How did you discover Southern Gospel?

How did you discover Southern Gospel?

I have wanted to ask this question for some time now. But now that the readership has grown to where, even if we only get 10% response to the poll, that’s 250+ readers, and a decent statistical sampling.

To make things a little more interesting, let’s segment this poll by age.

If you’re 3-30, vote in this one:

[polldaddy poll=5460897]


Vote in this one if you’re 31-50:

[polldaddy poll=5460900]


And vote here if you’re 51-up:

[polldaddy poll=5460902]

Feel free to elaborate on your answer in the comments, especially if you selected “other”!

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101 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 voted “other,” since I borrowed the Cathedra’s CD High and Lifted Up from the library, and became a fan through that.

    My father had had a little exposure to Southern Gospel when he lived in the South during his teen years, and I heard him play “Just a Little Talk With Jesus” on the piano a few times. But I don’t think that really counts as an introduction to the genre, so I’ll go with my “Other” vote.

  2. I voted “I grew up knowing” because, other than P&W at church, Southern Gospel was the only music I heard at home/in the car/sung for fun growing up. My dad was a preacher, and he, my mom, and my sister used to sing as a trio. I really never even acknowledged any other form of music since I was never really exposed to it.

    But, I almost selected “friend invited to concert” because I didn’t know Southern Gospel as a specific genre until the first McKameys concert I attended.

    • Interesting! Yes, many of us had some level of multiple answers (as I also indicated in my comment for my case). But I think that, for most of us, one or another is primary.

  3. Other b/c my mother (in her 80’s) saw the Gaither’s on TV and signed up for their magazine. She talked about the Gaithers all the time and bought some of Gaither cd’s. When I retired 5 yrs ago and we moved to AL I listened to her cd’s all the time and we now have a large collection of SG cd’s/DVD.

    My mother (now 91) is now blind and in an assisted living facility and her SG music is her daily companion. The words and music are so comforting and helps her though each day.

    • Interesting; I probably would have classified that as family (other than early childhood).

  4. First concert ever was the Cathedrals at a local high school in my early teens (I’m 41 now) That was it….I was hooked.Now my wife and 6 kids are hooked as well.

    It is interesting to me how the masses (or at least the ones that read your blog! LOL) came to love SG music.

    Keep up the good work Daniel!

    • Very cool! How did you find out about the concert? Did a friend invite you, or did you see a concert poster somewhere?

      • Friends we went to church with at the time invited us.

      • Neat!

  5. One tidbit I find particularly intriguing at this point: It seems I hit on a decent age segmentation in the polls, because there are presently thirteen votes in #1, and fifteen each in #2 and #3.

  6. “How did i discover Southern Gospel Music”?, ………I turned left at Greenland! LOL

    • I’m not sure I understand what you mean.

      • It’s a funny quote…lol. When they asked John Lennon of the Beatles , how did you discover America, that’s what he said, so i stole it. lol

      • Ah! That explains why I didn’t get the reference.

      • you’re not old enough! lol

      • I would be just as unlikely to get a reference to a modern-day secular musician. πŸ™‚

  7. Oops, I was distracted and voted in the top age bracket and shouldn’t have. I don’t know if you can remove it or not (Bookstore). I am not even sure if that one counts as my story has several combinations.

    There was some SG in church when I grew (Blackwood Singers being one) and supposedly the Stamps being there (but I may have been too little to remember if I were even a live yet). My parents bought a couple of their albums (Blackwood Singers), a Stamps one (which MIGHT have come from that concert), later got a Masters V tape in the eighties. So, I was exposed to a little those ways (but not like a lot of people who had a lot of SG in one or the other. I heard some on radio on Sunday mornings. None of that really got me to buy any although I may have gotten some LPS on clearance, but nothing that got me into the genre a lot.
    I did get Oak Ridge Boys gospel stuff as I had already started listening to their country music in 1981 or 1982 when I was looking for harmony singing.

