Stand Up, Take 1

Stand Up at Opryland USAΒ is the classic Kingsmen album that introduced the classic songs “Meet Me at the Table” and “I Sing Because.” A little-known forgotten nugget of Southern Gospel history was that the album originally wasn’t supposed to be “at Opryland USA.” In fact, it was originally recorded in Jackson, Mississippi, a taping that had to be scrapped due to technical difficulties. But forgotten footage of the original taping has recently surfaced (hat tip, Musicscribe.)Β [EDIT, 3/16/13: Broken link removed.]

We’ve assembled it into a playlist so that you can watch the whole thing:

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39 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. Wasn’t there a problem with another Kingsmen CD/Video? It’s some years ago but if I recall both the recording and video were done in Dayton, Ohio but because of problems the video had to be reshot in Florida.

  2. Daniel, you made my day! Wow, I miss Big Jim Hamill, the ton of fun and his 3 chords and a cloud of dust. No one could pump up an audience like him.

    Do you know what year that was made?

  3. Greaat stuff! love those Kingsmen!!!

  4. Awesome find!
    Who is that singing for Jim on in the 3rd song?

    • A gentleman by the name of Arthur Rice. πŸ™‚

      • Are you kidding? That’s cool. I didn’t have any idea he sang with them.

      • No, I’m not kidding – he got his start as their bass guitarist!

      • I think he could have sang tenor with them… wow!

      • I believe he did sing tenor on a few occasions when needed.

  5. On Mississippi live JH mentions that they tried to do a live recording there at Jackson but had some technical difficulties. I wonder if the Kingsmen had planned to do a live record in ’87 or only did because Stand Up didn’t work the previous year? What a great decade of live music! They did Live, Naturally in ’81, Live at the Univ. Of Alabama in ’83, Better in Person in ’85, Stand Up in ’86, Mississippi Live in ’87, and Live in Dayton in ’90. They were the masters of live recordings. I don’t think anyone else even comes close now.

  6. I heard that Martin Cook was once pianist for the Kingsmen. Could this possibly be true?

    • I don’t believe so. But I do think that Ray Dean Reese sang with the Inspirations for, depending whom you ask, three days to three weeks.

      • I have read somewhere that Martin Cook spent a little bit of time with the Kingsmen, and SGHistory says it is true.

      • OK! Well, it was before pretty much anyone knew who they were. πŸ™‚

      • Wow, hard to picture that combo. Interesting though! Thanks for the info.

    • Martin Cook played piano for the Kingsmen (circa 1958) before he started teaching school. If you people would buy my book, you’d know this already! LOL

      “Martin Cook played piano for the Kingsmen early in his career. He later taught chemistry and physics at Swain High School in Bryson City, NC. It was there in 1964 that he convinced four of his students to form the group that ultimately became the Inspirations.”

      • I’ve bought the book and read it cover to cover! That doesn’t mean I recall every word in it, though!

      • What book? Do you have a website?

      • Yes, he’s been blogging at Musicscribe since before I started this site!

        You can get his book in paperback or Kindle editions here:

      • That’s OK, Daniel. I have to look at it again from time to time myself!

        Thanks for providing the link. I still have a few sales that trickle in…

      • That’s because, if it’s valuable enough that even you and I have to check it sometimes, it still deserves sales! πŸ™‚

      • Ray actually sang bass for the Inspirations as well. He picked up a few weekend gigs in the early days, before they found Troy (at the ripe old age of 14).

  7. Hahahahahahahahahaha. As always Hammill was right on that night. Best MC ever.

  8. Yes, that true. There was a technical difficulty with the Live In Dayton video! Which is sad, because that was a great album.
    Another piece of forgotten history that came from Big Jim once upon a time! The Kingsmen also attempted a Live album in Memphis in the mid 1980s but something went wrong..seems theres was a buzz on the entire tape if I remember right. I have footage of them in Memphis in 1984..not sure if its the same night, ill have to research that!
    Also..any of you that have Live At the University of Alabama lp, with the original insert with the pics…look closely…in several sound check pics, there are tv cameras…hmmm…… Makes you wonder!

    • If there were ever a live album I wish I could have seen, that would have been the one!

