Video (Audio): The Happy Goodmans in 1951

Howard and Vestal Goodman’s son Rick Goodman posted this video to Facebook:

The caption indicates that it is the Happy Goodman Family in 1951, a dozen years before the rest of the world would hear them. It’s a rare and unique piece of Southern Gospel history.

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15 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. Hey Daniel,

    Could you give me a list of your lp’s that you are willing to trade for some other albums.


    • David – sorry that I don’t have that handy. I’ll try to get a list together some time before too long and do another LP swap post.

  2. I love it , Vestel sounds so different. Thanks for sharing this Daniel .

  3. You can hear what sounds like an old upright piano. Yesterday I played a song from The Happy Two on my show in Birmingham and the older folks went crazy over it.

  4. Interesting piece of Southern Gospel History! Sounds like they had a soprano which I wasnt aware they had. Good stuff.

  5. Now that’s the sound I grew up with! My childhood home was quite often, one big ‘P&W jam session’.

    • My first SGM experience was seeing the Happy Goodmans in my hometown in Southern Illinois sometime in the 50’s. I recall that there was a stageful of them with at least two female singers. I’ve been a SGM fan ever since. Any idea who was in that early group?

  6. The one soprano voice I know is Vestal’s b/4 the “experience” that changed her from a soft/wanting to be an opera singer, to the Vestal w/the power voice that we know. Go to the “Happy Goodman’s 50 yrs Anniversary” album Bill did, and that info will be on there. That’s where I got my info from.

    • What puzzles me, though, is that the alto sounds rather Vestal-like.

  7. Heaven knows I don’t claim to be a Goodman fan or expert, but it’s quite possible that Vestal isn’t on this recording. Ruth, Gussie, Stella, and Eloise were likely the female voices on this recording.

    • Very interesting. Rick Goodman indicated on Facebook that he thought it was his mother, but, of course, it was before his time and he could certainly have been mistaken on the point.

      • I know Vestal started with the group in 1949.

      • That is absolutely fascinating; I did not know that.

  8. I’m no expert on Vestal Goodman’s voice, but I have listened to her voice through her 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s, and partial 70s. Vestal’s voice did change as she aged, but I do not believe that that was Vestal Goodman on that recording. Just my opinion.