    At some point (and I don’t recall where this falls, I got LPs on a sidewalk sale at a local Christian bookstore. These were demo ones and I think went for a $1. a piece. In that, I got Gold City’s first Live lp and did like that. This might have fallen after my Gaither expedition below.

    Then, in 1987 I got Gaither Vocal Band stuff from a Christian Bookstore because
    I was trying to get more harmony gospel music. I saw the Stamps on Crook and Chase and bought their “Victory Road” CD and was familiar with J.D. due to the Masters V cassette (although I was a fan so much of his bass singing). I then heard the Cathedrals “Daystar” and other cuts from their “Goin’ In Style” CD on in store play, but their version of “Daystar” (in comparison to the GVB’s superlative version) turned me off, so I probably tuned out the other music. Then, I heard “Champion of Love” done by someone else, but using their tracks I believe. I liked the tune. I saw the Cathedrals on Gaither’s Jubilate ’88 and Funderburks tenor turned me on. He was the first SG tenor I could recall that was full-voiced and not the wimpy, helium falsetto sound of SG tenors that seemed to be the norm. So, I got their “Symphony of Praise” Cd and then everything else of theirs I found.

    The Gaither Homecoming tapes and later our SG station introduced me to other songs and groups I had not been exposed to and may have never tried otherwise. So, there is no simple answer. All this worked together to make me the SG fan I am now.

    Are you sorry you asked? πŸ˜€

    • Nope, not sorry I asked! Interesting stuff!

      That said, I’m regrettably unable to change vote totals after votes have been cast!

      • Besides other typos, I meant to say I wasn’t so much a fan of J.D.’s bass singing. πŸ™‚ I did respect his ability to hit the low notes though. As far as voting in the wrong demographic, I guess it was a simple way to take over 10 years age off. πŸ˜€

      • Well, if that’s what it takes to make your day, I’ll let it stand! πŸ™‚

      • I am requesting a recount. (LOL)

      • I am quartet-man and I approve this message (and that message for that matter).

  8. yea, i did the same thing, i voted in the 1st block, then i saw the next one was my age, and voted in it too.

    • I knew there would be some of that. I tried to put the headers in really big type, but … ah well, that’s life. πŸ™‚

      • LOL, I guess when you get to be my and David’s age, your eyes fail (even though my appointment Wednesday said I was fine) and your mind comes and goes. πŸ˜‰ The sad part is that I saw it the first time I was here, but didn’t vote. Then after I read the comments later, and was watching TV at the same time, I guess I wasn’t looking at anything than choosing my answer. πŸ™‚

      • Multi-tasking gets us all sometimes!

        (At least, all of us who multi-task!)

      • True and I have heard it said many times that we men don’t do it so well, and most women are used to doing it all of the time. I can’t even necessarily argue with that. πŸ˜€ There is something said for efficiency in trying to use one’s time to accomplish as much as we can (I do try to say record things to the computer, makes copies or whatever while accomplishing something else), but there is also something said to focusing all of one’s attention to the task at hand. I guess the best is to multitask and utilize our time the most efficiently IF we don’t let quality suffer on the tasks. πŸ™‚

      • Yes. πŸ™‚

        I try to keep tabs on my multi-tasking, to make sure quality doesn’t suffer, but at the same time, I do multi-task more than most women (or men) that I know. πŸ™‚

  9. I basically told my story when I reviewed Wes Hampton’s solo album. It was mostly Youtube, with a Gaither Homecoming magazine providing the initial push.

  10. I chose “I grew up knowing Southern Gospel”, but technically, mine is mixed!

    Growing up, we always listened to our local SG radio station (where I work now). It was the only station our dial was tuned to on all of our radios.

    My mom encouraged us to sing at a young age, starting around age 4 or earlier, and one of the songs we sang was “He’s Still Working On Me”. So we were surrounded with it at church as well.

    We would win SG cassettes that were played on trips. My mom really took to Jeff & Sherri Easter, and we wore out “Brand New Love”.