  9. Thats the truth! That, or Live Naturally! Never confirmed it, but heard Mulls taped the Chattanooga Live in 1977 because it was their 19th anniversary on tv! That would have made sense..not as a commercial release, but to play on their tv program.. I wish they had never revorded a studio album from 73 till 90.. Lol!! They just couldnt be touched LIVE!!!

  10. I’ve watched these videos previosly and just watched the first one again. A few things jumped out at me just now:

    When Greg approaches Hamill before the concert starts to tell him about the technical difficulties, Jim seems to take it in stride and jokes that even if the recording doesn’t happen they need the practice.

    Ray reads the words to his solo verses on “Nobody Saved But Me” from notecards while wearing his glasses. How were they going to edit that with the technology they had back in 1986? They couldn’t show crowd, band and other 3 group member shots for the whole song.

    It makes me wonder if they knew before the concert started that they either weren’t going to or couldn’t record that night and the Greg/Jim interaction was for the benefit of the locals. I’m sure it had been promoted as a live album & video taping, so they didn’t want to disappoint the crowd by simply not recording. Maybe they were given an opportunity to record on the stage of the Grand Old Opry house after this event had already been announced and decided to take it and do the next one in Jackson.

    It doesn’t really matter when they knew, because the folks in Jackson got a Kingsmen concert that night anyway and still got to host a live recording (albeit a year later than they thought).

    Did these things stand out to anyone else? Does anyone think something like this could have happened or am I reading too much into it?

    • Good thoughts. Either it was planned, or Jim was such a born and seasoned showman that he could take ANYTHING in stride.

      (Well, fact is, he was indeed such a seasoned showman that he probably could have pulled it off if it was news to him!)

      Though would Jim have gone for the extra clapping if he didn’t think there was at least a chance it would be needed?

      • Every live recording I’ve attended, they recorded ‘polite’ applause, ‘regular’ applause, and ‘pitching babies in the air, best thing I’ve ever heard’ applause before the event begins for editing into the project later. This applause was the crowd’s natural response to Jim coming on stage. Being the consummate showman, he could easily have thought to incorporate it into the live recording story.

      • Loved this recording. If you also notice, at some point Jim notes that they “had trouble with the recording equipment all day.” This is also where he makes the joke about the computer chip that only Hamill could make. πŸ™‚ So, I don’t think it was a surprise that they were not going to go for the recording that night. There has NEVER been as good a front man as big JH…he was the showman’s showman…all in the context of the best Christian entertainment around.

  11. Awesome. Just watched for 2 hours! (… while doing other stuff too…)

  12. I wore out the Live Naturally recording we had. That is probably my all-time favorite live Kingsmen recording, but I don’t really recall one live recording of theirs that wasn’t good. “Singing In The Sun” and “Georgia Live” are two other good ones.

  13. I always enjoyed watching Ray Dean Reese. He has certain mannerisms/hand motions, as all performers do I suppose.
    I don’t follow SG awards, so I don’t know if he won any awards at all thru the years of his career?? He has been around a long time.

    Great videos. Great memories.

    • Ray Dean Reese was inducted into the SGMA Hall Of Fame in 2008. He also won Favorite Bass in the Singing News Fan Awards for 1979 and 1985.

  14. In 1990, they did both Live In Orlando and Live In Dayton.
    For the Orlando project, (which I own) they recorded it immediatly after the Singing At Sea cruise that year, which would have been in February.
    Live In Dayton was recorded April 20th, 1990. (date info is from Deanna Surles’ review of the project in the October 1990 Singing News.)
    My copy of Olrlando ( a $0.50 or $1.00 purchase at goodwill. Amognst the best monetary deals ever!!) has pretty bad audio quallity, but, that could be due to a worn out tape. (And it is.) Good thing I recorded the audio to a CD before a VHS player would have a chance to shred the tape. Haven’t played the VHS since I recorded the audio, but the tape made it through the last playing.
    Wish I could find a copy of “Live In Dayton”, simply for the sake of seeing that preformance of “The Judgement.”
    A REAL worship experience.

  15. Who is playing bass while Aruther Rice is singing “Leave Your Sorrows”?

  16. Wish we could bring back this era of Southern Gospel Music. That crowd was absolutely rockin’! What a great evening of Gospel Music.