Groups that Stood the Test of Time: 1960s
It’s always fascinating to contemplate how different things stand up to the test of time. In music, certain groups’ recordings have a far more enduring appeal than others—even if those others were more popular at the time.
So this week, let’s go decade by decade through Southern Gospel recording history (60s through 90s) and list which groups’ projects still hold the greatest appeal today. I’ll kick things off with a list each day.
Just for fun, if you like, indicate in your list how many recordings you have by that group from that decade.
- Blackwood Brothers (35 projects from the 60s). Not only were they one of the decade’s most popular groups, their recordings also stand up today as well as anything out of the 60s. While you can find current versions of every good song other groups recorded in the 60s, the Blackwood Brothers recorded so much that there are dozens of forgotten gems awaiting discovery by fans of male quartet harmonies.
- Happy Goodmans (5 projects). They went from nowhere at the start of the decade to one of the top groups by its end. Rusty Goodman wrote and introduced some of his—and Southern Gospel’s—enduring greatest songs in this decade.
- Cathedral Quartet (10 projects). The Cathedrals had one of their best lineups vocally, but they didn’t have the momentum of years of hit songs to make them one of the top groups. They did lay the foundation for their later success this decade. As we listen to them today knowing what they would later become, their recordings might be even more appreciated today than they were then.
- Weatherfords (3 projects, +2 from 1959). These were the Weatherfords’ peak years, featuring some of the best blends and most perfect harmonies ever seen in Southern Gospel.
- Rambos (7 projects). Dottie Rambo wrote and introduced many of her classics in the 1960s, and those recordings have lost little of their appeal over time.
- Imperials (1 projects, plus compilations). This Imperials’ later success in CCM shouldn’t overshadow the fact that they were one of SG’s supergroups of the 60s.
- Inspirations (1 or 2 projects, plus compilations). The Inspirations’ sound stands the test of time so well simply because it doesn’t change.
- Statesmen (14 projects). Okay, I put the Inspirations above the Statesmen just because I could. More seriously, it seems you just had to have been there to fully appreciate the Statesmen phenemenon. Their recordings sounded good then and sound good today—but those who were there say the group owned the live stage. That was what made them one of the greatest groups of their time.
- Chuck Wagon Gang (15 projects). Like the Inspirations, The Chuck Wagon Gang has kept a stable sound for so long that those who like their projects today would also like their projects from the 60s.
- Florida Boys (10 projects). The Florida Boys were great in this decade, but wouldn’t peak until the 70s and 80s.