    For my birthday as a teenager, I was given the Cathedrals “Worship His Glory”. I loved it. But then I went on a youth trip to Chicago with my church. For the entire week, we listened to Gold City’s “Standing In The Gap”. I was glued!!!

    I came home, asked my grandparents for the cassette (they owned a Christian bookstore), and wore three of them out before finally buying it a cd at a concert!

    In fact, it was our household’s first CD and we could only play it on the computer. We didn’t own a personal cd player yet. Thanks to Southern Gospel, I went through more than 8 Sony Discman cd players throughout my teenage years. I’d listen while mowing, biking, sleeping, homework, etc! πŸ˜‰

    My love for SG has only grown from there!

    • Very cool! When I got my first CD, I could only play it on the computer, too!

      • Mine was the opposite. I bought my first CD player as part of a rack system (Pioneer) in 1987 (December I think). It had a 6 disc player. I took out a loan for $1000. and paid it off in a year. I got my first electronic keyboard a little later (a Korg DW8000) and then my first computer in 1989 (a Commodore Amiga 500 with 1 meg of memory, a floppy drive, NO CD rom or Hard Drive). πŸ™‚ I got a Win98SE box and got online in June of 2000.

      • I think my first online computer was a Win-98 system, though it might have been Win-XP before I got online.

        My first computer was an ’85 box that ran MS-DOS, had a simple word processor on a floppy disc, and had a daisy wheel printer! That was the computer I used till ’96.

      • Wow.

      • My family always had a computer… or seemed to anyways! We grew up on Commodore 64s and then upgraded systems as the years went by! Yes, this was pre-WINDOWS!

        As a teenager, I bought an early model mp3/wma player when they first hit the market. Do space, it only held one or two albums, but allowed me to mow the lawn without the songs skipping!!!!

        I was a geek… but hey, welcome to my world!!! ha!

      • We had a 9-pin printer, but you’re describing something like our first computer. The hard drive was measured in megabytes (not many). I remember looking for educational games in Best Buy & we met someone with a 1 gigabyte computer. After they left my dad laughed at them and said they’d never fill it up.

        When I lost my 8-gig iPod nano two years ago, I was having to convert songs to a lower bit-rate to fit my library on there. (I know that most of you have way more than that!)

      • I’m not sure my first computer even had a hard drive – and if so, it was in kilobytes. There were two 5 1/4 inch floppy disks, one of which held the operating system, and the other of which had the word processing files or spreadsheets.

        I think the 5 1/4 inch drives were the 720kb version. I don’t think I handled a disc with a megabyte capacity until 1996 or 1997!

      • OK, you obviously had an older one there then!

  11. Mine is kinda complicated, too. I grew up knowing southern gospel songs, but I didn’t really know the groups. I just heard the songs at church. The one group I did know was the Inspirations, because they came to our church. I had no CDs…just a red-back hymnal and my memory.

    I didn’t own my first SG CD until I went to college. That was The Cathedrals’ Farewell Celebration, which I bought at a Family Christian, I believe. Eventually, listening to Paul Heil on the way to church got me interested in individual songs. I remember one in particular that was a hit at the time was “I Don’t Wanna Go Back” by the Kingdom Heirs. I didn’t know the Kingdom Heirs from the McKameys, but I bought the song off iTunes. I got a couple of Gold City songs, too, and I am being totally serious that I thought they had a female in the group until some time later. One thing led to another, and then another, and then some more, and now I have over 1000 southern gospel projects.

    • On Gold City – ha! πŸ™‚

    • Daniel, you’re probably the only one I know of that can relate to my pace of learning/obtaining this music. I bought that Cathedrals CD around 2005, and thought Gold City had a female until about 2006. When I got my current computer in May 2008, I had about 200 southern gospel songs on it. Now I have upwards of 12,000.

      That reminds me, I need a new computer.

