On Removing Singers from Covers (Part 1 of 2)

Occasionally, some member of a message board will express surprise upon hearing that someone whose voice is heard on a recording has been removed from the cover photo, or that vocals have been re-recorded so as to feature the new member’s voice.

If you think about it, this sort of thing is not uncommon in Southern Gospel.

Jay Parrack’s voice originally appeared on Gold City’s First Class album, but GC redid the vocals before releasing it so that the album now features Steve Ladd’s voice.

Although John Rulapaugh was the original first tenor to appear on the original release of the Dove Brothers’ You Can’t Stop God From Blessing Me (now a collector’s item, I am sure), his vocals were replaced with Jerry Martin’s after Martin joined the group.

Signature Sound re-did some of the vocals on their first two B-label productions (Glory to His Name and Building a Bridge) after Ryan Seaton replaced original lead singer Shane Dunlap. The vocals were re-recorded on those songs that featured the lead singer and the new pressings of the albums came with new cover art. The only song from the two albums on which I’ve unmistakably identified Ryan’s voice is on “Going Home” from Glory to His Name; I’ve been told that his voice appears in the harmony parts on other songs as well.

Legacy Five re-recorded their Heritage Volume 3 vocals to feature Frank Seamans instead of Tony Jarman. The original album cover art was released, but I do not know whether any of the Jarman versions of Volume 3 came out.

Gold City’s Preparing the Way originally featured the lead vocals of David Hill, but Jonathan Wilburn was airbrushed into the cover. (I forget whether the album features his voice.)

These are a few of the examples I know about. Tomorrow, we’ll take a look at why these sort of things take place in Southern Gospel, and what it is about our genre that makes this a relatively common occurrence.

In the meantime, if you know of any other groups that have removed singers from album covers, or have replaced their vocals with those of the incoming member, feel free to post them in the comments.

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12 Letters to the Editor

Southern Gospel Journal welcomes letters to the editor. We will post the most thoughtful and insightful submissions. Ground rules: Don't attack or belittle groups or fellow posters, or advance heresies rejected by orthodox Christianity. Do keep comments positive, constructive, and on topic.
  1. I like to groups to re-record their most recent album(s) when a new member comes. When I buy a CD at a concert, I want to hear the same voices on the CD that I heard at the concert. I remember when L5 redid their album with Frank Seamans, and I was very glad that they did. I’ve been to some concerts recently where only 1 or 2 members on the concert stage were actually on the CDs they were selling. (I didn’t buy any!)

  2. When Katy Peach (née Van Horn) left The Nelons, she was removed from the artwork of their then in-progress United For Christ, leaving only Dan, Jason, Amber and Kelly remaining. However, Katy’s vocals remained (uncredited), though Amber did have a lead performance on one song.

  3. It is a very tough call on replacing the former with the current member.
    It brings to mind a current situation in progress.
    Under no circumstances am suggetsing be made in this particular case.
    The family and staff of Anthony Burger, who past away last February, has a on-going time of grieving as the Gaither Gocpel Hour presents its programming on antional networks.
    A check with the latest Gaither’s TV listings shows one of the most recent projects, Christmas In South Africa, being on a regular basis the next few weeks.
    Although it might be hard to believe, whenever a program is televised, viewers call the Burger’s office to ask when will Anthony be in their area or askin various questions about Anthony.
    Handling their own grief is tough enough, the staff workers must reharsh the story over and overto unknowing callers.
    Wemust pray for all those who have losted loved ones during this holioday and Christmas season.

  4. Gospelmusicfan, I agree that it is a very difficult thing when a member of a group / video tour has passed away. Though my post specifically dealt with members choosing to leave, it is doubly difficult when a member dies, because replacing them would seem almost sacreligious.

  5. A similar situation (and one that irks me) is if the cover shows an artist who is not on the project. I remember buying a Segos & Naomi LP that pictured Jay Simmons (bass) on the cover but he wasn’t on the record. Needless to say, I was “peeved” – or substitute a coarser term.

  6. Gold City’s “Preparing the Way” features Jonathan’s vocals and none of David’s. I’d dearly love to have the version David recorded, though I like Jonathan too.

  7. The same thing happend with ” First Class” From GC Jay sang all the songs then Steve resang them all.

  8. I know the LP Dean is referring to. I bought it thinking I’d hear some great bass singing. . . but Jay wasn’t there. Needless to say, the bass singing wasn’t up to Jay’s standards.

  9. On The Singing American’s album “Heart’s of Praise, Song’s of Majesty” tenor Rick Stirickland’s voice is on the album, although Phil Barker (who replaced Strickland) is pictured on the album jacket. Phil also recut from what I gather Rick’s solo parts. Take a listen to “God Is Greater”. Phil Barker does the “God Is Higher” solo at the end of the song. But if you listen closely, Rick Strickland is heard throughout the song on the harmony parts, not Barker. Also, the Masters V with Shaun Nielson,Jack Toney,Hovie Lister,Ed Hill and JD Sumner came out with a cassette (there last recording, I believe) in 1988 called “The Legend Lives On”. If I am not mistaking, a few weeks later, when JD brought back the Stamps at the 1988 Convention, they released the same project with Steve Warren singing tenor (the rest of the personnel stayed the same) and the project was titled “Today”.

  10. Daniel, regarding the SSQ projects, Ernie Haase explained in a concert that Ryan was added to one song on a CD (probably the one you noticed) and Wesley Pritchard was added as the lead vocal on the other one, probably Volume 1. The other lead parts are still Shane Dunlap.

    Contrary to what Tom said, David Hill is on some of the songs on “Preparing the Way” but none of the solos. The best example is “Every Moment” that features Jay Parrack. It is really easy to pick out Hill’s voice in the ending.

    The Anchormen also did something similar on their Reflections of Life CD. Kevin McCaw was the lead singer when recording the CD but left for The Cumberland Qt. They hired Phillip Hughes (now w/ the Kingsmen) and they re-recorded the pickups and the solos with his voice but you can still pick out Kevin when all vocals are singing.

  11. The Greenes did this as well with their 1995 “Mama’s Heart” recording, replacing the Milena Parks’ vocals with Taranda’s. But they ALSO changed the title of the revised project to “All I Know” and completely redid the cover artwork instead of airbrushing a member out. But the song lineup is identical, and I’m pretty sure that the only thing they changed to the recording was the female vocals.

  12. Please disregard what I stated previously about The Masters V recording “The Legend Lives On” and the Stamps recording “Today”. That information was incorrect. I do applogize. Carry on now… =)