Saturday News Roundup #84

Worth Knowing

  • Signature Sound performed the National Anthem before a NASCAR race last year. It got a strong response—so strong that they’re being invited back. They will sing “I Pledge My Allegiance” and the National Anthem at the Atlanta Motor Speedway on Sunday, September 4.
  • While we may talk about Wal-Mart’s domination—and eating up small businesses—in other fields, that’s not the case in music. It threw in the towel this week, announcing that it will be closing the MP3 download section of its online store.
  • Jeff Easter’s mother, Mary Louise Sechrist, passed away last Sunday, August 7. She was 76.
  • Congratulations to SoGospel Back Row’s Steve Eaton on his one-year anniversary as a Southern Gospel blogger!

Worth Watching

Here’s a blast from the past—the early ’90s Perfect Heart singing “In the Sweet Forever”:

Danny Funderburk is singing tenor here, and Jeff Stice is on piano. Other members in this particular lineup are, if I’m not mistaken, Dale Shipley on lead, Mark Lanier on baritone, and Mike Presnell on bass.

Worth Discussing

It’s open thread Saturday—you decide!

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27 Letters to the Editor

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  1. Love this Perfect Heart video. My favorite version of this classic song, too. Now THAT’S quartet singing!

    • It sure is! This lineup had what it takes!

  2. Of all the voices I miss in Southern Gospel, Dale Shipley ranks very near the top. Man, what a lead voice! Too bad he is not still singing.

    • Dale was incredible!

    • I had the privilege of hearing Dale sing in-person several times at Bellevue Baptist Church in the early 2000s. His rendition of “The Anchor Holds” was the best I’ve ever heard!

  3. Anyone know whether Perfect Heart was the first group to do this now-classic arrangement with the fourth modulation? Every version since has done it.

    • The Chuck Wagon Gang in 1965 – same key throughout

      The Rebels in the mid-1960s, date unknown – they went up from ~F to ~A-flat – my record player was off on its speeds, and it might be E to G.

      Ah … looks like the Statesmen went for the big mod. See here:

      • The Hoppers on “Unforgettable” also recorded “In the Sweet Forever” and modulate up to the 4th – from A to D.

      • Yes – since Perfect Heart’s iconic rendition, pretty much everyone has. He was wondering about pre-Perfect Heart renditions.

  4. The 6th member of the group was Aubrey Stephens on bass guitar. Stice and Stephens both came from the Nelons where Stephens played the drums. It was known as the “million dollar quartet” in this day since it was started by a money man who promised the guys to be home a lot more than say the Cathedrals or Nelons were, plus more money. That only lasted a few months and the guys were out there on their own.

    Dale Shipley was riding the bus with Triumphant a few months back one weekend and they happened to be in Tyler, TX for a concert and my dad and I got to go. Dad has always loved Dale’s voice from the PH days so he was thrilled. Jeff Stice called him up after intermission to sing “He Touched Me” and tore the roof off of the place with it. He sounded better than ever.

    • Very cool! I knew they had at least one or two band members, but I hadn’t noticed them in that video, so I wasn’t sure if I should mention them.

      • They added a drummer later. Aubrey wanted to be the drummer when they started but they made the decision not to add the extra person at first so he played bass.

      • OK!

      • Yes, Aubrey Stephens is Sandy Knight’s brother. He is also married to Felecia Shiflett, author of “Called Out” (Kingsmen) and “Going Back” (Freemans).

        And they all happen to be distant (but not too far away) cousins of mine. 🙂

      • No wonder you’re a good writer! It must run in the family!

      • In reply to your comments below:

        Thanks!! 🙂

      • (below where you were typing, and above where it appeared)

        You’re welcome!

  5. Daniel,

    My computer has been down a while – is that really you ?

    • Yes. 🙂

      • Is that sort of like the Rip Van Winkle effect? If so, it is a good thing you weren’t offline for several more months. 😉

      • I wasn’t offline; Jeff was. 🙂

      • Yeah, I know, but you “changed” (or technically your picture was updated, but go with me here) during the time he was offline, so had he been offline longer….look out. 😉

      • Oh, I think I follow you now! 🙂

  6. One of the first Southern Gospel concert I remember going to included Perfect Heart. I was fairly young at the time, but I thought they were good. Concert also included Greater Vision and the Kingdom Heirs. Btw, I don’t think it’s been mentioned here, but Perfect Heart is back on the road. Has anyone heard them recently?

    • I heard about them and shook their hands at NQC, back when Matt Felts was with them. Matt is a great promoter; if he’s in a group, you’ll hear about them! 🙂 But since Matt moved to the Dixie Melody Boys, I haven’t heard anything further.

  7. Note to Brian Fuson – I tried to reply to you via the address given in the contact form. Was there a typo? It will not let me reply.

    • Sorry about that Daniel, I sent you another message, and two different email addresses. Sorry for the inconvenience.