      • Yes, your pace is very comparable to mine; I probably started a few months before you, but other than that, pretty much parallel!

  12. I don’t ever remember being “introduced” to this music. I just remember my dad or whoever playing the Gaither Vocal Band, Gold City Quartet, and Greater Vision ever since I can remember.

    • What a way to grow up! πŸ™‚

    • Finally a much younger fan than me; we listened to the Happy Goodmans and the Cathedrals! (But the Happy Goodmans music was already old.)

  13. I grew up listening to SG music, but it didn’t click with me until I heard Nicole Watts & the Perrys do “Praise God, It’s Settled, I’m Saved.” It was early December 2000, and I persuaded my mom to buy Spring Hill’s Shout! 2001 cd set. I heard “Praise God, It’s Settled, I’m Saved” and was immediately hooked.

    My grandmother took me and my sisters to many SG concerts featuring the New Hinsons, McKameys, Perrys, Gold City, and the Kingsmen for several years prior. But, that one sky-rocketing performance by the Perrys had me hooked at 8 years old. I later received the Perrys’ cd for Christmas, and I eventually built a collection of 1200+ Southern Gospel albums.

    • That was one incredible performance!

      • Yes, it surely was! I talked with Libbi a few months back, and she said that it was a ‘paper #1 song’. They didn’t get any feedback from radio friends about the song. That’s why they haven’t performed it with the current vocal setup.

      • Intriguing. It’s one of a very few pre-2001 songs that is so soprano-dependent that today’s lineup might not be able to do it better. Hand today’s lineup nearly anything else, though, and it’s another story. πŸ™‚

      • I completely agree! Libbi said that Loren tried to sing Nicole’s high lead, but it didn’t get the same response. I wish we would have heard more from the NQC 2000 lineup, but the other wouldn’t have fell into place so perfectly.

      • Intriguing!

      • *Excuse my half-awake English. The line-up wouldn’t have FALLEN into place so perfectly. :0)

  14. I knew about it from albums when we were little, like Cathedrals and Goodmans etc., but really didn’t start following it really close till around 1989, 1990. Then i started attending concerts,events, and getting Singing News, etc. 1994 started attending NQC, then Gaither concerts too.

  15. There wasn’t any choice for TV. That’s how I started, by seeing one of the Gaither Homecoming shows. Saw EH&SS and was hooked.

    • Interesting – and that’s why I had an “other” category. πŸ™‚

  16. I grew up around southern gospel music. Some of my earliest memories are of riding the bus of the group my dad was with. My exposure was limited to my dad’s group, Gold City, and the Cathedrals’ “Traveling Live” recording. I attended a few Gold City concerts with Brian/Ivan/Garry, but didn’t seriously get into southern gospel music until the December of 1995. I was planning to attend a GC and Kingsmen Christmas concert, but I was sick and couldn’t go. To cheer me up, my dad stopped at a Christian bookstore and bought me GC’s “Standing In The Gap” tape. After listening to that tape, it wasn’t long before I found Wes Burke’s Gold City fan page/checklist and started buying every Gold City recording I could find.

    • Cool!

    • There’s something about that GC album β€œStanding In The Gap”….. πŸ˜‰

  17. When I was just a baby , my mother would push me in the baby buggy up to the front of the stage so I could see Scott and Gerald sing. Also my Dads mom did the same for him so he could see Mark Trammell!!!

    • Oh, my. πŸ™‚

    • Pictures, Michael?

    • When Jayme heard Michael’s comment, she gasped and said in horror: “I didn’t know there was such an age difference between Michael and Scott!” πŸ˜€

      • Michael’s comment shouldn’t necessarily be taken too seriously! πŸ™‚

      • Michael is about seven years younger. πŸ™‚

    • You do know Gerald reads this blog, right? πŸ˜€

      • I’m sure he does, and I’m sure he did it on purpose.

