Peg McKamey’s Shoes … and those moments we always watch for

I know I’m not the only one who goes to McKameys concerts hoping that there will be a moment when Peg’s shoes fly off. It doesn’t happen every night, but it has happened on occasion for years.

While I’m not sure there’s any other concert moment quite that iconic, what other non-musical moments do you always go to a concert hoping to see?

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64 Letters to the Editor

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  1. It doesn’t happen near as often today, but I love the visual effect of taking a tie off mid-song. Like Peg’s shoes, it is somewhat of an indicator of, “Hold on, we’re about to really get into it now!!” A great example can be seen here:

    • I agree – I love that visual effect. And no, we don’t see it as often today.

      It’s not exactly a signature move, but it is always fun to watch McCray Dove whip off his suit jacket and toss it across the stage when he really gets going on “Get Away Jordan” or “Didn’t It Rain.”

    • I assume you’re talking about the choreography?

  2. Jim Hammill swinging his mic around by the cord…that is pretty iconic. Not sure if there is a video of it out there anywhere, but I am sure it happened more than once.

    • I’d sure love to see that (video form, of course!) if footage does exist!

      Speaking of Hamill, I think that tossing his microphone back to a band member to hit the big note at the end was pretty cool, too.

  3. Ditto on the shoes. Same with Peg’s white hanky. Everybody knows the white hanky is coming, but they go nuts every time.

    • Yes, another good one. 🙂

      • You know they sell McKameys handkerchiefs at their table. They’re $5.00.

        I have one.. :0)

      • And, no, it’s not used by any group member… 😉

        I got it for laughs. 🙂

  4. Back in the late 1960s, you knew the Oak Ridge Boys were really getting into the flow when William Lee (then Bill) Golden would twirl the microphone stand like a baton.

  5. I miss Jim Hamill. He was always good for the full show of taking off his coat and tossing it, pointing to another singer to sing his part or giving the mic a toss to them. If someone got up to leave, he’d frequently stop whatever was going on, even in mid-song, to tell them to sit down or ask them where they were going. Martin Cook has a lot of showmanship in him when he stands up and does his arm flourish as if to say “ta-dah” after the Inspirations song. On occasion, if I recall correctly, Jonathan Wilburn would stand on his head after their concerts. In the late 80’s and early 90’s the Dixie Melody Boys’ Larry DeLawder would toss his tamborine up in the air as high as he could at NQC and (most of the time) catch it. He’d also stand on the piano bench on occasion, as I recall. And how can we forget Tracy Stuffle’s “chainsaw.” He doesn’t do it ever concert anymore, but he used to do it nightly and it was a crowd favorite. Ahh, the memories!

    • Ah, yes, I’ve heard the tamborine stories. 🙂

      For some reason, though, most of the moments that are coming to mind are of past groups. Hopefully some of the current artists who read this will be inspired to start memorable moments of their own.

  6. Yea, i remember Hamill always taking off his coat and whipping it when the song really got going. Or when he would give the members a push to get down off the stage onto the floor. McCray Dove doing his rain dance during Didn’t It Rain.

  7. Here is a current one Daniel. I love to go to a Triumphant Quartet concert and see Clayton sing “Old White Flag!” When he starts in to that song, he is like a different person. LOL! He starts “walking like an Egyptian” and shows off all kind of dance moves. I think that has been classic since he has started performing it like that. I know Dianne Wilkinson (writer of the song) enjoys watching him sing it too.

    • Great example – the white hankies on that one are definitely an ongoing thing that the Triumphant loyalists love joining in on.

  8. It’s ironic that on some major SG message boards (not yours, Daniel) there was an outcry for quite awhile from a sizeable number of SG fans about how terrible it was that EHSS had (gasp) signature moves and choreography. And yet it sounds like its been going on for years with various artists/groups, maybe not in the same form as Ernie & the guys, but still noteworthy and memorable. It would be interesting to know what the Ernie detractors would have to say about swinging mics, flying shoes, tossed suit coats, and waving hankies coming from other groups than EHSS.

    • Interesting John, because while I was reading the blog piece above I was thinking the same thing. Why do we think that the old groups were just wonderful in stirring up the crowds, using dance moves and throwing mics, coats, etc. around but have a problem with the antics of EHSS? They seem to be pretty similar in my mind.

      • I think it has a lot to do with the age of the fans now. I could be completely wrong but I would dare say that the ones that enjoyed the old days of Big Jim and Peg were younger then. Now, they are older and think that these young people should not be acting like this but in reality, their favorites did similar antics when they were singing. Very good point.

  9. I enjoy EHSS b/c of their signature moves, haircuts and short ties. They may have to come up with another unique hair style b/c many other singers have copied their’s. It makes me sit and watch the DVD rather than just listening to it while I work. Without the moves it just wouldn’t be EHSS.

