South Boys (Word)
- A New Generation – Nelons (Canaan)
- Heavenly Rain, Showers Of Blessing – Perry Sisters (MorningStar)
- Karen Peck & New River – Karen Peck & New River (Pinnacle)
- 20th Anniversary – Isaacs (MorningStar)
- Roll Away The Stone – Wendy Bagwell & Sunliters (Canaan)
- Against The Odds – Mullins (Pinnacle)
Listen to a mash-up of music from the best albums of 1991. Enjoy!