        I think, though, that he’s seen Mark Trammell comment here a few times, and posted it with Mark in mind. πŸ™‚

      • This all is so funny!!! Keep up the good work, and keep on singing. Louie ville here we come!!! I can’t wait….

  18. MY first exposure was the Gaither Homecomings on TV. My very first SG album the the GVB’s I Do Believe. That lead me to Signature Sound which lead me to explore the Cathedrals, then learned about Legacy Five and Greater Vision because of their Catherdal connection. At the time I was listening to XM radio a lot so I was listening to enLighten which lead me somehow to your blog which has inspired me to start collecting Cathedral Quartet albums and your (and other bloggers too) reviews have lead me to buy other groups albums.

    • Sean – neat! enLighten had links to my news articles for a good while on their news page. I’m not sure if they still do.

  19. I grew up on Southern Gospel. My parents got saved 7 or 8 years before I was born, and their new Christian friends loved Southern Gospel (and even sang in a nearly full-time amateur group), so it was only natural that my parents would start listening to SG. I can remember being DRAGGED to Cathedral’s concerts, but usually enjoying it once I was there. I wanted to be George Younce πŸ™‚ We always sat on the front row when they would come to my hometown of Toledo, Ohio. When I was a kid, George sang The Laughing Song, and kept pointing at me and making eye contact with me. He told me (from the stage, in his mic), to have my parents buy me the tape of that song. Well, they did, and I still have it!

    When I was about 14 years old (I’m now almost 27), I came to my senses and started buying Cathedrals projects for myself. In August of 1999, my parents took me to Ft. Wayne, Indiana, to see the Cathedrals for the last time. We showed up, and only saw three mic stands set up on stage. I was devastated! I was certain George was sick and unable to be there….and as an aspiring bass singer, that thought made ME sick! As you probably have realized by now, George wasn’t the one sick– Glen was. All they told us was that he was sick….no mention of the cancer. Perhaps they didn’t have an official diagnosis at that time??? Roger, of course, sang lead and did a great job. I’m thankful to my parents for taking me to my final Cathedrals concert as a freshman in High School. I will remember it my whole life.

    I have more stories, but since I’m sure no one is still reading this, I’ll stop πŸ™‚

    • I read it!

      I discovered SG in 2004 – I can’t count the times I’ve wished I had discovered it five years earlier, in time to catch that tour!

      • It was awesome to see them live. I just wish I had appreciated it more when my parents made me go with them when I was a kid!

        Good bass singers helped to expand my SG scope– Tim Riley with Gold City especially. I was the only kid at my high school who listened to Southern Gospel πŸ™‚

      • Well, me too, but I was homeschooled. πŸ˜›

        Oh, wait, I think I finished within the year preceding my discovery of the genre, but that would’ve been a great comeback! πŸ™‚

      • I wish I had discovered the Cathedrals early enough to see Mark and Danny with them. Well, I guess I sort of maybe did barely, but alas there were no concerts around that I knew about. My first concert was shortly after Scott joined. I saw the Cathedrals live probably around 4-5 times during those years due to my work schedule etc. I did see the Vocal Band live once before the Homecoming thing really took off and they were doing their own shows. I won’t get into the others I saw right now. Oh, and I am still reading too.

  20. My Pastor introduce me to southern gospel over 25 years ago. I believe the first group was the kingsmen, and been hooked ever since.

  21. Well I feel bad now Daniel… I’ll try to refrain from usuing your blog to satisfy my need to make fun of my friends…… But this was funny!!! If I must say so myself….:)

    I said I’ll try… Not making any promises…:)

    • Yes, it was funny, and feel free to do it here any time! πŸ™‚

    • I agree and enjoyed seeing it.

    • It was funny. We all know you are just kidding!

    • Please don’t refrain … πŸ˜€

  22. Great post, Daniel. You have such a knack at provoking great response, as well as thought-stirring discussion.

    I chose “I grew up knowing Southern Gospel” because that response couldn’t not be any more true. My grandparents promoted Southern Gospel music throughout western Kentucky while I was just a child. Our family vacations, at least until I was eight years old or so, were always to the biggest multiple day concerts within feasible driving distance.

