Listen. Be blessed. Go home rejoicing.

Before it was the fad, we featured occasional YouTube spotlight posts. Now that everyone else is doing it, we’ve cut back to only including them in Saturday News Roundups. This video, however, deserves an exception.

YouTube user QuartetHarmonyFan recently posted a home video of the final ten minutes of the final Statesmen concert. The first six minutes are talking—a mixture of reflections, a comment from the author of a book on the Statesmen, and even an impromptu photo pose for an audience member. The final minutes are a standing-ovation performance of “Oh, What a Savior.”

It’s the few, fleeting seconds just before the six-minute mark that make this video an unforgettable treasure. Though the master’s touch on the keys is as sure as ever, the cancer that would take Hovie Lister’s life within a month had already taken most of his voice. As he introduces this closing song, he bids the final Statesmen audience goodbye. It would be hard to pen a more fitting epitaph or tribute than those six final, raspy words:

Listen.

Be blessed.

Go home rejoicing.

(Side note: Can anyone tell if the baritone here is current Blackwood Brothers tenor Wayne Little?)


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17 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. No words can adequately tell of the power of what happened there. Just like in 1999 at NQC when Glen Payne called in from his hospital room and sang a verse of I Won’t Have to Cross Jordan Alone. You just knew that he was saying good bye, I will see you on the other side. It was just about a month later when he passed. Thanks for posting this video Daniel. What a classic!

    • I agree – words cannot capture the power – though if any came close, it was his own six words which set up the song.

  2. I think the baritone is Rick Fair. I’ve been told that Wayne filled in some for the Statesmen during their last year or two, but I don’t think it is him on the video.

    • Thanks! With video this low of resolution, it was hard to tell!

  3. Definitely Rick Fair in the Baritone spot.

  4. Awesome find Daniel! What a way to start a day off. Thanks for sharing!

  5. Good stuff! A gem for sure – it’s definitely Rick Fair on baritone. Jack Toney on lead, Wallace Nelms on tenor, Doug Young on bass.

    • Thanks, Tony! The resolution is so low that I couldn’t have picked out anyone besides Hovie!

      • The chances are “Fair” to middlin’ that the baritone was Rick Fair. 😉

  6. Thanks, Daniel. That was wonderful. I remember how generous Hovie was with his time at concerts. He was always sitting there ready to talk to anyone that came along. Also, how he always listened to the other groups. He didn’t sit on the bus, like many artists do, and wait till time to sing (never really understood that about groups. Maybe they are saving their voices? Guess Hovie wasn’t worried about that!). I loved that and so many other things about Hovie!

  7. From Wayne’s website: “Gospel music icon Hovie Lister heard Wayne sing in 1999, and decided that he must sing with the Statesmen Quartet. While performing with the Statesmen Quartet in the “Legends” tour, Wayne had the opportunity to blend his talents with several celebrated singers such as James Blackwood, J. D. Sumner, Jake Hess, and Ken Turner. While Wayne was singing with Hovie and the Statesmen Quartet, they were inducted into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame.”

  8. What year was that they were singing?
    That rick fair is a great baritone singer.
    And that late jack toney is best lead singer i,v heard in a long time.
    Was that the late tommy thomaston on the bass?
    The tenor was wallace nelms.
    Wallace use to have the land mark qt.
    But they folded up a few years ago.
    They had a great sound.
    Hovie was born in greenville,sc.
    That were a born & live now.
    Hovie could really make that piano talk.

  9. This is certainly one reason my father loved the Statesmen and gave the love of quartet music to me. My father use to tell me “just listen to this one” and it would be a Blackwoood, Florida Boys or Statesmen song that would hook me. I often would do the same to my daughter for Brian Free, Gold City or Legacy Five etc. The newer version of quartets I guess you could say. She loves the music same as I do. One more generation won over! Thank you Mr. Hovie, what a legacy.

  10. What a way to finish the course!

    I was in tears with the piano intro (you have to wonder how many times Hovie had played that same intro!). It sounded exactly as it did the first time I heard it (at my dad’s behest) over 30 years ago. It was my Dad’s love for and sharing of the Statesman that was instrumental in introducing me to Gospel music.

    • there will never be a nother hovie or statesman i followerd the group from 1951 in st louis at the old st louis house not many people knows where that is but the old timers will rember the statesman took the show the blackwoods and states was there every mounth never missed a concert from cat denver and rosie and willie wynn uor quartet sometimes would start the progam