Question: Date of 1970s Kingsmen LP box set

Yesterday, I found a gold mine of old Southern Gospel records at a Goodwill in this region. One of my finds yesterday was a Kingsmen box set that, until then, I hadn’t heard of. In fact, it’s not even listed in’s Kingsmen discography, and it is unusual for an album by a Kingsmen-tier group to slip past all of the editors’ attention.

This box set contains four LPs:

  • Ernie and the Men of Music
  • Kingsmen singing Bluegrass Pickin’
  • America’s Favorite Hymns Vol. II
  • The Kingsmen sing songs by Squire Parsons

It appears that the set must have been recorded somewhere around 1978. The vocal lineup pictured is Ernie Phillips, Jim Hamill, Squire Parsons, and Ray Dean Reese. Anthony Burger, who joined in 1978, is pictured, while Mark Trammell, who also joined in or shortly after 1978, is not. Does anyone know for sure what year this came out?

On the Men of Music album, four band members are pictured. Burger, naturally, is one. Are the other three Greg Fox, Gary Dillard, and Jim McCauley?

(Part of the reason I ask is my own curiosity, but another part is that I contribute edits to SGHistory, and I’d like to enter this set correctly for future reference.)

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21 Letters to the Editor

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  1. That was a great group and I saw that particular group three or four times, around ’77 & ’78. I bet Ray Dean Reese may be about the only person who could tell you the correct time period.


    • That may well be, but I have learned to never underestimate my readers! I don’t know if I have ever put a question forward that at least one reader didn’t know the answer to!

    • Ray Dean Reese isn’t even sure exactly what year he first joined the Kingsmen. He always says “Sometime around the mid-1960s. Ray sang with the Kingsmen for a little over a year then left until just before Jim Hamill joined around the turn of the 1970s.

  2. I own this in my collection, but there is not a date on it. I am holding it in my hand right now, and cannot find any date on it. We can only guess around what year.

    • OK, thanks! You and I can guess, but I wouldn’t be surprised if someone knows for sure!

      • oh i’m sure somebody would.

  3. Seeing as it’s a Heavyweight label, they all appear to be table projects that were compiled into one set to be sold at concerts. I wouldn’t put too much merit on the album covers for a timeline.

    • Good point. That’s why I’m hoping someone who knows posts. 🙂

      • That was my suspicion. The Cathedrals did that essentially with some of their Eternal projects.

  4. I sure would like to have these converted to digital. I have 160 or so albums by the Kingsmen

    • Any decision about digital reissues would need to be made by the copyright holders.

      • That raises an interesting question (probably for another post)….who owns the rights to table projects of groups/artists that are either no longer touring or have passed? Would the Reese family own the rights to the old Kingsmen “Heavyweight” titles, since they own the name? I know that Ernie Haase has the rights to a lot of the Cathedrals table masters.

      • Well, that would completely depend on contracts and legalities in any particular situation.

      • I do wonder about the Eternal ones. One would think that George and Glen might have split them, but that isn’t necessarily true. James Blackwood and J.D. Sumner worked out who would get what on their joint ventures, so maybe the Cathedrals did too. If not, the family might have sold the rights and split the money or one got them and another got something else.

  5. I found a set of these recordigs at an auction a couple weeks ago.Haven’t had the time to give em a spin yet,but looking forward to hearing them!!!

    • Very cool!

    • Granted, they are low-budget table projects. But any record with those four vocalists is sure to have vocal performances on par with many high-budget projects today!

  6. What is the difference in cost today in making a table CD and a high-budget label CD? Tim Riley told me once but that was a number of years ago and I’ve forgotten the amount.

    • Part of what makes this so hard to answer is that some table projects have new tracks cut, while others license prerecorded soundtracks for much less.

      For table projects, I would say $4,000-$10,000 is a reasonable range. For mainline projects, perhaps $10,000 to $50,000+ (with full, live orchestration).