    Even today, our family is still greatly affected by this wonderful music. I feel so very blessed to have had such wonderful exposure to the greatest music in the world at such a young age.

  23. We selected “other”, as it is difficult to pinpoint exactly how our family discovered Southern Gospel Music. When Mom was about six years old, her parents brought her to see the Good News Quartet in Southern Minnesota. (One of the members of the quartet was Arnold Hyles’s son.) Her parents purchased a LP and Mom absolutely loved it.

    The kids of our family were very into Contemporary Christian music, with Michael W. Smith, DCTalk, GoFish, Point of Grace and more as favorites. So whenever Mom would play the Good News Quartet, some of us would go into hiding, plugging our ears to block out the “boring” music. πŸ™‚ We didn’t know that type of music had a name – we just knew it was OLD!

    In 2005, our grandma gave us a tape set by a particular quartet – the Cathedral Quartet – which she had gotten by mistake, and sometime later Mom picked up a Gaither Homecoming video (“Landmark”) from the library. We kids weren’t hooked immediately, but rather it was a gradual process of appreciation, and then a deep love for this music.

    Then our oldest sister, knowing Mom loved the Gaither video and quartet music, found a Cathedral Quartet movie (“50 Faithful Years”) at a thrift store. It was that video which really changed our lives.

    Of course, there is much more to the story, and everyone has their own opinion of how we discovered SGM. But we think that covers the basics, and as they say, the rest is history! πŸ™‚


  24. I was in the same room while one of Gaither’s commercials was on TV. That in and of itself wasn’t something that grabbed me, but hearing David Phelps sing was. I remember being awestruck listening to him sing and that’s what open door for me 12 years ago. Been a fan ever since!

  25. Well I guess it’s time for a response from the 51 & up group. My earliest memory of gospel music (before it became SGM) was hearing my dad play 78 records of the Statesmen, Harmoneers, Blackwood Brothers etc. My family (Adkins, Toney, Booth) were all involved in the genre and it was just a natural progression to start to accumulate records, tapes, songbooks, videos etc. (leading my current collection). Over the years I have seen (in concert) most of the major groups…Statesmen, Blackwood Brothers, Speers, Oak Ridge Boys, Harvesters, Prophets, Blue Ridge Quartet, Downings, Rebels and on and on.

    Note for Micheal Booth — tell your dad I remember when I was a little boy seeing him sing with the Rebels…lol.

  26. Discovered Southern Gospel watching a EH&SS promotion on TBN

  27. I have learned about many’s discoveries during this thread, which is cool. I have seen some of Michael’s humor which is cool. But something else cool, that most would not pick up on is that Daniel has discovered some synonyms for the word “fascinating” such as “intriguing” and “interesting”. πŸ˜€

    • I’ve been using both since I was probably 6 or so… πŸ™‚

      • I just remembered your saying “fascinating” an immense amount of time here. It would be cool if there is an easy, accurate way to see just how many. πŸ˜€

      • There’s no easy way to sort through comments, but as far as posts using one word or another:

        fascinating – 69
        intriguing – 14
        interesting – 290

        Talk about a random statistic for the day!

        (Speaking of random, this conversation really should have taken place in an open thread! However, if you want to make a follow-up comment, I’ll leave it up!)

      • πŸ™‚ It is hard sometimes to know when a conversation will start by one comment made underneath what inspired it. But this one hasn’t IMHO gone on too long yet. But, I guess it could get close at this point even though your opinion is what matters as it is yours. :p

        I am sure in the comments themselves you have used “fascinating” tremendously more. I have seen it more than once under the same topic at times.