  10. How about Anthony Burger in his younger days with the piano bench up on the front two legs as he leaned in toward the piano. He would turn and smile real big! Dittos on Jim Hamill!

  11. Does Josh Singletary’s little giggle/laugh count?

  12. What about Derrel Stewart’s monster grin? Or does that not count since it was through the entire concert?

    • I’m not sure anyone’s smile was exactly what I had in mind.

  13. I think the stigma for EHSS is because for SG “purists”, their views of The Cathedrals were not associated with these “new methods” (for lack of a better word) or choreography. Because Ernie is an alum, and many of the other alum (Scott, Gerald, Mark, etc..) aren’t necessarily known for these things, I don’t think others’ views are specifically contradictory. Many of the other alum closely pattern themselves after their influence of The Cathedral Way.

    I think there is a distinction, and that’s my personal assessment.

  14. When Bill says “Why Not?”

    • You know, I’ve watched for that one myself. So great example – even if it’s nothing big, it still is something we watch for.

      • And is always will he say it, and when he does, how many times will he say it. I went to a concert once and he said it after almost EVERY song.

      • Wow!

      • “I went to a concert once and he said it after almost EVERY song.” I’m sure if you asked Bill about it, he would say “Why not?” 😉

      • What does that mean exactly? I’ve always wondered.

  15. And any time ANY Crabb group goes into Through The Fire.

    • That’s always a concert highlight, but the question was about *non-musical* moments. 🙂

      • Good point

  16. Jon Wilburn used to do the Ric Flair dance (WHOOOO if you know what I’m talking about) During songs like “I’m Rich” too. Always watched for that.

  17. Another one…while I’m going through my memories. The Blackwwods do a comedy bit where Mike Hammontree turns into Johnny Cash. (Does that count as non-musical?)

    • Hmm. I don’t know. It’s a great comedy moment, at any rate – as was former pianist Brad White’s mad dash to the piano in the middle of “Feelin’ Mighty Fine.”

      • YES!! And the fooling around with Randy. Speaking of Randy, when he really gets going and he pulls the mic away sometimes ending up with the mic stand in pieces. But mostly he just pulls the mic off the stand.

        He’s done it about 3 times. Jerked the head and the shaft clean out of the stand. Of course I open for them once and I myself accidentally pulled the head off the stand. Randy just assumed I was copying his big moment.

        Another Randy Byrd thing is looking for and posing for people taking pictures in the audience. Doesn’t always happen, but gets a big laugh every time

      • Randy is a whole lot of fun to watch on stage! 🙂

  18. One more…for now…Steve Ladd taking off through the crowd.

  19. Another thing Bill did during the Give It Away/Lovin’ Life tour was to throw something (time I was at a concert it was a stuffed bear & a cd) into the crowd during the Give It Away song. I don’t know if he still does it but I’ll find out in May at a concert I have tickets for.

  20. Vestal’s hankie

    Howard plinking on the piano raising his hands high.

    Seeing Darrell Stewart sport his red socks.

    Ray Dean Reese going in the ‘bass singer pose’ where one foot goes out in front of the other and the pointer finger going in a circle as the notes drop.

    Big Jim Hammill – enough said.

    George Younce saying ‘well, glory’.

    Martin Cooke stop playing piano so the Inspirations can sing acapella while the spirit moves.

    The Easter Brothers waving a guitar in the air at NQC.

    Anytime the Hinson’s kicked off one of their ‘get up and go’ songs with Kenny starting off with a guitar intro.

    When any of these things happened, you know we ’bout to have church 🙂

    • Don’t forget George’s chuckle. And Glen taking off running, and Scott reaching out to stop him.

      • What sweet memories!

      • Oh, we would have loved to see the Cathedrals! We certainly would have looked for Glen’s “fancy footing” and signature movements and listened for all of the “George-isms”. 🙂 And also, Roger and Scott taking Glen’s mic away and “checking” his heart rate.

        Speaking of the Cathedrals, we also look for when Scott Fowler imitates Glen during a Legacy Five concert.

        I personally would have liked to see Jim Hammill throw a tenor off the stage (but I wouldn’t want to be in the front row for that one!). 😀

        -Taylor for TGF

      • I think I could have handled being in the front row for that, given how diminutive in stature many of their tenors were! 🙂

  21. how bout Ronnie Hinson’s “golf shot” on their final note?

    Kenny Bishop holding the mic close and then far away from his mouth on the final note

    danny funderburke’s head shaking when he’s wound up

  22. This is borderline a musical moment, but Billy Todd’s human trombone was always a highlight. I think Mike Holcomb does it sometimes.

    • Ken Turner is known for that, too.

  23. JD would hit a low note, wipe his mouth with his hand, then wipe it on the back of the head of whoever was unfortunate to be singing baritone at the time.

    The drawn out record pitches were also distinctive of JD, but they were so long, I don’t know that they’d qualify as “moments.” I enjoyed those as much as I did the music, though.

  24. Another would be Tony Gore circling the arena during “I’ll Put On A Crown.”

  25. Daniel,
    Thanks for this post! We hadn’t seen or known about Peg’s shoes flying until you shared this video. Again, we say it again…we need more SGM in Minnesota! And how about large-family ticket discounts? 🙂 Please?

    -Mom for TGF

    • The easiest solution to part 1 is to either get into concert promotion, persuade someone else to, or persuade someone who is doing it to bring in more groups.

      As to part 2, I have found that perhaps as many as half of concert promoters will offer a discount if you ask – whether they call it large-family discount, group discount, or, most often, discount for children 16/13/12/10 and under.

  26. Oh, yes, we just remembered the Jesse Dixon signature “scream”! We love to imitate him in the kitchen while clearing the table… 😉

    -Mom for TGF

    • Y’all sure must not live in an apartment. 🙂 I couldn’t get away with that!

  27. I have been very blessed to know and have known several gospel greats. Bill Gaither is one of the most humble person you will EVER meet. Almost to the point of being shy. I love the way he interacts with Rhonda Vincent on the first Bluegrass Homecoming. The Group sang “If You Don’t Love God”. Bill was asked to sing Bass. And missed his first lead in. Truly funny whether it was rehearsed or not. I saw the Booth Brothers last November in Indianapolis. GREAT GREAT CONCERT… During one song that had a “Caribbean” flare, “Sail On”. Michael suggested to Ronnie and Jim that he had some “dance moves” to go with the song. When Ronnie said “I’m not sure that’s appropriate” Michael retorted “Sure it is, I called Ernie Haase and he gave me some pointers!” And 2 of the most amazing things about a Booth Brother concert… #1. At intermission Ronnie does the product plug and makes it very clear and you know in his heart he believes what he is telling the crowd. He tells the audience “I know these are rough times, And I know how financially strapped most people are. But if you come to our table and want something, and have no means to afford it, please please feel free to take it. Nothing has to be said, and you won’t be “Stealing”. It’s Gods gift to you through us.” And #2. Michael can get a little preachy. And that’s fine by me. But Micheal makes it funny by saying “I know that many of you will say “I came to hear you sing not preach.” Then Michael continues to say “You paid to hear the singing, I’m throwing in the preaching for free!” Which reminds me of what I heard John Starnes say at one of his concerts “Every preacher thinks he can sing and every singer thinks he can preach!” LOL
    God bless you all and sorry for the long post.

  28. One other story at this time. I live very close to Alexandria,In. I visit Gloria and Bill at their studio and book store a few times a year. My uncle before he passed away would do studio music for Bill. When Danny Gaither passed away, he was on the floor at the hospital my grandmother was.So it was not uncommon to have frequent encounters between the families. At the visitation for Danny the crowd was lined for hours. But it was very funny, and I say this in the utmost respect, to see Russ Taff running waiter duties up and down the HUGE hallway of the funeral home. Asking people who had been waiting if they needed anything to drink, asking the elderly if they needed a seat. Very humbling yet humorous at the same time. And the following May, there was a Homecoming Concert in Indianapolis. I read above about Jesse Dixon and his “scream”. Well this night Jesse and Russ got all (and excuse the term) Pentecostal during their solo’s. Jesse jumping into the aisles then onto audio speakers. And Russ was almost running the aisles on the floor of Conseco Field House. Getting Happier than Peg kicking off her shoes and Vestal waving the hanky combined!

  29. Has anyone found a video, online, of The McKamey’s singing ‘The Blood’? I have the VCR version of the concert, but can’t find it anyhwere on the internet. Peg gets real happy and kicks off her shoes while singing this song, which was written by my Uncle and Aunt, Raymond and Rheba Gullett. Since the song speaks about “blood” the local gospel radio station in the Ashland Ky area would not play it, despite numerous requests and petitions signed by hundreds.

    • Oh, forgot to say the radio station said the mention of blood would turn some listeners away!!!??? Excuse me?

  30. At one of the Indianapolis All-Night Gospel sings in tyhe mid 1970’s (beofre Praise Gathering) at the Indy Indians baseball park: James Blackwood after survIVNG another HEART ATTACK and a bad doctor’s report………ran around the bases backwards……..!!! His way of saying take that devil (and doctor’s report).. He lived until 2002!!

  31. And Jime Hamill used to say, “You might not have come for preaching,,,,,,,But , Honey we got your money and I don’t think we would be doin’ right ” to not present Gospel.