  28. I voted ‘other’. I discovered Southern Gospel music through Elvis Presley. In my teens i was a huge Elvis fan..i loved his music. My dad wasn’t too happy about it, so the first album i got was an Elvis gospel album…hoped for his approval since Elvis was singing religious music. He never really warmed up to him though. Anyway i loved the groups that backed Presley up vocally. I started listening more to them than Elvis really. It was very hard in my country to find anything by these groups (Jordanaires/Imperials/Stamps) but i read about Elvis and what groups sang at his mother’s funeral, so i knew the name The Blackwood Brothers, and one day in a secondhand record store in Amsterdam i stumbled upon ‘Please Release Me from my sin’ by the Blackwoods, and some other one like The Statesmen LPM 1605 from 1958 with Cat Freeman as their tenor. That store i frequented every other month or so..and bought anything they had that interested me. One day my brother taped a song from the radio (since he knew how i loved that kind of music) that featured a Quartet i didn’t know, the song was a acappella cut of ‘My Jesus I Love Thee’. The dj mentioned the name of the group just before my brother flipped the recording switch…it was the cathedral quartet. I went out to a recordstore i once had worked during a vacation, and asked if they had any recordings by this group. They had one CD and it was a double CD ‘Live in Atlanta/Voices in Praise’. This was my first ever CD ever!
    At this time i have all the Cathedral album all but one i believe. My brother also bought my first GVB record ‘Wings’…i was hooked. Hearing Jim Murray and Gary McSpadden both former Imperials,Bill Gaither and Michael English singing ‘Daystar’..other group i have every single album by are the GVB and the Imperials. Own at least 1500 CD’s, a good batch of vintage records, and about 90 GB or so of mp3 files the largest part is SGM. Love music uin general in all it’s forms, but Gospelmusic and especially SGM are my first love.
    My first ever LP was given to me by my dad, he got it when he bought a was an album by The Delta Rhythm Boys…i wore that album out…one of my favorite albums till date…some jazz standards and two gospels..sung in unbelievable harmony..with the best bass-singer to ever grace a stage the imcomparable Lee Gaines. And I loved to hear my mom and uncle John sing gospelsongs at the organ in harmony before i ever heard of the Stamps/Imperials or Elvis.
    Btw my dad now loves how his wild and rebellious son sings SGM in churces and other of my biggest fans.

    • Trust it to one of our European readers to come up with the most unique story! πŸ™‚

      • A unique story with plenty of typos…i should have checked it well..i have an

      • I discovered gospel music when my father’s cousin formed a quartet. Later I moved and joined a church where Cecil Blackwood was a member. That led me, I believe to the Blackwoods and Statesmen. My mama liked the Blackwoods. I still remember eating peanut butter and bananna sandwiches while listening to the Blackwoods.

        Auke, I hate arguing with a fan, but don’t be so sure which one of us likes gospel music the best. Thank you, thank you very much.

      • Okay Elvis..thank you,thank you very much!

  29. When I was a child in a local church up here in MA during the 1950’s, I remember a group named Eastern Valley Boys sang at my church. I remember another group called The Wead Sisters sang the church. Yes, both had matching attire. During that time, we all went to Boston Harbor for concert on the boat. The problem was that the unnamed local group did not get the word out to everyone the boat ride was canceled.
    It was okay because that group was coming to our church the next night.
    I was blessed to spend my 6 summers at church camp in Charlton MA where I receive exposure to southern gospel. I was able to hitch rides to many churches in Southern New England leaving early Sunday mornings or getting back to camp late Sunday nights. Exposure to the real Couriers of the 50’s, The Envoys, The Keystones, The Eastmen and The Journey Men Quartet.
    I remember a Gaither Trio concert sitting up in the balcony in the Providence
    Civic Center just like what you see in the videos.
    My first real exposure was attending the Jacobs Brothers’ weeklong sing in Dillsburg, PA. The All Nighters on Friday and Saturday night with the likes of Jerry Goff, Laverne Tipp Jacobs Brothers and the Dixie Melody Boys. They were just a few of the dozens artists. that came through during the week Two o clock in the morning you would see the busses coming around on the gravel road and the singers get off the bus to sing and hopped back to travel for their morning service.
    It was a Journey Men concert that my wife was saved in 1970 in a small Baptist church before we ever met. We were married in 1978, in 1983 took our 1 year old son with playpen to the Jacob Brothers sing in our first RV camper. We saw The Talleys, Hoppers, Jerry Goff and my wife’s first introduction to Laverne Tripp.
    We have been camping and singing southern gospel together for 33 years.

  30. Just a little further from base…

    I grew up in Ireland long ago, where Southern Gospel hadn’t really arrived, or at least hadn’t appeared in my Christina family horizon. We, being of a strict persuasion, were permitted a little ‘country gospel’ from time to time; 78’s of guys with strange names, like Hal Kennedy, Porter Wagner, Tennessee Ernie Ford, and of course Jim Reeves.

    An early foray into Elvis Gospel purchased with hoarded pocket money was confiscated. Whether my folks ever got converted to be secret Elvis fans I don’t know. My cassette never reappeared.

    A compromise was reached with what became a mandmark Album, “A Believer Sings the Truth” by The Man in Black himself. My folks didn’t know a lot about JC, not even his ‘Irish’composition “Forty Shades of Green” [reputedly written off a road-map on a stop-over in Shannon Airport – true anybody?] but the lyrics of “I was there when it happened” convinced them it was an OK album for a Christian teen. The undercover attendance at a live concert by the late Larry Norman, where I was introduced by a wider longer haired Christian buddy to the other side of ‘gospel’ music they never knew about!

    On reflection the lyrics were interesting and some were well crafted, but the music didn’t appeal so I went searching in pastures new…

    The College SU live visit by Cliff we will allow to remain veiled in the mists of undergraduate land. Still no REAL awareness of anything called “Southern Gospel Music”.

    Time passed and an Irish singing-pastor, The Reverend William McRea [as he is styled] began releasing gospel albums with an influence which was new in our neck of the Irish woods. Popularity and acceptability grew and behold a “Live Video” followed, recorded at a well known hotel just down tthe block…

    Since we still hadn’t discovered Turn Your Radio On al la WG [though “The Old Fashioned Revival Hour” stirs infant radio memories] it was not immediately apparent to many that the “Heart Warming Friends” were a kind of lower tier Irish “Home Coming Friends”. However, a guest appearance by a thoroughly well voiced young all-american lady, with the unforgettable [we thought it was a stage name!] title of “Ladye Love Long” did catch the ear, and eye. Mrs Reggie Smith as now is.

    This was quickly followed by a new phenomena, The Palmetto State Quartet. Not having the slightest clue as to where or what was “Palmetto State” didn’t dull the appreciation [married now, 2.5 kids and video player in the bedroom] of this introduction to “screaming tenors and growling basses” – Southern Gospel had arrived, we were hooked on this unusual four part quartet arrangement and went looking for more.

    Coincidentially, or providentially, a work mate of a pentecostal persuasion arrived in the office with a bootleg video of a young guy over from the US doing a solo low key tour. He looked and sounded good, and we went in search of the quartet he had eloped from for his Irish tour – a young fresh faced Scott Fowler from the Cathedral Quartet.

    A trawl through every Christian Bookstore in Ireland turned up a VHS tape of; “The Cathedral’s Reunion”.

    We wore it out. The rest, as they say, is history. I’m waiting for the re-release on DVD.

    So, I voted [over 50] ‘By a Friend”, but I thought the story worth a paragraph.

    We need more than a lawn-tractor, but we do dream of NQC, some day. Sadly too late to catch George, Glen or Roger down here…

    “What a Day that Will Be…..”

    “When All of God’s Singers Get Home.”

    • Hilarious David, thanks for sharing and good to see you hanging around again.

  31. Sorry, major typo: “Christian”,

    if you don’t mind Daniel!

    • [used to be 100 was a big score on this blog!]